My name is Richard and I am a news junkie.
It all started about four years ago during the Egyptian Spring revolution. I discovered that by following some chosen and trusted people and agencies on social media I was getting the news way ahead of the British media; I began to feel almost as if I was there. One of these people, we’ll call her ‘Nadia’, and I exchanged messages and I learnt more; we began to follow each other.
Some time later ‘Nadia’ mentioned in a post that she was up a mountain in Scotland. I knew that she was an adventurer and had climbed mountains as well as being a diver; as a sometime mountaineer myself I asked if she was Munro Bagging but she replied that she was just walking over a few hills with her husband.
We continued to follow each others activities and each others blogs. She asked me for information about things to do on a trip to Skye which I was able to help with. Last year she and her husband came to live in the UK and we continued our various pursuits. she rode a bicycle on her own (mostly) from Portugal to Estonia (phew) and I continued wandering about in the UK mountains and walking in France.
We both agreed that we should meet but it never really got off the ground until late last year I contacted her and suggested that as I would be in the North of England in early February 2015 that we could meet, have a walk together and do a LOT of talking. She agreed and so it came that last Sunday ‘Nadia’ and I met for the first time.
I’ve never had a cyber relationship before and on Sunday morning I woke up wondering if it would actually happen. Did ‘Nadia’ even exist or would she turn out to be some kind of cyber weirdo; did she wonder the same about me? In the event about fifteen minutes from our intended rendezvous I called her from my car and despite losing the signal we actually spoke for the first time and she sounded nearly as excited as me.
My satnav took me a bizarre route to the location but I parked the car and soon met them which posed me with another question, how do you greet a cyber friend? No problem with her husband, we shook hands but what about ‘Nadia’ do I shake hands? Do I bow? what ……? Actually no problem at all as ‘Nadia’ just walked over and gave me a huge hug, she’s obviously learned a lot bu living here!
The biggest disappointment was that she’d damaged her leg preparing for a marathon so excused herself from the walk which her husband and their friend enjoyed but she was waiting in the cafe when we got back and over coffee we were able to talk and talk and talk …
Now I can honestly say that I’m delighted as my Cyber Friend is now really my friend and I have a face and a voice to relate to when we communicate on social media. This has been a new experience to me and is something of a mystery to people of my generation, but it has worked and worked very well. I look forward to future meetings as we still have so much more to talk about. And as for other cyber friends? Who knows but this does seem to be something new and fun so ‘Melinda’ and ‘Nancy’ had better watch out!