Mining the Digital Depths of Friendship

A woman texting on her smart phone.


Posted on November 2, 2021 by Jenn Zatopek and Tabitha McDuffee

In my early teens, I (Tabitha) started making friends online. Before Facebook, Instagram, and ages before anyone recorded a Tik Tok dance, I was active on a popular forum for zealous evangelical youth. We were Christian teenagers eager to “do hard things” and change the world. Many of us were homeschooled and had few opportunities for friendship beyond our generously sized families.

Eventually, I became part of the forum’s moderating team and I started spening hours every week on Gmail’s instant messenger bantering back and forth with the other moderators. Our friendships developing through lively discussions about missions, evangelism methods, and the merits of Calvinism or Arminianism. You may expect me to tell you that these friendships could never be “real” or that because they were digital they went wrong. But that’s not my story. Almost ten years after meeting on that online forum, two of those forum members stood up as bridesmaids at my wedding. . .

I’d love it if you clicked here and read the rest over at Fathom.

Image: from Unsplash

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