All of this talk (22 comments so far) about blog-o-sphere connections over at Zendervive has me feeling a little like I need to defend meeting people over the Internet.
I'll admit: I've been meeting people over the Internet for five years. When I first moved to New York, I asked my friend how she got dates here because she seemed to have so many. She told me she met men over the Internet. I was weary at first, very weary, but I gave it a try. And there were some pretty horrible guys. There was the guy who couldn't stop talking about his very recent ex girlfriend. We had the same name and apparently I was "just like her." There was the guy who walked me all around the city in August, stopped to buy a bottle of water and didn't offer me any. There was the guy who talked about his "totally hot" pot dealer and the guy who couldn't get it up for me because he had already masturbated three times that day. Let us not forget the guy who dumped me over voice mail. But then there were the great ones: the guy who made me Indian food and rubbed my back. The guy who I danced with all night long. The guy who, on our second date, set up a game of outdoor, candlelight Scrabble (I'll admit, he turned out to be the voice mail dumper, but they all have to end sometime, right?).
I wouldn't have met any of these men in person. Now, of course, I didn't have an instant attraction with most of the people I've met off of the Internet, either. Most of them I wouldn't have found attractive at first glance, but there was something about them, their style of writing, their interests, their humor that I got from their profiles that made me want to get to know them. I would not have necessarily been able to see that in someone at a bar. That's the great difference between meeting someone from the Internet and meeting someone in person: in person, it generally happens because I'm either attracted to him or really drunk. Over the Internet, I'm more interested in his interests and thoughts on life.
Attractive or not, I at least try to give these Internet guys the benefit of the doubt. I think to myself, "if I knew him, would I like him? Is he just like that guy that made me laugh the first day of class and by the end of the semester I was in love with him?" It seems the only fair thing to do, considering I already know so much about these guys and we share some of the same interests. For me, that "instant attraction" generally wears off anyway; I'm much more into second impressions than first. With meeting people off of the Internet, it's like you're automatically getting the second, or maybe third, impression.
I'm not saying one way is better than the other. In fact, I'd prefer to meet someone organically. But that just doesn't happen for me very often. So why not use this method that seems to work well enough? I'm not embarrassed or uncomfortable with it. Besides, I spend more time on the Internet than I do in bars or at parties. It only seems logical that this is how I would meet someone.