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A friend on Twitter died today


A friend on Twitter died today.


I never met him. I never heard his voice.


I knew him by his name, his handle, his avatar.


He loved his wife, his cats, and cooking. He loved to crack jokes and he liked others cracking jokes.


He was sweet and generous and attentive. He liked to wear hats. He lived in Texas.


He was generous with his favoriting and his retweeting, which makes him one of the greatest friends you can have on Twitter. Ask anyone. On Twitter.


He didn’t follow a ton of people and he himself wasn’t followed by a hoard, but when Twitter found out he was very sick, Twitter worried. Twitter tweeted and prayed and hoped and loved.


Why does it feel weird to cry? I probably interacted with him more in the brief time that I knew him than I have in recent years with people I’ve known for decades. And yet, it feels weird. Because I never met him face-to-face, my tears feel trumped up. Inauthentic. Borderline histrionic. Twitter also blurs the timeline. I don’t remember when I followed or was followed by someone because at some point, they were just there. Having a conversation.


We’re conditioned to say things like, “My friend…on Twitter” or “We’re friends. Well, we’re facebook friends,” like we must acknowledge or justify that the social media connection is somehow less legitimate than the high school or hometown or college or work connection when it isn’t really. Not for me at least. Not since having kids makes it easier for me to keep up with friends online instead of face-to-face which involves dueling calendars and babysitters and driving and parking and late nights. And that’s only if you live in the same city.


He was supportive, he was complimentary, he shared recipes, he Tweeted cat photos. He loved TV and movies. He’s the reason I watched and got hysterical over Austenland — something I never told him. He was one of those people you went out of your way to look up if you hadn’t seen him Tweeting in awhile. He liked good bourbon and wine.


A friend died today.


I will miss him.


This was originally written 5 years ago. I still miss him and think of him often.

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