Memorial Day 2017 and a 92nd Birthday
INTERESTING STUFF – 3 June 2017

All My Blog Friends Live Close By Redux

EDITORIAL NOTE: Writing this note on Tuesday, I'm still under the weather, a condition that manifests itself (among other symptoms) with brain death. There isn't a chance that I could write anything coherent right now so I've pulled out this old post from early, early, early in this blog's existence, 2005.

I most appreciate your get well messages but I'm really interested in reading what you think about blog friendships. There was no Facebook 12 years ago so that might have changed the friendship dynamic. Many commercial websites now publish blogs, mostly for marketing but blogs nonetheless making the original personal nature of blogs a little fuzzier. And so on.

If you want to compare to 12 years ago, the original publication of this post is here with those comments.

* * *

Internetdog

Earlier this year, I published a lengthy post about the benefits of blogging for old people. Among those benefits are new friendships, something that becomes particularly important when, as we get older, families may live far away, retirement removes daily interaction with colleagues, spouses and friends die and for some, as the years pile up, getting out and about becomes more difficult and less frequent.

And so, there are fewer opportunities to enjoy old friendships or to make new ones. Isolation and loneliness can become problems and are known to negatively affect health and mental acuity.

But blogging opens up a world of intimate connections and even for those who are not alone – or old yet – blog friendships are rewarding. Why else are we here every day? Yes, much has been written of the ego gratification of seeing our thoughts in print and having people respond to them. That is not to be dismissed. But I think as we become accustomed to it, the personal connections we make over the months and years of blogging take on greater importance.

Next to nothing has been written about the nature of blog friendships. They often develop, I think, when a blogger, writing of deeply personal feelings and events, touches another who has lived a similar experience. And even without revealing innermost secrets, we come to know and be drawn to one another through reading of our shared interests.

Email is then taken up, and a friendship burgeons, blossoms and grows although in most cases, we never meet in person. Do these friendships, I wonder, have the strength and “stickiness” of in-person friendships? I haven’t been blogging long enough yet to be certain.

My friend Sali and I met in 1969 or 1970. She subsequently moved to Israel and our face-to-face visits have been few in the 35 years since then. In recent years, email has kept us in closer touch, but we write in bursts and sometimes months can go by with little more than quick “hi, just checking in” notes. But when we see one another, we always relish the fact that we pick up the conversation as though we had seen one another just last week – as though no physical absence of great length has intervened.

Sali and I have a long-term, in-person history. Is it different, do you think, when we don’t know what someone we’ve come to feel a closeness with looks like?

Many of us publish photos of ourselves from time to time and even a video now and again. But what we don’t know is a blog friend’s body language, facial expressions, way of expressing themselves in speech – and what they might say in conversation without the advantage we have on our blogs of thinking it over first, editing ourselves and putting our best feet forward.

What I am wondering is how this changes the nature of online friendship compared to in-person friendship. In my early years of reading blogs, before I started TGB, I was often astonished at how personally revealing many bloggers are. Much more so, I think, to unknown readers than most of us would be in the first few meetings with a new in-person friend.

This might be an advantage to getting to know another better; sometimes it is easier to be honest at a remove from one another. On the other hand, there is much to be discerned about people non-verbally – the look in their eyes, the kinds of clothes they prefer, whether they are the touchy-feely sort or not, etc.

“On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” How DO online and in-person friendships differ? I wish some people more thoughtful and articulate than I am would put their minds to the nature of blog friendship.

Comments

Take care of yourself.

Ronni, I have known for a long time that you can read my mind and seem to know exactly what I'm thinking and/or need. But this repost is so timely, it's scary and delightful at the same time.

I have several friends I met through blogging...I started at the beginning of blogging. I also read dozens of blogs everyday on a variety of subjects. The last 5 years or so I have stayed connected via Facebook. I have true blue, real life friends that I met first online.

For various reasons I quite blogging about a year ago. I wrote for myself. It was my therapy, I guess. This past few months I have have had an overwhelming feeling to start writing again. I am now researching which platform to use. (I used Blogger before)

Blogging can be fun.

I have a blog for my photos that I share with family, friends and the few Yahoo groups I belong to. I like the blog format for photo sharing because I can add any amount of text explaining the 'where, when, who, etc' of each photo.

For some reason, I could never get into using Facebook for social contact, I use it only to join news groups and other organizations.

I've met some wonderful people online. Facebook has just cemented these friendships. When we meet in person, its as if we have known each other forever.

I and many of my blogging friends are, if not blogging less, are writing shorter blogs. My initial goal was to talk about architecture and put a picture on every entry Now days there's more picture than blog, and less architecture. I'm still here tho.

Feel better kiddo!

I wish my online friendships could translate to the real world. I did go to a blogger meetup in Vancouver BC a couple of years ago and finally met some fashion bloggers I had followed for a long time. I hope and pray they have another meetup someday. It was so much fun.

I always enjoyed my online friends, but I didn't realize how important they were to me until I was bedridden a couple of years ago after an injury (who knew skiing in my 70s might lead to a hip injury?).

Anyway, although they tried to be there for me, my real-life friends were busy working and leading their lives. I don't have any family to speak of, and I filled many lonely hours talking to my Internet buddies. They really came through for me.

I have met several of my online friends and they were as delightful in person.

I've met many of my fellow bloggers IRL and without exception they have proved to be Anam Cara (Irish for friends of the soul). In fact one is coming for 4 days in July.

Another in India offered all sorts of help to my granddaughter who was travelling there. I could go on.

And,yes, a few have died also which breaks my heart.

And gift exchanges, forgot those.

It's all been so life enriching for this blogger.

Get well soon Ronni.

XO
WWW

After being dragged kicking and screaming into "the computer age", I started with just e-mail and getting in contact with friends from my youth and early years. Classmates.com was a Godsend for me to find people I loved but had lost contact with. Then came Myspace, which was a colossal dud. THEN I found Facebook. I initially joined to be able to communicate with family and friends scattered across the American continent, but it has evolved into so much more than that. I was also a member of an on-line diary site, Open Diary, that came to demand a lot of my time, what with writing travelogues for my friends, posting photos to go with the travelogues, gift exchanges, etc. Sadly Open Diary died in about 2014 but was replaced by Prosebox. A lot of my friends from OD migrated over to PB, but those who did not stay with the diarying, I miss them. Yes, there have been deaths among my friends from OD and Facebook, and some have just faded away into the mist; but for me, living in a large city with no family nearby and an introvert husband, Facebook and Prosebox are my links to the real world and to my friends. I'd go nutty without them.

Just for info, my laptop and my iPad go where I go, and I keep in touch wherever I am---unless I'm in the middle of the ocean on a ship cruisin'.

I hadn't really analysed the difference between blogging, Fb and real friends and you got me thinking, Ronni. You mentioned shared interests and I think it's these that have allowed a kind of friendship to blossom on line. I comment on only 3 or 4 blogs and exchange emails with one or two. I know I'm never going to get to meet them, to give them a hug, but I care about their doings and how they are, as they're all getting on (around my age).

All my other friendships are long-standing from my Cornwall, UK days; family dotted around south England, as well as friends in my neighbourhood in Spain who split their time between here and another home in UK. They are all on Fb - around 34. ( How people have friends into the hundreds on Fb beats me. ) I can hardly keep up with my list. Daily I play Scrabble with one of my long-standing friends from school. We go back 70 years, lost touch for years and reunited 4 years ago. She came to visit last summer and the years melted away. Without online contact, this relationship would have withered again.

Does it sound silly to say that a more meaningful friendship could develop when I've looked into someone's eyes and they into mine. Sad that this is missing in blogging friends.

I started before they were called blogs, they were journals. One friend I made I traveled all the way to Oregon from TX to spend a couple weeks and tour a couple lighthouses. She passed away 7 yrs. ago, right before our son. Glad to have known her and I bet her blog "Coffee Bean Goddess" is still up. (it is some good recipies there)

Blogging has been a great outlet for my thoughts, so I seldom journal any more. I also love hearing from the rare readers who comment, I sure don't have a following like you do Ronni.

I've never met any other bloggers, though I did plan to once in FL when I was visiting and another blogger lived nearby. We exchanged a phone call, and that was it, a kind of negative vibe for both of us to hear each other's voices.

I do have a long time email friend who I'm chatting with daily. She lives closer to you Ronni, as she's in WA, and here I am in NC. I doubt that I'll see her again in this lifetime.

I have just decided to cut way back on Facebook after seeing the extent of algorithms that are kept on us. Yep, I still fear Big Brother, more so these days!

I started a simple blog for the fun of it, and practice writing.

A few years ago, we met one of the responders to my blog in Florida. She and her husband were staying at a 55 plus mobile home retirement spot.

She showed us around, pointed out the perks of the place.

One senior dude had driven from Canada to the MHP in a Smart Car.

Word got around quickly.

We had lunch, talked travel and enjoyed ourselves.

I write when I am in the mood, and love getting comments.

Ronni, sometimes I write more on your blog than on mine.

I feel a kinship with you and everyone else here.

If we all lived closer, we'd hang out, have fun and perform positive acts of kindness and resistance.

But, since we live miles apart, we lead by example, using skills acquired in our collective lifetimes.

We are far from done.

Funny thing, I am online friends with some random people I met travelling in China, plus a Vietnamese doctor I tutored.

Certain former colleagues and I communicate, even thought we rarely see each other.

I get lots of emails when we travel.

Last few weeks we were hoping to see "The Walking Machine," a retired U.S. marine we met two years ago on Indian Rocks Beach, Florida.

He was an inspiration. He had moved from northern USA to Florida to get himself into shape, after seeing his doc.

Doc said TWM had to make serious changes in his life, or look forward to wearing a wooden suit.

TWM then weighed 400 pounds.

He moved to Florida, began walking IRB wearing a radio headphone set, red shorts and a Stones t shirt.

He stopped drinking beer, began lifting weights, walked the walk and had already lost 150 pounds when we met.

We had a long chat about life, goals, hard work and determination.

Recently we hoped to see him walking the beach again, but he wasn't there.

I can't remember his name, but I do remember he walked with strength, determination and a purpose.

Watching that man reinforced words my dad used to say:

"If you want something bad enough, go after it with all your might."

"It's not about falling on your ass. It's about what you do after you get up."

So, cheers to TWM and everyone else who finds strength in positive chance encounters with a stranger.

Recover soon, Ronni. TGB has become an integral part of my day--posts and comments--more so since I retired "involuntarily" 2+ years ago. I'm on Facebook but not so much lately. I'm not fond of the Big Brother aspect; as FB becomes more "personalized" it also becomes more intrusive, IMO. I'd still rather choose my online friends and acquaintances more or less individually, as I did pre-social media--years that make up the overwhelming majority of my life.

This is my first and only blog, found by chance as I searched for information about being old and without family. I liked that its interest was being an elder.........and having a brain (most days) and interests or many stripes. I have often felt happily amazed by what I've found here!
Something I'd been thinking about, or something I hadn't thought about, but that was of great importance to me. THANK YOU Ronnie!

All that said.......there's something about breaking bread, having a cuppa or a walk with a friend, trading a book, seeing, hearing, sharing a laugh or a tear.

I have been blogging for 15 years (several different blogs as my life went thought different stages). A lot of people I have "met" over the years have been very important to me as we bounced stuff of each other over the years and I believe bloggers get to know each other on a deeper level than we often do with people we meet in person. But I don't think our online friends can ever complete or replace sharing stories, experiences, hugs, etc. with people we meet in our off line lives.

I have a few friends from my school days still living and keeping in touch. But the friends I have made on the Internet have become dearer to me than most of my schoolmates.

I think the reason for that is we are more open with someone we may never see face to face; thus enabling us to know the real person and not be influenced by superficial exterior appearances.

On the other hand, friends we have known in person share a history that an Internet friend cannot match.

I have been lucky enough to have met 4 of my Internet friends in person. Three have come to Tucson and have been kind enough to look me up and it was so wonderful to find that I was not disappointed when I met them. They were just as delightful in person as they were when they wrote.

I cannot analyze what kind of friend is the best, because if you have a friend from 85 years ago (as do I) or a friend from a few months ago that you met on the Internet you are blessed and each and every one of them are a treasure to cherish.

Most of you know that I lived alone for over 30 years and my Internet friends kept loneliness at bay. My face-to-face friends were either out of state or busy with their own activities, but my Internet friends were there for me every day. How can you put a price on that?

Dear Ronni -- I have several "blog friends" -- including you and Darlene! I met a guy 3000 miles away via a blog whose political activities I found interesting. He turned out to be married to someone I know through a different channel. And there are several others I've met in real space, or haven't, that I feel are part of my friendship network. That is, we're supporting each other through life's vicissitudes.

I also have Facebook friends who have met me via my blog posts that automatically go up there. That is, people I've never met. Also, as is usual with FB, lots of people who are acquaintances located far away and a few who are real life friends, mostly local. For some people, FB is the right environment. I don't like it because I don't want my exposure to folks' posts to be so random. But I check in there because I have blog commenters who do this there, because that is their world. Confusing.

May you soon be feeling much better, Ronni.

While I've no blog nor have I made close virtual friends, the feeling of a shared and valued connection with others in TGB occurs around 6(Pacific time) in the mornings when I fire this beast awake and head right to your blog.

Hope you are feeling better

Oh I'm soo sorry !!! Stay strong ! God Bless you. You will be in my prayers !!

Yours is the only blog I've ever even looked at. I've been following you for about a year and frequently agree with your "take on life." I have sent you prayers and good vibes for your health, but didn't write because I knew so many would; but I feel it incumbent for me to let you know my prayers are with you. I do enjoy your blog and feel like a friend.

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