I’ve written before how my “online life” started over 3 years ago when my husband suggested that I might like twitter. Up until then, I was lucky enough to miss the MySpace and Facebook outlets. I just wasn’t interested. Sure, I was reading my news online and did a few forums, but I would not say any part of my life was online. Until twitter, I didn’t even really understand blogs or their community.
After about 6 months on twitter, I noticed people tweeting links. I would click on these links and it would take me to their life. I still remember the first blogs I found online.
I also remember my internal reaction. “What is this? Why are they writing about their life? Should I be reading this? “
This written life was displayed on my screen for me to read. These lives made me laugh, cry and admire them for exposing their souls. It connected me to women living lives like mine and not like mine. It was life changing.
I continued on with my 140 happily. It was nice that people were putting together paragraphs and stuff, but I was just fine with sentences.
I mostly still am.
And then 2 years ago, with a little encouragement, and a little nudging, I started my own online life.
If you’re reading this, this site is part of it. I also have a whole row of buttons up there. Each of them their own little chapter in this computer life I lead.
I’ve written each chapter over the past 3 years through which, I’ve published them in a public way. For someone to read, maybe laugh, and possibly let them into my soul.
In the beginning, people who came to my blog were fellow bloggers who understood exactly what was going on. I read them, maybe they read me, and it was a symbiotic relationship. There was no weirdness, nothing awkward about it. Online to online relationships are really easy that way.
Then, and I’m not sure when, it started to change.
Maybe someone local to me joined twitter or friended me on Facebook. I was suggested for them to follow, so they did. They see a link that I publish and this time it takes them to my online life. Maybe they knew about it, maybe not.
They read, maybe laugh, and then it happens. What do they do with this information? Do they bring it up to me? Do they try to hide the fact that they read it? Did they not like what they read and would like to scrub their eyes out with an SOS pad?
Being a blogger allows people to read a whole lot about you before you even know their last name. It exposes you to judgment that would otherwise take years to acquire.
For me, I write online and (so the stats tell me) know that people read it even if they don’t comment. I know when my name has been searched online. I also know when I have a bunch of posts read only once that day that it’s probably a new reader.
Is it a random person?
A family member? (waves to mother in law)
Someone from school?
The deli man?
It would be silly for me to say that I don’t want people to read my online book. I don’t know anyone who publishes online who would be ok if their book was just sitting on the shelf getting dusty. But what type of response is appropriate? I can’t answer that. Some people in my life will bring up something I wrote to talk about it. Some laugh at me, some judge me, and probably a few avoid me.
And that’s all ok.
My book isn’t finished yet.
I crushed on you because of the twitter, loved on you because of your blog(s), and friended on you after I got to meet you in real life.
I like being all up in all your worlds.
Its funny that a little membership on the Twittersphere can create so many relationships. I too have a similar introduction. When I decided to join Twitter, I found that there were other woman/moms like me, and that comforting. Who knows what the other three years will take you;)
Most of my friends and family have been supportive of my blogging, but very few of them ever read my blog so maybe that is why. My Grandmother corrects my grammar and often questions my parenting choices (both can get annoying), but so far that is about it. I often wonder what it will be like to meet people who have been reading my blog. Will they think I am different from my blog “persona”? Will I seem familiar? Will we like each other as much in person as we have imagnined? Sometimes the idea of people in my real life knowing my true feelings and thoughts is a little uncomfortable. Will they use this knowledge against me in the future? These are questions we all probably ask ourselves. I think it takes courage to write about your life and to be honest. I find it to be mostly liberating. I hope you keep writing! This was a terrific post.
I am just beginning my online book. It has been in the works for a long time but just wasn’t sure how I wanted to go about it and what part of my life I wanted to include in it. I finally decided it was never going to get going unless I just started talking about everything. I have been following you for awhile now and I must say you never disappoint. I love your humor and enjoy reading your post. Keep it up!
I started my blog before I had any clue about the online world. It was my baby book for friends and family, many of whom are out of state. It was months before I realized there was actually a community of people that lived so much of their lives online. Now that seems laughable and I marvel at my RL friends who are still clueless, but thats the divide between the two worlds. I do have RL friends who read my blog and Twitter and it’s a strange feeling when they mention something I have said in one of those venues. As you said, I WANT people to read it, but a little afraid of it too. If that makes any sense. It’s a tough balance to strike but obviously I’m still around, although a pretty pathetic blogger these days. Thank you for putting yourself out there, you’re a shining spot in my online world. :)
I know what you are saying. Blogging is hard for me, well partially because I really don’t have a lot to say, but mostly because, even with an alias I worry someone from my work life will read it. I have some crappy co-workers who love causing problems. And some real great ones. But there are things I just don’t want them to know LOL! (Like my dirty sense of humor)
Wow, you got to the heart of some things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. What is too much to say? Now that my kids are a bit older, should I stop writing about them entirely?
And I no longer know exactly how to feel when I realize certain people I know in the real world have read my blog. Thankful, fearful, or something in between?
But I know I’ve helped people, and I know I can’t keep me entirely to me. I get the sense you’re the same.
So write on, sister.
I’ve only had 1 “major” fallout from my blogging & twitter (AND I USE AN ALIAS, SO WTF) but it’s the oldest double standard in the comedic book – it’s all hilarious until it’s about you.
(waves to family member that stalks me ;)
I write about life because it’s all ridiculous & everyone needs thicker skin anyway, right? I’m like, a teacher of skin thickening.
I am stressing over my craft for Monday, but I am still glad Melisa forced me to join in on the Next Martha insanity :)
Interestingly enough, it was the opposite that brought me to you. I met you in real life, and after BlogHer’12 when you were screaming about your lack of food, someone turned to me and asked, “Is she like that on her blog? In REAL life??” to which I had no response.
Snicker. I\’d like to think that I portray myself online much like I am in real life. I lost 5 lbs at blogher. That deserves some attention. I\’m glad you weren\’t scared off. Yet.
Well, I’m just glad that, seeing as how my blog was one of the first you peeked into, I didn’t send you running from the internet screaming ;) It IS a weird balance! But you’ll get it right. I think most people will love you even more when they can see in text how brilliantly hilarious you are.
A bit ago, I helped my sister with her photography mini sessions. I was in charge of wrangling families, grabbing props, and apologizing if a session was running late. In the middle of one such apology, the woman – who I’d never met in my life – stopped me.
“Wait! Are you Mandyland?”
“I’m so sorry about you and your husband. I just wanted you to know how awesome you’re handling it.”
We spent the rest of the time with her rehashing some of my blog posts and me wondering if it’d be rude to ask her name.
But yet I keep writing. :)
…and that should say, “I do love getting to know the WOMAN behind the flashquick brilliant tweets.”
(going blind, too much in a hurry, need more caffeine and time..)
You rule on twitter.
You kick ass with the 140.
But I do love knowing the women behind the flashquick brilliant tweets.
Love you, lady.
I love your online book. Paragraphs, sentences, whatever. I’ll take what I can get.
Not that you’re huge. At all. I’m just saying…never mind.
I’m thrilled that you started an online life because if you hadn’t, my REAL life would have a huge hole in it.
Yes, and your yard wouldn’t look so nice, either :)
Lucky them have stumbled into the awesome world of TNM, they should be sending you bottles of wine, cookies and thank you notes.
I love your internet book and I’m happy to stop in and read as much as possible! :) But yeah… I get ancy when I see local people reading, or links from law firms. I worry that I’m being unprofessional by being a blogger.
But ultimately? Whatever. Don’t read if you don’t like it, right? :)