Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Prodigal blogger and other labels

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!)


Turtle Guy said...

Lots of thoughts here, Sarah... oh, gosh... too many! Check my blog later for a post!

backofpack said...

Sarah, good point about the ham radio conversations and blogging. Makes good sense. It is funny, when Rob, Darcy and I are together we talk about what's going on with the bloggers too. I talk to my husband about some of the posts and he is starting to get the idea about who is who - even though he only reads my blog, and occasionally Robs and Darcy's. It's awfully fun. And even though I haven't met most of you, friend seems like an appropriate word. I guess we could qualify it with "blogging" friend, but I'm not sure we need to.

Granny said...


I say my friend Sarah or my friend Susie and talk about what they're saying and doing.

I've been lucky enough to meet a few and they were as great in person as they were on line.

You'll have to type in the link but it works. If you've already seen it my mind hasn't changed a bit.

D said...

Who is this mystery blogger you speak of???

The whole blogging thing is funny. I don't talk about it much because if you don't blog - you don't tend to get it. ...and a lot of people do indeed think it is weird.

It is a great way to interact with others who have similar goals and interests.

Janice said...

Hi Sarah,

I think of it more in the lines of a pen pal that is not exclusive. Like sending out the same letter to anyone who has an interest in reading it and then getting back a response from several people that you almost never meet in person.

I call my blog friends my blog buddies too.


William said...

Never thought of the HAM radio connection before but I wave always been fascinated.

Technology is whatever we make it.

Are we loosing the human connection or are we taking it back a little bit.

For me, sitting quietly at work, with no human interaction for 8+hrs a day, I can get some sense that there is someone out there!

ipodmomma said...

great post. some people think we are all a bit off, from this 'blogging' thing, but I totally agree with comparing it to the ham radio experience...

glad that chap is back, too... :)))

craig said...

Thanks for leaving the encouraging post. I've run three nights and walked one so far this week. My problem was evidently fairly localized. Who knew that orthotics would change so much? Wish you well in your efforts to recuperate. I admire your determination and it will eventually pay off. As one blogger told me in the midst of my depression "When we're injure we have to get creative."

This post has left me pondering the whole blog thing. I feel a post coming on. Thanks for the thoughts.

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

A few years ago I did a paper on Virtual Communities. My research led me to the good and bad side of such commmunities. Its all about balance and blogging can be the same way.

We need to remember to balance our blogging with our real lives and not become so addicted as to neglect life. For now I don't see myself ever giving up my blog but I do understand sometimes those that do.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

I liked this post. I've started calling blogging buddies "friends" - it's a tough call on what to call them. When Olga visited this weekend, a few local trail runners asked me how I met her; I felt a little funny saying "online" - there are so many "bad" things attached to that! Oh well.

Blogging is just another form of communication. I like that I can have a super-busy week, and not be able to read your blog at all, and then have time to come back and read everything that's been going on!