I know there have been studies done about online communities, but I’ve never delved into them. I do remember my reaction a few months ago when a blogger whose page I frequented suddenly and without warning simply removed his page and disappeared from Blogland.
I was shocked… felt a bit betrayed… angry… and sad. “How could he just leave like that? Without a word to anyone? Where the hell did he go?” I wondered.
Then I found out that he had sent an e-mail to yet another blogger who then told me about it… He had to take a break for a while, but said he’d be reading our blogs… “lurking”… and may be back one day.
I shrugged and thought, “Well, it’s the Internet. People can do whatever the hell they please.”
I actually had the fellow’s e-mail address somewhere and I knew his name. I could have Googled him or something, I suppose… tried to stay in contact. But really… what’s the point? I figure that if someone decides the time is right to walk away, you let them go.
Much to my surprise, he’s back… in a different guise and if it wasn’t for a particular woman (who shall remain nameless, for fear she might cause quivering in said blogger’s heart), I would never have figured out it was him. But I did... and I was pleased to see he was back.
The whole thing got me thinking about the people we meet via blogs. I mean, there are those with great big hearts who send Christmas fruitcake to you from halfway around the globe because you half-jokingly asked if she would. And she did.
There are those who share a common passion -- even if that passion is something I myself cannot partake in at the moment… But as we all know, passion runs in the veins… (pun intended.)
There are those whose values and spirituality speak to your soul and you wish you could just chat with them over coffee… or listen to one of their sermons (which is saying something, considering that I do not attend church!)
The other day, I was chatting with someone about the supposed compartment syndrome in my leg. I wanted to tell the person about Olga and her experiences with it, but I got all fumbled up in my words...
What to call her? I almost said, “My friend, Olga…” but I thought, “Friend? You’ve never even met the woman!” Then I thought about “blogger buddy”… but if you don’t blog, then you wouldn’t get it. I finally said, “A woman I know…”
This led me to think of a dinner party I attended around Christmas with a few friends – the ones who got me into blogging, actually. And yes, they’re real people, whom I’ve known offline for years!
Part of the conversation got around to blogging… and what was happening in the lives of fellow bloggers, most of whom were people we’d never met. We marveled at ourselves, talking about these people as if they themselves could have been at the dinner party.
(Gosh... that sounds kinda bad! We really are normal people.... With lots to talk about. Honest!)
I was talking (yes, again, actually talking) to another friend, who is dead set against blogging. He thinks it is just plain weird. Not to mention the fact that he’s not a huge fan of technology. “Why don’t people actually sit down face to face and have a conversation?” He asked.
I responded, “They do. We’re doing that right now. Blogging is just another way of having a conversation.”
I tried to explain. He tried to understand… but still seemed to think that we are losing our “human touch” in this technology-driven world. I countered that technology can pull people apart or bring them together… it all depends on how you choose to use it.
I thought of my Dad, whose been a ham radio aficionado since before I was born. He knows everything there is to know about radios… How to build them, how to repair them, how to use them, how to teach other people to use them…. He and his wife both have their radio handles and have chatted with people from all over. My guess is that he has his community of “radio buddies” in much the same way as I have “blogger buddies”. I have no idea how many of them he’s ever met… but I doubt it’s more than a handful at best… though I could be wrong.
Could it be that blogging is to our generation what ham radio was to my Dad’s? Only now, it’s way cooler. (Sorry, Dad!)
To my prodigal blogger buddy, welcome back, man. And if you ever take off like that again, I will find you… just so I can smack you upside the head. (Kidding!)