I Love Your Blog – But Not You

One of the unanticipated perks of being a mom blogger is all of the amazingly talented, funny, witty and inspirational women that I’ve gotten to know.  In New York I am fortunate to have a group of women (and a couple men too) whom I regularly see at events or record with or work with for days on end.  When I head out of town for an event or a conference I am usually extra excited because it means I will meet women whose work I read regularly and I feel like I know even though I’ve never actually seen them face to face.  So it is strange when I meet someone in this world and I really don’t like them.  But, it happens – and it’s very uncomfortable.

Celebrities often talk about how regular people assume that they know them because they relate so much to their character on TV or in films.  I think the same thing happens with bloggers.  While many journalists have followings bloggers are more personal in their writing for the most part.  Even political women bloggers tend to take on a personal note, sometimes relating their views back to their family or community.   When you add in the fact that bloggers feel banded together by being outside of mainstream media there is an added feeling of familiarity among the group.  I have had moments when social media made my day – when Judy Blume tweeted me, when Diane Ravitch retweeted me to name a few.  It’s not that I felt like Judy Blume and I were suddenly BFF (though my 11 year–old inner self hoped really, really hard for that) it’s that there was a feeling that this person whom I admired got me.  For that instant I was recognized by someone that mattered to me on a gut-level of giddiness.  When the opposite happens it’s like a slap-tweet (sleet?) in the face.

Last year at BlogHer I had that discomforting experience.  I met a blogger whom I admired online.  I sometimes dabbled in her niche, but it’s not my regular beat.  We both wrote for several common outlets.  We had commented back and forth occasionally – though looking back I think I commented on her posts more than the other way around.  But when I met her at BlogHer she was beyond dismissive.  There were brighter lights to stand near and she clearly had an agenda in mind for that day – and it was all about getting to some very big non-blog fish.  I get that.  But it totally changed my view of her and her blog.  I still read it when a tweet or FB post grabs my eye but I don’t participate in her community.  I also don’t respond to her fairly regular calls to action on her behalf – voting, entering giveaways, retweeting, etc.  I realized that while her blog is about bigger picture issues, she herself (at least to me) is all about promoting herself.  And that’s fine.  I just have to come to terms with the fact that I can like the blog without liking the blogger.  Maybe that means blogging really has entered the mainstream after all.

29 replies on “I Love Your Blog – But Not You”

  1. Funny, I never thought about the fact that a blogger could present themselves as one way and be a totally different person face-to-face. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dumb, and realize that people often aren’t who they say they are online, but blogging tends to be so much more personal that my brain just didn’t make the connection. I guess because I try so hard to stay true to myself in my blogging adventures that I always assumed everyone else does too.

  2. I was at a family reception a few weeks ago and my cousin told me that her friend was there and that she reads my blog and loves it.

    And I didn’t go over and introduce myself, and am still bothered by my reaction.

    It’s not like I’m a super-famous blogger or anything (far from it), but I felt like the worst kind of pretentious chump even contemplating approaching her and saying “Hi, I’m The Mrs, and I hear you read my blog”.

    It’s probably just the wording. There’s something about the phrase “my blog” that makes me die a little inside…hm. Maybe an issue I need to deal with…

    I regret not introducing myself much more than I’d have regretted feeling embarrassed about introducing myself. Gotta remember that in the very off chance the situation arises again.

    1. Funny, I always feel that way when someone tells me that so and so reads my blog as a way of introducing them to me. I think that writing is a very private thing – even blogging. It’s somehow shocking to be face to face with someone who reads it. At least for me, I’m always still a bit surprised that people other than my family read this or listen to my podcast. It’s easier to think about in the ether.

  3. I think I ran across the same blogger! 😉

    Very thought-provoking. When I read your post, I was both thinking of who *I* met who did that also, and wondering if *I* come across that way.

    I’m so glad BlogHer highlighted this post.

  4. I haven’t had this happen with bloggers yet, but I used to do direct sales for a party company and I recall the same thing happening when meeting those with the big reputations at conference. As long as you’re keeping it real, though, that’s what counts. And yes, you can love a blog but not the blogger–though it may be hard to work past that, once the veil is rent.

  5. Came here via your feature on BlogHer (congrats) and I can totally relate to this blog. I sometimes wonder about how I appear to others IRL from folks who’ve met me from my blog.

    That said, I’ve met a blogger I’ve read for a while and they just felt so different in person. In a lot of ways, it’s now colored the way I read that person’s blog.

    This is a really excellent post- thank you for sharing!

  6. I worry all the time that when people meet me they think I’m not listening when in fact I’m suffering from “I never remember anyone” syndrome. I’m so jealous of people who can’t forget a face, can’t forget a name, bloggy or otherwise. I forget everyone’s name until I’ve met them two or three times. I’ve had people tell me I hurt their feelings deeply because I didn’t recognize them even though we’d emailed. I come into contact with so many bloggers due to my job at BlogHer that it’s a true occupational hazard for me. I hope anyone who meets me at a conference realizes I live in my head a lot and am most likely taking deep breaths when they think I’m not looking at them.

  7. So true. So sorry it happened to you. I’ve been on both sides of that coin and it sucks either way. When I was the one being dismissive I didn’t mean to be, but realized after (much after) that I totally was and felt terrible. I guess we all have off days, although it sounds like the object of your blogfection definitely had an agenda.

  8. This is a really great post, and I think it’s very helpful for those of us who have had similar situations feel like “it’s not just me.” The person someone can present from behind a keyboard can be so different from who they are in person.

    I often wonder if I’d really want to meet my literary heroes. My fantasy life is so rich, I’m pretty sure I would be disappointed. Plus, you never know if some people were driven to the writing life because they felt alienated and outside the mainstream, they’ve become jaded after some years of success and rejection or they’d simply be jerks no matter what field they were in. Thanks again for the words of wisdom!

    Also, I’m totally jealous Judy Blume interacted with you on Twitter. Awesomeness!

  9. I was going to say that people come to conferences for different reasons, their attention is pulling in 1000 directions, cut them some slack…but then I realized the same thing had happened to me 2 years ago and it definitely affected my “relationship” with the person. She went from someone I considered an online friend to someone I see as an online personality who doesn’t have much substance to offer unless it serves her.

    Ah well. Fortunately there are plenty of fish in this big old blogging sea.

    1. I second SueBob. I have been around the scene for a long time – including a rather memorable 2006 BlogHer where I was a speaker (holy dating myself, Batman). I was in a weird situation where another Blogger met both Myself and another Blogger (who is now a Brand) and wrote about meeting us both, with a favorable impression of me, and a not so favorable impression of her. But the truth is…That Blogger was RIGHT on the money in 2006. The Now Brand Blogger was dismissive and rude. She had an agenda which was promotion of herself – and stuck to it. I privately told mutual friends that I think she would cut her own grandmothers throat and blog about it if she thought it would help her.

      The bottom line is that we All blog for different reasons – and some do it AS a business. Others of us are just storytellers. I like to hang with the Storytellers, myself. And frankly that Sponsor Hall scares me more than I can possibly express.

      1. Balefulregards, now I want to go just to see that sponsor hall! LOL!
        THanks for making me laing laugh and fror the little drop of advice in your story, which is, always represent the and treat others as you would like to be treated.

        Best regards,

        La Frau

  10. It happened to me, though on a much smaller scale. I ran into another local blogger at our kids’ playschool picnic. We both knew far too much about each other already, and our brief attempts at conversation just fell flat. I admire her brand and her focus on brand-building and self-promotion, but it doesn’t make for much of a face-to-face chat!

  11. I think it is always unfortunate when your fantasy runs into reality and somehow disappointment is inevitable. I have been happily impressed and also the brunt of the dismissive poopyhead!! It’s their loss, we are fabulous and we love some and some love us….don’t beat yourself up…surround yourself with love not promotionwhores! I was very sad and felt that I was the one responsible for the attitude, it took a while, I’m better now! Love you, you bring me JOY…keep it up xOxO

  12. Hmmm, had a similar experience. Wonder if it was with the same blogger. On the other had, I had a great experience meeting up with friends I met on SheWrites and Twitter to support a fellow writer at a reading after the release of her first novel, a case when virtual meeting real wasn’t a collision, but a confirmation.

  13. I remember my 1st conference BlogHer10, I was a scared,nervous nobody in what seemed like an ocean of frighteningly smart, beautiful, well connected women. What the hell was I doing there?

    I was fortunate to meet a couple of my favorite big bloggers, 2 who had influenced my decision to blog, while clearly busy, these gals knew me right off
    they made me feel welcome, a part of the community.

    Brands come, brands go but the biggest sources of support, actually help with
    running a site and work, yes paid work come from nurturing our connections with other bloggers.This is a fact that you clearly understand, a reason why I love your community!

    I’ll be at BlogHer11, I’m not a big blogger but I’m not a nobody anymore & I hope that if I meet a newcomer who admires me, that I’ll have the preference of mind to say /do “hey I’m going to meet with brand X wanna come along? or can I take a couple of your cards to share?”

    Thanks for this post, food for reflection and thought as always!

  14. I totally “get” this. I think even when you’re personal on your blog, it’s still only one layer of the onion you’re revealing to others. Not to mention you’re choosing what to put out there, and often it’s how you *want* other people to view you.

  15. Another stellar post! And I agree with you whole heartedly about the need to be cautious when stepping out from behind your blog and meeting your readers.

    While my readers are overall an amazing group of people, there is a small percentage who truly do believe they are part of my family. This has made the security side of my brain kick into gear more than a few times. It pays to be cautious when you are going to be meeting with fans.

    And as far as other bloggers go, I tend to get the same self-promoting attitude when I meet other bloggers. I realize blogging is their focus but, but the cheerful tone of the blog should at least be a small indication of the bloggers true temperament.

    But for those who haven’t met YOU, I can assure them all that you have made your blog a true extension of you… very real! (One note though: if you’re a big guy don’t stand next to Bec in pictures at the NYT… I look like Big Foot compared to you and the other bloggers)

  16. How true! And well-said. Meeting IRL is sort of like a blind date – you ‘kinda’ know each other – but not really. Meeting someone for the first time holds all sorts of expectations and it’s a shock when you don’t really like this person. This has happened to me once or twice – and it’s enough to make one wary. Some people are just better on paper.

    As usual Mz Rebecca – you tend to say what everyone else is thinking. And for that we, your virtual fans, should be clamouring to bask in your bright light!! Pass the SPF 30 please…

  17. Rebecca – I have to say – not only do I love your writing, but I adore you too. You are always right on the money with your thoughts and with this post, I absolutely agree. Been there, done that and frankly, if someone is a fan of your writing, you should be gracious and humble and not dismissive. In my career, I’ve had the chance to meet best selling authors and celebrities and the ones who are kind and inspiring are the ones who I will be fans of for life.

    1. Beth, you are one of the most generous people in this field. You were also one of the first people I met. It’s funny – all of the women I met when we were all just starting out so many years ago now through NYC Moms and the SV Moms group are still most of my favorite women. Maybe because we all evolved together and figured this out together there is an understanding and bond that continues. I don’t know – but I’m feel very lucky to know you and my other SV moms writers!

  18. There are some relationships that do better online than in person. Probably applies to all kids of other contexts too! That said, you are one blogger I look forward to seeing in person!

  19. As a newbie to the blogosphere, i totally get what you’re saying. Because there are unknowns to blogging (voice recognition, face recognition, body language) there’s more of an upside to immediately “like” the blogger (pardon the facebook terminology here). It’s when you meet them in person that more of there truer colors and motive come to light. That being said, I kind of like never having been to a blogging event yet because right now, I enjoy all of the bloggers I follow (in the 2-dimensional world). It’s almost like reading a book that you LOVED and then seeing the movie and not like the actors who were chosen to play your favorite characters. Afterwards, it’s hard to get those images and feelings out of your head.

  20. I loved this. An insight to such new territory we are all connecting on. I couldn’t sleep as troubled over real life similar dynamics & after reading this realized I have observed in social media similar thing. Sooo maybe the blogging environment as “unreal” as people like to call it is real after all. That the good & bad of community plays out wherever & however mankind connects. Thank you. I think I can sleep now:)

  21. I haven’t been to any events to meet any other bloggers yet but I will be this summer. It will be interesting to see if that happens. I think we all form ideas based on who we *think* people are and they are probably not always accurate.

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