I've long maintained that the real power of the internet is it's ability to connect people. A new survey finds that
... 43% of online networkers from the US felt "as strongly" about their web community as they did about their real-world friends.
Online education is often described as "impersonal" but this is evidence that meaningful human interaction can occur online. Some might not feel comfortable with this, but a previous generation had the same misgivings about the telephone. Now it's a very valued way for people to stay in touch and communicate. Perhaps online communication also needs some time to become part of our society's social norms.
This doesn't mean that online communication can always replace face-to-face interaction (neither can a telephone call). But it has its place.