In response to Prodigal Blogger...
Sarah’s post today had my head spinning – not because it was a complex or an extremely deep piece of writing, but rather, it got me thinking of so many things simultaniously. As I write this I am going to try to sort it all out so it makes sense. Things usually do once you put them in print.
She spoke of something close to my heart and that’s people – specifically friendships, connections and their dynamic.
“What to call her? I almost said, “My friend, Olga…” but I thought, “Friend? You’ve never even met the woman!” Then I thought about “blogger buddy”… but if you don’t blog, then you wouldn’t get it. I finally said, “A woman I know…””
got me thinking. What DOES it take to gain the status of “friend”? I suppose this quiestion could open up a whole discussion on friendships in general, but I’d like to keep this discussion as closely tied to the comment as possible. The question could then become “What does it take to gain the status of “friend” when all you do is correspond electronically?”
Does it matter?
Do you have to be “in person”?
Is not the written word simply another form of communication?
Dictionary.com defines “friend” as:
1. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
2. A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
3. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.
4. One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement: friends of the clean air movement.
5. Friend A member of the Society of Friends; a Quaker.
By definition then, you don’t necessarily have to have met someone to consider them a friend. Sometimes it’s far easier to get to “know” someone by their writing – especially in the blogging world. I’ve come to recognize that so many of us will bear our souls to the screen and the unseen face LONG BEFORE we EVER trust in someone enough to do so face-to-face. It’s like a safety net, I suppose – being that one step removed in the communication process.
Would you not agree that it’s easier to throw our problems on the page and post than to hold somone’s hand, tell them our troubles and fears and leave ourselves vulnerable and open to the naked eye?
Of course, some will agree, others won’t.
There are those as Sarah’s pointed out who are “dead set against blogging. …it is just plain weird.” The argument “Why don’t people actually sit down face to face and have a conversation?” is quite valid in my opinion. I asked the same question of the friend of mine who first got me to “instant message” – in those days on ICQ. She lived three districts over from me, and I couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t just pick up the blasted phone – or better yet, just meet at the pub for a bevy!
Is it boarderline “anti-social” to blog because it’s not “in person”?
Is blogging another form of communication that has opened up a vast number of opportunities to meet people from places and cultures that we normally wouldn’t ever have known existed?
It’s quite obvious to me that friendships and bonds develop in the blogosphere.
“I was shocked… felt a bit betrayed… angry… and sad. “How could he just leave like that? Without a word to anyone? Where the hell did he go?” I wondered.”
Are these not the feelings of having lost a friend?
In this blogger’s opinion, yes, friendships are real here – however they simply take a form different than that of our in-person relationships.
Other things I thought about when I read the post:
-I, too missed our lost and lurking friend – absolutely thrilled to see he’s returned!
-“I actually had the fellow’s e-mail address somewhere and I knew his name. I could have Googled him or something, I suppose… tried to stay in contact. But really… what’s the point? I figure that if someone decides the time is right to walk away, you let them go.”
This happened to me when I was 10. We moved districts and I lost touch with some dear friends simply by not calling! How silly is that? At 10 I figured that’s just what you do when you can’t readily walk to their house for a visit. Funny thing is, I bumped into them both last November – 25 years after the fact. I made it clear I wanted to stay in touch – “here’s my number…” and to this day I have not heard from them. I suppose “if someone decides the time is right to walk away, you let them go.” – happens, but it isn't always comforting - right or wrong.
-With reference to the ham radio parallel to blogging – spot on!
So really, whether you’re near or far, communicate by pen, screen or the spoken word, the feelings we feel for our friends of all connections are very real, and THAT’S what makes a friendship – in my humble opinion.