Well stated and belated welcome to JUB.This thread is cool. I'm new here to JUB and don't have all of the experiences most of the posters here do, but it is comforting to see how many people realize effects places like JUB have on people. I would easily say that I would not be able to find this large a group of guys who share an affinity for other guys anywhere local to me. Most of what I feel has already been said, so I'll just bullet point my thoughts.
- The internet is the modern day coffee shop, club, park, gym, etc. It is a locale of sorts for people to meet, get to know each other, share experiences, and whatnot. Meeting and interacting with people on the internet is no different than doing so face-to-face. Anyone who discounts interactions on the internet as anything other than real person-to-person interactions obviously has issues of their own they need to work through.
- Interactions on the internet can be extremely positive. You are able to interact with people in geographic locations who you wouldn't otherwise be able to. People who are shy or withdrawn can use the internet to overcome the shyness by being able to "hide" behind a screen and keyboard where they may feel more comfortable. People are able to open up more and express deeper feelings in many cases when they can type it on a screen instead of tell it to a face. Those who are in trouble and wish to seek help without associating a face or identity to the person asking for the help can do so online.
- With the positive aspects of online interactions comes negative possibilities as well. Lies and deceits are able to be easily orchestrated and hard to dispel. People can be meaner without having to look into the face and see the emotion of the person they're targeting. Online interactions can be used in offline situations to cause physical or emotional harm to people.
I totally agree with the idea of online interactions being equal to face-to-face interactions. Were it not for places like JUB and other online venues I can visit in the evening, I probably wouldn't have much social interaction at all given my 7 day a week work schedule.