When Fans Become Friends

Several years ago I joined Myspace and learned how to make friends using a tool called Friendblaster. I hoped my new friends would buy and love my books. I soon learned they all wanted something different. Some wanted to pass the time. Many wanted to sell me something. Some wanted advice. A few even wanted to sleep with me. That was a shock! I never expected women to solicit sex online, but now nothing surprises me.

At first I saw my new online friends as customers, but over the years I began to connect with many of them as true friends. I’ve learned so much from my friends in the medical, legal, and law enforcement communities. I’ve been counselor, mediator, and book reviewer to many. My most enjoyable role is still game show host. I love running contests and giving something back to those who have supported me most.

Writing in my office at home there is no one down the hall to chat with. No one stopping by the water cooler. But Facebook and Twitter are never far.


Nancy, me, Sue

This last weekend I drove to Lisbon Falls, Maine to spend time with someone that goes back to those early days on Myspace. The whole family welcomed me in. Friday featured a birthday party with about 50 guests. Normally when I’m in such a large gathering of people I don’t know I’m “on,” telling people about my work and selling books, but this weekend I was part of the family.

It was a joy to sit back and meet everyone. I put my writer hat on a few times. I’m always curious about family dynamics and it was interesting to take in all the personalities. It’s also heartwarming to be surrounded by a loving family that truly cares for one another.

When I told people on Thursday it was going to be a relaxing weekend, they warned me it would be hectic and chaotic with all the little ones around, but we lounged by the pool, watched fireworks and took in the Moxie parade without a single tantrum. My kids are nearly grown, so one of the true joys of the visit was watching the little ones play in the pool. Those little giggles never get old.

Today as I go back to work I’m truly thankful that my circle of online friends has gone far beyond the typical author/reader relationship. I count myself lucky to have so many good friendships that have blossomed from a simple friend request.

What unexpected blessings have you found in your online life?







15 Comments on “When Fans Become Friends”

  1. I’ve gained a new appreciation for the people I went to HS with. I’ve learned that none of us were at all confident and all of us feared what others thought.. It’s a surprise to see how far off-base our 18yo impressions were.

  2. cindysamuel says:

    You, of course! And a great deal of truly wonderful people who support me, cheer for me, and boost me when I am down. I have met a few in real life, and hope that will someday include many many more. This last week, while I was so far from anyone I knew, it was especially appreciated having all my online friends, following my day to day battles, and keeping me in their thoughts and prayers. I truly do feel incredibly blessed! 🙂

  3. sue violette says:

    AND sometime fb friends go out of their way to make friends children happy by getting postcards while in NW Territories!!

  4. Tasha Turner says:

    I’ve never even alone. Anytime I go online there are people to laugh with, write with, mentor or be mentored by, even cry with. When I travel I rarely stay in hotels as my online friends insist I stay with them. When I was hit by a truck and unable to work friends kept my business running. I’m not allowed to hibernate into deep depressions as I get calls and emails from people who won’t let me slip down the dark tunnel. My husband even has to update my groups if I’m sick and offline for more than 2-3 days. Without the Internet and all of you I might not be here today. And I certainly would not have so many positive things going on.

    What a great post and good questions CJ.

  5. Great post, CJ. I too, thoroughly enjoy ALL my online friends, whether I know them in person or not. I love the connections I now have in so many places of the world, places I’ll most likely never experience otherwise. And to whom else do you go at 6:30 AM when you go to feed the fish and realize the big swallowed the little one? To Facebook of course! No reason to EVER wake the kids, right?

  6. Cindy Lee stole my thunder! I was going to say YOU—AND all the folks all over the world that I met through your on line game. Several of us (from the game) have formed an online prayer group that is a blessing as well.

    • cjwestkills says:

      That is wonderful. I have heard that the game connected lots of people together and I’m really glad it served to make new friends. I never expected that when I set out.

  7. Kim Mullican says:

    I have always been blown away by the writing community. Everyone is so willing to help out what amounts to their competition. I can think of no other industry in the world where that is true.

    I thoroughly enjoy find others with my twisted sense of humor and being able to click onto my Twitter management program to find messages that make me snort. That’s just awesome.

    I made one post about my crit group dying and a mutual twitter pal of ours hooked me up with a hand full of people. How cool is that?

    On a side note, hope your injuries are healing well.

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