Those friends of mine who don't 'do' Twitter say things like 'Well they're not real friends are they?' Maybe not in the sense of having met them but when I was a child and had 'pen' friends I hadn't met them either. It didn't stop them being real though.
They say you can choose your friends but not your family. The suggestion is that your friends will be good ones because they were hand-picked. So are my Twitter friends.
They are not 'virtual'. I usually know their names and where they live. Through their tweets I get to know their character and a great deal about their daily lives. Or deaths.
One of my Twitter friends died suddenly and unexpectedly on Christmas Day. We mostly tweeted about our mutual love of music. Her last tweets still sit there on her page as a reminder of the fun person she was. she said "Grooving". "Hips moving, saxaphone. I am gone so gone........"
....and now she is and I am sad.......so sad......."