I started blogging at the end of 2006. And, like many of you, I quickly discovered a world waiting for me inside my computer, a world of intelligent, well-read, funny, beautiful people. I was hooked. These people, I tritely informed my friends and family, were my kindred spirits. My friends and family were bewildered.
Soon I made the move to meet some of these online friends in person — to transition, if you will, from online to offline relationships. I attended my first blogging conference. I then flew to Canada to spend the weekend with some bloggers who’d become very dear to me very fast.
By this point my family and friends were seriously concerned about my mental health. What if these Canadians you’re going to see are just waiting to chop you up into tiny little pieces and scatter you across the Canadian wilderness?, I read between the deepening frown lines on their faces. I laughed. They were hurt.
And so on, through another blogging conference.
I’ve just returned from my third BlogHer conference. Fresh from the field, I want to try to explain once more what my blogging friends mean to me:
When bloggers connect, they are connecting based on words. The usual stages of friendship are inverted. They read about one another’s deepest, messiest, most private, most frightening feelings. And when they stay to read some more, they are signifying that they care about you despite the ugliness, the scars, the fears, or even, amazingly, because of these things.
It is revelatory to be known from the inside out.
Meeting in person, then, is mostly afterthought. Social niceties come later, and they are often tongue-in-cheek, being largely irrelevant to the fundamentals of the relationship.
That’s why I keep traveling to meet other bloggers in person. And if I’ve explained this adequately, you would nod your head were I to ask you whether you would not in fact wish to be known like this, not skin deep but soul deep.
I won’t ask you that, though. I don’t need to. To the question there is only one answer.
Thank you, online friends, for knowing me and loving me despite, because.