Here’s a scary story for you:
I was nine-years-old when I entered my first chat room. Don’t ask me how or why I ended up in a chat room at the age of nine because I couldn’t tell you. The internet is a strange place. I got a random message from someone named Ashley asking how I was doing. She seemed nice. She just happened to be nine-years-old too. And just happened to live in blah, blah, blah, (same town) New Hampshire.
What are the odds? I thought.
My mother found me talking to “Ashley” and naturally freaked out and made me log off. She explained that “Ashley” was most likely not nine-years-old, and “Ashley” could have been a man. It clicked for me, and since then, the Internet has scared me.
Of course, times have changed drastically since then. The Internet seems to be our main source of communication. When I first started my blog, I didn’t know what to expect, but one of the first pieces of advice I read from other, more established bloggers was this:
Don’t be afraid to talk to bloggers.
They highly suggested commenting on other blog sites to communicate and engage with them. In the world of blogging, it’s okay to talk to strangers despite what our parents taught us when we were little. In fact, it’s expected of you. I thought about it and realized that it made total sense. How else are you supposed to get traffic on your blog if no one knows you exist?
Once I started communicating with other bloggers, I began forming close friendships with each of them. For some bloggers, we started emailing each other. And for only a couple, we began texting. I started thinking about how I don’t find any of this weird like I used to.
There’s always a chance there is a serial killer loose on WordPress, so there’s no 100% guarantee that you are safe. We immerse ourselves into the lives of other people we find funny and thoughtful that they no longer feel like strangers. I consider some of these bloggers as my best and closest friends.
Now, to someone who doesn’t blog, they may find this concept a bit strange, and a little sad. Let me dispute those feelings. As an introverted person, I can be pretty shy when meeting new people. I can be reserved, quiet, and maybe seem a little boring. It wasn’t until I started blogging that I began feeling a bit more comfortable in my own skin due to the support of my blogging community. Meeting new people intimidated me. I find myself cracking more jokes and being my naturally sarcastic self when in the presence of someone new, and when people laugh or freak out because I just referenced Willy Wonka, it feels like a breath of fresh air. The awkward hump in my shoulder has disappeared.
Whenever I get a message or a text from one of my Internet friends, my day is instantly brighter. These are the type of friends every person should strive for. One blogger in particular has helped me out quite a bit whether he realizes it or not. When I lived in California, I didn’t have many friends, I missed my family, I was unhappy most of the time, and I couldn’t sleep due to stress. This blogger entertained me both on and off WordPress. I’m sure he has no clue how much he helped me since our conversations were mostly about silly topics, but he was and still is a wonderful distraction to the chaos and confusion in my life. For once, it was nice talking to someone about things other than money or jobs. It was nice discussing our favorite TV shows and what college was like for us. It was nice feeling like a kid again. Luckily, I have found other bloggers who give me that same boost of energy. In a way, this is why I blog – I never want to lose sight of these people.
It’s complicated explaining these friendships to outsiders mostly because I’ve never met these friends of mine, except for one. As bloggers, we try our best to show our most charming selves whether it’s self-deprecation, our talents, our accomplishments, or our humor. I understand that many of my friends could be entirely different in person, which is hard for me to grasp. For all I know, these people could have qualities that are so hateful or rude or narcissistic, but you’ll never know until you meet them. Or they may not even like me in person, which is just as terrifying to think about. I talk to a few of these bloggers nearly every day, sometimes all day long. It’s hard for me to not bring them up in conversation with other people. They’re in my life and that can’t be ignored.
Does it bother me that I’ve never met these people? Absolutely. I hate not being familiar with their facial expressions, or what truly makes them laugh, or even what their laugh sounds like. I don’t get the full package but merely a piece of them in small increments. When you confide in someone, not only are you listening to them, but you’re watching them speak. I believe you don’t truly know what a person is thinking until you observe them in conversation. We all have a fixed idea of what each of us are like in real life, so I understand the appeal of staying behind the computer screen because that image could be tarnished forever if met face to face. But I’m still, and will forever be curious to no end.
My point in this post is this: I may never meet some of you. Ever. One day, one of us will stop blogging and will never hear from each other again. It’s a scary thought, but it’s a fact. So to my blogging and Internet friends, just know, I’m grateful for your existence. I wouldn’t be who I am today without you. I appreciate and cherish your friendship, and hope that it will continue for many years to come.