I was pleased as punch when I discovered that an old friend from high school was reading my blog. When I first started blogging, I wasn’t looking to connect with people I knew or once knew. I just had something to say and I thought somebody out there might be interested in hearing it. Interestingly, though, I started reading blogs through someone I knew in real life (or at least Mr. Geeky knew better than I did). I started reading the links on his blogroll and voila, I stumbled into this little community of random people. Having participated in many online communities before, I once again enjoyed connecting with people from afar, but it’s also been interesting to me how many people I know in real life I keep up with via their blogs or via their comments on my blogs.
Early on, I bumped into a friend from grad school. Then there’s Megan, whom I met during a semester-long seminar, and who has now moved and purchased a fabulous house. There’s Eric, who works at the college down the road whom I also got to know during that same seminar and with whom I share my political interests. There’s a couple of students, one who is abroad now, that I keep up with via their blogs. Michelle, a faculty member at my school, blogged last semester (hope she picks it back up again!). Her husband picked up blogging a little by having his class blog. I’ve met a couple of people via blogs. Bryan and I worked on a grant together, but I had started reading his blog before that. That kind of freaked out our fellow grant participants a little. And I’ve met one of our illustrious bloggers of academe on a trip I made a while back.
I’ve also enjoyed the virtual connections that I might not have been able to make but for the blog. During the election, I bumped into Bill, who lives in rural PA and who is about as different from me as you could get on the surface, but I think if we ever had coffee together, we’d have a lot to talk about. I read science blogs (who’d a thought! an English major!). I read technical blogs. I read parenting blogs. And, sometimes, I read political blogs. And I love this little virtual world made up of all different kinds of people. I don’t think there’s any way I could get this variety in real life. And I certainly couldn’t get the level of discourse I find in this community in real life. Even at the college, we tend to, when we bump into each other, stick to small talk. Here, we can do that too, but we can also do more when we feel like it. And on any given day, you’ll find both and something in between. But mostly, you’ll find a bunch of interesting people to connect with.