There are a million ways to be lonely in life, even in a crowd, and significantly fewer ways to be socially fulfilled. I could be a poster child for whatever disease that is. A lot of that is situational; people get trapped into lonely situations , or lonely places, or lonely frames of mind. Some of those places can be pretty hard to escape from, especially when there is not much real incentive to do so. It is astonishing the degree to which places like Plurk can take up the slack, and hold off an attack of the lonelies.

It is easy to find people with similar interests on many social media sites, but Plurk has mechanisms which allow us to extend those basic interests into something more. There have always been opportunities for online friendships, but Plurk has given us the tools to really converse with other people, lots of other people, and to do it in a way that is conducive to friendship, and then to even deeper friendships.

We can meet people in an alarming hurry on Plurk, and we can find out a lot about them in an amazingly short time. These early stages of Plurkship are safe, and out in the public eye. The process is astonishingly close to meeting someone in real life, in a coffee shop or at a party. The Web (and Plurk itself) are full of ways to take these budding friendships into more private areas, where people can become even closer. The anonymity of online venues has a tendency to remove inhibitions about sharing things with others, which can slow down friend-making in real life, but which can speed it up on Plurk.

It is possible, of course, for this to be a bad thing. Lonely people are particularly vulnerable to manipulation by the psychologically savvy, and sometimes people get hurt. The pain can be as real as the pleasures. It does not happen often, and it is certainly not peculiar to Plurk, but it is a possibility that we must be aware of. These situations can lead, of course, to significant unhappiness. So be careful out there, Plurkers. :)

But those situations are rare. Most people are pretty much what they appear to be, although maybe a little more outgoing on line. I still have strong ties to people that I met on the internet 25 years ago. Plurk is a great place to make friends, and some of those friendships will be cemented in real life, and will live on. Be careful, and always carry a grain of salt, but enjoy the Plurkers you like, just like you met them over a latte.

I’m KDFrawg on Plurk, and I have been there and done that, and have both the friends and the pain to prove it.