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Personally, I don't know why it has to be an either/or kind of argument. It seems to me that the relationships we make on the internet are what they are, no more, no less.
Although we might like the idea of writing being solitary, it has always required relationships and partnerships. A writer has always had a relationship with the reader. Whenever I read autobiographical accounts of writers, it seems like they also had relationships (friendships) with each other. And then they had to have relationships with their publishers and agents.
I can't imagine that writers of the past (pre-internet and pre-social media) had close relationships with all these people. The relationship depended on the need for the interaction, and probably the length of the relationship, as well. Why isn't it the same for social media?
Just because we call someone a friend doesn't mean they are in the same category as the person we've known since kindergarten. We define our relationships. We make them important or not.
Social media is an introduction, an entry point for making a connection with someone else. What level of connection is up to us to decide, no different from "real life."
I view writer's relationships with each other as similar to being on an Olympic team. Sometimes Olympic athletes compete against each other, but they are still working for the greater good of the whole team. We are Team Writer, and it is the nature of the business to compete against each other. However, we can certainly have good sportsmanship. We can help each other get better, we can make those connections, and share our success with others.
Does it have to mean we are BFF's and inexorably linked until the end of time?
No. Not unless we want it to.
Our internet relationships are what they are. They are a unique-unto-themselves type of relationship. They may come and go quickly, because we don't see each other face to face. They may lead to longer and stronger friendships, or to business partnerships. It depends on the people behind the keyboard, and the connection that is made.