What do you mean “bloggy friends?”

15 Jul

Summer means vacations, and sharing about your vacation plans.  For me, sharing my plans to take the train to NYC for BlogHer seems to lead to blank stares and vague commentary.  It’s the same look I get from folks when I talk about my “bloggy friends.”

Me: I was tweeting with A’Driane and she was telling me this hilarious story about the time she participated in donkey races down by the river…

Them: Oh.  You’re on twitter?  Huh.

Me: I’ve made some really great friends through twitter and blogging.  They’ve really helped me with my PPD this time around.

Them: {awkward silence}

Look.  I get it.  I write in my About Me section that I thought Web Logs were silly.  I mean, who wants to read about how I potty train my toddler… or what I had for dinner… or the inner workings of my anxiety-ridden brain?  And what about privacy?  That’s what makes my parents uncomfortable with my blogging, I think.  And Facebook.  And Twitter.  That I’m telling so much to so many.  And what kind of ego must I have to think that anyone would want to read what I write?

It’s not for everyone.  Just like marathon running, dog shows, video games, or singing, it’s a hobby for some and a career for others.  So it’s cool with me if people think its geeky, or silly, or self-absorbed.  It makes me happy.  But maybe (just maybe) this will help my IRL friends understand why I do it:

When I was a kid, I had a penpal in Japan.  I have long since forgotten her name, but I bet my mom saved some of the letters I received.  We quickly got over introductions and shares some pretty personal (as personal as a ten-year-old’s life can get) stories and really connected.  I looked forward to getting her letters and sharing my life with someone who was far-removed enough from my life that I felt like I could tell her anything.

That’s what blogging is – at least to me and the small community of PPD bloggers I’ve connected with.  It’s like having twenty-five pen pals.  You can share anything with them because your kids don’t play together, your husbands don’t know each other, and you’re not going to run into them at the grocery store and have an awkward moment.  They’re all seeking the same kind of honest, vulnerable friendship, but there’s a distance that makes it feel just a little less intimate…less frightening.  And because other people may stumble upon your blog or twitter feed too, you gather more pen pals along the way.

I’m going to stop referring to my bloggy pen pals as “my twitter friend, Lea” and “my blogging friend, Jaime.”  From now on, they’re just my “friends.”  That’s what they’ve become.

So there you have it.  Yes.  I spend hours online “chatting” with people I’ve never met in person.  And yes, I publish my personal diary on the internet for all to read (and comment on!).  I never expected to do either, or for it fill a hole in my life.  But it does.  It surely does.

10 Responses to “What do you mean “bloggy friends?””

  1. Melissa July 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    Or sometimes your IRLBFA (in real life but far away) friends know exactly what you mean! I hugged a blogger at my conference whom I adore and have never met and we couldn’t get over the fact that we’ve never met after all these years online together. There were no awkward intros – just instant rapport. I hope BlogHer inspires and energizes you. And I can’t WAIT to hear about it!!!

  2. Rach (DonutsMama) July 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    I agree so much! Never did I think I would share so much, yet be so understood & loved by the online community.

  3. Mirjam July 16, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    I couldn’t agree with you more!

    Wait…what? You met A’driane??!
    I’m jealous.

    • learnedhappiness July 16, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      Not yet! I get to hug her for real in 3 weeks, though! Yay!

  4. jamesandjax July 16, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    I am so with you & will hereon refer to you girls as IRLBFA friends too! I have been guilty of saying “My twitter friend” or “My bloggy friend” and it always made me feel a little weird to do so–like the term didn’t really fit. I’m so looking forward to meeting you in person in a few weeks!

    • learnedhappiness July 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      It’s like the “bloggy” or “online” qualifier meant that y’all weren’t “real” friends. Which is BS. So, just “friends” it is.

  5. tranquilamama July 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    I loved this so much, and I struggle with how to call all the awesome mamas I’ve met on twitter. Thanks to this post, I just refer to my bloggy friends as just my friends. This community has filled “a hole in my heart” as well.

    • learnedhappiness July 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

      Aw, I’m glad! Such an unexpected source of comfort, huh?

  6. BirthTouch.com (@KathyAMorelli) July 24, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    Loved this …I constantly talk about my fb friends my group friends…thanks for the definitions of real friends!

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