Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Blogosphere and Real Life

When I tell my "real life" friends and family that I'm a blogger, they often react as if I told them that I'm afflicted with a mysterious multiple personality syndrome or that I lead some sort of 007 or CIA double life. Whereas I regard blogging as an extension of my "real life," many non-bloggers seem to assume a sort of dis-connect, as if I have my blogging persona and my real persona, and never the two shall meet.

Not so. SOOO not so!

Actually, because my blog isn't a one-theme blog (like travel or food or technology) and because it isn't a corporate blog (which are quickly becoming an essential part of running a business), and is instead simply a chronology of my day-to-day life and my thoughts, I think it's completely connected to who I am in real life! How can it be anything else?

Still, when real life and my blog DO intersect, it is interesting! A few recent scenarios to illustrate my point:

  • Kat and I stopped at Safeway yesterday on the way home from dropping Steve and the baby bunny off at PAWS. On the way into the store we ran into Lynn, known on this blog as my faithful anonymous commenter, but someone I've known as both a business partner and friend for years. Upon seeing us, Lynn asked whether I've recuperated from the mess that greeted me when I arrived home from Oregon. I looked at her quizzically at first and then came to the realization that she'd already read my blog that morning and that she knew all about my month, my week and my day as they happened, even if I didn't see her at all during that time! We had ourselves a good laugh and I started to tell her about our adopted animals and where we'd just been, but we both just laughed and joked that she'd get the whole story when she got home and logged in! This online world is truly a fascinating melding of "real" and "cyber" lives!
  • When I posted a few weeks ago about the heat wave we were having in Seattle, someone left this comment: "I've been reading your blog for about a week or so after I stumbled across it from a blog review site. With this post, it just dawned on me that we must be neighbors! I think you have that entertainment unit in front of your house right now with a free sign on it? (Note: it's back in the garage, but still free! Want it?!) Don't worry, I'm not going to stalk you. I've been meaning to de-lurk, but never expected to come across a blog of someone I might have seen at safeway or out watering their lawn!" I must admit that I was a bit freaked out when I read that -- but only for about 3 seconds because I know that 100% of people who have commented on my blog have been kind, caring people and that maliciousness or disrespect for my privacy has never been an issue or a concern. I have yet to meet Susan, my neighbor who left that comment, but hopefully we'll meet for -- if not AT -- this event:
  • The KOMO TV's Northwest Bloggers' Meet-up will take place in Seattle tomorrow evening. I will go directly from an interview for the Director of Product Development position here (wish me luck; I've had my hopeful eye on this company for over a year!), and will hope to meet the authors of some of my favorite Northwest blogs, like this one and this one and this one and this one. I can guarantee you that the authors of these blogs are real, breathing people, wonderful writers and/or photographers with stories to tell.
  • I applied for a job for which I submitted my blog URL along with my resume! I'd never done this before, but this position is the Executive Director of Open Arms, a nonprofit organization that "provides services that support, educate, respect, honor and empower women in need and their families throughout the childbearing year." My resume doesn't really speak to my passion for childbirth issues, since the focus of my professional career has been on product/program development and management, and this is a position for which I assume more than just business skills will be required. My assumption is that an organization that focuses so much on the heart will want to know the heart of the applicants in ways that a resume can't convey. So I held my breath and sent them my URL! Because my blog isn't theme focused, but is simply a chronology of my life and thoughts, I may have taken a risk when I sent it (did I swear? have a contrary opinion? express confounding professional experiences or skills?), but I'd rather they know me completely. They deserve as much in filling that important position. (No, no request for an interview at this point...)
  • Most importantly, my blog has allowed me to make friends all over the world! In September, when I'm in Germany, I will meet a few of the "expat" Americans who live in Germany, drawn there either via work or love. Vailian will meet us in Koeln for a day and tour the Koeler Dom with us. Blythe and I will meet in Nurnberg and I will have a chance to hold her adorable new baby, Theo. And Jen (HeisseSheisse) has even offered to host a get-together in my honor in Frankfurt the night before Elisabeth and I fly back to America, so I can finally meet some more of my dear German blogging buddies! How much fun will THAT be?!
No, my blogging life and my "real life" are definitely not two separate undertakings! They are very much -- in fact, intrinsically -- entwined!

How do your blogging life and your real life intersect?

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Dixie said...

My favorite blogs - like yours! - are the ones where I get to know the author and feel like I'm participating in their lives in a small way.

Even when I get sort of tired of blogging I don't want to stop because I don't want to miss the opportunities to meet more great people. I met a lady from Washington state who happened to travel to Magdeburg just because she found my blog.

vailian said...

I have only met 2 bloggers in real life, Christine (now a proud mother), and Heather... but it was easy meeting them for the first time because a lot of the preliminaries had been taken care of beforehand.
Sometimes I wander through random blogs and realize how few of the authors I would really want to connect with (there is a lot of right-wing radical out there, believe me!).
But I am looking forward to your visit here, and maybe will make it to the Frankfurt binge as well.

Rositta said...

So when will you be in Frankfurt? Most of my neighbours and friends know about my blog and actually read it as does my son. That also means I can't blog about them, wouldn't be nice. I'm meeting someone in Athens in September that I met through blogging and I'm looking forward to it. It's a small world after all isn't it...ciao

Betsy said...

I blog because I love to write. And I really enjoy setting down all of the minutae of my daily existance.

I keep having people tell me they think Blogging is somehow exhibitionism. Like why do we feel compelled to air out all of our dirty laundry in a very public place?

Which is a question I haven't been able to adequately answer yet.

Blogging gives me a creative outlet, and while I do share some personal thoughts there are definitely other sides of me that I would never show.

Very few people who know me in real life know about my blog. I try not to be snarky, so I doubt they would take offense, but I'd still rather have complete freedom to write what I want without worrying what they're thinking.

Which is a bit strange, now that I think about it.

Your post seems to have brought up more questions in my head than I can actually answer....

Anonymous said...

I'm torn on the subject of whether or not to tell anyone about my blog. So far, I haven't told anyone. I'm afraid I'd censor what I say.

J said...

As with you and Dixie, my fav blogs are ones that let me get to know the people blogging.

I've met tons of bloggers and have yet to have a bad experience with any of them.

EuroTrippen said...

My closest friend in the world I met through a message board (the thing we used before Al Gore invented blogging). Were it not for the internet I'd never have crossed paths with her, and that would've been a real shame.

I really do regret not being able to make it to your germany meet & greet. Sometimes it sucks being stuck out here so far to the east!

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