Meta

Do you have a blog? I know a lot of you do, but a lot of you out there don’t. For a while, back when I first started blogging years ago, there was a brief, glorious period of time when almost all of my friends had blogs of their own. Most of those blogs have slowly died or sit languishing in internet limbo these days, still up but without any new posts in the last couple of years. I loved it back then, though: seeing another side of my friends, getting to look at their lives in writing and photography and sharing stories online. It didn’t matter if these were friends I worked with, went to school with, talked with on the phone, or went out to the bar with every week — I still loved following their lives online.

I wish everyone still had blogs, man. I miss all that. Of course most of us are on Twitter. Facebook, for my purposes, does NOT count. I believe the adage is true: Facebook is where you learn to hate the people you know; Twitter is where you learn to love the people you’ve never met.

I also have all of my online friends that I’ve met through various outlets (blogging, Twitter, Flickr, DailyMile, and so on) whom I correspond with in writing, pictures, training updates, and 140-character witticisms all day long. I LOVE that. Just love it. We get to know each other through the pieces of our lives we share online, whether it’s personal narratives, recipes, workouts, or anything else. Friendships grow out of that.

What’s funny is that if all my in-person friends had blogs, I would be OBSESSIVELY reading them. If I met someone new and we became friends and I found out the person had a blog? You had better bet I would begin archive stalking post haste. You could simply not stop me from devouring each and every post. People writing about their lives is one of my very, very favorite things to read and one of my favorite ways to get to know someone.

If you’re here reading this blog, you probably feel the same way. You probably read plenty of blogs and enjoy following them on the regular. Cheers to you, like-minded person on the internet!

But here’s something I wonder about — a few things, really:

Do you have friends in person who know about your blog but don’t read it? Or, do you have in-person friends whose blogs you don’t read?

Do your in-person friends bring up things they read on your blog when they talk to you, or is it like what happens on the blog stays there? Do you assume your friends read your blog, or not?

I am curious about how these things work in other people’s lives — I have a few friends who will call me up and we’ll get to talking and they’ll say, “Oh, I read about X on your blog, what’s happening with that?” and then we’ll have a chat about it. And then I have other friends who are like, “Hey, is it cool if I ask you about that Y thing on your blog?” which of course it is, so we have a chat about that. And then there are those who are all, “Hey, what ever happened with Z?” and I’m all, “DID YOU NOT READ MY BLOG HELLOOOO,” just like Barney Stinson, and they get all awkward like, “Um, no, I have better things to do, PLEASE.”

So it’s a mixed bag over here.  What do you think? How does blogging (or other social media) intersect with, you know, your “real” life?

26 thoughts on “Meta

  1. Timothy May 27, 2011 / 1:10 pm

    There are persons whose blogs I miss, and I like that some of those people have cropped up in other forms. In terms of social media – to me they are all just another way to have a conversation with folks I like and respect. I was a long-time twitter skeptic, but I’ve found that it’s a great way to have the conversations I would have in person if I still lived in Eugene with all of my Eugene buddies. I often wonder about twitter etiquette – how many posts should a person reply to? Is replying to many posts weird/creepy/annoying? So, basically my neuroses translate one for one, but I’m so extroverted that they’re not really much of a handicap. I actually find twitterfights kind of fascinating – the equivalent of a drunken discourse between close friends but write large for everyone to see. I basically follow only people I know in some other context, though, so maybe I’m atypical.

    Things I say on the twitters or on facebook sometimes come up in meatspace in the context of people saying they saw the thing on whatever and wasn’t that neat or such and such. With blogging I find that I still very much enjoy reading blogs, but don’t really want to start up again. I’ve lost my taste for current events blogging, and I’m not that interested in sharing a lot of personal narrative more broadly than I already do. I might start writing about science, but that’s a pretty saturated market.

    • Kate May 27, 2011 / 5:19 pm

      I definitely agree about the Twitter conversations. I actually just love that I am chatting on a daily basis with people I used to see all the time but don’t anymore and/or people I have never met but who are my friends online. I feel connected to an ongoing conversation. With blogs, I mainly read personal blogs, not niche blogs (with the exception of sports/”healthy living” blogs, which turn out to be personal blogs with a niche-based spin). I don’t read ANY current events, political, or pop-culture blogs. I’m just all about the narrative, I guess.

  2. Chrissy (The New Me) May 27, 2011 / 1:31 pm

    Oh, yes. Yes to all of this. I do read the blogs of people I know, though most of the people who used to blog have moved to Twitter. This saddens me. I love Twitter, but it’s not the same! You cannot tell a life’s story in 140 character increments. And I have plenty of friends who ask me about things they read on my blog when we hang out in person. And I read the blogs of anyone I know, even tangentially. Knowing someone through their writing is a different experience from knowing them in person. The things a person decides to write down can tell you so much about them.

    Then again, there are people who don’t read my blog – like my parents and my boyfriend. (He checks up on it every few weeks, but it is sort of redundant for him since he knows first hand what’s going on.) Even though I don’t hide my blog and will tell people about it if they ask, I am more comfortable with strangers or my online friends reading my blog. If an acquaintance tells me they found it and read it, I have a moment of discomfort, but I get over that quickly enough.

    Great questions! 🙂

    • Kate May 27, 2011 / 5:22 pm

      Yes, yes, yes. I agree that Twitter isn’t as satisfying as blogs can be. I do LOVE Twitter, nonetheless, for the reasons in my comment above. I am glad the folks who used to blog are on Twitter now, at least.

      I have several friends who don’t read my blog, and my family doesn’t either — the latter by my choice. Family used to read my old blog and it eventually made me super uncomfortable, so when I started this one I didn’t tell them. It’d be easy enough to find, but they haven’t.

      • Simply Bike May 27, 2011 / 10:22 pm

        I feel the same way – I feel awkward about my parents reading my blog so I vaguely have mentioned it in the past but it’s not really come up in a way that they now read it. My husband, however, reads my blog every time I post and I love that. I love getting to share it with him and that he also reads the comments and takes the time to be my ‘biggest fan’. It also helps that I can consult with him on most bike related questions, especially when it comes to the more technical stuff.

        And I also second what you and Chrissy said about feeling more comfortable with strangers and online friends reading it…why is that?

        But as time passes, I’ve become increasingly comfortable with telling people about my blog and sharing the URL with them. I now have friends who will say stuff like, I read on your blog…, and it’s kind of nice to have more overlap between the site and my in-person friends. I still don’t advertise my blog on my facebook profile though but that’s also because I’m friends with colleagues, past professors, and students on facabook and I like keeping my personal writings a little separate from my university life.

        Kate- how do you deal with that? Do you students know of your blog and would you care if they did? I can’t rule out that mine don’t – they may and just not say anything to me about it, and I don’t actually care if they do – but I haven’t taken steps to make it easier for them to find it, I guess.

        S.

      • Kate May 29, 2011 / 12:07 pm

        Oh man, no my students and most colleagues do not know about or read my blog. I wouldn’t necessarily mind if more colleagues did — the ones I know well, anyway — but I would surely feel very, very awkward if my students did. There’s too much personal stuff on here!

  3. K May 27, 2011 / 2:06 pm

    Interesting question. I, obviously, have a blog and I enjoy reading about other’s personal journeys just like you (which is why I’m here reading/commenting). I follow a few people’s blogs that I know in real life. Most of the blogs I read are of people I have never met though.
    As far as I know, I read all the blogs of my personal friends (which isn’t many) of which I am aware.
    As far as real life friends reading my blog… I don’t readily let people know I blog. My fiance knows but he’s never read it. If he wanted to, I’d share the link. I did share the link with my best friend but I don’t think she’s ever read it (to my knowledge). She also started a blog but only ever posted once or twice.
    I have been known to mention to my one friend about reading something on her blog. I think it’s completely ok since she obviously wants people to read her blog. It’s a nice way for her to not feel the need to update me on all the details I already know but to follow up with whatever questions I have or what is a new development.

    • Kate May 27, 2011 / 5:24 pm

      I sometimes wish I had a blog most people didn’t know about, but in the end I’m happy that most of my friends read mine. I have several friends who don’t know about it (by my choice), but I suppose I wouldn’t mind if they did. Mayyyybe.

  4. LizScott May 27, 2011 / 2:29 pm

    Occasionally, I think about killing my blog and sarting another one that my friends/relatives/coworkers don’t know about. I’ve been silent lately because the things I need to write about I just CAN’T with some of the people out there reading it (job stuff, being a second wife stuff, etc etc). But then, I don’t, because even though I feel muzzled at times I like the people around me getting to see (erm read) another side of me.

    • Kate May 27, 2011 / 5:27 pm

      OMG I know. I used to have a completely anonymous blog where I basically said ANYTHING I wanted about my job and grad school. It fit a need I had at the time, but in the end I wanted to write things I wouldn’t necessarily need to be secretive or embarrassed about. Not that I shouldn’t be embarrassed about some of the silliness on here, but, you know. It’s essentially benign, if silly. Like you said, I like having something that I can write that allows my friends to see me through this medium. I miss the bitchy anonymous days, but I don’t regret shutting that blog down and starting this one.

  5. Brandon May 27, 2011 / 2:31 pm

    Great post. I started blogging waaaaaaaaay back before blogs even existed, if you can believe it. I made a makeshift HTML page for KWVA that was, for all intents and purposes, a blog. The exodus, so to speak, began back in 2006 or so. That’s when I noticed all my friends jumping ship. Like you, I’d prefer it if my friends still blogged, as opposed to using Facebook or Twitter, but I’m glad they still maintain some sort of online presence. Both mediums require brevity though and a lot gets lost in translation. The 140-character limitations of Twitter have landed me in trouble on more than one occasion and cost me a friendship just a few days back. If I had been communicating through a blog post, with more room to properly articulate my thoughts, I don’t think that would have happened. Myself (and a few others, who shall remain nameless 🙂 ) can’t seem to figure out if Twitter should be used as a micro-blogging service to keep friends updated on various stuff or a debate club where we bicker like we would in a pub on a boring Friday night back at U of O.

    Ultimately, Facebook/Twitter have led to a greater quantity of info from friends but much less quality. Instead of lengthy posts on trips or big events, we’re left with galleries of vacation or baby photos with little to no context. Instead of an amusing, lengthy anecdote about, say, an odd incident at the market, we’re left with “OMG, I just saw this freaky dude in the produce section!” Instead of concert reviews, we get blurry iPhone photos of the band on stage. It’s banal and much less fun.

    Anyway, some friends keep up with me online, some don’t. One problem I’ve encountered is that all of this leaves me with nothing to talk about when I meet up with people in the real world over dinner or drinks. I bring something up and they say, “Meh, I already read about that on your blog/Facebook profile.” I’m a terrible procrastinator (if you couldn’t tell by the lengthy response at 12:30 on a Friday afternoon) so I read just about everything that friends put out there.

    • Kate May 27, 2011 / 5:31 pm

      I agree with you about the limitations of Twitter. I have inadvertently offended friends on there a few times just due to the fact that I tend to post about every little thought that I have as soon as I have it, and there are a lot of things I should actually think THROUGH before articulating them in writing online for the world to see. I tend to think through blog posts a lot more than I do tweets.

      Another issue I have is that sometimes I think, why bother blogging about that thing if I already tweeted it? I suspect I post less frequently now because stories I would have written about on the blog I tweet instead and consider them “done” and then don’t write about them at any greater length or in any greater depth. When I remember to, I try to avoid that by holding off on some of the bigger things until I have time to blog about them.

  6. Clarabella May 27, 2011 / 2:41 pm

    Hmm…perhaps you don’t need my answers b/c you know them, & my “blog” is just photos, so I don’t think it counts for the first question, but I know quite a few people who have blogs that I don’t read. But mainly, those folks are acquaintances or people I haven’t been close to in such a long time that for whatever reason I am not interested in reading their blogs. However, I would still not want to read their blogs if they were perfect strangers, so…
    I talk to you about the blog, so you know my answer to that.

    • Kate May 27, 2011 / 5:33 pm

      Ha ha, I know! You are one of my most loyal readers! It’s also funny how much we talk about blogging and the blogs we both read even when we are hanging in person. You’re someone who I wish had a blog, though, because I just like your writing! But of course I stay updated on your life in all manner of other ways, too.

  7. Kristen May 27, 2011 / 3:35 pm

    So funny — I, too, have different groups of people in my life. Some read the ol’ blog all the time and comment and talk to me about it. Others, some of them really close friends, never read it. Like, if I write about something I want them to know about I have to email them the link and tell them to read it.

    At first, I assumed everyone would read it because I would read theirs if they had one, but I’ve since learned that there are a lot of people who just don’t spend the kind of time on the internet that I do, so checking up on blogs, even if they enjoy them, isn’t something they do daily or even weekly, but more like something they do if there’s just nothing else going on.

    • Kate May 27, 2011 / 5:34 pm

      That’s a pretty good assessment, I think. Over the years I have just developed the habit of spending a lot of time online. I don’t watch all that much TV anymore, but I sure do make the most of my internet service, you know? But not everyone does that. My trouble is that I always assume others operate the same way I do.

  8. Simply Bike May 27, 2011 / 10:28 pm

    I also want to add that my favorite books tend to be non-fiction memoir types. Most of my favorite authors write satirical autobiographical stuff. So it’s no wonder that I took to blogs like a fish to water – it’s like free, limitless installments of my favorite type of literature, if you will.

    And I do read the blogs of all the ‘real life’ people I know who blog and also am surprised when I hear that people know of friends who blog and they don’t read it. But I guess if that type of writing doesn’t interest you, period, than blogging might not hold the allure than it does to someone like me.

    S.

    • Kate May 29, 2011 / 12:08 pm

      Yes, love all that, too! Blogging is such a natural genre for me to read, the personal blogs anyway.

  9. Aj May 28, 2011 / 10:48 am

    Hmmm, I think I’m a bit different. My blog and my twitter are separate from my friends and family, most of whom do not even know I blog. And twitter is mostly for blog friends, so the 140 characters are more like synopses or footnotes from the longer more complete form of communication. I do use Facebook but Facebook is strictly for friends and family – I live on the West Coast and all my family in rooted firmly in NY. My partner’s family is in MI and TX. So FB is where we truly keep in touch en masse. Slowly, I’ve become FB friends with some blog friends…but very slowly. And one or two local(ish) bloggers have actually become true and good friends. My work takes up (or has to this point) so much of my life that blogging (where I don’t mention it very frequently) is a nice little respite from the real world. I’m ok with my friends and family not reading my blog, because that’s by design.

    • Kate May 29, 2011 / 12:09 pm

      I totally understand that. For me, my family does not read mine either — also by design.

  10. Carrie @ Confessions of a Dietitian May 28, 2011 / 11:28 am

    Hi! I found your blog through the AL healthy living blogs and had to click through b/c of the title. I love effing the ineffable.

    I feel the same way about reading irl friends’ blogs. If I know you and you have a blog-I’m reading it. Maybe not daily, and I’m probably not commenting, but I’m for sure stalking you through it. B/c of that, I’m not too psyched to have real life people reading mine. They are welcome to, but it makes me feel like a giant tool. I am also very careful not to say anything about myself, friends, family, or husband that I wouldn’t mind if they read it. i agree with you that I find some people’s lives just fascinating.

    • Kate May 29, 2011 / 12:10 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and saying hi! I actually like that most of my friends read mine, although whenever a new person finds out about it I feel a little awkward at first. But they usually tell me they like it and enjoy reading, and often good conversations come out of it, so it’s worth it.

  11. Rose-Anne May 28, 2011 / 5:43 pm

    What a fun discussion! I enjoyed reading all the comments. For my two cents, I’d say that as time goes on, I’m getting less inhibited about telling people that I write a food blog. I’ve become more comfortable with my writing, and even though I love my readers and I love HAVING readers at all, I’ve stopped worrying about other people’s reactions. What I mean is hard to explain, but I’ll try. I have gone through phases when I felt obsessed with having readers, like I came down with a case of blogger’s narcissism. But now, I feel more relaxed about things, and I can enjoy writing my own blog as well as the other blogs that strike a chord with me. Some posts are silly, some are serious, and I think that’s a reflection of me and my moods.

    • Kate May 29, 2011 / 12:12 pm

      That sounds like a good way to go about it. I also go through times of wondering how many people are reading and who they are, or wanting more people to read, etc. But all in all, I keep writing because it’s worth it for me, no matte what. It’s always better when you can turn a post into a good conversation, though, and make connections.

  12. Zoot May 28, 2011 / 8:18 pm

    There are a few things I think about this topic:

    1) I wish I knew for sure who in real life reads my blog so I wouldn’t bore them with repeat stories.

    2) Doesn’t phase me at all if people don’t read my blog – my husband doesn’t – because I often find it quite boring to anyone but me 🙂 I’m flattered when people DO read it!

    3) I have mixed feelings about wanting other people to have blogs. I love FB because I can keep up with friends or family in short bursts but don’t have to read through every daily anecdote (which is kinda what my blog is)and I always hope it doesn’t freak people out when I comment in REAL life on something they said they did on FB.

    • Kate May 29, 2011 / 12:15 pm

      1) Yes, me too! Like, I know some friends read because I always have several visitors from here in town, but I don’t know who and when, as many of my friends are sporadic readers.

      2) It is always funny to me (but really understandable) when people’s spouses/partners don’t read their blogs — but of course your husband always knows what’s going on in your life, so that makes sense. Also I think if I were married I would still want my own space, and my blog might fit that bill. Maybe I wouldn’t want this hypothetical husband reading it!

      3) Yeah, with some people maybe short bursts are in fact better! Heh.

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