When I first became a part of the fandom over a year ago, I saw great camaraderie and interaction amongst the whole group. There were 2 reactions; 1) I will never be a part of this tight-knit group and 2) I had better try making friends with EVERYBODY right away! For the first few months I knew maybe a handful of furs that I emailed and chatted with regularly. After Confurence, that number started to grow. After AC, the number increased greatly. Soon I was joking about being the chat slut and crossing the 100 friends mark on my LJ. Now I find it hard to have a weekend alone with furs stopping by for visits or my traveling to various furcons and furmeets. I am no longer the little cub looking in at the party from the outside. I am the bear inviting the cubs in to the party.
I have seen my own evolution and am very happy. I have also seen the evolution taking place in the others around me. Some have given up chat, or LJ, or both. I myself don't like to have 10 chat windows going at the same time, so I may only be on Y! or AIM and not both. I rarely turn on ICQ. And I have pretty much given up IRC.
Even in my own life I have re-evaluated. I no longer volunteer every weekend at Wildlife West and the Humane Association. Having no weekends to myself was slowly killing me. There's a difference between hosting a furmeet and waking up at 6 am to go take care of critters.
If there was some sort of strong connection when we first met, I will most likely work very hard to keep that connection as close as possible. But it is also a 2-way street. I want to continually meet new furs as well. I have met a few in the past months that I can't wait to meet FTF at a con or through other meets.
I also have to factor in the whole RL vs OL life thing. I know there are folks who live on chats, MUCKS, etc etc. I don't want to become a slave to my pc. Chat is wonderful, but meeting folks for a movie, dinner, drinks, etc is so much more rewarding. Also, with the weather the way it is, I have been finding it very easy to just sit on the patio and watch the world go by. If someone mentions I can get a wireless connection to chat on the patio, I will smack you with a trout.