Techno-relationship [tek-noh]-[ri-ley-shuhn-ship] the interaction of social groups providing themselves with electronic connection between each other.
Techno-friend [tek-noh]-[frend] the term which social groups use to identify members of the same social network.
My two grown sons are blessed with many, many friends they’ve kept throughout their lifetimes. A good deal of them, now in their mid 20's and 30's, still keep in touch with each other through various means.
I can’t help but wonder if myspace, facebook, twitter, and/or cell phones were around as I grew up, would I still be in touch with my old friends? My friend Sue and I have been friends for so long, we can’t remember when we first met. But, this life long, interpersonal relationship is unique in my current circle of friends.
An old friend of my son’s and I had a long, face-to-face talk on the subject. We came up with a few new terms. The two terms I coined are techno-relationship and techno-friend (see definitions above).
For instance, if you knew Joe Blow and now are strictly social network friends, you would be in a techno-relationship, and he would be your techno-friend. One might check the others social network status, without putting in the extra effort to make a phone call. The drawback would be you were left unaware Mr. Blow was thinking of you. A benefit would be, should you ever need to contact your techno-friend again, you’ll probably read about his status change to ‘divorced’, and not suffer the awkward, painful method of discovery by asking “So Joe, how’s Mrs. Blow?”
These terms would also apply to techno-friends on public forums and blogs.
I am not forgetting the term cyber-friend. Unfortunately, ‘cyber’, in reference to a relationship, suffers negative connotations. An example to my point would be the terms cyber-stalker, cyber-bully, and cyber-sex. Those negative labels brought my son’s friend to suggest ‘eolivebranch’. For instance, if you hurt a techno-friend in some way, rather than ‘de-friend’ due to the embarrassment of the situation, you might reach out with a cyber-apology and offer an eolivebranch.