In my life I have found that I only make friends in two way - meeting them in real life or meeting them on a gaming site.
Now, I have a lot of real life friends from high school and college. Growing up I collected friends much like I collected Pokemon. Seriously, I love making friends. In elementary school would literally ask people, "So, do you want to be my friend?" Like I was asking them on a date or something. I recall quite a few kids being a little weirded out by how forward I was about it, but I would just smile and add them to my growing list.
When it comes to the internet it's always harder to connect with people and to trust that what they say isn't a horrible lie. At no point during the first 18 years of my life did I make a friend online. I had plenty of real life friends who I could hang out with and the thought never even occurred to me. Also I didn't comment much online when it came to news or interests. I just kinda snooped around.
About four or five years ago I registered for a Kotaku account under the handle GiantBoyDetective (a Venture Bros reference) and began posting terrible works of art in the Photoshop contests, as well as a few opinons here and there. And then I got a star. For this picture right here.
Oh yeah. I was so proud and I felt so accomplished. Now that I had a star I started promoting others and posting much more often. Then I lost my star for saying one of Luke Plunket's articles was too long in a joking mannor. Whoops! Then I earned it back with another shop contest. Woo hoo!
I gravitated towards the Speak Up forum and posted on a daily basis, connecting with many other gamers. I even had my own end of year awards for gaming called "The Speakys", which I plan on bringing back for the third year next January. Unfortunately the great redesign happened and many of my good online friends jumped ship. Then another came and Speak Up became a bit of a ghost town. Over time some of my online friends from Speak Up had become real life friends who I texted and called. They made the jump from posting things on Speak Up to posting things on my Facebook wall. It was exciting to have friends from Australia, the Dominican Republic and Japan blowing up my news feed. Obviously I never would have befriended them had it not been for Kotaku.
With the Speak Up almost completely indisposed I did the only thing I could... I moved over the TAY. The TAY was a much scarier place, and I hardly ever posted there. Eventually I got into the swing of things, but I didn't really make any new friends like I had in Speak Up.
Then there was ANOTHER redesign, the one that we are currently on. Speak Up was officially discontinued and TAY evolved into more of a blog then a forum. Almost everyone I had been kinda friends with was gone or didn't post much (like TruthTella). So now I had this new group of people to hang out with and I knew nothing about them.
Over the last few months, as an admin and an "owner" I have overseen many new faces. New to me, at least. Regulars like TUT, Poco, Dyram, Habboi, CallistoEx, Zarnyx and Cruzifixio have made the new TAY a welcome home for me. Even though everyone acts like I'm some big bad ruler of the TAY, I'm just glad I get to share in all your jokes and crazy GIF commenting. Heck, I feel like I can hardly keep up! I come home and have dozens of notifications for conversations that happened hours ago. I always feel bad when I'm late to everything, but my job comes first, so it's hard to not let that happen. *Shakes fist* All you young people and your free time! Said the 24 year-old...
Anyway, my rambling point is that much like TUT, I'm very proud of what the TAY is and what it is becoming. I've already made a few real life friends out of this bunch (Thanks Monster Hunter!) and I hope that in time I make more. So keep on doing what you're doing and spread the word of how the great the TAY site and community are. High fives all around!
PS - Do you want to be my friend?