Are we connected?

One strange thing (not that strange maybe in the great expanse of the world, but still) about this blogosphere is the connection or lack of between people. Are fellow bloggers, specifically your commenters, your friends? Do you need to see someone in person to be her friend? Do the people you have coffee with know you any better than the people who can’t even be sure what you look like or how old you are?

I recently came across a compelling blog. I liked the writer’s voice and style. I left a few comments and she replied. I wouldn’t say we were friends, but I liked her and checked her blog every day. One day she seemed to become unsure of herself, unsure about what she had blogged about, regretting her posts and honesty. Well, I can hardly claim to know if she was unsure or if it was something else. It isn’t like I’d know her if I saw her on the street, but all the same, I felt sad that began deleting posts and suggesting she’d stop blogging.

Of course, this is her choice and she’s free to stop blogging for whatever reason she chooses–she’s doubtful or the moon is full Whatever. But when I went to her blog today, it was closed–invitation only. And I wasn’t invited. Strange that feeling of disconnection. This woman is a stranger to me, and yet I was disappointed she’d closed her blog, and yes, slightly more disappointed I wasn’t invited in. Silly the last part, but what about the first? How connected are any of us in cyberspace?

Age may influence opinions on this. Young people who came of age with the internet may not find it strange at all, but those of us who remember TRS-80s may see things differently. But anyway…in this age of career changes and relocations and blended families, how connected are we to our friends who meet us at the coffee shop and our readers who visit our blogs?

Well, better bloggers than me have posed these questions, but hey, if you close your blog down, please still invite me in.

5 thoughts on “Are we connected?

  1. it is a strange world.
    I have made friends through my blog, that I connect with off line. And even meet in person.
    And yet, we never know really, if who we see is “real”, when we all hide behind our words.

  2. Hey, mapelba. I just had an experience with this, and it became sort of a catalyst for a massive shift in perception.

    I had a friendly email exchange with a girl last year, she invited me into her space and we were buddies, of course not friends, but internet buddies. And suddenly, like you, I was blocked from her blog with no negative word spoken. I thought about it for a long time, it just seemed strange to me, and I wondered if she was all right. I didn’t try to contact her again, because obviously I had no real connection to her, but it weighed on my sentimental mind.

    I won’t go into details, but I encountered her again earlier this year, and she made me feel like an idiot for wondering so long about a stranger. Made me rethink all my solid internet friendships. I think I have post-traumatic stress now.

    Thanks for posting this. My friends said I wasn’t dumb for feeling that way, but it’s nice to hear it from an independent source.

    /confession 😉

  3. I am about 40 and some of the best friends I have in the world now are folks I met on the Internet — these relationships have generally started with some online discussion group or blog, evolved into a regular e-mail exchange outside the discussion group or blog, and then gone on to phone conversations and (when possible) real life meetings. I went to the divorce party of an online friend last year — and stayed as a guest in her home, although we never met before that trip to see her — it was like getting together with an old friend. And I’m going to the wedding of one of my blogging friends this spring — although I have never met her or even heard her voice yet.

    That all seems weird to many of my less Internet geeky real life friends — and definitely weird to my parents — but I am shy in real life and connect so much better with people through the written word.

    I promise that if I ever lock my blog, I will not lock you out!

  4. I’ve given this a lot of thought. I guess many bloggers do. I think you have to keep perspective about blogging. The people you meet online may not be the people you imagine them to be. Perhaps they don’t feel the same way about you as you feel about them. But I don’t think that it’s not possible to make a genuine friend online. (Gee, I met my husband online!) I agree with MPJ – I’m a writer geek who is shy in public, but I connect well through the written word. I would love to meet some of these people in real life, but at the same time, if I don’t, maybe it’s better that way.

    I do think that people who read my work probably know me better than some of the family/friends I know face-to-face…certainly the family.

    I promise I will never block you out either. I very much value your companionship in this novel-writing thing.

  5. I consider internet friends to be the same as those on dry land — some are great and some aren’t — so I’d feel the same sense of disappointment at finding a closed blog and not being invited in.

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