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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Friends - Bloggers and Real Life

I never took the time to think about the intersection of my friends in real life and my bloggy friends. I suppose I always thought never the two shall meet but unexpectedly I had to face this situation head-on. I was doing my usual, reading the most recent posts of my bloggy friends and there it was – like a light flashing Morse code on a fog- filled night. A request from a new bloggy friend, specifically, a request to become a facebook friend. Beckoning me. And being the person that I am, I took the request to be directed at me. No, my name was not mentioned it was a general request but I am a reader/new friend and of course I would comply with this simplest of all requests.

Or would I?

You see, although my face is plastered on my blog I have not mentioned my last name. You have a general indication of where I live but not an exact town. So although I am not an anonymous blogger, only those aspects of my life that I chose to reveal are posted for all to see.

Facebook is a whole ‘nother story.

Facebook is composed of my friends in real life. Some have known me since kindergarten, others middle school, high school, college, grad school, live in South Africa, live here - I think you get the picture. There are those that want to network – mostly individuals that I may or may not have met in college but want to connect. And a very tiny percentage – less than 2% ,are friends of friends that I added because well, they have good references. But never have I added a bloggy friend.

You may wonder what the big deal is. Well, I will tell you. As bloggy friends you actually know me quite well. You know the minutia of my daily existence, my triumphs and vulnerabilities. You my friends, know me. And of course since I have only been at this for (not quite) 2 months there is still mucho terrain to cover but you do know me.

Many of my friends in real life do not know me as intimately. You know the drill – we become adults and life happens. We check in on a monthly, yearly, five-year, ten-year time frame and life goes on. Not because we are not close but, you know, life happens.

So here is the dilemma. Do I let my bloggy friends know me totally and completely? Or do I just compartmentalize and keep my friends in their respective places. Because I don’t know about you but most of my friends in real life do not read my blog. They have been invited – on facebook as a matter of fact – but only a few have stopped in. Some let me know subtly others overtly and I am cool with that.

Am I cool with letting my bloggy friends into the real world?

I guess I am. But it will be on a case-by-case basis and of course I need references because really you never can be too safe nowadays (which directly contradicts my behavior in Paris Рbut I chalk that up to youth and naivet̩). Whew!

I have a friend request in on facebook for my new bloggy friend. I wonder what will happen next? Nothing I am sure. I will be just another friend among a host of friends and all of my worry will have been for naught.

So I have a question for you - do you mix bloggy friends with your real world friends?

31 comments:

Babette said...

I pick and choose who I let into my 'real world'. I have some friends I met through blogging. I actually met one in person this summer when we visited Germany. I was glad that I made the right choice, she is a keeper. :)

fly tie said...

here lately many of my bloggy friends *are* or have become my real world friends, complete with in person acquaintances and all. (something about those in other places being more relatable than those physically around me)

i understand where you're coming from, though. i guess it's just a matter of building a relationship over time and then assessing whether or not the person you've only known on an internet basis is someone you wanna let into your life on a "real world" basis.

Robert Saunders said...

Facebook does have options for you to control how much people can read about you. You can think of it as different levels of information you choose to reveal. It's under privacy settings.

Or you might choose to create a Facebook "Page" or "Group" for your blog, and allow bloggy friends to join that instead.

I chose the second option. I have yet to add a link from my blog (skylarking.us) to its Facebook group. Something to do now. 8-)

Ms. Bar B: said...

I totally feel you. I find myself being afraid to post certain things (stories, etc) on my blog for fear that my bff will actually decide to stop by and read all about how much things that she does bother me.

I was once a Cafe Mom person and I did accept friends from there on my Myspace. I guess it just depends on how comfy you are with whoever the person is who wants to be a... um... lets call them "well-rounded friends".

Zip n Tizzy said...

All very good questions. I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with the whole facebook thing in general. It's a rather odd bird.

Kelly said...

i completely understand your dilemma. if i were that bloggy friend i wouldn't be upset if you didn't approve me. you can never be too careful.

btw, you won my giveaway! come to my blog!

Amazing_Grace said...

I don't have any real friends so that makes it easy. :)

Dawn said...

I have only been here a couple of months too and have come across the same dilemma. It's hard to know what to do. I have real life friends who read my blog, but I haven't added any blog friends on Facebook, etc. I think the big picture is that our blog friends become real life friends in a sense, and I think once you've connected in that way, then it is ok to let them in. Good post!

Dr. Rhonda said...

Because I am an overly cautious Mom/Woman I'd choose to err on the side of caution on this one. Take it case by case but even with that I'd probably have to be really good bloggy friends with someone for awhile before I opened the "facebook" door to them. Just my 2 cents!

Petra said...

Hmm..I haven't had to face this question yet, so I am not sure how to respond. But I guess I would also take it on a case-by-case basis by how "well" I know the bloggy friend and what my gut tells me.

Patty said...

I've never had that problem, and hopefully I won't. I am not sure I want to mix the two. I consider myself to be a very private person, though I find myself opening up more since I started my blogs. I guess I'll just have to wait to see what happens when that time comes.

Christy said...

For me, there are a few people that read my blog that I've just connected with--not sure how or why; I guess it's the same thing in real life when you feel a connection with someone and you want to get to know them better. So there are a couple that I've emailed, spoken to on the phone or added to the FB page, but it is definitely on a case by case basis and only after I felt comfortable that I know enough about them for them to be "legit."

1stopmom said...

That is such a interesting question. Because of my social anxiety I don't have lots of "real" friends. I have more bloggy friends so I have not to make this type of decision. I have been very, very open on my blogs but I would still do it on a case by case basis. You know just to be on the safe side. Maybe you should make a facebook just for Cutie Booty Cakes. That way you can still be private and network comfortably.

T.Allen-Mercado said...

My blog friends are my only friends with the exception of my husband-who is simply creme de la creme of all friends! *giggle*

I am painfully introverted, self absorbed even, so those who know me through my blog get a fuller, clearer, more accurate picture of who I am. Suffice it to say if they keep coming back-we're all good. In person I am the reserved observationist, I can glean more about you that way, but you'd never get a handle on me. I have a goal to speak with some of my on-line buddies-I'm concerned that actually meeting them might not go over as well. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Lisa C said...

I didn't, in the beginning. Now, I've let down my veil and allowed my friends and family to come in to my blogging world and I'm so glad that I did.

No more having to juggle what I can reveal and or can't. No more keeping this side of me private and tucked away. It's been liberating.

Of course that has taken me two years and some, but never late than never I say!

My facebook consists of blogging, family, friends from school, from my neighborhood. And I just recently added friends of friends.

Petula said...

Well a couple of blogging friends have hooked up with me on MySpace and I think I had a little pause too. IBut, I figure if someone tracks me down on MySpace for something other than networking then they must really think they like me as a person and vice versa. I haven't really gotten any closer to anyone, but sometimes I'll send a message or say hello. Besides a couple of INRL friends, I really look forward to interacting and talking to blogging friends more.

texasholly said...

Renee,
This is a great discussion. I have thought long and hard about it and have decided that I am an open book to all. The only reason why I don't use my last name on my blog directly is because I use my children's names and post their pictures daily.

The first few weeks on facebook were really strange for me since it was the first time on the internet I wasn't anonymous of sorts.

My real life friends know about the blog and some of them read it. It is funny because some of them think it sounds just like me and some think I am very different online.

My husband has requested that he not be pictured or named on my blog which I do. I do have a family picture posted on facebook, but that is to a known audience which now includes you! YEAH!

followthatdog said...

I have crossed the blog/twitter/cragislist to real life friends a couple of times. And it has always been fantastic. Some of my closest pals now are people I met via my internet addiction. Wouldn't change a thing.

Lynda said...

Wow, what a thought provoking post. I know EXACTLY what you mean & EXACTLY how you feel ! All my friends who read my blog are online friends - I have never met any of them "in the flesh" although some of them I've been friends with for YEARS now. Not one of my "real" friends who live around me knows about my blog. I haven't told them because ... well .... for the same reasons you point out. I'm also careful not to post personal info/exact location etc online. Merging blog friends with Facebook friends etc ? Mmmmm. Don't think so. My blog is personal and my Facebook/real life is personal, but both in different ways. If that makes any sense !!

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

I have a facebook profile too and have been going back and forth and whether to put it on my blog. I just don't know. So far I have only met wonderful friends blogging so that is okay it is just the question do I mix everything all together or not? Will be anxious to see what you do.

Elizabeth Channel said...

Ironically, I have come across this very issue this weekend when visiting long-time friends who are avid Facebook users. I mentioned my blog (because I really don't use Facebook) and later they emailed me to ask why all the names were different.

I don't think I would ever mix the two because of privacy, but that's just me. I do have a few "local" friends who read my blog, and I want them to read, if they are interested.

Thought-providing discussion!

Kate said...

oh, I know just what you mean. I'm always bordering on the is-this-kosher when it comes to someone I meet in the blogosphere hopping over into my real world existence. I haven't been blogging long enough to really worry, but the few folks who have "crossed over" I feel genuinely glad that they did. Awesome diaper cakes by the way. So ordering one in a few months when i throw a baby shower.

Threeboys1mommy said...

Have you found yourself visiting a blog and clicking on after the first second? Then there are the pages you feel an instant connection with.

I think it's a powerful thing to connect through words, through images. And while I would be tentative to meet blogging friends, I strongly believe the connection would carry over.

So when are you coming to L.A? ;)

angie said...

Not on facebook.......I have some bloggy friends on goodreads....some of my bloggy friends I know from another support group and I'm friends with some of them on facebook.....but other than that.....no.

Maria Justine said...

been here!yummy cakes!:-)
http://nicotinesworld.com

dreamwalker said...

To be honest, I tried to separate them - I didn't tell my "real-life" friends about my blog but they discovered it so nothing can be done about that. My bloggy friends are quite far from me, though, so we don't really meet up. Now, I wouldn't mind mixing them anymore. Who says blogging is unreal anyway? :)

JenniBeanV said...

I do mix! I hav honestly met some of the best friends I have ever had online!

Sus said...

i do but i sorta wish i didn't. wish i could reveal things anonymously on my blog that i can't - because they affect the people i know in real life. probably best, though, since my mama taught me early on that i shouldn't write it down if i don't want the world to read it at some point.

Greg said...

For the very same reason, I created 2 separate facebook accounts. One for friends and family and one for online mommy networking.

I don't mix real life with online because some of my real life friends may say something on my wall that may make my online wholesome mommies clutch their pearls. And if my real life friends find out that I blog, they'd be all in my business asking me to make them a blog and I honestly don't have the time to do something so tedious for free for someone who may abandon it.


I could probably make a 3rd facebook account because online I have 2 categories of online friends/associates. I've been blogging for 7 years. In my earlier years, I brought in a crowd of "teeny boppers". So now I'm all into being a momtrepreneur and I've left all of those people behind.

SerenityLife said...

I shut down facebook my facebook account because of this. I do not want to mix the lives of my offline friends and blog friends.

I prefer this outward living online only because we all are sharing whereas my offline life friends are not that talkative nor did they ever take the time to get to know me.

As I was beginning to share a little bit more of myself on facebook my friends were surprised about a lot about me but that is because they never listened or paid much attention to me when we were growing up. I feel they are not entitled to that life if now even 20 years plus of trying to know them they will not open their eyes.

I do not talk that much about my private life in general but when I do I know my offline friends never listen. Therefore, my words of wisdom here are NO!

Long winded but had to share! Sorry!

[This is TheJennTaFur from PoshMama/Twitter]

Joanie said...

I compartmentalize like nobody's business. I have friends who are strictly blog friends. I have blog friends I also know in real life. I have non-blog friends who know I blog, but don't know under what name. I have have friends who don't even know what a blog is.

A lot depends on the person. A lot depends on our level of trust. I have someone I love and adore and want to have in my life in the worst way on a permanent basis, but I'm not so sure about letting him into my blogworld just yet. Weird, eh?

Da Goddess

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