(Un)Intelligent Design
Marketing Ageism / Ageist Marketing

All My Blog Friends Live Close By

My post last week about the nature of blog friendship drew a lot of smart comments, adding new thoughts and ideas to my attempt to define the differences between real world and online relationships.

Some wrote that because we get to complete our thoughts without the interruptions that naturally occur in face-to-face conversation, we are better understood by and understand others more completely.

Most seemed to agree that emotional support is a component of blog friendships - especially for those who, being full-time caregivers or having moved to a new city or the busy-ness of life, haven’t the opportunity for frequent in-person visits.

We are judged on our blogs, said another, by the cogency our words and thoughts and not our physical appearance, which is similar to a comment about the variety of friends we find online. In the real world, friends tend to be of the same age group with similar interests, educational levels, backgrounds, even ethnicity and religion. Online, those definitions of ourselves don’t matter as much.

All these help further explain the closeness we feel with our blog friends. But there was one other about the greater speed with which we come to care for another. It was touched on in a comment left by Jeanne of her Cook sister blog and expanded on by cd mom at Half Changed World:

“I think in some ways my online friends...have spoiled me for in-person friendships, at least in the early, awkward, getting to know you stage. I don't have the patience for the meaningless small talk. I want people to talk about the things they're passionate about, what rocked and what sucked about their day. And people don't generally talk about those things with people they've just met.”

Exactly. It helps that many bloggers publish an About page listing their home town, what kind of work they do, their personal interests, why they're in the blogosphere and what their blog is about. But even without an About page, we bloggers skip the useless small talk that hardly anyone is good at anyway. As I remarked in the comments to cd mom:

“Whether we are agreeing, disagreeing or adding a new thought sparked by a post, we have an area of common interest as a starting point. In contrast, when we meet a new person in the real world, we fumble around about the weather or where we're from or where we went to college, etc. and there seems to be a social taboo against anything substantive in the beginning…”

Another reader reponded to cd mom with this interesting observation:

“It's not just that online friendships usually start in meaningful places, it's also that you are both doing it in a place where you feel comfortable *already*. You're at home, or at your desk at work, not negotiating territory in a neutral setting. You're doing it at your own pace…” [Kal Jones]

One blogger commenting at Half Changed World lamented that between some recently self-imposed isolation and real-world friends moving away, she is lately feeling lonely: “If only all my blog friends lived close by!” said Suzanne.

After reading all these thoughtful responses, I’d reverse Suzanne’s lament:

In cyberspace, all my blog friends live close by.


Very interesting, and I agree. But blogging friends offer something that close-by friends can't - perspective from another place. Through blogging I have new gardening friends in Canada, Australia and Africa (!!) and I'm learning things I'd never learn from other Marylanders.

" ... we bloggers skip the useless small talk that hardly anyone is good at anyway."

"In cyberspace, all my blog friends live close by."

I could not have said it better myself. YES! YES! YES!

Well put, and I love the concluding thought that "all my blog friends live close by."

While reading the original post a seed of an idea came. Now this post gave the seed life. We may not be able to develop a metric for on-line relationships, at least not one that could be laid side by side and compared with physical world relationships. But the tests of their depth and meaning to us will come (1) as to how they fare in crisis and (2) their impact on us when they're gone. Those same tests apply to real-world relationships also, though they may be measured quite differently.

Just the loss of a blogger who we read daily and exchange occasional thoughts with, can be bothersome for a while, especially when one just disappears with no explanation or trace. I do not look forward to experiencing the loss of one who has become an important daily part of my blog life and my thought process and life beyond the blog. Sooner or later it will happen, and I can only imagine at this juncture that the feeling, the hurt, the grieving process, must not be that different than loss of a family member or close friend.

I happened upon your blog while googling something and am delighted to have found your writing. I linked it on mine (hope you don't mind)and plan to make your blog part of my day. I'm 62 and recently retired from teaching. Good luck on your move, which I'll follow on your other blog.

i think that that quote by CD Mom is possibly the most perfect and succinct way of saying what i've been trying to explain to people for months.

I have said I wished my blog friends lived close by, so we could meet in person once in a while. They are so spread out, however, that isn't possible. The more I write and receive comments, and the more blogs I read, the more I realize that we are all more alike than we are different. It is affirming to know that others have faced the same troubles and come out okay on the other side, for example. I am so grateful for the on-line friendships I have formed - and I do harbor the hope that some of us will one day meet in person.

Hi, and thanks for the comments and the link. (I'm not sure where you got the "cd mom" from, though. Could you update it to Elizabeth?)

I love the "all my blog friends live nearby" line. But I also wish that I had friends like this who lived close enough that we could provide practical support, as well as moral support. I still need friends who can watch my kids to give me a break when I'm about to kill them, and friends who I can bring chicken soup to when they're sick.

Hello--My first time here via a link in a post at One Day at a Time. I thoroughly enjoyed this discussion about blogging friendships. My husband and I created a blog right after we retired and moved to the Olympic Peninsula, away from everyone and everything familiar. Blog friendships sustained us through our first few months of not knowing a soul. Now, after eighteen months, we have a few new and budding friendships locally. But we are still nourished by our blog friendships, and in many ways we are spoiled by them for the very reasons so thoughtfully presented here.

Earlier this month I purposely set out to discover what blogging was all about. When my search turned up The Ageless Project, I was intrigued by the whole concept. Then, I was curious as to what a contemporary with my same birth year might "blog" about. Alas, no one writing with that reference year. So, I explored some of the other years. Early on the words "Time Goes By" resonated with me. Soon found myself caught up in a site where timely news, meaningful ideas, thoughtful views, honest and open feelings were being expressed, with comments and any responses respectfully written.

I deliberated over issues of security and privacy for a day or so before offering my first comment. In retrospect, I realize I did not take the time to fully understand the entire structure of the home page though it is only too obvious to me now. I just didn't get the big picture, I'm embarrassed to say. Also, my random reading was limited and erratic, a sampling if you will. But in the end, the topics are what attracted my attention.

Now, I've taken some time to review the blogs and comments in this section. I've gained greater understanding of the history of this blog. I, also, have a deeper perspective and greater appreciation for this blog community.

I do also want to say, I just noticed the section on Blogging for Older Viewers, scanned it, quickly concluded I could benefit from spending some time there myself; more to learn even if I am one of the "older viewers." (Wasn't sure if it was meant for comment contributors like me, or for those setting up blogs. Either way, it's a good idea.)

My generation, too, was aware of the prevailing attitude toward a girl who was perceived as "smart." The general expectations were for a girl to marry, have a family. If you wanted more, you could be a nurse since you would be more able to care for your family, including the older members in the years to come when they needed help.

Fortunately, my mother wanted more for me. When she was 21 yrs of age, women were first allowed to vote. She had attended "Normal School," then taught for a time in a one room school house before marrying. All those years later, in my school, the male occupational counselor recognized my abilities, pointing out the doors would be open for me. He said being a secretary or a teacher would both be good choices since I wanted to go to college. My brother, 10 yrs older, came to visit; told me there were even other jobs I could do, too. Wow!

Fast forward to the days of the vocal feminists. I had temporarily left the working world, was married, had a couple of children. I always defended the feminists, was unashamed to say I was one, but explained I could not support the faction who denigrated men or belittled housewives. While some outspoken feminists may have truly believed everything they said, my work experience informed me that people do outrageous things sometimes in order to garner attention. Most importantly,I believed, was the feminists intent to attract the press -- especially television news in those days. (How has it changed?)

I believe those of us who expressed our views as I did, were a very important element in the women's movement. I was active on the ground level simply by espousing my views to those with whom I came in contact, debating the issues in conversation, converting a few, I'd like to believe, or at least, giving them a different perspective.

Just as there is a need for outspoken public leaders, the value of the grass roots contingency should never be marginalized.

I am concerned that many women and girls in the younger generations do not fully realize how fragile the hold is on our place as equals with full rights in this country today. Look around the world at other countries. But, perhaps, this is a topic best left for another section.

Many of my reservations toward blogging have been resolved. In time I look forward to visiting other blogs but what time I have seems to be taken up here for now. Just want all who contribute in any way, blogger, comment authors to know I appreciate them even if we have different perspectives. Thanks for the opportunity to expand my views with your input and to express my own.

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