I'm lousy with names to begin with, and because it's common for people to use screen names much different from their real names, my habit lately has been to write down both names of each person I meet with an LJ account. Hopefully this doesn't annoy people too much, although it invariably looks like I'm signing autographs.
I counted this morning; I've met about 140 LJ'ers. I never expected LJ to be a tool for live social interaction, but it seems to have become so in the few years since I moved to Portland. Many of these people have become very close, trusted friends, that I might not have met otherwise ... this might sound maudlin, but it's true. I didn't plan on it; it just happened ... Betsy asked me to go grab a cup of coffee, Jeff said we should go get lunch, Isaac kept inviting me to parties after I sold him some extra show tickets, and so forth.
This weekend, at Jeff's birthday party, I reflected for a minute on this, because there were about 30+ people there that I knew, that I have met before, and whose journals I read on a regular basis. I also met a few more "new" folks, and it's exciting to wonder whether each new person I meet (via LJ or otherwise) might become a trusted friend; whether a series of random interactions might evolve into a lifelong camaraderie.