Since I started the project, my friend list has gone up modestly from 626 to 632–still well within the scope of possibility. I believe I’ve sent messages to about 360 people, and many, many of them have written back. Some people have asked me what interesting things I’ve learned about my “friends” from this, and although people have told me some fun facts about themselves and some wacky anecdotes, the real value is not something reportable; it’s the connection itself. It isn’t about what I’ve learned so much as it’s about what I’ve felt, and it varies from person to person because each contact is different and has its own flavor.
The Internet makes some people extra protective of their personal boundaries, just as it reduces boundaries for others. Some people reply but with a tone that essentially says, “Thanks for sharing, but I know you about as well as I want to already” and that’s fine. Others have been very open, and we’ve talked about life and love and things that matter to us. This has been especially wonderful with people with whom I was once close but haven’t seen in a very long time.
So I’m not going to fill this blog with lists of “cool” things that I’ve learned about people, though when it’s all done, I may have some things I’ve learned about myself.