I arrived at 6:30, ready to meet complete strangers. I was looking for two women and one man, didn't see a group that looked like that, walked around the block figuring I was early (it was a beautiful evening to be outside). I came back, went to the bar, and discovered that the group of three men and two women to my left were Brandon and the other bloggers. So I was introduced to kat, supine, Jake, and kat's SO Seth. Jake was somewhat of an outsider too, as his blog is less of a journal than the others' blogs -- in a sense, they're part of a sub-group of blogging. We did drinks for a while, and based on my past experiences with meeting people from online, it was no surprise that all of them were quite nice. Jake had to leave after a while, but the rest of us eventually made our way over to a Mexican place where we stayed out pretty late for a school night.
Thoughts on the evening:
- It's somewhat different from meeting other beer geeks or boggle players. With beer or boggle, you talk about your common bond and your life outside the common bond. With blogging, the distinction between the two is blurred -- generally speaking, blogging already is all about your life.
- The weird thing was that, even as I was worried that I wasn't "worthy" to be in such august blogging company, the others felt like their own blogs were inadequate. Brandon writes so poignantly, and while he acknowledges that others like it, you realize that he doesn't truly believe it. Supine doesn't think much of her stuff, even though she recently was a finalist for best new journal.
- One difference between most of them and me is that I don't hide who I am in my blog. Kat and Supine are anonymous. Heck, Supine said her closest friends don't even know she writes her blog. Anonymity enables them to talk about anything, and because their blogs are well-written, it attracts a good audience. As I've posted earlier, my blog is for my friends and family, and if others enjoy it, great. The downside is that I can't be quite as open about certain matters, and so don't generate as wide an audience as I might otherwise (also my writing isn't as good, but we don't need to go there). Brandon asked if Kathy read my blog. I think I surprised him when I said that not only does my wife read it, so do my parents.
- So why do they blog? Kat said she blogs because she wants to get published, and she's in need of practice after law school beat out all her creativity (I can certainly understand that feeling). It was interesting to hear Brandon and supine talk about their need for recognition -- that they check how many hits their site gets, that when Brandon isn't getting many comments he goes back to earlier posts that garnered lots of hits, to see what he should change. They also said that the best way to get comments is to post on other people's sites -- they'll comment back on yours (apparently some people get mad if they post on yours and you don't post back). And it felt like this was particularly important because they want to maintain or, preferably, increase readership/comments. Still, they always want more, and I wonder, if they increased readership/comments twentyfold, would they be looking for ways to increase traffic to even higher levels within a month? I admit to having an interest in readership, but I don't think the blogging bug has hit me as much as it has them (which stands to reason, since they've been doing it much longer).