Our parents had pen pals back in the day and now we’re following suit via the internet. Like these two who’ve never met but have their own blog . . .
Gavin le Roux (18), a matriculant at Tygerberg High School, Cape Town and Chay Cook (18), a matriculant at Bergvliet High School, Cape Town has a blog aimed at teens and young adults and has interesting videos, facts, quotes and celebrity news. It also contains local and world news, personal experiences, jokes and pictures. Gavin and Chay started it together even though they’ve never met!
What do you love most about using social networking sites? Gavin: I can meet new people around the world, read about my interests such as technology and astronomy, and see what celebrities are up to.
Chay: It’s simpler and cheaper to talk to your friends and family. I also love knowing what’s happening in the world.
What don’t you like about them? G: Spammers and impersonators!
C: They can be a quick way of spreading bad gossip.
How did your friendship and blog begin? G: In July 2010 I saw one of my Twitter friends who’s at school with me chatting with one of her [fellow] Twitter Locnville fans, Chay.
We started chatting and had the most interesting conversations. We realised we shared many interests – even our birthdays are only a day apart.
When we had to study for our Grade 11 exams in November 2010 we decided to create a blog we could share when we needed an escape from studying and from being bored during school holidays.
C: There are times when Gavin and I have about 20 conversations running because we always have so much to talk about. We share many interests so we started our blog and it’s been quite a success so far.
Have you met each other in person? G: We always say we’re going to but the day hasn’t come. I’m sure it will happen really soon.
C: We haven’t met face to face – yet.
How did you know you could trust each other enough to start this project together? G: We’d had a lot of cellphone conversations and discussions about the blog on Twitter before so our trust grew from there.
C: There comes a time in a friendship when you know you can truly trust that person. With Gavin that was easy. It helped that I also chat to his friends on Twitter.
What tips do you have for teens on how to tell a potential friend from a baddie on the net? G: Make sure you have conversations often with the user and get to know their personality and interests. You can also add them on Facebook to look at their photos and conversations with other users.
And keep your most personal details, such as your home address, a secret.
C: If you’re going to meet the person you’ve been chatting to online make sure you know a lot about them. Meet them in a public place and always go with someone. I have friends who’ve met creeps online like perverts or fraudsters. They did the mature thing and removed the person from their lives by blocking them and making their friends aware.