Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Blogging is such a weird and wonderful thing.


Not my blog, yours.

I have become very involved in your life: the death of your mother, the illness of your aunt, the tornado that hit your house, the closing of the facility where your father (with Alzheimer's lived), the new kitten/dog you found on the road, your recipe for short ribs, the music you listen to, the movie you hated, the book you wrote, the award you won. The good, the bad, the prosaic. YOU.

And sometimes I talk about you to my husband--as if you really exist. Existed in the world I physically inhabit. He thinks I'm crazy some days. Have you added to the people in your life because of the Internet? Is this a good thing? Should I worry about your dog eating lilies, your bookstore closing down, your kid throwing tantrums, your ailing hip, the length of time it takes you to rise from a chair?

What do you think about this new community you live in. Is it real for you--or just me?

30 comments:

Fleur Bradley said...

It's very real to me.

I've wondered about this online community too, until I met some of the people I only knew from emails and online groups. They're like old friends.

Most of my daily human contact revolves around the kids, so it's great to 'talk' to people who share my interests and not just my stage in life.

Clair Dickson said...

For me, virtual acquaintances are on about the same level as work 'friends.' I know them, our lives intersect, but they are still separate from my life in a way that my 'real' friends are not.

I talk about my online friends with Hubby same as I talk about work friends-- for me, it is highly unlikely that any one in either category will cross the line to become a part of my regular life, but they are still there and I still enjoy them and the companionship they provide (in their respective settings.)

Charles Gramlich said...

I think it's real, realer than some communities I've been involved in. And it has certainly given me strength at times when I didn't have any on my own.

Bill Crider said...

Seems real to me, but let's not get into a discussion of the nature of reality.

pattinase (abbott) said...

But for those who don't spend time online, it must seem like alien abduction stories.

Diane said...

I used to write letters (remember them?) to friends. Then came email. Now blogging. These are just devices to keep connected to people we care about until we can see them face-to-face. Of course, now I care about people I've never met except through their blogs...

pattinase (abbott) said...

And that's the odd thing, isn't it? But after years of reading a blog, you do feel connected. More connected sometimes than a neighbor two houses away.

Todd Mason said...

Well, there are those who have pen pals, and those who wouldn't ever want them. (Or who might trade fanzines or amateur press publications.)

This is just faster.

Subcultures have always needed to work to find each other and subcuturate...again, this just speeds that plow.

And, frankly, a lot of my communicaton with those who are more immediately in my life, or once were, is through electronic communication these days...

wv: exess (somewhere between exes and excess, indeed)

Todd Mason said...

Or even your housemate, if you and your housemate never have any serious conversation.

Tone can be a problem, and certainly the physical cues are missing, but we tend to get to the heart of matters in fora like this.

And usually try to keep the more sensitive matters in email...

Randy Johnson said...

I've always been a solitary person and only have a few close friends. OneI've known other thirty-five years, the others twenty-five or so, and we speak almost every day by phone, less so visits. I do have other less close friends as well.

The online community helped me make connections with people of like interests and have grown to consider you as friends of the pen pal sort as Todd pointed out I believe.

The chances of us meeting are unlikely, but that doesn't lessen my feelings when following the various blogs to see what you guys are up to each day.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am not a solitary person but tend to listen rather than speak in "real"
Life. (Try hanging out with academics who all think they are the smartest person in the room).
And you can cut to the chase, as Todd points out, in blogs. No talk about weather, job, etc.

Evan Lewis said...

Sure feels real to me. I started blogging just eight months ago, and I'm amazed how many people I've "met" and how different life is.

Iren said...

real--- yeah, most of the time. I've been doing this on line stuff for enough years now that I have met people, made friends and all of that stuff, but I have also met people that I just didn't hit it off with. In a lot of ways it's like a work place or school, here you are with everyone else, but when you move on it all seems to fade away.

Dorte H said...

Good question.

I had no idea what I´d embarked on when I wrote my first blog post. I started out cautiously, and on the whole I have stuck to my main rule: my blog is about crime fiction, not about my private life.

Still I know that I often reveal bits of my own life in comments here and there, and as a Danish reader of my blog said, sharing my fiction with my readers must have cost something. It certainly did in the beginning.

I don´t know how long it took before I was sure the blogging community was ´real´, but my holiday in Edinburgh this summer when I met two of my readers made such an impression on me. I have become more certain that people who seem to be friends really can be friends. But I have also realized that some bloggers die - and many blogs die! So I am still a bit wary: how long are you (and your blog) going to stick around?

So I know I am growing into a blog-aholic, but I try to keep some kind of graps of my other life in tiny Denmark.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I imagine it does fade away. When I go back to 2006 when I started this blog, almost none of those people are still around. Either they don't blog at all or they use facebook instead.
But I'll here-as long as there are injustices--no wait, that's Steinbeck, isn't it?

Eric Beetner said...

Absolutely real. I find that I communicate more in many cases than I would if I only relied on a phone call or a letter. I'm a loner so this new way of communicating is perfect for me.
That said, I have really liked the times I got to meet my online friends face to face.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think probably a large percentage of writers and bloggers are, at heart, loners.

Richard R. said...

It's real for me, as far as it goes. Like any group, some are acquaintances, some are casual friends, a few are closer friends. I visit a dozen or so blogs in a day, usually the same ones, sometimes new ones by following links. The people that host those blogs I visit regularly I do feel I've gotten to know. A few I've met, before or after I began blogging. Others I feel as if I'd met, it would take only a few minutes to be completely comfortable in person, I think. There are a few I enjoy meeting in cyberspace but doubt I'd want to have lunch with. Certainly, this is much more than an electronic construct, it people to people.

I'm not interested in "social networking" in the Facebook, Twitter sense, but the interaction on blogs is enjoyable, educational and rewarding.

Richard R. said...

and as Randy said, a great deal of it is about connecting with people of like interests.

Todd Mason said...

You know, I'd never looked at your first posts before. I see Bill Crider was in pretty early on.

There is an immersive/clubhouse quality that I don't much favor about Facebook, though I have a page. I'm not certain why FB has so thoroughly supplanted MySpace (where I don't have a page). But both they and tweeting seem like Too Much of a Muchness...why would one want to spend That much time interacting to such closed circles or in such truncated form (I can see some of the attraction, but only some) when one can make a perfect fool of one's self in a more free-form and less time-consuming form, bloggily?

Loners perhaps in part because we are to some extent not normal, but also certainly that to the extent that we are writers, we will tend to observe, so as to make sense of what's going on (even if solely subjectively, for our art or striving for art).

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am firmly convinced I would love all of the people who I know via blogland. Facebook-not so much. I don't regard those people as friends so much is a once a day drive-by scouting.
The campfire circle of blogging appeals to me.

Hannah Stoneham said...

It is pretty real to me actually, and I did not expect it to be at all. But there are people here who I really feel that I know... my husband also thinks I am slightly barking - but he enjoys the drama of it

Interesting post - thank you indeed

Hannah

pattinase (abbott) said...

I wonder if there are any two-blogger families?

Travis Erwin said...

If I had any doubts to it being real they were erased last year when the love and support that flowed in was very much real, appreciated and life changing.

Thanks for being part of my world.

Anonymous said...

It's real all right. I've met a bunch of people in person that I met over the internet and most have lived up to what I expected (whatever that was).

I do NOT belong to facebook (despite dozens of invites) or any other such groups. Enough of my would-be private life is out there already. I don't want to end up one of those people who tell their "friends" they are off to the theater or a concert only to have said "friends" come over while they're gone and loot their house, which has happened a lot lately, apparently.

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

It's real all right. I've met a bunch of people in person that I met over the internet and most have lived up to what I expected (whatever that was).

I do NOT belong to facebook (despite dozens of invites) or any other such groups. Enough of my would-be private life is out there already. I don't want to end up one of those people who tell their "friends" they are off to the theater or a concert only to have said "friends" come over while they're gone and loot their house, which has happened a lot lately, apparently.

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

And yes it's true, I talk to my wife about the antics of people I know from various blogs the same way I talk about people we both really know.

Todd, you should know by now that Dr. Crider is everywhere.

;)


Jeff M.

Todd Mason said...

Patti--plenty of married couples are dual bloggers, and some even are combo bloggers. Look at James and Livia, for handy example.

Jeff--Bill does have that Savoir Faire (beyond surface meaning, a reference to a circa 1970 cartoon program)...I did wish to buck up Patti in response to her wistful suggestion that all the first pool of mutual bloggers/commenters has evaporated...

Laurie Powers said...

it's real for me. Living in L.A., it's very easy to get isolated because everyone is so spread out. Online blogging and other avenues like Facebook help me stay connected with those people, and also meet new people. I've been lucky enough to be able to meet some people in person that I only knew online before and the results have been terrific. I suppose you have to be careful with Internet relationships just like you do with people in person - there are going to be your occasional flake or insincere person.

David Cranmer said...

It's real and I have the proof. I've met writers like Matt Mayo in the flesh and have had lengthy phone conversations with many virtual amigos and amigas. Real to me.