Thursday, June 10, 2010

ON BLOGGING ~ Face to Face...

BlogAnon: Joy of Confession

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Welcome to our weekly BlogAnon meeting where we confess a particular blogging sin and turn to you for support, suggestions and that blogging bond so we know we're not all alone. Don't be shy. Read along and let us know if you identify with us this week.

Have you ever met another blogger in person? Or are you too scared to take the plunge if the opportunity presented itself? I talk here all the time about how enjoyable it can be to use your personal blog to build an online community. Which is a fancy way of saying get out in the blogosphere and meet people in order to make some new friends. A lot of bloggers are very shy people in the real world and they love the veil that the blogosphere provides - allowing them to open up and share more about themselves than they ever would have the courage to do in person. So what do you do when one of your blog buddies comes knocking on your door?

When we were planning a SOX road trip to Philadelphia, I instantly thought of Matty @ Matty Thoughts. His blog features lots of baseball, but he also is a great photographer and is always sharing loving tales of his family in the Philly suburbs. So, while initially I felt he might be a good resource in things to do and places to go, I eventually decided that he would also be a pretty cool guy to meet. So I asked.

It was easy for me to ask since we would be dragging our posse with us to this meeting - we would be vacationing with another couple and they would be along for any blogger meet-up. But I imagine it could be quite a decision on the receiving end of that invitation. It is one thing to say "Sure! Sounds fun!" Quite another to actually show up. To meet 4 people you've never met or seen, and whom you have only conversed with in print.

Matty confessed that his wife, Mary, thought his whole blogging hobby was a bit bizarre and she didn't really understand that world. I suggested they meet us so Matty and I could show Mary, as well as our friends traveling with us, that it was totally not weird to gather for dinner with people you've only known online. So Matty worked on Mary and we worked on our friends.

As the big trip drew near, Mary did a little recon on our blog to check out just who the heck these Bumbles were for herself. She sent me this great e-mail introducing herself and offering restaurant recommendations for our dinner. We had a nice e-mail conversation about Faulkner, family, pets and of course - Matty. On our end, we spent our trip down to Philly trying to explain to our friends what a blog was, how we "knew" these people, and why it was exactly we wanted to hang out with them.

The big night arrived. Matty & Mary sat through a lot of baseball game traffic to drive into the city and find our hotel. They walked in to the wine bar and I instantly recognized them from all the photos Matty has shared on his blog. But I realized at that moment that I had never told the poor guy what we looked like so it was probably pretty strange making all of this effort to come and find people you not only didn't really know, but you didn't even know how you'd know them if you saw them!

We waved them over and spent a very spirited hour or so getting to know each other. The boys had a rousing conversation about sports and the ladies chatted about each other personally - what we did for work and our families. We then all moved on to a group conversation about the different parts of the country that we came from and how we share common preferences for vacation spots. As we headed out to our dinner destination, it dawned on me for the first time that I was relieved. Somewhere in the back of my mind I must have been worried whether or not Matty & Mary would get along with our friends, if our friends would think they were nice to spend an evening of their vacation with, and whether we would have something to talk about!

Over dinner, Matty and I got to have more direct conversations about the blogosphere and our journies within it. It was so nice to talk about this blogging experience in an off-line environment! Mary shared a funny story about how her co-worker teased her that we were probably a bunch of wacko swingers ;0) It was so cool to meet them, get to know them and find out that we enjoyed who they were!

The longer we wandered around after dinner, the more comfortable our conversations were with each other. We shared, laughed and debated. And Matty especially exerted much patience as the Designated Driver being dragged around by this bunch of happy Bumbles enjoying plenty of cocktails.

My point in all of this is to not just share my first face-to-face blogger encounter. It is to illustrate the point that your blog can be a window to as much of the world as you allow it to be. Sometimes you need to stick your neck out the window and holler, while other times you need to be brave or curious enough to accept the invitation to come on over. Matty and Mary are great new friends and some day if ever they head up this way, they know we'd love to return the favor and show them our town. And until then, we'll continue to stay in touch in our part of the blogosphere. After all, without it, we never would have met.

Have you ever met another blogger in person thanks to your online connection? Were you nervous? Did it turn out the way you'd expected? Or are you too shy to cross that line and bring the bloggers into your reality? Well, you need to get over that. Because that is the only way you'll ever find out what The Bumbles look like ;0)


Anonymous said...

Very cool! What a fun night. I've met Bonnie from Redlady's Reading Room a few times and we plan on meeting for coffee again soon. We always have something to talk about :) And she was one of the first people to know I was pregnant since the last time I met her for coffee I felt sick but hadn't gone to the dr. yet.

Florinda said...

I've been lucky to meet quite a few bloggers off-line. Some of the Southern California book bloggers have been meeting at the LA Times Festival of Books for the last couple of years - it's becoming a tradition! I'm also hoping to meet a few Washington DC-area bloggers when I'm there next week.

And I'll be attending my second BlogHer Conference later this summer, where I'll meet LOTS of other bloggers (many of whom, sadly, I won't remember very well later).

Glad you had such a good time meeting your first blogger in so-called "real life!"

kayerj said...

the only people I blog with that I've met are my family :)

that's too funny that you never let them know what you looked like before you met up with them. I laughed out loud because I don't think I've ever seen a real clear picture of you either. I hope you had the bumble along as an assurance they had found the right party ;P

Penny said...

Have you ever met another blogger in person thanks to your online connection? I have not met another blogger. I wouldn't mind meeting a select few if the occasion were to arise. I have, however, met some folks from a message board community I am apart of. I have been a member of Jimmy Eat world message board for about ten years now. I developed several friendships there and I have hosted a few UK friends at my home, meet up with several of these people at my shows and at shows from other states. It's kind of funny. I feel like a small celebrity because some folks just come up and ask: Aren't you Penny from the board? hahaha. It's always a good time!

Were you nervous? I was slightly nervous when my friend from UK came to visit b/c we had never even talked on the phone. We had been email and pen pal (snail mail) friends for like two years. I wondered how conversation would go and/or would it be forced.

Did it turn out the way you'd expected? It was actually a great visit. I took my out of towner to D.C and we did all kinds of fun tourist-y stuff. I even took her to WALMART. Everyone needs to visit Walmart. At least once.

Or are you too shy to cross that line and bring the bloggers into your reality? HA, me shy? Nevers.
If I have a stronger connection with someone-other than them just leaving a small comment on my blog-say we email or are friends on facebook and we get to know each other a little more than the visage of blogger, I am all for meeting. I can honestly say, out of all of my bloggie buds I would really only be comfortable meeting You! We have emailed and corresponding more than the norm and well, you are in love with the Red going wrong there.

Unknown said...

I've had the pleasure of meeting blogging friends, twitter buddies and even a select few that I'd met through chatrooms (back in the day).

Because I've been careful, it's been a good experience every time. It's important to use common sense and safety measures (meet in a public place, etc.), but it can be a lot of fun.

Perspective changes a lot when you meet in person - in my experience, it's been positive every time.

Janet said...

I've met many of my friends from blogging and before that, chatting.

Three became good friends from the chat days and one is still in my life, Megan.

From blogging, I met lots of folks and remain friends with Heather, Lisa, Monique, Carmen, Sarah and Ann.

And then, of course, I reconnected with Dave on Facebook :-)

I'm not shy about meeting folks I've gotten to know via my feels like I know them a bit already, you know?

JCB said...

I would have to say that I don't know anyone from the blogging world. I would probably consider meeting someone...... maybe?

Beth F said...

I have to say that every single book blogger I have met was exactly how I thought she would be -- not necessarily in looks, but definitely in personality. Yeah, it's hard to explain.

I loved this post!

Kathleen said...

I've never had the pleasure, as of yet, to meet a fellow blogger in person. But I am quite confident that I will in the near future. I'll probably attend the LA Times Book Festival next year and I know there will be opportunities to meet a few bloggers then! I suppose it is a little scary to meet people that you only know online but I'll be excited too! Glad that your meeting went so well.

Susan said...

My first blogger meet-up was last April when Ruth from synch-ro-ni-zing and I met near where she lives in Michigan. David and I did a little weekend trip to Ann Arbor and we met Ruth and her husband Don (A View from a Green Barn) for dinner and a walkabout. Don and I started commenting on each other's blogs first and then I got to know Ruth. We found out we had a gazillion things in common and that we are really sisters separated at birth! ;-) So it was only natural that we should meet.

I was so nervous that my palms were sweating, but it was the most wonderful time. We talked non-stop, the guys got along famously. I can honestly say that they are not just blog friends, but real friends. And it's funny about you saying that Matty and his wife didn't know what you look like. Before our dinner, we had exchanged cell numbers of course, just in case, so I called Ruth to say hello, because I thought it was a little strange to meet someone whose voice I had never heard.

Ruth and I then met another blogger, Sanna from VioletSky, at Ruth's family's lake cottage in August for a weekend of blogger/girl talk. Let me say that it was the most fantastic weekend I've ever spent with two women. Too bad we can't do it once a month!

You're so right about non-bloggers not getting it. I haven't met a person yet who seems interested in learning more about mine when I tell them what I do. Most people just look at you weirdly and go right on talking about something else. It's quite interesting. Now I tell people just to see if I can get a reaction.

I'm working out a lunch meet-up with another blogger friend sometime this summer. She lives just one state over in Indiana. She's a hoot on her blog, so I expect to have a fun time!

If I'm ever up Boston way, Molly, I'll give you a call!

Matty said...

I have to admit that I wasn't the least bit worried about meeting both of you. I pride myself on having good internal "radar" when it comes to other people. Even people I haven't met. It wasn't long after getting to know you through our blogs, and the subsequent emails, that you weren't serial murderers. Or weirdos. Or ahem....wacko swingers. Even though Mary felt some awkwardness about meeting you, I was very at ease about it. And I could tell instantly when we finally saw you, that our decisions to get together were the right ones.

For anyone out there reading this, Molly is right. Don't be afraid to "stick your neck out and holler". Sure, the internet and social networking sites can be dangerous places. But Blogger is different. There are so many friendly and wonderful people here. Venture out from the safety and anonymity of your blog, and you will discover a whole new world of friends.

Molly and Andy were the first bloggers we met in person. And it couldn't have been a more enjoyable experience. I'm already looking forward to the next time we get to see them.

And I already have plans to meet another blogger when we vacation in North Carolina in July.

Cheers to our new friends, Molly and Andy, and their friends.

soleil said...

I am a fan of meeting bloggers offline and have reached to a few, although I haven't actually met anyone yet. ;)
Last year, while B and I took our cross-country road trip, I had plans to meet up with a blogging buddy in Baltimore. Sadly, our plans were canceled as she had a big project due at school and couldn't get away. Totally understandable. Nursing school is tough!
In May, I was supposed to meet up with a blog buddy in AZ. We are both new to the area and we connected with each other via our blogs. She ended up not having time to get together as she was finishing up the semester, moving to another flat before heading home to CA for the summer. But we do have plans to get together at the end of the summer when she returns.

My blog friend Rhinoa and I have been penpals for the last two years. She has invited me to come visit and stay with her any time. I totally plan on taking her up on her offer in the near future.

While we were in RI last spring during our road trip, we did make a visit out to MA. I thought about reaching out to Janet because I knew she lived there; however this was one instance where I was too shy to reach out. I definitely should have because she kindly chided me for not visiting her when she found out I had been in her area. ;)