Is a Tweep a Real Friend?

07 · 04 · 09

by @geekgirls

I often find myself defending using the word friend when referring to a twitter user. I converse with many of the same people online everyday and hadn’t realize that I replaced the word tweep with friend some time ago.

I began to question whether or not these twitterers could in fact be considered my friends or if I was taking this internet social platform too seriously. So, like any good geek girl, I decided to analyze the meaning of the word friend.

According to Wikipedia, Friendship is co-operative and supportive behavior between two or more people. Their tastes will usually be similar and may converge, and they will share enjoyable activities. They will also engage in mutually helping behavior, such as exchange of advice and the sharing of hardship.

With this simple definition, there are many tweeps that I could consider a friend. I share similar interests with @KyleeLane, @zerbetron, @bunnykins2, @MissKitty1923, @trekkerguy, @aprilataylor, @velofille, @saxie5, @Arroxane, @grilledcheez, @jenthefangirl, @comics_grrl, @shelleyKeith, @tdhurst, @palmie, @taurenlegend, @Gadgetgirlnz, @houseofmuses and @geektrooper. In addition to sharing interests, I always receive great links (sharing) from @Chuck_st_chuck, @posiegirl, @elledeepea, @jeffisageek, @Zeblue_Prime, @FiveThumbsDown, @DJClicheDarknes, @tonyrad1, and @thejonshow.  

Just in the last month, I have talked to, or rather written each of these tweeps on numerous occasions regarding movies, food, music, comics, world events, kittens and other geeky stuff. When I hang out, call or email my “real friends”, the conversation topics are identical. Examining this part of the friendship definition does not seem conclusive enough.

{Definition cont.} A friend is someone who may often demonstrate reciprocating and reflective behaviors.

I know that @charmwebb, @AirJunkie, @kc0eks and @gcrecords always RT my posts and I always RT theirs. And I don’t believe the re-tweeting is done purely for the sake of re-tweeting. The links and information provided in the tweets are relevant, helpful or simply entertaining. And @Perpetual_Kid always gives me a shout out for #followfridays, reciprocating my recommendation for them. I understand that this is a unique case because this tweep is a representative of a business, but the definition above still applies. Again, I’m not sure if this truly answers my question, so I continued in my analysis.

{Definition cont.} …the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, and affection and respect along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis.

I can name so many tweeps that have helped me out merely because I asked. @evilray emailed me a full list of icons to use in tweets when I posted a general question to the masses “How do I make a Heart symbol?” @hubcomics mailed me a Free Comic Book Day care package when they learned how sad I was that I couldn’t get to any comic book store on May 1st. @WeAreGeek took time out of his busy schedule to help me with a favicon issue and even re-created it for me with a full list of instructions. @hipsterplease not only references posts from Geek Girls Network on his blog, but also helped me win @ScienceChannel’s Geek of the Week! @ShutterBugGeek gave me some great tips on how to capture great fireworks photos. And just recently, @laurakulpa offered to help me with my Word Press nightmare, revealing that she too was once a n00bie and understands my frustration.

{Definition cont.} Friends will welcome each other’s company and exhibit loyalty towards each other, often to the point of altruism.

A few days ago I learned that Robot Chicken was having a nine city roller skating party tour to promote their new DVD and the NY venue was still to be announced. I was so excited that there might be a chance I could get to attend such an event, I immediately @replied them advising of a roller skating rink in NY. Knowing that my tweet alone would never get @cyborgturkey’s attention, I thought maybe if they saw the same tweet over and over again, they would take notice. I asked out loud for anyone who was listening to send @cyborgturkey the same tweet suggesting The Castle for the NY venue. To my amazement, @ArkhamAsylumDoc, @shawnppickett, @UberDorkGirlie, @slasherbernie, @Lovelyfreak, @radtke327, @chefashbabe, @Daily_Pinch, @DeliaTheArtist and @uubergeek sent their tweets on my behalf. About an hour later, @cyborgturkey posted the following tweet Dear followers requesting Castle Fun Center for #rcskateparty location: have passed it on to appropriate authorities.” Not only did my plan work, but these tweeps helped my cause without question or hesitation. Talk about the power of Twitter!

{Definition cont.} Yet for many, friendship is nothing more than the trust that someone or something will not harm them.

There are so many other tweeps that I talked to on a regular basis or follow because they just add something extra to my “real” life. People like @actionchick, @geekgirldiva, @MariBiscuits, @loquaciousmuse, @katiedoyle and @DeliaTheArtist inspire me to be a better blogger. I’m also inspirited by @Daily_Pinch, @lwcavallucci and @g33kgurrl to just be a better human being. And I feel lucky to have even met people like @seattlegeekly, @ArkhamAsylumDoc, @FantasyDreamer, @lauraklotz, @artdeal, @spaltor, @idesignstudios, @kashen, @swytch and @mistyblu and all the women that have contributed to the Geek Girls Network blog – I have learned so much from each of them!

In my lifetime I have known many friends for many different reasons:

I have had friends because we shared a class together, where the friendship only lasted the duration of the class.

I have friends that appear in and out of my, but their absences never feels too long.

I have friends that have never seen me cry and some that have held my head in their lap until my cheeks dried.

There are so many different levels of friendship and for all these reasons; I cannot exclude those that I have met on Twitter. I believe now that real friendships can be formed online and I am honored to call so many people my friend.


  1. Friendship is not based on physical proximity but intellectual and emotional proximity.

    Thank you for being an incredible support, knowledge support and friend.

  2. This is a great post, and before reading I had actually tweeted “it’s funny when someone you only know through Twitter becomes someone you can turn to for advice. Thanks @Derrickkendall”. I’ve been going through some uncertainty in a relationship, and he was there to turn to for advice given through Direct Messages. I completely agree that people you only know through Twitter can indeed be considered friends, and I don’t know what I would do without a lot of them.

  3. I’ve noticed in my life that I kind of compartmentalize my friends.
    I have my friends I go to movies with, I have my friends I party with. go to school with, go shopping with, and just be shallow with.
    I would consider the people I talk to on Twitter, and the internet in general my friends, but I guess I don’t have the problem of mentioning them in the real world, because none of my real friends are interested in the things I talk about with my internet friends. And they think my love of the internet is odd.
    But that’s why I love my internet friends. They engage me in the things my other friends don’t, as well as the things I talk about with my human friends.
    And I feel like this is the weirdest thought to be having about this, but that’s where I am!

  4. This is one of the best blog posts I have ever read. You defined friendship perfectly. Thanks for being one of my friends. 😉

  5. Great article. You never realize how much you influence people until you make friends with them. 🙂

  6. Very good article and thanks for the mention (@charmwebb). I usually will retweet for a few reasons 1. Someone needs help with something that I cannot help with but I know someone out there will. 2. Also a link in the tweet I find helpful and I want to share it with others. 3. The tweet is funny and I want others to laugh along with me.
    I also am starting to think that some of the people that I follow and follow me are becoming friends.

  7. I have had this discussion with scoffers before. You are right, real friendships can be made through social platforms.
    And the argument is simply this, a billion years ago friendships, often long and enduring, were made via the good old snail mail and a thing called pen-pals. I don’t see that there is much of a difference. The intent remains the same only the technology has changed.
    Back then, as now you only get back what you are prepared to contribute.
    Onwards and upwards

  8. I consider you a friend too although I do not always see your tweets so do not always retweet them. I do need to unfollow a bunch of people so I can retweet those I consider true friends such as your self.

  9. thanks so much for the mention in this post. Of all the people I’ve met on twitter, you’ve got to be one of the greatest. Thanks for representing us geeks in such an awesome light!

  10. alt.com

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