The appeal of internet relationships, the connections that Templeton describes, is at least partially, the desire for meaning in chaos.

People want a "real" conversation with people who think about things they think about , care about things deeply and wear their hearts, dreams, fears on their sleeves, or at least on their homenodes.

It is artificial and that distance somehow makes the exchange magical, this belief that it is super real , as opposed to surreal. In this sense internet conversations are like confession- "I can't see him, he can't see me...."

It is also much like psychotherapy, in that both sides are able to shield large parts from the other as the therapist and the client dance in and around the issues that brought the person to the process. It is not natural to talk to a stranger about intimate parts of a person's life. It is not natural to give out personal stuff and get back only a nod or a hmmm in return. But it is obviously popular and often successful.

Like internet sharing, the relationship is seductive. It is why transference and countertransference exist.

Yalom, one of the predominant thinkers in group psychotherapy describes therapy as based on a fundamental lie.

"You will be treated as special, I will reserve time for you, I will talk only to and about you. But I will not make you essential to my life. I will move on to other clients and forget about you. Trust me anyway."

We know so little about most online people, but we want to know them. We want to embrace the truth we believe is in the them. The seashells they share with us (LOOK, see what I found!) The fact that people want to use the net to connect is a positive sign for human nature I think. The fact that there is so much interest in this site is fabulous: it all about connecting, interconnecting and superconnecting.

As for the "real world" maybe some people would like to practice learning and sharing and really connecting with people in a module, an intimate relationship school-life with training wheels. I would have loved to have had this when I was younger and generally doing everything wrong.

Imagine if we related to our friends and family with the directness shown here, examples:

you: Here's what I think
them: Well, not bad, BUT, here's what I think
someone else: I hate that, you are stupid
someone, else: I love that, thanks for sharing.

If you have any friends who are hearing impaired you may have had a taste of that. Pretensions don't go over well in ASL.

Best of luck to all of us as we try to take the best of Everything out of the tube and into our world.