Blogs are not like internet chat rooms - thank goodness!
Chat rooms - when done correctly - can have their value, too. But in a chat room you often run into three (maybe more) types of people: First, there are those who are who they are. They say online what they'd say in person. They're the "to thine own self be true" folks. Sure, some of them can be obnoxious at times, but hey...
Next, there are the "pretenders." These are the ones who are practicing their fictional writing skills online. They will invent a completely different persona, make up life experiences, etc. Why? Maybe to get people to like or respect them, maybe to escape their regular life, maybe for more sinister reasons...we've all heard the horror stories. One thing's for certain, it's takes a lot of energy and an excellent memory to be a Pretender (I have neither, thank you).
Finally, there are the "trolls." These are the folks who like to pick an argument just for argument's sake, who like to stir up controversy, and in general are plain rude. There's a big difference between presenting different sides of a controversial issue, and spouting off just to start trouble. Trolls are icky people.
Certainly, these three types can exist in blogland, but in my opinion, the longer-term, more established blogs are indeed real. And, yes, there are 'fictional' blogs - created by real people who assume a persona and post as that persona - but they're usually straightforward about it and do it to be entertaining - not to deceive.
Blog buddies aren't like real friends. Or are they?
It's hard for me to make and sustain new friendships. Life is pretty busy. Oh, I make all sorts of acquaintances - especially the "oh, we'll have to get together for lunch" type (however, we never do). I have my 5 year old 'shadow' (Son #3) with me almost all the time. Perhaps not many people have the patience for this package deal. More than likely, though, they're just as busy as I am.
The beauty of blog buddies is that they don't call me just as I'm getting ready to step into the shower for my only 10 minutes of "me" time. They never notice when I'm having a bad hair day (thank you, photo-from-2005). They don't send me chain emails telling me that something bad will happen if I don't forward it to 12 people (hellooooo? Re-read the first sentence of the paragraph above this one: I probably don't know 12 people!)
They do, however, encourage me when I need it. They let me vent (after all what good is having a blog if you can't occasionally whine?) - and if they don't like it, they can just click to another blog without my ever knowing. And I know some of them pray for me when different things are going on in my life. I've actually met one of my blog buddies in person - she wasn't at all a psychopath (waving to Jules!).
They also share - via their own blogs - what's going on in their lives. I know one blogger whose husband was let go of his job so they had to move to a new town so he could work again. She's expecting a baby now. Yay! Then there's the blogger who moved across the country, and who is know returning to workforce because her husband became ill and cannot work. There's another blogger who is a 'real' writer. As bloggers, we're all writers, but this one wrote an actual book! I hope someone publishes it soon. I know she and her husband have struggled with his cancer.
There's the other blogger, herself a cancer survivor. There's also the working mom who's daughter is just a tad older than my youngest son - gender aside, there are parallels in the things they come up with. Oy vey!
So I say to the non-blogger, Silly Rabbit, of course these people are real. I know more about them than I know about my in-laws and I've been married 17 years.
Don't blogs waste a lot of time? They could, if you get carried away. Then again, so can "Girls' Night Out." (And I'm less likely to get arrested with my blog buddies - hee hee!).
So to my non-blogging friend, I conclude with the following:
- Don't knock it until you try it.
- The "real world," in my opinion, is highly overrated.
So bloggers, do you have anything to add?