Thursday, July 14, 2005

You're a BLOGGER?!?!?!?!

A few months ago, my in-laws were in town. They're kinda stuffy... belong to this private dinner club in town called the University Club. They invited us to dinner there, so off we went. During the normal dinner chit-chat, my husband mentioned that I have this little website- that I'm a blogger. All of a sudden, my Father-in-law's eyes popped wide open, jaw dropped, looked me straight in the eye, and spit out his food while saying, "YOU'RE A BLOGGER?!?!?!?!" I might as well have said I was a hooker, judging by his reaction! There we were, in the middle of the University Club... the socialite family and THE BLOGGER!?!??! Being who I am... I couldn't help but to bust out laughing. (we all did, actually- it was quite funny) Oh well.... another opportunity to blend in with "their" crowd blown away.

I’m sure you’ve all tried to explain why we blog, and what the appeal is. And if you’re anything like me, you usually fail miserably. Anyone else feel like the hopeless 16 year old “Nobody understands meeeee”??? Funny… because all of US understand each other… so why don’t the non-bloggers (readers, commenters or writers) understand us? It’s not that hard to get, is it? I mean… where else in the world could I go to get first hand stories from troops overseas, TINS from retired Vets, political commentary from just about every end of the spectrum, and unfiltered opinions on everything from stupid laws to elections? Only blogs allow me to do that.

A few months ago, ALa asked the question “WHAT IS THIS?” and wrote a post about blogging and the interaction between all of us blogbuds. She wrote:

“But where are the lines? Am I who I present here? Are you? Are we friends if we’ve never met? Many of you I speak with more than people in my “real” life…And what about when this world crosses over… on the phone… does that make it “real” then, or was it “real” all along?… are they friends or do internet interactions fall into a separate category…”

My answer back was:

“There’s a lot of truth in what you’re saying today, ALa. I refer to all of you as my “friends”, even though I’ve never spoken to most of you on the phone, and have never met any of you in person. We have an open forum here, one in which you can come and go as you please. One in which you can be anonymous, and represent yourself without having to “put on the dog” (or let loose, and be someone you’re not for a while)”

ALa’s post inspired Barb and Cassandra to do posts of their own on the same subject. Barb wrote “First of all, friends are friends- whether we met first through the Internet or in person matters not. Secondly, I think that not only can we form true friendships without meeting one another, it may lead to a purer form of friendship. We didn’t form these friendships because we happened to work together, live next to one another, etc. We formed them because we shared ideas with each other, and came back for more….the bonds between us are not based on age or physical parameters, or on other accidents of location. Instead the bonds are based on how we think- and that is a better, stronger bond to me.”

I couldn’t agree with you more, Barb. The Internet gives us the opportunity to speak our minds when our real lives don’t give us that luxury. We are equal here- no biases based upon gender, race, age or positions of power. You can speak your mind here, without fear of the “looks” you’ll get from others around you. And here, as Sgt. B noted, “in the blogsphere, no one shouts anybody down. You HAVE to read the words… and even the little folks have an opinion”. You don’t have to worry about someone with a louder voice, or more commanding presence overshadowing you. Your words speak for themselves.

In her post, Cassandra noted “There is something far more powerful (than writing) that attracts me to blogging: the exchange of ideas. I believe the key lies in the interactive nature of blogging and the type of person who is drawn to it.” She goes on to say “I can’t help seeing each and every reader as a person. To me, you are ALL real: not abstract, virtual “friends”, but in a very real sense, some of you have come to be REAL friends, at least in my mind…. When I find out that something is wrong in your life, I worry. Or if there’s a disagreement or someone says something nasty or gets their feelings hurt, I take it too much to heart.” So do I, Cass. We all do. We all consider each other to be REAL people, and REAL friends (and in some cases, real enemies, LOL).

Why did I decide to revisit this topic, you might be asking. The ladies already covered it so completely, what could I possibly add that is new. The other night, my husband told me I should rely more upon my “real life” friends, and how you all aren’t “real” because I’ve never met you (except for John) in person. BULL. You are ALL real… and you are all real friends to me. In some cases, I’ve had very REAL fights with you too. And in all cases, I have very REAL feelings about you. My husband said that I couldn’t know the “real you” because I’ve never seen your facial expressions, or heard the inflection in your voice. Said I couldn’t know the “real you” because I haven’t been with you, physically, on a day to day basis. BULL.

Is God real? I believe so, but I’ve never seen him, or talked to him (except through prayer). Do rainbows really exist? Sure… I’ve seen one or two in my lifetime, but I’ve never been able to touch one. But just because I could see it, and couldn’t touch it, is the rainbow any less real? No. It isn’t. Just because I’ve never seen God walking down the street, doesn’t mean I don’t see his works in everything I see every day. I’ve only met one blogger, John Donovan. I even ate dinner and drank with him, so I know he exists. But so do BillT, Sgt. B, KLKK, ALa, AB, Barb, Cassandra, Neffi, JMH, Punctilious, Boquisucio, TrekMedic, SWWBO, Jen, Alix, Kat, Free, Ciggy, Jpck, Dude, Tesco, G-Man, Redleg, Nimbus, FbL, Cricket, and Blue. So do CBTFW, Blackfive, Doc, Michael, Currie, Maj. K, Red Six, Thunder 6, Smink, Ma Deuce Gunner, and Capt. Z. So do so many others I haven’t mentioned here at all. All very real.

It’s about FAITH. It’s about TRUST. It’s about FRIENDSHIP. It’s about…. BLOGGING.


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