Online friendship and American geography/sociology
For a few years I was avidly into contacting people online, and making friends online. That is, until I realised it was generally pointless, as online friends always proved very transient.
Even though online friendship was therefore a phase for me, there were however clear geographical patterns in the friends I made online, and how close or long a friendship (as these things go) they were. A seemingly disproportionate proportion of the people I met online were in small towns, in remote areas of the US. The more small, and more remote a place, the longer/closer a friendship they kept up. I can understand why people from remote rural settings would be more into making online friends, with their population base restricting their opportunities for meeting people.
But even then I found the friends I had comparatively long friendships with online were in the conservative areas of the US: the south, and to a lesser extent the midwest. It seemed the more conservative state or area, the longer/closer a friendship they kept up. The red state/blue state thing seems to me a sweeping generalisation, but I did find that the online friendships I made coincided with the red states.
Not so in blue states, especially in more urban areas like the north-east and in Florida and California, where (no doubt due to weight of population) I did come across a lot of people online but they seemed to be much more transient than in other areas. The same is true of people outside the US (Canada, Europe etc.) I'm very liberal, so suspect I'd fit in better in the liberal societies in real life yet made far more online friendships with red state (and rural) people and far less blue state (and urban). I'm guessing that's nothing to do with me, but rather with the socio-geographical patterns coming online. Might it be because their society is more conformist, and therefore similarly restricts self-expressive social opportunity?
I would like to ask if anyone knows of any reasons for all of the above, other than the rural/urban, conservative/liberal theories; and are others' experiences of online friendship anything similar? I am outside the US, so maybe those inside the US know a bit better why I've found the patterns I have.