Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blog Friends

Blog Friends
My first blog post received one comment. It was from Judy, my friend who told me how easy it is to set up a blog. She was my go-to person for those first questions.

 A few months later, I met Hilary at a party and discovered that she is also a blogger. She explained to me how to put Sitemeter on my blog (a counter of visitors) and a few other things.

I read their blogs (and I still do), studied what they did, then bravely branched out in search of other interesting blogs using Google blog search, entering key words and phrases like “stay-at-home mom” and “midlife.” I’d also click on an interest that I’d listed in my profile, which connected me to others who’d listed the same interest in their blog profile. I found Menopausal New Mom, who was also new at it. She was my first blog bestie; exchanging comments with me as we wrote about our lives. A few months later, Abby Normal and I discovered we had things in common. Both of us are stay-at-home moms after having been an engineer (her) and a computer programmer (me), and we each have three kids; hence, another blog friend.

The relationships grew as I clicked on avatars, the followers of other people’s blogs.

Relationships?  you may ask; especially if you’re not a blogger. How does one have a real relationship with someone they’ve never seen or whose voice they’ve never personally heard?
Remember pen pals?

As a self-affirmed blogaholic since 2009, I’ve “met” people from all over the world, and find that everyone’s life has an element of interest.  I’ve learned that the degree to which bloggers discuss their personal lives is quite varied, and that I am susceptible to laughter, joy, fascination, gratitude, knowledge, concern, worry, and grief when reading their blogs. Of the hundreds I’ve visited, there are standouts that keep me going back; like watching a particular TV show, reading a certain newspaper column, or the books of a favorite author.

In doing so, I’ve followed pregnancies to birth, listened to struggles caused by debt, been inspired to cook by recipes and pictures of food, been awed by great writing, admired the best photography and art, learned more than I’ll ever retain about plant species and gardening, gotten personal accounts of snow storms, earthquakes, and raging fires, read book/movie reviews and recommendations, listened to the opinions of intellects, appreciated the wit of the clever ones, etc.

I’ve also prayed for blog friends who have cancer and other health issues, and cried when two blog friends passed away.

Relationships? – yes.
Sometimes I bravely mention you – my “blog” friends – to my “real life” friends.

“Whooo?” they say. “Oh.”

“You what? Blog? Ohhh… Uhuh.”
Hard to explain to people who work at computer screens all day and can’t stand the sight of one when they come home.

Hard to explain to people who don’t write or like to read.
Hard to explain to people who are not “people persons.”

Hard to explain to people who don’t like to talk.
Hard to explain to people who are not overly curious.

And that’s all okay.

In 2009, I received a blog award from another blogger, and turned it into a post titled, “Why I Blog.” Then, the impetus was having a forum to write and publish, which resulted in immediate gratification.  My precious three year old manuscript was shelved; put on the back burner in favor of this new-to-me medium that required no approval; no wait for the expertise of an editor or agent.
I also mentioned my appreciation of “other bloggers” in the post, describing them as “interesting people.”

Today, writing is still my purpose for maintaining a blog; however, the purpose is twofold, as I have grown to see my “blog” friends as “real life” friends.
Words and images are powerful and convey much; even when expressed personally in a blog.

How have your feelings about blogging changed since you started? Have you met any of your blog friends?


MissKris said...

I think for the most part I've gotten to the point where I don't even refer to blog friends as blog friends any more. They're friends, plain and simple. Especially since I've met a several in real life over the past few years and they are genuinely wonderful people, just as I knew they would be. It's just nice to put a REAL face to the WRITTEN face, lol! The way technology has opened up this world, there are SO many different venues as to 'friend' relationships. I have been so blessed thru the years...face-to-face, pen pals, email pals, blog pals, chat pals. Goodness, the list just keeps on growing, lol!

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Sharon said...

Oh, Anita, I couldn't have said it better myself!

Anya said...

Three cheers for blog friends!
(and it's an unexpected blessing to bump into them at the grocery store! :)
Thanks for enriching my life through our friendship!

Betty W said...

I have the same problem when I mention my blog friends. Since I have many of my readers on my fb page as well, that is another great way to get to know them better and more personally. I cherish the friends I've made over the years and would not want to miss the exchanges I've had with them.
I've met a few readers, but would love to make a grand US tour to meet ALL my best blog friends! HA!

Abby said...

I like what Kris says - about to just referring to blog friends as "friends". In a lot of ways, I think blog friends are more open with each other. We don't live together, we don't work with each other, we don't have family in common. Our blogs are a place where we can just be ourselves.

So naturally, I also like what you've said here. All of it. I don't even remember who found whom first, but I'm glad to count you among my "friends"!

Hilary said...

Nicely said, Anita. Yes, I've met a couple of my blog people - neither of which I knew exceptionally well beforehand but came to like very much upon meeting. And there are many, many more whom I'd love to meet.

My feelings haven't changed much since I've begun blogging (it will be 5 years, later this month). My purpose was always to have something to do with my photos. The very many wonderful people who come by to comment every day.. are a beautiful bonus.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Thank you so much, for coming over to my blog, and making a comment. And telling me the answer to my question... That of, "Can you seeee my 'symbols' on your computer screen?"

-giggles- Ahhh yes, that had ol'Auntie's *panties in a twist.* And I went on a grumpy rant, I did.

In answer to your lovely post of today, of course our Blog Friends can become a form of Real Friends. If we allow ourselves to open up and chat back and forth (which is commenting in each other's blog, IMHO.) and etc. Some can.

And those Blog Friends become the core of our (of my, anyway) Blogging Life. I call them "My Little Posse."

"Auntie sezzzzzz" ,-)))))

Mari said...

I often refer to my blog friends and my family is used to it, and get to know them too. People at work think I'm crazy sometimes though.
I've met several blogging friends, one happening when my sister (who also blogged at the time) and I drove to Pennsylvania to meet someone. What a wonderful trip!
You described blog friendships well!

Unknown said...

I like this post,and I've learned so much from bloggers. I also began as a place to write and express and now I enjoy book blogging. I'm thinking of adding a weekly family recap or my thoughts Sunday post. I don't want to lose that part of my blog.

We've shared snail mail,and a first name, so we are real friends!!!

Unknown said...

I know exactly what you mean about online relationships. We can share so much on a daily basis, more than some long distance families do. I have developed a wonderful friendship with a woman that I've never been able to give a hug and look in the eye. Even though we have not "met," I feel that I know her better than many people that are my local friends. It's an interesting new development in our cyber world that is so positive. Great post!

Julie Magers Soulen Photography

myletterstoemily said...

. . . and look how many comments you have
now! i'm glad you're in blogworld, too!

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I completely understand the looks when I speak of my blogging friends. The odd looks. But I like how summed it up in two words early on in your essay - pen pals. So much the same but perhaps more intimate as we share more often. I still correspond with a pen pal in England. Her family met my dad during WW2 and she I have written one another off and on since the 60's. Still, I can't say I know as much about her as I do many in my blog world.

Blogging has also offered me a vehicle to express myself - right away without tons of rejection letters and every once in a while a hit. But for some reason, this is much more rewarding.

InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

If I had met my blogging/online friends in person first, we would still become friends. We have so much in common. I would love to have an annual gathering/cook-out/BBQ with all of my blogging/online friends. Thoughtful post!

Hilary said...

I'm glad to call you a blog friend and a real friend (though I think the last time we saw eachother was at that party!). I have two blog friends that I have yet to meet. Sara and I bonded over nursing school apps. Tati and I met through a no defunct website called MegaGreek and close to 10 years later, we still chat, have friends in common even, though we've never laid eyes on eachother!

Rebecca S. said...

I tend to think of the bloggers with whom I regularly communicate (such as yourself) as part of my blogging community. I do say 'my blogger friend' to my family and various friends, but I think it is a special 'friendship', one with limitations of course due to the lack of physical proximity, but one with something to it that real life friendship does not always contain - an appreciation of the sharing of ideas and stories in the written form. I have several friends and family members who read my blog, but I am always honoured when another blogger does, and leaves a comment. I, in turn, read theirs and a sort of 'back and forth' goes on. I find I am less inclined to read the blogs of those who can't be bothered to read mine (I only post once a week), which proves to me that the sense of sharing among bloggers is a big part of it for me. I'm very happy to be your blog friend, Anita!!

Unknown said...

Still same problem no comment as long as any friends likes yours.... really a big problem for my blogging carrier. Hope u will help.

Rebecca S. said...

Admittedly, there are a couple of blogs I read whose authors rarely visit or comment on mine. Their blogs are irresistable, though! Thanks for your reply today, btw.

Tabor said...

Yes, I have met one blog friend and anticipate meeting another. I started my blog, like you, as an outlet for writing and evaluating my daily experiences. It really was just for me and I did not care what others wrote or thought. My blog has changed in that now I write more for an audience of blog friends. I try to keep true to my original approach, but it is a slippery slope when you have an audience! Also regarding your email request, I just was so busy I let it slide. I do have an email for blogger, but I only check once a month or so and it piles up with all comments going there!! I found that it had been dropped from this blog although it was still on my other blog. I have added it again, so you can try.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anita, sorry I've been absent in commenting.Before we moved to Japan I met a gal online that lived in the same general area of where we were moving to and we ended up meeting. She been a real blessing to me, she's a lovely person. There are several who I have not met and probably never will but feel very close to. I have also prayed for may people I've met blogging-an opportunity I would have never have had otherwise.

Barb said...

I feel "close" to several blog friend because we've shared posts about our lives over several years (and often more intimate E-mails) and "know" each other in a different but just as meaningful way as "real-life friends." Blogging opens up a world of opportunity to learn from others and also to share with others. I've met some Blog friends in person and have felt an immediate connection with them - hard to explain to those who don't blog.

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