The Difference Between Blog Friends and Real Life Friends

Sometimes friends of mine who are unfamiliar with blogging ask me questions about who reads my blog and why. They want to know what I write about, how I come up with ideas and if I get nervous about getting into trouble somehow.

The story never changes. I tell them about how I started this blog on a whim, just an impulse and how it changed my life. That last bit sometimes brings about an eye roll or two, but that’s ok with me. If I wasn’t intimately familiar with it all I would probably do the same.

I explain to them that blogging provides one of the best outlets I have ever found for expressing myself. I talk about how it allows me to learn more about myself and about others. I talk about how it is has helped me through some dark times and very tough moments. It has been a great tool for chronicling my life and the family. The place where I rediscovered my love for writing/

And of course it is a place where I have made some good friends. It is an interesting thing, the friendships developed through blogging. Somewhere in the archives Psychotoddler referred to it as targeted socializing and it is true. Reach out and click someone and you can learn a million things about who they are in a much faster way than you might in person.

The readers here have learned things about me that I never share in person. There have been some exceptionally raw and intimate moments that they have been exposed to that most of my “real life” friends don’t know about.

It is not that I can’t tell them these things either, because I can. I have some exceptional friends, people who mean the world to me. Friends who make a difference, people who I would take the bullet for.

Some of them have been through some experiences that are beyond description. Together we really have laughed and cried. We have been through the entire life cycle together. We have witnessed weddings, births and divorce. You guys don’t need me to tell you how horrific it was to lose ‘D,’ how incomprehensible it was for him to die at such a young age. You knew him, you loved him and together we all miss him.

But in the real world we don’t always delve into the weighty topics that come up here. Like I said, it is not that we couldn’t and sometimes we do. But here in cyberspace it lends itself well to the deeper discussion. In the silence of the night there is a certain safety in speaking.

Not to mention that anonymity lends a certain security as well. Harry Potter’s Invisibility cloak could do no better.

It is funny to think of the times that I have met other bloggers. I really have met very few, but thanks to our time reading each other’s blogs we have felt a bit closer. At least that is how it seemed to me. There were discussions about topics that you wouldn’t normally broach with someone you had just me. But we hadn’t really just met each other.

All that time spent reading had prepared us for something more than just superficial talk. That is not to say that every blogger/reader will be a close and personal friend. That certainly wouldn’t happen any more than it would in real life.

But blogging has given me a lot. The exposure and introduction to people and places has been exceptional and for that I am very grateful.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I often talk to people about the power of the blogosphere and why it matters. Some of you have tried to tease me about sounding too ‘Star Warsish” but the reality is that blogging offers access to millions of people. Bloggers are influential. If we were not, the FTC wouldn’t bother with us.

In the end I will always be drawn to blogging because of the writing and the outlet, but it would be wrong not to say that you don’t play a role here as well, because you do.

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