Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crossing the Streams

My life, for the most part, is compartmentalized. I have three distinct areas--work, friends and online. My friends are not a part of my working life and my online life is completely segregated from my real life. There are a handful of people in my life who know that I write as Daddy Geek Boy. On line, I write a few blogs and am a regular member in a parenting community called Offsprung. But very few of my readers and acquaintances know me by anything more than my internet handle. However on occasion, there are times when the streams get crossed and one of my worlds bleeds into another.

Blogging is a strange thing. There are thousands of blogs on the interwebs and one of the things I find most fascinating is how small communities of bloggers tend to develop. The same people start to read and comment on each other's blogs. Sometimes these relationships migrate from these postings to places like Facebook and Twitter. And sometimes, you learn that these "virtual" people you have been connecting with live nearby. Before you know it, you've made plans to meet in person and the line between the internet and reality blurs.

This is how I found myself spending an evening in front of a fire pit drinking beer in the backyard of the original Hot Dad, Tent Camper, and his partner in crime, Mariah.

There is an established familiarity when you meet a blogger who's work you've read. You know their voice and you know their stories and you know about the people who populate their lives. It's a nice shorthand that cuts through the awkwardness of the beginning stages of a new friendship.

There were a few other people around the fire that night and as we were telling them how we all knew each other, somebody asked Tent Camper how did he know that I wasn't a lunatic and could be trusted in his home. Tent Camper's response was that he didn't. But he had a feeling I was okay. The same could be said about them. You never truly know who somebody is until you meet them in real life. But even though one's online persona isn't always exactly who they are in reality, if a person writes honestly you have a pretty good barometer.

It didn't surprise me to learn that Tent Camper and Mariah were just as warm, affable and cool as they are on line. We had a fantastic evening and each left wanting to do it again. They are good bloggers but more importantly, good people.

Sometimes it pays off to cross the streams.

So what about you? Have you met anyone from the blogging world in real life? If so, did they meet your expectations?


Unknown said...

I've done a few blogger meet-ups for expats when I was living in Germany. I enjoyed meeting the others I'd connected with online. They were pretty much the same people in person that I'd been reading online. It also helped we had a commonality being expats.

Usually I find people are fairly close to who they are online.

SciFi Dad said...

I have met a number of bloggers in real life. Some were co-ordinated playdates and others were large meet-ups.

Invariably, the people I knew beforehand have been more or less what I expected (both positive and negative attributes - example: one woman I met gave me the sense of being a bit snooty - nice, but snooty - and she was that was pretty much what I got).

The more interesting thing, at least for me, is that at all the meet-ups I always ended up spending more time talking to someone I didn't know beforehand than those whose blogs I knew. It's weird how that always works out.

dadshouse said...

Hey, that's awesome. I've met a good number of bloggers, usually for drinks, and they've all been really nice people. Glad to hear good things about TentCamper and Mariah. I had a good feeling about them too.

btw - when I read the title of your post, I picture boys peeing at the same time...

Your escalator operator said...

Enjoyed this one. I'm the same way: I usually like to keep everything separate, but I'm trying to get over it. :)

The Absurdist said...

I had a similar experience just last night. I went to a poetry/comedy show in NYC hosted by two people I follow on twitter. Her poetry was very good, his comedy very funny. Open mic was, well, open mic. The people themselves were just who I thought they'd be.

Interestingly enough a friend of theirs is a frequent guest on two news commentary shows I watch and she is every bit as sweet, brilliant and pretty in person as she is on-camera. Frankly, that was a pleasant surprise. The fact that, after talking politics for half an hour, she invited me to join them for dinner was high flattery indeed!


Ok, I'm jealous that you got to hang out with TentCamper and Mariah.

I have met a few bloggers, traveled to their locations and even stayed with them! And I was met with the same questions, "How do you know you're safe?!?"

Well... as you so eloquently put it, you just have a feeling.

Love the blogosphere!

TentCamper said...

Well sir....I have to say that you have some set of balls to go out at night to the house of two crazy people that you have never met. Nice lesson for the kiddies.
It was great to meet you too and I've only met a handful and MOST seemed pretty much like they do online...
There are a few more local peeps that I'd like to meet up with...just have to have the right time.

***Come back to the fire pit ANYTIME!!!!!

Mariah said...

It is very interesting when the lines cross. I tried to keep things private for a good while, but now that I've met people in real life that I have only known via the internet I'm all for it!

Was GREAT meeting you! and YES, lets do it again. Not 'do it' but you know... do the fire pit again or dinner or whatever

Jody said...

She wasn't a blogger but a poster at the Lost message boards. We actually talked for almost 3 1/2 years before we realized we lived only 20 minutes away from each other. We met at a Disney store for our safety and have been best friend since then.
She is one of the greatest people I know.

DGB said...

One of my favorite things about the evening was when I came to the door. Mariah answered and tried to pretend that I had the wrong house.

That might have worked if she didn't post pictures of herself on her blog!

But it was pretty funny.

OneZenMom said...

Congratulations on popping your online-offline cherry! I hope TC and Mariah were gentle with you. sounds like they were. ;)

Before I ever started blogging or Facebooking or Twittering, I was CafeMom-ing.

I "met" a great group of awesome women there and we've all become good friends and created our own little online support group. A lot like your group on OffSprung, actually!

After almost two years of interacting online, I finally got up the courage to meet one of the moms who lived not too far from me. It was great! There was no awkwardness or uneasiness - it was like meeting an old friend. And we've become great IRL friends!

Last October, our CafeMom group took a big leap: A dozen of us all met in Vegas for a long weekend!

It. Was. Awesome!

After so many, many months of talking and sharing online, we all felt like we knew each other so well already and we just "clicked".

Since then, we have had several small group meet-ups for us West Coast moms. And we have more get-togethers planned.

I tend to be really shy in "new" situations, but I am so, so glad I took the chance to meet my online friends in person. I really do count these ladies among my very good friends, now.

Jeez, I wrote a whole freakin' post here, didn't I? Sorry. Blame the cold medicine I'm all hopped up on today. ;)

Brandy said...

I've never met another blogger in person. At least not yet. I have plans for a "bloggyfest" in November & frankly I'm a little nervous. Not because I think they are axe murderers or anything, but just because I'm meeting someone new.

I hope what you said about being familiar with them after reading their blogs rings true for me too.

And I want an invite to the firepit!

Trooper Thorn said...

I prefer to remain split up. We can do more damage that way.

Missty said...

Glad your visit went well. I have met a few bloggers and MANY (like 20 or so) online message board friends. So much fun!! And I think after reading or posting with a person you see them for who they are.

Last year we had a BBQ here at our home for 5 of us on a message board, and the families - so FUN! Three of us lived somewhat close (within an hour or so) and two were in So Cal for vacations at the same time.

And I am meeting a internet friend this Sunday that I have never met before, I will be in her town. I can't wait!! We have chated online for a good 5 years or so.

TentCamper said...

Brandy - come by anytime you are in Santa Monica!!!

Unknown said...

Found you throuhg Single Mom Mindy.

I've tended to keep it all seperate but recently I have been making arrangements to meet up with a few and I'm really looking forward to it. Although not sure how the people I blog about will react when they meet the other bloggers under the disguise I'll have to create for them. Could get very confussing but I'm sure it'll be interesting xx

Amber said...

Sure did, I met Osbasso on my way across the country from Ohio to BC this past June. I didn't really know what to expect as I had only recently (like mebbe a month or two) been reading his blog. He was a lot of fun, and I'd definitely love to spend some more time with him if I have the opportunity.
I asked him once I got home, if I appeared the same online as I do in R/L, and he said no...but in a good way. Still dunno what he meant by that, but oh well. I prefer to think of the whole thing as a start to a beautiful friendship.
With the title of this post I was actually expecting a Ghostbusters blurb, LOL

chocdrop said...

I have not had the pleasure to meet anyone yet. I am definetly hoping to meet.

James (SeattleDad) said...

I posted randomly today about my first such meetup (photo included). It was with a great blogger (Whit)who is bigtime in the blogosphere and who was extremely supportive when I started blogging. I found it much easier to start a conversation with him because I read his work and knew what to talk about. It was a great experience and I found him to be much like he is online.

Sadie said...

Maybe I don't really exist....

Not completely by choice, I have only met local political bloggers at Democratic events and state conventions. And G. Xavier did a reading at Powell's after moving back to Portland, so I've officially met somebody from Offsprung now. Woot! moving up in the mafia.

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