The fluffiness must cease!
People who get all judgey and weird about finding out two people met online can take a long walk off a short pier. We're grownups in 2008, and conduct a large part of our personal and/or professional lives online. The ability to conduct that sort of friendship maintenance online is the only reason I've been able to stay in touch with a variety of people; who has time to call each and every one of the their old roomies, high school buds, classmates, and plain old friends just to see what's up? Given the propensity of people in our demographic to move about the country, it's not as if you could just have monthly get-togethers or all meet up at the local watering hole.
That said, I've been pleasantly surprised in the last couple of months to find out how many good friends I do have in DC. Somehow, a lot of my past acquaintances wash up here, and it's always nice to reconnect and realize that you actually like the person (that sounds harsh, but surely you know what I mean---sometimes you have a time-sharing friendship that's based on a joint experience, but as soon as that experience, be it a class, a living situation, or something else, ends . . . you realize that you have nothing in common with them).*
The folks in that social poaching article are just straight up ridiculous. Maybe I sang too many Girl Scout songs** in my tender formative years, but shouldn't you be happy if your friends befriend each other? (Insert my generic rant about the impending demise of disparate social identities here.***) If one friend dumps you for another and quits hanging out, that's something else, but even then you'd have the cold consolation of knowing that at least they had good taste in new friends. The whole anti-poaching enterprise seems to take for granted a certain ability to maintain the composition of a clique as well, and that's increasingly difficult for the mobility reasons I mentioned before. If you're paranoid about mixing friends, eventually you're going to have only one-on-one meetups, which is a super inefficient use of your free time.
On a more positive note: this blog has been on a roll lately. I highly recommend it, although I think you may be a reader already.
* dgm asked in the comments about whether it's also hard for men to make friends. I confess to finding many dudely friendships utterly impenetrable. If you're not emotionally sharing yourself with your friend, then isn't it ultimately a shallow, joint-experience-based relationship? And how do you share without talking (and talking, and talking ... we are my paradigm for friendship at this point)? What's the basis for the connection, and for continuing that connection? I've heard you talk about TD and his dude friends, but it seems like they bond mostly over nostalgia for shared experience. How satisfying can that be?
** Incidentally, what's with all the additional verses to that? When I was a kid, it had, like, two verses, and nothing about the damn planet. I bet they did away with the strip-mining merit badge, too.
*** Nevertheless, I was recently unpleasantly surprised to find that my statements on an invitation-only online forum had somehow gained wider circulation. We must all be reprogrammed to march into the glorious future! Etc.