Blogging and Writing

Blogging & Relationships

Blogging and relationships: How do you connect with other bloggers?

Last weekend, Claudette at Writer of Words posed some questions to do with blogging and relationships. I don’t normally do q&a posts, but I haven’t really written about this topic before, so I decided to do a post answering her questions.

1) Does belonging to a blogging community imply a responsibility toward the bloggers?

I think there’s a responsibility to not be an asshole. Beyond that, everyone’s in a different position in terms of what they’re able to take on. Trying to take on too much can so easily burn a blogger out, and that’s not good for anyone.

2) Does it become a want or a need to read, like and/or comment regularly?

This was more of an issue for me in the past. I would sometimes feel like I wasn’t being a loyal follower if I didn’t read people’s posts regularly. Eventually I realized that just wasn’t doable anymore, so now I read (at least mostly) because I want to rather than feeling like I somehow need to.

3) If you read, like and especially comment at least semi-regularly on a select few blogs and thereby get to *know* that blogger a little, does this relationship qualify as friendship?

Absolutely. For me at least, it does feel like a different kind of friendship than in-person friendships, but that doesn’t make it less real or less meaningful. In general I tend to think of online friendships as more impermanent, simply because I’ve seen a lot of coming and going in the online world, but again, I don’t feel like it makes online friendships less real or meaningful.

4) Is a virtual relationship through a blog real?

Yes. It’s humans connecting, and that’s real. Whatever the nature of the relationship, it’s still real. The connection itself matters more than the medium in which the connection occurs.

5) Do you feel reading there every time they post is the responsible thing to do or do you drop off on occasion?

I tend to be a regular reader, because that’s something I like to do. Sometimes I’ll stop reading blogs that I’m not that engaged with, usually because I’m following too many blogs or just don’t have the time. When my head isn’t in a good place, I’ll skip over posts by bloggers I’m normally quite engaged with, and while I might feel a twinge of guilt, it is what it is. I think the idea of certain blogging-related acts being the responsible thing to do can start to get into should monster territory, and that can end up detracting from the blogging community experience.

6) If you drop off, what are the reasons you are taking a break?

This was mostly covered in my last answer. Beyond that, every so often I’ll pare down the number of blogs I’m following because it’s just too many to come up with. Unfollowing keeps my WP Reader feed cleaner, which makes for a cleaner mind. More recently, there have been a few factors to do with what my own head is doing that have translated into a lot less blog reading. It’s less of an intentional break and more just variability in what I’m able to do.

7) What if you extend the relationship with a blogger beyond the blog and start emailing with them? Does this make the relationship more intimate, more real?

I’m not a big initiator of communication, mostly because it just doesn’t pop into my head unless I have something specific to say. However, I do think adding in email communication adds an extra layer to the relationship, as it shifts from one that happens in public on the blog to one that also happens in private. I don’t know that it makes it any more real, because both are real, but it can make it closer. I’ve had some very positive interactions with friends from the blogging world that have extended into the email world.

8) With those more intimately connected bloggers whom you have an exterior relationship with (say through email) do you take the opportunity to check in with them when you read between the lines something they posted in their blog?

Sometimes. I think my natural inclination would be to say something in the comments, simply because I tend to compartmentalize that way. I read something through one channel, I respond through that same channel.

9) When you formulate an opinion on a blogger based solely on what you read on their blog, do you make assumptions about them and/or their personality, character, lifestyle?

I think this is inevitable. No matter how authentic someone is being, blogging doesn’t give a complete picture. It’s only human for our minds to try to fill in some of those gaps. The problem comes if we either a) think we know everything about someone based on what we do know, or believing that those filled in gaps are reliably true about a person. Everyone is selective, at least to some extent, around what they disclose here, and there could be all kinds of stuff going on that readers have no clue about.

I’m sure I’ve made all kinds of assumptions about people, but. try to keep in mind that I only know what they’ve told me, and anything beyond that is just guesswork.

Feel free to answer some or all of Claudette’s questions in the comments, or if you do your own post, link back to her at Writer of Words.

And on an unrelated, ranty note, has anyone noticed that the WP block editor is slower than. molasses the last few days? It’s always slow to load, but now, it often takes a few seconds before the things I type to actually show up. WordPress, you’ve really been pissing me off lately…

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50 thoughts on “Blogging & Relationships”

  1. First of, thank you for responding and the shout-out! Your answer in 4 especially is intriguing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hate HATE block editor. To avoid using it I go into the admin page and type into a draft folder until I’m ready to publish. (Just add admin-wp to the end of your blog address in the url).

  2. All of my friends I have met through blogging – some going on 15 years now – we have met in RL and we chat via email, occasionally phone, one of these people lives near me and while we don’t see each often she has been really been there for me (physically) when I needed some help. So does that answer a few of the questions posted?

  3. Iโ€™m about the same as you with blogging relationships. I like to stay engaged in Blogland, but Iโ€™m not too inclined to go beyond that. I donโ€™t email much with other bloggers.

    Yes, I find Blocky randomly slow, but I thought it was my old laptop being annoying. Iโ€™m starting to like Blocky because of all my saved blocks ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I feel you can have friendships online and that they are as real as friends irl. The only thing that ‘scares’ me is that people can disappear online and me being a worrier ….
    Irl it’s easier to send a text or give someone a call. Bumping accidentally into older friends can connect people.
    But that is the biggest down side for me, the possibility of ‘losing’ friends.
    I like to keep my connections on the blog because I’ve noticed that I can get easily confused when media spoil over into each other.
    And yes the block editor is slower than everything I’ve seen!

  5. Nice post. The blogging community is such a cherished part of my life. I think that I relate most to the questions about feeling like you need to comment on all the posts and feeling guilty if you don’t. Sometimes there’s no choice but to drop off to keep your sanity in check. You’ve always been a regular reader of mine though, and I appreciate that.

  6. I’m glad you did this as a Q&A here, it’s an interesting topic and you’ve made some important points. I ditto that responsibility not to be an asshole, and I absolutely think the links and connections you make in the online world – including the blogging world – count as real relationships and friendships. If they didn’t then my friend count would drop to a delightful zero!

    Caz xx

  7. Great answers!! I’m so glad you value blogger friendship just like I do!! YAY!! Yes, I find a lifeline with my online friends, and I too find it to be real and meaningful!

    That’s so interesting about putting pieces together about someone’s life to fill the gaps in what they don’t say! I almost never leave anything out of my blog: if I’m upset about something, there will be details. What I’m generally hazy about is not wanting to violate my family members’ privacy with major secrets. Not minor things, like our arguments, or whatever, but major secrets. For example, I’ve never shared this, but did you know that my sister several years back? Yeah, I’m not making that up.

    Aside from that sort of thing, I’m an open book. Although of course I understand that many people are more reserved and private, so I certainly don’t judge.

    1. HA HA HA! It took out my brackets where I was coughing instead of spilling my sister’s secrets!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Oh well.

    2. I still think that even when people are an open book online and don’t hide anything, there’s still a lot that doesn’t make it into the blog.

      1. That’s a good point. I probably don’t mention stuff that just seems day-to-day to me, without even realizing that others don’t know it!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  8. I love these questions and your answers to them! I especially agree with you on point number 4 – that a virtual connection between people is still a genuine type of connection and that the medium is irrelevant. Connecting with other bloggers via wordpress has been really helpful for me, especially during points in my life when I was extremely isolated and had few positive “real-life” interactions with people (like now during the pandemic, or when I was in grad school).

  9. I love reading the posts of the bloggers I follow. I followed them for the reason that I was enjoying their posts. But I must admit, in recent weeks I have become more selective. Partly due to not having the time or energy to read as much, and partly because I need encouragement to keep working these long hours. I can’t read material that saps my energy and leaves me without any hope. So rather than clicking on everything that appears in my WP Reader, I look at the title and the picture and the tags to decide whether a post is going to energise and make me feel better about living, or if it will drain me and make me feel gloomy.

  10. I’ve made ‘real’ friends through blogging. It can be good. The problem is that online friendships (and blogs) tend to be transient. That can lead to guilt and self-doubt if they stop reading my blog (“Did I say something wrong?”) and anxiety if they stop updating their blog (“Are they OK?” – obviously more of an issue with the mental health blogs I follow than with the Doctor Who ones).

  11. These relationships are real to us.
    The disappearing act can happen. It is a risk. Especially with mental health.
    We email one blogging friend regularly and have emailed another by that bloggerโ€™s request and then infrequently.
    We have one long-term friendship from a prior online community in which we no longer participate.
    We post what is on our mind, and not everything about us is on our mind so that we leave a lot of blanks. Hell, we donโ€™t even use our name because we are a divided group. We are not out to โ€œentertainโ€ readership. We want meaningful engagement ๐Ÿ’•โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’•

  12. I am new to blogging but I have had email relationships since I’ve had an address. Some I’ve met in real life and many eventually faded away. I’ve found the less likely we are to meet in real life, the more open we are with each other. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe due to a fear of being judged. I like it and find it cathartic to have online friends. I can’t wait to see who I meet on this venture.Thanks

    1. I agree, it’s easier to be open online. It might also have an impact that if someone does get judgy online, it’s easier to cut that off than someone you can’t avoid in person.

  13. A truly excellent and insightful post Ashley, nicely answered – you tackled some questions that l have been struggling with and conflicting myself over quite recently – so thank you also for displaying those thoughts ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. A fantastic post Ashley, with open and honest answers that will resonate with many of us. I’m glad you believe that the relationships we form here are real and that the connection itself matters more than the medium. I’ve made some great friends in the blogging community and while they might be fleeting, it is what it is.

    Also, yes it was very slow for days, until I deactivated some plugins. Now I don’t know which ones to reactivate lol.

        1. I’m still having some issues, and at this point I’m hoping they’ll spontaneously disappear the same way they spontaneously appeared.

            1. No, I haven’t. I’m wondering if WP updated any of their core plugins, I had an issue with that once before, and it took them a little while to fix it. Who knows, though. I’m only having issues within the block editor right now.

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