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I recently told someone that over the past several months, I have made several friends through Twitter, even though many of us have never met in person.

“Friends through 140 characters?” this person asked dubiously.  “Can you really call them friends?”

Well, let’s see…

I speak to my Twitter friends several times a day.  We share photos and stories about our lives, and we often make one another laugh.  I receive a great deal of my daily news through the connections that I have with these people.   

We keep track of the big events in one another’s lives.  When I was stung by a bee earlier this week (a dangerous situation, considering how allergic I am to some species), my Twitter friends knew within an hour that I had been stung and was sitting in my house, awaiting a reaction.  Some of my best friends still don’t know that I was stung and might never know. 

My Twitter friends have been extremely supportive of my work.  Thanks to them, I have landed speaking engagements, become friendly with best-selling authors, sold more books than I could have ever done so without their help, and was featured (along with SOMETHING MISSING) in USA Today a few months back.

Can I say all these things about my real-life friends? 

Not really.  My real-life friends are wonderful in their own way, but I don’t think I have a single real-life friend to whom I speak every day or share as much data as I do with my Twitter friends. 

The Twitter friend is a special breed.     

So the answer is yes.  I really can call my Twitter friends real friends.