July 15, 2009

Blogging for People Who Don't Blog

How do you explain blogging to people who don't blog?

I was driving with my sister-in-law last week when I noticed a small airplane taking off from a large body of water (we'll call it a river because that's what it was).

"Oh look!" I said, pointing.

She looked, "Cool!"

We sat in silence for a few minutes, watching the road.

I said, "I want to tell you that I know someone who can fly one of those but I really only know her through blogging. I read her blog, she's read my blog, we've emailed a few times. It's not like I know her in person."

She said, "Oh yeah? That's cool. I knew a guy in high school who already had his pilot's license."

"Really? I can't even imagine. I'd be terrified. I hate flying."

"Yeah. Me, too!"


Shortly after I was featured at SITS I was talking to my parents on the phone. I told them I'd been featured, I explained what SITS is and then I said, "And I had over 600 comments in one day!"

There was a long pause and then my dad said, "Wow! That's a lot of comments... isn't it?"


My mother-in-law was visiting a few weeks ago, shortly after I was featured. We were having breakfast and getting ready to go to an event. I checked my email and said, "Wow! It's been three days since I was featured and I'm still getting tons of blog comments. I have 45 new messages this morning. I won't read them all now, though, since we have to get ready."

She agreed, "No. Just check your personal ones."

"Well, they're all personal. They're blog comments." (T-shirt idea: "Blog Comments: It's personal")

"Well, you can certainly skip the spam," she told me.

"I don't have spam. I have blog comments."

She looked at me for a few minutes, shrugged and went back to her breakfast.

Later we were sitting together on the couch watching television. I had my computer on my lap and was reading a post by Kelly at Don Mills Diva (oddly the same blogger who can fly those airplanes that land on water - I think I might have a case of blogging mentionitis). Kelly's post told how her son came very close to being hit by a car in a parking lot at her local grocery store. I must have looked terrified because when my mother-in-law happened to glance over at me she asked, "What's wrong?"

I explained. She looked mystified.

I'm sure she wondered why I cared so much about someone I'd never even met.


It's just that I feel like I know the bloggers whose blogs I read. Especially those, like Kelly, who I read regularly and who have read my blog and who I've emailed with a few times (or more than a few times in some cases). It feels like a friendship, even though I've never met them in person.

My friends and family don't blog. Most of them don't even read my blog, much less anyone else's. They certainly don't view the relationship I have with my fellow bloggers as friendships. Some of my (real-life, live and in the flesh) friends don't even have internet at home (how do they live, I ask you?).

My friends and family just don't get it.

They think the whole thing is kind of weird, I'm sure.

And I find it awkward to talk about.

So, I ask you again, how do you explain blogging to people who don't blog?

.....

58 comments :

Patrice said...

Great post! I love it! It is so so hard to explain to people that don't blog. I just end up saying "you can't understand unless you do it." I also end up saying "don't knock it until you try it!" People look at me like I'm crazy all the time when I say these people are my friends! You just can't understand unless you do it, I guess.

Tiaras said...

so true - when I first started my blog - I told three IRL friends - they never once looked at my posts - I never mentioned again to anyone. no one I know knows I blog. I won't tell them either!

Mammatalk said...

Nobody around here gets it either. Except me.

Lee said...

I was just thinking about that the other day. I wondered how many of my real life friends blogged. It's not something we have discussed. My little brother is my faithful family reader, and he keeps the rest of my family informed. My hubby doesn't even read mine!

teasinglydiverse said...

I have so completely had those experiences. I also talk about my blog readers as my friends, and then have to explain I've never met them (which, to a lot of people, means they aren't really my friends...). It's definitely a unique experience I don't think you can understand unless you've experienced something similar. I've pretty much stopped trying to explain. Great post!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

First of all, I can toatlly relate. No one in my circle of friends gets it. My kids kind of do, as they are internet savvy and big time Facebookers.

Secondly, I am so going to steal the term blogging mentionitis. Brilliant.

Mama Bee said...

A local radio program was discussing this yesterday: are internet relationships REALLY relationships?

I looked over to my husband and said, Of course they are!

One of the hosts brought up "You've Got Mail" and the other host dismissed it saying, "Oh that's totally different."

But it's not! To me, blogging and internet relationships are the modern day pen pal. Sure, maybe it'd be weird if we met in real life (or IRL, as the kids say), but when I read a funny story that happened to a blogger or about how a blogger's marriage might be falling apart, it affects me. I think I'd be worried if it didn't.

Wow. That way too deep for a Wednesday. Back to blogging about cameras up my butt ;)

Katie said...

Most of my family doesn't read my blog either. You would think the grandparents would at least! I think you either get blogs or you don't. And I think you can only understand them if you read them.

Michelle said...

The only people IRL that read my blog are my mom and sister, and they blog, too. Outside of that, people just stare at me like I have a third eyeball.

camerapatty said...

My 16 year old daughter gets it but no one else does.

Just like none of them understand my fascination at taking 100's of photographs of the same thing.

Wishing you a scent-sational day in the land of blogs.
Patty

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Beats me! One of my sisters is just mortified that I share my emotions on my blog. I could never expaln to her satisfaction how emotionally invested we wre with each other. Keep on bloggin' in the free world... and everywhere else too!

Tammy Howard said...

My sister and a couple of my friends take it a step further and actually make fun of me a little for it. They don't get it.

Sometimes my online world is more real to me than my 'IRL' world, and maybe that's a little wrong. Or maybe it's exactly right.

If the whole world can mourn when a celebrity dies (or - really - get excited about ANYthing in the celebrity sub-culture) is it such a stretch to think that we might actually care about people we read about and chat with online? That we might mourn and celebrate with them?

I don't know. I love it. You obviously love it. A lot of people don't get it. I guess that's ok. I don't know how we COULD explain it to people who just don't get it - and don't want to. There are a lot of sub-cultures I don't get (and don't want to)

scrappysue said...

that's a tough one, but a great post mel and i totally hear you! my family don't blog, and i have friends who say 'i don't read blogs'. that's like saying, 'i don't surf the internet'! i just can't find a way to explain it!

excellent post.

600 comments huh? i'm officially in the 'queue' - watch this space! they said 'months'.....

That's Who I Am said...

Love this post:) NO those who don't blog just don't get it! I don't know why they don't understand us bloggers. I have even been a bit reluctant to share my blog with my family because they will think I am a weirdo! But I love it and I get it and that's all that matters...just wanted to say hi from SITS!

CC said...

No idea! I went through this even more when I was a strong part of an online bulletin board community. I became such close friends with people I'd never met IRL and would talk about them all the time. Everyone thought I was nuts.

John Deere Mom said...

You explained that really well. I don't think non-bloggers ever really get it.

Jen said...

I come across the same thing when talking to people that don't blog.
But I must admit I have been able to have a good cross over b/c real life people reading my blog. I share it with everyone. Some get it, some don't.

But WOW 600 comments in one day. That is amazing. That is more than double of what I got when I was featured almost a year ago. It just goes to show how awesome SITS is. Good for you!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Hmmn, when I wasn't a blogger I kind of felt like I got it. I think the only reason that was the case for me is because upon relocating to NC I met most of my friends online before meeting them "IRL." So for me I had to first explain how I met friends in person after I already knew so much about them, so it's kind of a pre-blogging intro, and that is why I sort of knew what I was getting into. And yet, I'm SO not a popular blogger, and I want to shout with glee when I get some random comments, so I get it when you talk about people who don't get it. Ya know? ;)

Jenn said...

I don't really talk about it much. I agree, it's something that people don't get. I didn't get it until I started doing it.

600 comments? Rock on with your bad self!

Queenie Jeannie said...

I agree! I only know a couple "in real life" friends who blog, so everyone else thinks it's sorta freaky. I mention I have a blog and they look at you like you have a disease, lol!

Don't hate me because I blog, lol!!!!

Great post! Hugs!!!

Ginger said...

This is a type of community. That's how I try to explain it. We all try to support one another. Also just in the consideration of each other's thoughts we've become virtually important and dear to one another. We help each other matter. In that way blogging is very personal.

:)

Lovely!

Sarah said...

Usually if I'm explaining something I read on a blog, I just say "something I read on the internet" and don't explain further. Maybe I should to expand understand about blogs, but for some reason I just don't.

Except for my husband, no one really knows I blog.

mommaof4wife2r said...

i have the same prob...hubs thinks it's ok, but a little wasteful ont he timefront.

i need the t shirt!

Michele said...

How do I explain it? By not discussing it. I haven't told anyone about my blog simply because I don't want to be afraid of writing something that is going to irritate someone...I don't want to be censored. If I write about how I had to go to some boring function and someone from that function reads that, well, that's not going to be pleasant. Most of the people I know, to my knowledge, don't even follow blogs, but it will be just my luck if I mention mine that they'd go look for it and then...

The blogging community is just that--either you're "in" or you're not. Gosh, that sounds clickish, doesn't it? Okay, how about the blogging community is an open group, but if you're not in it then it's hard for others to understand why we like it, do it, etc.

Elaine A. said...

Most of my IRL friends and famliy have a concept of it but some read and some don't and most just don't get the camaraderie of it all. But what they REALLY don't get?? Twitter. ; )

Michelle said...

Too funny!

My solution is super easy, and it totally works. I explain blogging like this: ....

Yep, no one knows about the blog. Ahhhhh :)

Deb said...

With my parents, I don't even try. My mom doesn't really understand the Internet in general and my dad couldn't care less. But my sister reads regularly and so do some of my cousins and in-laws. It is awesome to have non-blogger friends who read and comment. The one thing I've been unable to explain to anyone is the concept of RSS or subscribing. I think they only read when I post a link on my Facebook page.

Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

I totally hear you.
My husband said to me last night 'someone wants to know your blog address. They asked me what it was about and I had to admit I had no idea. It's something about being a mum isn't it?'
Sheesh!

Lizzie said...

been in very similar situations. i always say it's an on going conversation about my life and family. yup some people just don't get it :)

MoxieMamaKC said...

No one in my IRL knows about my super secret blogging identity, but I tried to explain to my boss what a blog was one time and his eyes just glazed over and it didn't compute. Sigh, what can you do?

Magaly Guerrero said...

In my family, I'm the only one who joined the military, the only who enjoys a good run, the only one who likes camping, one who blogs... so dear I UNDERSTAND! My dad once asked me, "Why would read stuff from strangers." And I'll say "Papi they are not 'strangers' they are my blogger friends." Then he goes "But you don't know them." Here is when I give him a hug and say "I love you Papi" that always ends a pointless conversation.

Happy Saturday Sharefest!

Fantabulously Frugal said...

Coming over from the SITS Sharefest. Great post! And I have a secret - sometimes I enjoy my blog friends more than my real friends! I enjoy the stories, and because of the constant updating, I sometimes feel like I know the blogger better!

Odd, isn't it?

The Mumpowers said...

When I first decided to start a family blog back in February, no one was really sure how it would be. But once I started, I'm addicted and now have a second blog just as a creative outlet. Great post!

The Mumpowers said...

Oops! Almost forgot to say thanks for suggesting Sandra Boynton books on my blog. I'll have to go see what ones our library has. :)

WhisperingWriter said...

Love this.

Most of the people I know don't blog either. I try to explain but it basically goes right over their heads.

My Mom reads my blog though so she comprehends it. However, sometimes she's all, "I can't believe you wrote that! You shouldn't curse!"

Melissa B. said...

I know what you mean! I was talking to a fellow teacher about "guest teaching" one class...they were studying newspapers, and I'm a former journalist, so I was going to talk to the class one day. I told her it was sort of like "guest blogging." She looked at me like I was from Mars. SITS sent me...glad they did!

Becky said...

This has become especially true to me since I was FB last week. I have had the conversation of explaining SITS to SO many people now, who just don't get it, and you can see in their blank face they just aren't understanding the whole concept. It HAS become such a part of my life, and these bloggers my FRIENDS. A part of my daily life. I guess it's just something you just don't understand until you do it.

Thanks so much for coming by on my special day! It. was. Fabulous!

Beth said...

No clue how to explain BUT I love the t-shirt idea!

glenna said...

I hear ya SISTA! My grow kids think it's cute that Nana is blogging. LOL

Mikki Black said...

Hey there, just swingin' by from SITS to say hello.

I think I may be an underground blogger. or maybe I'm ashamed of myself? I guess I just don't like to talk about myself much, because I never bring it up unless someone else does.

My mom, however.... sheesh. That lady'll talk your darn ear right off onto the ground about it. :)

candiacrew said...

My hubby still doesn't get when people I don't know in real life want to know about how things are going. He often asks me who people are and I give them the run down of what I know about them from their blogs. I especially love the camaraderie I end up feeling from people who are repeat visitors.
Great post!

African American Mom said...

I have been holding back from even telling my husband but whem I did there was hardly no reaction at all. I don't get it...if there are millions of bloggers and even soem big companies have blogs--why is it weird that we blog?

Maricris Zen Mama said...

It's really kind of hard to explain. Most peeps gives you this quizzical look like you're nuts, from outer space or something. But I love blogging and I just tell them, I HAVE A WEBSITE! Seems to make more sense. Best of luck to you! and nice to meet you! :)

The Redhead Riter said...

I am finding that it is IMPOSSIBLE!


Half way there....Enjoy your Wednesday !

Linda @ My Trendy Tykes said...

I don't even try to explain.....Heck, I don't even tell my IRL friends and family that I have a blog. I wouldn't want them getting all embarrassed and stuff when I talk about them.

Just sayin'

Dee said...

I often though I should have named my Power of Attorney blog "The Reluctant Lawyer"

As to blogging I told a few people and then I never mentioned it again to those who never read it. Then I got my husband to start but he is not a regular. He understands however.

Beck said...

My real life family and friends read my blog - many of them are writers, so it's not that mysterious to them, and a lot of them have BLOGS OF THEIR OWN. i run, I suspect, in an odd crew.

(even my grandma reads my blog. And she recognizes a lot of my commentors now! ha.)

mama-face said...

I wrote about this...thinking it how weird it was that I don't tell people that I have a blog. And they would think I was downright crazy to have met such good friends through blogging. Crazier.

But, the family members I most wanted to keep away from my blog are the ones who found it....now I can't write about them. :(

I often wonder if the person I'm standing next to in line has a blog and we both lead secret lives. :)

TheSingleGirl said...

blogging is SO my secret world.

coming from a family of hooligans who refer to the internet as 'the interwebz' (and they're SERIOUS...they think that's what it's called) makes delving into the world of blogging (and showing excitement about said world) nearly impossible...and it puts me on the level of a dungeons and dragons kinda person in their mind.

i am way cooler than that.
;D
-michelle
DomesticationOfTheSingleGirl.blogspot.com

Melissa said...

Hi Mel, I fall into the category of "one of your real life friends who don't blog", but I do enjoy reading your blog once in a while. And I do understand the relationship between "online friends"....afterall, that's what kept us close through the years!

~ A Moxie Mom said...

I know what you mean only too well. I was trying to retell a funny story that one of my bloggy friends posted. After wiping the tears from her eyes from laughing so hard, my sister asked so how do you know her? I explained that we read each other's blogs. I was only met by a confused look. So explained further... We read each other's family websites. The wheels began turning, and she warned me to be careful... After all the Internet is a dangerous place.

Weeks later, she told me that it's ok for me to blog because most people (waving her hands towards all the traffic) have no idea that it even exists.

I laughed and thanked my younger sister for her permission. Then I told her in a whisper, "I like some of my imaginery, non-existant friends better than the ones that I know in REAL life."

Ms Batman said...

I work at a car dealership, so we are familiar with the slogan "It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand" so I sometimes say "It's a blog thing you wouldn't understand." It works.

My honey knows I have a blog but he's not interested in blogs, in Facebook, or Twitter.

Bethany said...

I totally understand. My friends and family think I'm so wacko for blogging and reading blogs, let alone meeting people who blog. LOL!

Sass E-mum said...

I don't. Sometimes Recaro 'outs' me, but my general approach is 'never apologise, never explain'.

By the way, I'm very excited to discover how much your blog has taken off. I've not been reading/writing for a while - but I don't expect you'll have missed me with all these comments.

Jeanette said...

LOL! Had to laugh because just 2 weeks ago I was sharing with a cousin (same age) that I had my own blog. His response? "I usually take something for that, like Pepto-Bismol when I get it" ROFL!!! , btw, we're not THAT old! LOL
sweetjeanette.blogspot.com

Holly Ann said...

The comment i usually receive is "did you really feel it necessary to write that?"... and yes, i really did...

i am opposed to facebook and myspace... blogging is a creative outlet for me...

Stopping in from SITS... love the t-shirt idea...

Happy Monday!

maya said...

No one understands...

The Empress said...

Oh, you're so right. I've made so many friends through blogging. And to think I didn't know them 6 months ago.

It's really something. I wish I would've had this blog thing when I first stayed home with my kids. I don't think I would've had the post partum depression I did. Because I wouldn't have been alone.

I'm your newest follower. And I love your writing style, it is so interesting.