The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Blog Roundup

I think I'm becoming more grouchy in my old age. Someone sent me a blog post about Internet safety and I got all crotchety and up-in-arms, spewing and sputtering and was about to email the author of the blog because her book was on my to-read list and now it is off my to-read list because I'm just not impressed with her lack of actual discourse and her argument-style of name-calling when I realized how I'd feel if I got that email (and I have gotten that email). The "I'm not going to read your book" or "I'm not going to read your blog" because...

And it made me click away from email and look at pictures of puppies because life is just too short and nothing can be gained by telling someone why you're not reading them anymore. Usually.

(I mean, what is the point? Do I think in writing it that she'll gasp and say, "Mel won't read my book now? I should change the way I view the world and write about it because I must be a terrible person if I don't agree with her." Truly, if you don't like something you're reading, just click away).

Which brings us to a post from Citizen of the Month this week that started out about one thing and then swings into another but then really, without verbalizing it, comes back to the first point which is that when someone unfollows you, are they making a statement about YOU, and how well do they actually know you and what are they basing it on?

As I walked through BlogHer, I constantly heard from people, "you are exactly as I imagined you would be." I am like a skin-and-bones version of my blog, except perhaps shorter than you expect. And I always smell like shampoo because my hair takes so long to dry that it's usually still damp when I go for my next shower 24 hours later. What you see is pretty much what you get except that I'm probably a bit more brash on my blog than I am if you meet me face-to-face. I mean, on my blog I'm like LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY VAGINA! And in the face-to-face world, I'm more like let me tell you about my vagina. Please?

The way things differ is mostly the stories I tell which are fit for the Internet and the stories I tell in the face-to-face world because I have no filter. By which I mean that my face-to-face friends and family tend to get a 360 degree Melissa and the Internet gets a 180 degree Melissa because there are things I can't share online because they cross into someone else's privacy or because they're not thoughts I want to live on forever in the archived crevices of the blogosphere or because you would think soooooooooo much less of me if I told you things like how I tried to trade time with my Kitchenaid for a friend to come over and catch the cricket in the laundry room this week.

So, the online me isn't the total me, but it's somewhat close. So when people unfriend, unfollow, deblogroll me, should I be offended that they rejected me? Since a blog (or Twitter or Facebook) is like seeing a memoir written in real time? On one hand, there are so many reasons why someone would unfollow, reasons that have nothing to do with the person at all (time, a desire to avoid a certain topic, the fact that the person's blog continuously crashes another person's computer). Would you want to know why someone stopped reading your blog or is ignorance bliss?

If I'm not close with the person at all, my tendency is to simply stop reading. If they asked me, I'd give them an honest answer, but I don't believe we need to tell every single person why we do every single thing. If I'm close with the person, I do explain why. I've never stopped reading a person's blog, but I did have to unfriend someone on Facebook because they were crossing my privacy lines and after sending two emails about it, sent a third apologizing and saying while I'd love to remain in touch with them off Facebook, they weren't making me comfortable on Facebook.

In the case of the original blog I mentioned, I wondered if I could like the writer and hate the blog. And really, the answer is sort of no. I thought she came across as an idiot on her blog and I'm fairly certain that unless she is only a poor writer and can formulate arguments verbally, I'd also dislike talking to her in the face-to-face world. Which is to say, that if you like a person's blog, do you think it extends that you would like the person? And is picking which blogs to read sort of the same as picking friends in the face-to-face world? Sometimes we have something in common, sometimes we admire the person, sometimes we have a shared history. So here's another question: Do you read anyone you think you wouldn't like in the face-to-face world?

So, to sum up because I ask a lot of questions:
  • When someone unfollows you, are they making a statement about YOU, and how well do they actually know you and what are they basing it on?
  • Would you want to know why someone stopped reading your blog or is ignorance bliss?
  • If you like a person's blog, do you think it extends that you would like the person? And do you read anyone you think you wouldn't like in the face-to-face world?
*******
Oh, and one more question:

The Weekly What If: What if I met you in the face-to-face world--would you be like I imagine you to be from your blog, or does your writing only reflect a small element of your total personality? How close is the skin-and-bones you to the online you?

*******
The Blogger Bingo list sign up has been extended. By which I mean that I realized I wouldn't be able to post the clues at a given time during the week it would start, and the game is now not set to begin until mid-October when the Jewish holidays are over. So...get your game on. If you signed up, I'll send out a reminder email right before the clues are first drawn since the sign-up is long this time.

On the other hand, this month's IComLeavWe list is set to close on Monday because that's when the commenting extravaganza for the month kicks in. So if you haven't joined along and wish to, here's your last chance for this month.

*******
And now, the blogs...

An Offering of Love has a powerful post about how the words of others can mix with that heady cocktail of pregnancy hormones, set against a backdrop of personal loss, to create a pool of fear. She writes: "As much as I try to fight it and to enjoy this pregnancy, the raw memory of losing my first pregnancy is always there, lurking, waiting to cripple me. What would it be like to be one of those women who gets pregnant easily and never doubts for a minute that she will deliver a healthy baby 9 months after seeing those double lines?" It is a post that many will be able to relate to as they read her words.

Baby, Borneo or Bust has a post about a roadside memorial. She writes: "Somebody spent a lot of time and money building this green memorial, with its blue garden ball cross. It meant quite a lot to someone, to build it so slowly, to tear things out and put new things in, to make it just so." It is a bizarre little story, one that begs a longer short story to be written about it, imagining the life of the person both creating the garden and perhaps, if there is one, the one that was lost.

My Pathway to Motherhood
has a post about hope. Namely, the cycle that almost wasn't and now is and writes: "I could have dealt with no transfer and a complete lack of hope, but with this hope seeping in.. I really don't think I can handle a negative, and I'm so scared of this hope." It is a beautiful post about the ebb and flow of hope; what that little flame can do to your emotions.

Lastly, Please Give Me Back My Heart has a post that asks an important, heartfelt question: "How can I wish for my first baby when I know that if she were here, my second baby would not be who he is?" It is a question that many babylost parents grapple with--the child that isn't here and the child who is and how the two are connected sometimes. The post is the wish of a mother that her two children not be mutually exclusive; that she could have them both right here, right now.

The roundup to the Roundup: Eh...I'll post all the questions here too:
  1. When someone unfollows you, are they making a statement about YOU, and how well do they actually know you and what are they basing it on?
  2. Would you want to know why someone stopped reading your blog or is ignorance bliss?
  3. If you like a person's blog, do you think it extends that you would like the person? And do you read anyone you think you wouldn't like in the face-to-face world?
  4. The Weekly What If: What if I met you in the face-to-face world--would you be like I imagine you to be from your blog, or does your writing only reflect a small element of your total personality? How close is the skin-and-bones you to the online you?
Last chance to sign up for IComLeavWe, Blogger Bingo pushed back a few weeks (and sign-up still open), and lots of great blog posts to read. With my new grouchy exterior, I'm going to go grrrrrrrrrrrrr a lot and move about like Frankstein. You know, snarling at everyone and anyone.

40 comments:

Jenn said...

You go grrrrrrrr all you want hon. I am sure you will do a banner job of it!

Happy Rosh Hashanah to you and your whole family - may your new year be sweet and joy filled!

angie said...

I unfollowed one person, and it did not go well. I tried to explain why, and ended up becoming blog fodder, and receiving a thrashing in her comments. It was incredibly disconcerting and so early in my blogging experience, I almost stopped writing all together.

But I do not take unfollowing personally, or defriending or anything along those lines. I don't need to know why. I know when I stop reading someone it is often because their journey is not at the same place as mine, or their grammar is terrible. I cannot stomach terrible spelling and grammar, especially as it usually comes with bad writing in general. I have too many blogs to read to be bothered with focusing on the glaring, blinking your/you're errors.

I think that in general blogs are a good judge for someone's personality. Even the design, the name, the sidebars. There are quite a few people I read or have read that I absolutely would not want to meet in real life. I can think of one in particular who scares the bejeebus out of me.

And finally, my blog voice is very similar to my real voice, except I am perhaps braver, more foul-mouthed, angrier on my blog than in real life. I am actually pretty polite in real life, though I do have a gnome fixation in both worlds. And I too hold back a lot of what I would write about if I knew no one in real life read my blog, but I try not to use my blog to bad mouth well-meaning people. I only use it to bad mouth strangers, and purposefully malicious people.

Happy New Year!

Circus Princess said...

1. I think when someone unfollows you they are either making a statement about the opinions you've expressed in you blog, unable to follow because of personal reasons or they're having technical issues with your blog (this has happened to me)
2. If it was someone that actively had followed my blog and suddenly stopped, I think I'd like to know why...
3. If I like a persons blog I'm pretty sure I'd like the actual person. Although some blogs are fun to read just because of opinions and situations that are different from yours.
And finally 4. If you met me face-to-face you'd recognize me from my blog... if you took the time to get to know me.

Thank you Mel for doing such an awesome job, thanks to you I feel less alone in my IF struggle :)

Tash said...

See, this makes me feel badly again (sigh) because over the last two years of blogging, my reader has increased by 1000%. And I try, TRY and hop around and make sure I stay in touch with the old people, and stop and say hello to new people, and some people are in the middle of shit and I try and follow that (to the detriment of other reading/commenting) and . . .ugh. I rarely dump a blog because I grow to dislike the person, and I read all kinds of writing (usually if I tune in and see that it's something I'm not going to be horribly comfortable with, I check and make sure they have ample support and let it alone). So if I've been to your blog, but haven't in a bit . . . MEA CULPA. Please don't take it personally.

And I guess because this happens to me, I just assume that my up and down waves of readership are the same -- sometimes they need to read, sometimes they don't, sometimes they're just busy. I guess I've never taken it personally, either way.

I wish I was like my blog. I think my blog is my honest, raw self that says exactly what I need to at any given moment. I think I blog because usually at that moment I can't think of what to say in real life.

And if design means something like Angie says, I'm the most boring person on the planet. /wink

Happy Rosh Hashanah to your family!

Heather said...

People left me when I got pregnant and I expected that. It made me sad because I missed them and I felt weird commenting on their posts because I still read them because I care about them.

I DO read people who I would not like in real life. We just have different personalities. BUT, I still care about their journey.

areyoukiddingme said...

I think when someone unfollows or defriends, there is a reason behind it. The reason may or may not be about you, and I think your personality will determine how you interpret it.

I assume that if someone stops reading my blog, it's because I'm boring. I am generally waaaay more circumspect in writing than I am in real life. I don't have much of a filter when I speak, but I generally edit what I write. It's unlikely that people know me through my writing because I edit so much. You can get glimpses of my personality, but not a full picture. I'm certainly grouchy in my old age...

I certainly read people that I know I wouldn't really like in real life.

E said...

I beleive that there is definitely a strong link between blogs and real life personality. When you follow someone's blogs for months or even years, don't you really get to know them? I feel like I do.

What gets under my skin is when I find someone's blog that I am interested in and I make an effort to read and comment everyday but they NEVER comment back or acknowledge that I am commenting....I want to "unfriend" them. Really there is only 1 person that has done that to me. I just feel it is unfriendly and rude. Am I wrong?

E said...

I mean maybe they have met there quota of blogs they have time to follow or something, I don't know.

Oh and no I didn't mean you Mel. I know you are busy with 100's of blogs. I am actually talking about one person in particular.

:)

Delenn said...

Oh my oh my. Okay, let me just take a crack at this...

When someone unfollows you, are they making a statement about YOU, and how well do they actually know you and what are they basing it on?

Frankly, my original intent of my blog was a family site to keep family members who were far away informed. It has morphed to a personal journal with some followers. But frankly, I think I would write no matter what, and while I like followers and comments--I understand that I am a small drop in a very huge ocean of internet blogs/sites. So, no, I am not offended.


Would you want to know why someone stopped reading your blog or is ignorance bliss?

Ignorance works for me.

If you like a person's blog, do you think it extends that you would like the person? And do you read anyone you think you wouldn't like in the face-to-face world?

I assume that I am only seeing a part of this person. But that doesn't mean I would not want to meet them and get to know them better. I kinda assume blogs are like the phone interviews for jobs--if you like them on the phone, get to know them more.

I do read some people I would never want to meet. Mainly cuz I don't think I have as much in common with them in RL.

The Weekly What If: What if I met you in the face-to-face world--would you be like I imagine you to be from your blog, or does your writing only reflect a small element of your total personality? How close is the skin-and-bones you to the online you?

Hmmm...this is a bit of a tricky question. I think I am a bit more sarcastic in real life. I am a bit more bolder on-line, I am shy normally. I think tho, since it is a personal journal--you got me pretty pegged...

N said...

1. When someone unfollows you, are they making a statement about YOU, and how well do they actually know you and what are they basing it on?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes it's just about the mood or place that they're in (I should know, been there, done that), and sometimes it's about the other person. While we can never really know whether we have the full info on the other person or not, all we can control in the situation is what we do, and so if need be, we defriend, stop reading, etc.

(and then there are times that things are assumed and then people stop reading you because they think you're enslaving somebody, but, uh, that's another issue for never to talk about.)

2. Would you want to know why someone stopped reading your blog or is ignorance bliss?

For the most part, ignorance is bliss. I do sometimes wonder, though, and if it's somebody I was close with - or supposedly close with - I think I'd like to know. Even though it would probably hurt more.

3. If you like a person's blog, do you think it extends that you would like the person? And do you read anyone you think you wouldn't like in the face-to-face world?

Liking a person's blog doesn't necessarily mean you'd like the person. There are certainly people I've read that I didn't like - and continued to read after I found out that I was right, and I didn't like them all that much. For whatever reason - good information, excellent writing, etc. But, I will say that, for the MOST part, blogs I read are of people I like, or assume I'd like.

4. The Weekly What If: What if I met you in the face-to-face world--would you be like I imagine you to be from your blog, or does your writing only reflect a small element of your total personality? How close is the skin-and-bones you to the online you?

I think the blog is only part of me - hell, I KNOW it's only part of me, as it's a TTC/pg blog, and not much else. But even my non-TTC internet presences aren't the whole me. But you tell me, was I what you'd expect? ;-)


And I wanted to wish you a L'shana tovah.

becomingwhole said...

I figure that most of the time, people's reactions to us, particularly people we do not know well, have much much much more to do with them than with us. That is very hard to remember at the moment of rejection, however.

And as I'm commenting here on Erev RH, I hope that 5770 brings you peace and joy and light and love and learning and the bubbling over of blessing that you yourself bring to the world (me included). Shana tova u'mvorach.

Dana/WiredDesign said...

Hmmm...

I guess I do take it personally when someone unfollows. I try not to, but sometimes I can't help thinking that what I'm writing just isn't interesting enough for them.

As for my blog self - I think I am very much the same person, just a bit less open. Unless of course you outright ask me about something - and in that case you are going to get my full opinion, like it or not!

I do follow blogs of people I don't expect I'd like in person. I must like having that diversity, because I keep reading nonetheless! (PS - you aren't one of them!)

Mary said...

Great post!

They're probably making a statement about me. And I'm kinda okay with that, because if they don't like what I put out there, they probably weren't someone who's going to like me very much anyway. I'm very outspoken, and I don't usually censor what I'm thinking for the sake of convention. So most of the people I'm accquainted with either really like me, or really don't. I think my blog is probably the same.

Being unfollowed....well I'm sure it's happened, and I haven't noticed. And I'm fine with that. I don't like it when my post views drop, but they usually go back up again, so no worries.

If I like a person's blog, I don't think it necessarily means I'd like the person. In most cases, I probably would....but there are some blogs I read that are written by folks I'm pretty sure I'd disagree with too often to be friends with IRL.

The Weekly What If: It's pretty close. I don't think it would be a huge surprise, but my blog isn't everything that I am or all I think/feel/believe so there would be more too.

Again, great post, and awesome questions!

Thanks, Mel!

jill said...

Woo this is a long one! :)

1. Yes, I think when someone unfollows they are either making a statement about me (could be as simple as my writing doesn't hold their interest) or about themselves (maybe they have to cut some blogs they follow because of time constraints). It's funny you bring this up today because earlier this week I noticed I had lost a person or two in my reader stats. My first instinct was totally to take it personally. Then I thought about it more rationally and I'm fine with it now.

2. I think I would want to know why someone stopped following me, especially if I had gotten used to seeing comments from them and then they suddenly disappeared. I am who I am though, so knowing the reason each time wouldn't change that and might also lead to frustration or stress.

3. I definitely read people I may not like face-to-face. Blogs allow the readers to modify the bloggers in a sense - for example: if a blogger goes through a bad situation, I can choose to leave a supporting comment, but if they then write about a topic I don't agree with, I can choose to skip that post entirely.

I do think that a lot of the blogs I read regularly are written by people I would get along with face-to-face.

4. I don't think my blog reflects my total personality but then again, that's hard for me to judge. There are lots of things I choose to leave out of my blog that I wouldn't leave out when talking to a friend face-to-face.

Wishing you lots of happiness and laughter during your upcoming holidays!

Wordgirl said...

I was crushed when I was unfollowed -- but then I realized that it was okay -- it still makes me feel like 'eek --someone doesn't like me' -- and my personality is just naturally one that seeks approval -- and so -- there you have it...but I then think about how I approach blog commenting -- I have followers that I don't check in on regularly --but I mean to -- but I've written about this before -- how the core of my blogmates is small -- as my real world connections are -- and to spread myself too thin when I'm unable to really feel, connect and respond -- feels like inauthenticity --but I value each person who cares enough to click on my blog -- and I do feel guilty that I can't reach back to each person who visits.

It is something I think about often...so when I'm unfollowed I usually think -- well that's justified -- I get it -- it always stung when there was a blogger I really liked who never commented a single time on my blog..

I usually figure it is a statement about me, but I roll with it --but ignorance is bliss...I usually do think if I like the blog persona that I would probably like the person --and I certainly have followed some people who I might not otherwise be friends with simply because I am fascinated with human stories -- but usually those are ones I don't comment on...

As for my blog and me -- I think I'm probably more reserved in person -- at least at first...but undoubtedly there's so much of me in my writing -- I think someone gets a very good idea of who I am...


Great questions --as always!

Dora said...

Hmmm, I don't really pay attention to who's following and who isn't. I usually check my hits every few days, and every supportive comment is precious. I did have one friend tell me that she's reading, but hasn't been commenting because other people's pregnancies are too difficult right now. I completely understand that. Been there.

As for whether I come across the same in real life as on my blog. I hope so. Since I use a pseudonym, I don't really censor myself. But you'd have to ask the bloggers I've met. Just did a tally, and I've met 5 bloggers face to face and had phone conversations with 3 others. I felt no great surprise with any of them. I'd say the comfort level was immediate. I felt I did know them already. Although, it is interesting to sit down with someone you've just met and discuss vaginas. I always wonder what people at neighboring tables must think!

Shana tova.

Guera! said...

1)If someone unfollows me I think it's because they're bored. And that's ok.
2) I would not want to know why someone stopped reading my blog. I would not think it had much to do with my blog but more about where that person's life and interests are taking them.
3) I absolutely think I would like the people whose blogs I like. It scares me that I might not though.
4) I think my blog only represents a very small piece of me but it can give one insight into what I grapple with and what makes me tick.

battynurse said...

I know that over time I've stopped following some blogs mostly because they are in such a different place than I am. I know that others have likely stopped following me for the same reason and usually that doesn't bother me. I do know that many of the blogs I read I feel I would be friends with many of these people. It's just something about them, I think the online support. Although I realize that there is a lot about them I may not know. I have had a hard time though with some people that I had developed a friendship with and after a get together all of the sudden almost all of them stopped talking to me. I am still having a really hard time with it and want to know why.

Eve said...

I know I've had an ever-changing stream of followers since I've been doing this blog thing. I guess I don't take unfollowing personally...unless I got some terrible comment that told me they weren't following me because I was scum of the earth and couldn't write my way out of a paper-bag or something.

I tend to see unfollowing as a few issues: my blog is not as active as it once was, my circumstances have changed with being preggo, and people just get busy.

Well, those are MY issues at least at times with struggling to follow other's blogs (had to visit the pregger ones a little less when I wasn't pregger myself anyway).

I don't read people I wouldn't like to meet. Doesn't mean I would be everyone's best friend that I follow, but if I wouldn't even want to have a face-to-face convo with someone, I'm probably not going to waste my time reading their private thoughts and wishes.

As far as knowing me by my blog... DEFINITELY. I'm OUT with my blog so I have both RL and internet readers. I suppose that gives me a filter of sorts, but it also means that you pretty much get the same filter I present in every-day life.

I hope I present as possibly more put-together than my blog might portray...I always seem to have this rambling-run-on sentence thing going on.

Well, who am I fooling? I'm the EMBODIMENT of a run-on sentence!

Cassandra said...

I think most unfollowing is due to either the situation (for example, non-pregnant infertile reading newly pregnant infertile's blog), just not being that interested in that topic/blog anymore, or particular things the blogger may have said which probably don't reflect on the real person.

Oh, and for me, I also have my Clicker list, but if someone moves off that list into another category, sometimes I continue to follow them but usually I don't, for the sake of time. In those cases it's really nothing personal (though if I keep them despite them changing categories, it reflects very very well on them/the relationship we've established).

I'd want to know if someone unfollowed in most cases -- what if I said something horrible that I didn't realize was offensive? As for personality, strangely I think that I wouldn't take it to heart if they disliked my blog persona the way that I would if they disliked me in person.

For some blogs, I love the persona and am sure I'd adore the real person. Some blogs I specifically don't follow because I don't like the blog persona, which probably also means I wouldn't like the person. But, there are blogs I follow where I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like the person in real life but I do like the blog persona.

The weekly what-if is funny since you have met me in person and you specifically said that physically I wasn't how you imagined me. But, I think all of the bloggers I've met in person have felt that personality-wise, I'm exactly what you'd expect.

Shana tova!

C said...

Good questions--and lots of them. Here's what I'd add to the already wise discussion: just because I unfollow a blog doesn't mean I'm not reading it. With one blog I've followed for several years, for example, whose writer is smart and generous and good with the prose thing, I just need to be ready to catch up with her life with a new baby rather than to have that announcement in my reader each day. I visit when I'm ready and feeling strong and read several posts at a time rather than as they're posted; so I do continue to read her work even though I would appear as someone who's dropped out of that reading loop.

But there are certainly ideological, political reasons I've stopped following others, and in those cases I'm not sure a discussion of why would yield much for either of us.

Isn't this the crux of blogs, though--how they began as a genre as a kind of online diary, a writing for self's sake (granted, put out in public), but then in many cases evolved to discussions among community members, between writer and audience? Still, I think writers have to have the freedom in this form, if they choose, to not worry about audience, to not worry about offense or making sure no one's feelings are hurt (especially true for subject matter of your site and many of your readers' blogs, where speaking our own truths about difficult subjects is part of the necessity here--and that's not always pretty or easily received), but then they also have to accept that they'll lose readers (or gain them too, I suppose) because of that fact. They also have to have the freedom to want to write for audience small or large and to make the decisions appropriate to that--performing a self for wider audience that, by nature, changes the self and the writing as it appears.

And finally there's just the fact of time. In this era of all things digital, how do we make time to step away from the computer and live our lives? Sometimes that means cleaning out the inbox and the blog reader, even at the risk of missing good, important ideas now and then.

annacyclopedia said...

This is such a great bunch of questions, Mel. For me, blogging is incredibly personal and has become more so the longer I've been at it. So while I have read people who I wouldn't like in real life, I have also slowly weeded them out. I think at the start I was looking for connections to women facing similar diagnoses or treatment, but I've really found that's not generally sufficient for me to want to continue to read their blogs. I tend to be similarly choosy about my real life friends - only deep connections tend to last for me, and people with whom I can only go so far tend to fall by the wayside or just remain pleasant acquaintances. So I guess when I have stopped following people, it's because I don't feel we have much to offer each other, or because I find reading their blog to be draining - just not on the same wavelength. I don't take it personally I someone stops reading me, and I don't, despite what I've said above, feel it's unkind or a personal rejection when I stop reading someone else. I suppose I tend to think that we don't all have to adore each other and we certainly aren't obliged to give everyone the same level of attention - I only have so much time in my life for reading and commenting, and I'd rather spend it on people who mean the most to me. I agree, though, that it's important to be thoughtful and respectful, so even when people have really angered me, I either just click away or offer my thoughts in a respectful way. Life, like my time in the blogosphere, is too short to spend it on pointless frustrations.

Shana tova to you and your family, Mel. May this year be sweet and full of happiness and peace.

Lavender Luz said...

It's so funny because my blog post today ends with, "But, dear Weebles Wobblog, I'll always come back to you. You complete me. You ARE me."

So, to answer your questions:

1. No. I prefer not to personalize it. I take no offense. Not all people SHOULD read my blog.

2. Eeeep. Yes?

3. I think I would like the people behind the blogs I read. Especially the ALI ones.

4. It's me! (and yes, you're you!)

Brenna said...

Great questions, and I enjoyed reading every single response--really well-thought-out stuff!

I'm not bothered if someone unfollows me. I didn't start writing to gain followers, I started to work through the pain of losing a child. (Actually, that's not even true--I started blogging to share our life abroad when we were living in Germany with family and friends back home, and then things morphed into more writing about IF and then child loss). That's probably as good a reason as any not to be upset if someone moves on--my blog has shifted and changed over the years, and I'm sure some of those who were originally interested no longer are, and some folks who wouldn't have been interested in the beginning are now.

I don't need to know why someone stops following, though like several others have suggested if it was someone I considered myself particularly close to I'd probably be upset/concerned.

I tend to think we're all pretty true to ourselves on our blogs, so I'm guessing I'd enjoy anyone in person who I like reading online.

No surprises here, I'm pretty much exactly who my blog reveals me to be.

Shelli said...

In the same way you talked about being 360 degree Melissa and 180 on-line Melissa, I am pretty much the same.

I have certain areas of my life that I will not blog about (which is sad because they would make such interesting posts). I censor myself mostly because of my work identity.

I unfollowed someone just once (although there are a few I don't read as often) and for me it comes doen to just one thing that will send me flying to the hills...

insincerity.

But, you know what? That's probably my deal-breaker in real life as well.

Caitlin said...

I haven't been blogging long enough to be "unfollowed" per say, but I have experienced people who I know for a *fact* don't read. I have about 30-some followers and maybe 7-10 who actually read and respond - and that is OKAY with me. I don't take it personally because I realize not everyone connects with my life situation. The girls that I do maintain that connection with are very supportive and I'm thankful to have them.

I have, however, unfollowed a person or two myself. Not for personal reasons...one in particular was blogging regularly until she got pregnant. Then it was over and she hadn't blogged for 4 weeks. That, to me, it just taking up space. I find new blogs weekly that I add to my list (probably a few too many to keep up with!) and if someone takes a break from blogging I "clean up" a little. Does that sound bad?

If you met me in the face-to-face world I imagine I would probably be a lot like I am in blogland. Although I don't unleash every inner-most thought I have, I do reveal a large part of myself. Before I ever blogged, I started out on an IF message board and met amazing women who I was able to open up and completely be myself with. They know me...a part of me my husband doesn't necessarily know. I can talk about TTC til I'm blue in the face, on my blog and they never tire of it. I've made some great cyber-friendships and really believe that if we all magically lived in the same space - we'd be friends "in real life", too.

Mrs. Hope said...

I don't even pay attention to who follows me and who doesn't. Things change in our lives. Sometimes it's about the reader, sometimes it's about the writer. I don't care if someone stops reading me. I might care more if was someone I know has been reading a long time, but I think that's happened along the way, and it's just part of life, especially in cyberspace.

I think my blog is much like me, though I post the dark and ugly in a way that I don't think you'd necessarily see in person. But it's all me.

Thanks for the mention in your BlogHer post. :)

Once A Mother said...

I have had a few people unfollow me, and just assumed they left because they weren't getting anything out of my writing anymore and that's okay. Maybe someone at a different bend in this road wouldn't be able to relate to me anymore. Honestly, even if I wanted to know who left, I probably couldn't figure it out.

I think my blog offers an accurate depiction of real life me. I have not been able to censor myself much since losing Peyton, so chances are what you get on the blog is also what you get in real life. As far as those that I follow, it's not so much about whether I think I would like them in person, as it is about whether some aspect of their writing resonates with me. If I can relate, I read.

Cara said...

As always - provocative questions Mel.

1. Yes, I believe that my blog very accurately reflects who I am in real life. In fact, a little too much. I fear that I carry Emma and the non-profit chapter that resulted because she did on my sleeve, in my words, and the ever-ready to whip out cards always in my pocket.

2. I also believe that all whom I follow would be able to fly into town for a weekend powow without any trouble or personality clashing. Me and them - I mean, perhaps between each other there would be issue, but hard to know. I think the bond of baby loss and infertility is typically stronger than the wedge of personalities we don't share.

HereWeGoAJen said...

I am told that I am exactly like my blog personality. Only with a deeper voice than they expected. :)

Let's see, ninety percent of the time, people that I have met from blogs have been exactly as I have expected. One person was better in person than her blog led me to expect.

Yes, I read someone's blog that I don't like at all. For reasons that I cannot reveal here because I think she reads here and would recognize herself. But I don't like her and I think if I met her in person, I would actively dislike her in a way that I actively dislike very few people. Wait, does that make sense? But for the most part, I have stopped reading people's blogs that I dislike, except for this one that I have a good reason for.

Denise said...

People have actually unfollowed you?!?! Seriously, who are these people that they wouldn't want to read your writing? Their loss, I say.

I think I would want to know why someone unfollowed me, just because I'm self-obsessed like that sometimes.

I have liked every blogger I've met in person (at least the handful that I've met). Most bloggers that I read write in such a way that it really leaves an impression on you of who they are. Even if they are a little more quiet, a little more outspoken, look different or sound different than I imagined, the two images slowly merge. It makes reading their writing that much more enjoyable because I feel like I have the full picture. I think your description of 360 versus 180 is perfect and I think you would feel the same applies to me if you read my blog and then met me in person.

Happy New Year!

MrsSpock said...

I've only had one person unfollow me- it's not like I have a huge amount anyway- and I assume it was because I'm boring now. Since I started working full-time again, and I've had my son, I'm sure my kvetching about work and day care illnesses can be rather blah.

I'd rather not know, though.

I've only unfollowed one person, and it was because her anger and vitriol really got out of hand, and my limited reading/commenting time will not be spent on someone who brings me down.

I do read a couple people I don't think I want to meet in real like, but by and large, I assume my "bloggy friends" are people I would click with IRL.

Deathstar said...

I don't have a lot of followers, so I would be upset if I lost one. I would want to know why. However, I'm not sure if knowing why though would make me want to actually do something to repair the damage. For example, some bloggers don't hold the same politics as me, and as much as I think their thinking is somewhat irrational, I respect that it's their right to hold that opinion. Two words. Health care. Fight amongst yourselves.

Now if I delist a blog it's most likely nothing personal. I'm never going to be pregnant, so unless you're going to write about something else (highly unlikely) or I'm not terribly attached to you personally, I'm probably not going to read it anymore.

I have gone out of my way to meet some bloggers because of the connection I felt with them. I really felt like we could be real life friends and though that isn't always possible to maintain over time, distance and circumstance, that kind of connection can hold its own space. I'd actually get on a plane to meet a couple of them if I could afford it.

I'd say that I'm generally much more fun in person than my blog. I blog more when I'm feeling morose or I want to express some existential angst. Misery breeds creativity. If I'm busy living the la vida loca, I'm much less likely taking the time to actually write about it.

Billy said...

1. I do believe that mostly unfollowing occurs because of being in another place, and not because what you as a blogger write.

2. I am a very curious person, so I guess I would like to know (but then I'm assuming it's not me..)

3. Yes, most often I am sure that I would like the person behind the words, and would really love meeting up with them (though not really an option..).
Will have to say yes to the second part of the question, but this really is an exception, one blogger who while I do enjoy reading her words, I also know that we're not on the same plain.

4. Not sure how you'd imagine me :-), but I'm pretty certain that I am who I blog. Of course I am very shy and timid, so I won't be as open as I am on the blog (at least not at first), but basically this is me.

And thank-you for recommending my post!

MsPrufrock said...

Oh Mel, how I struggle with commenting here because you are just so damn thought-provoking. Half the time I feel as if my response warrants a blog post (on my own blog of course) rather than a commendeering of your comments section.

My writing isn't to everyone's taste, I know this and for the most part I don't care. I used to take it personally when someone would unsubscribe from my feed, and I monitored my subscriptions far too obsessively. Strangely enough, that was at the height of my subscriber numbers pre-P, and now that I have about three people reading, I care less about who reads me and whether they stick around. You'd think I'd cling to them desperately. I know a lot of people stopped reading me when I got pregnant, and at first that made me sad. I still wonder about that facet of IF blogging; I think it's a bit shitty, if I'm being honest.

I read a lot of bloggers (when I actually get around to reading). I wouldn't read if I didn't want to hear what they have to say, but I certainly have a certain number of bloggers I'd want to meet over others. There are a handful that I know I would get on with amazingly well in real life, and others less so.

"The Weekly What If: What if I met you in the face-to-face world--would you be like I imagine you to be from your blog, or does your writing only reflect a small element of your total personality? How close is the skin-and-bones you to the online you?"

I always worry about this in connection with meeting bloggers in real life. It takes me awhile to warm up to people in real-life, so even if we know each other really well from blogging and emails, I'm still reserved in person. Presumably those people want to meet me based on what they know of me from what I've written, so I think when they are faced with the real me, it must be a disappointment. I do wish I was more outgoing in real life, but if I tried it would just seem fake and forced anyway. When I eventually move to the mid-Atlantic, consider this your forewarning that when we finally meet I'll probably be chewing my hair and not making eye contact.

Heh. My word verification is "verse". Cute.

B said...

I've never figured out how to work the statistics stuff on my blog so I am not very aware of who my readers are apart from comment leavers.

I would like to be friends with most people whose blog I read. Some people I know I would not be friends with but I really enjoy their writing. Some people I am sure I would be friends with in real life but find their writing a little boring so am not as dedicated to reading it, even though I keep in touch with their journey and offer support when I can.

I'm the opposite of you - that is, I'm unedited on my blog compared to real life. Which probably makes me look a lot angrier and more bitter than I do if you knew me day to day.

Calliope said...

1. I will always take it personally, but will do my honest best to let it go. Probably ignorance is bliss. I can usually tell when someone stops reading my blog when they stop leaving comments
2. If I have hurt or upset or offended them I would want to know so that I could make amends or talk things through.
3. 9 times out of 10 if I like someone's blog I tend to think I will like them in person. And pretty much every blogger that I have met in person has been true enough to themselves that I am delighted in liking them justifiably
4. I would be as you know me, except maybe taller and with a bigger ass.

and the question about wishing for the first baby? Oh man does this question resonate with me. I often find myself saying outloud how W is the perfect baby for me, but in doing so I feel immediate sadness for the baby that never was. I know in my heart that W is here at the perfect point in my life, but I doubt I will ever stop wondering.

Kristin said...

I try not to take unfollowing personally but when I had two people drop me in less than 2 weeks I have to admit it was disconcerting.

As for whether my blog voice matches me, I would say its pretty darned close.

Parenthood For Me said...

Knowing mu usual sensitivity I would probably feel bad if someone unfollowed my blog or on FB. Even though I really don't like FB that much. I would rather not even find out they stopped reading. Also, I read blogs that I find interesting and real. It seems that the writers are people I would like IRL. I don't think I could spend time on someone's blog if I didn't like them as a person.

DD said...

I use to watch my stats very closely. They don't tell the whole story. Instead, I'm very conscious about who use to comment and who doesn't anymore. Is it b/c I'm no longer an active Stirrup Queen? Is it because I no longer have anything relevant to say? Or is it because I cut off all my hair? Maybe because since I lost my job, I don't have the same access to a computer to reciprocate like I use to?

I don't know, but I wish I knew. I really, really do.

(word verify? read unky. go figure)