Thanks to the marvels of social media, I’ve “met” some really fantastic people in my field via the internet. Yet, I often find myself searching for words to describe these relationships. These are people I’m connected to through mutual blog subscriptions, twitter follows, maybe even a LinkedIn connection. We’ve exchanged comments and ideas, seem to dig each other’s perspective and world views, yet have never actually met or even had a real conversation.
When I try to tell friends, family, or co-workers about these folks, I don’t have a good word to describe who they are. “Friend” in the traditional sense doesn’t seem to cover it – we don’t know each other that well. I tend to reserve that word for people I’ve known quite a while and I can count on to help me move furniture. “Acquaintance” is someone I know but don’t have a strong connection – I’m needing a word for people I seem to have a strong connection with yet haven’t really met. “Associate”? No. “Colleague”? Sort of, maybe, but not really, so, no. “Mutual Follower”? Sounds pretty cultish – no.
Anyone else facing this problem? What word makes the most sense?