Without getting into the details, I was baffled yesterday by being asked if I thought someone, whom I consider a friend, was "real". Apparently, if you have an online presence, you have something to prove. People are completely disregarding the fact that you CAN have online friends and acquantances who live thousands of miles away that you are never likely to meet. But it can still be a personally gratifying experience to talk with them. It's just the nature of the game.
Not wanting to get into any deep water debate on the philosophical constituents of reality, I still want to ask what is the breaking point. At what moment can you know that somebody is "real" and not just some pretentious online profile?