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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sadly, due to meeting my husband-to-be in the salubrious surroundings of a sticky student dive at the tender age of 18, I have never had an opportunity to become "well-versed in the arena of e-love", unlike the inimitable Anna K. In fact, before I started blogging, I thought people who spent a lot of time online were the ultimate in tragic. Creepy, sweaty loners hunched pathetically over the dull glow of their laptops, emerging from their bedrooms only to gobble up the dinner their mum has made them before scurrying back into the shells of their empty, hopeless lives.

Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration.

But there's definitely a perception that meeting people online is somehow inferior to meeting them In Real Life.  Those of us who blog, who comment, who tweet, know beyond doubt that the blogging community is a tangible thing. It's real. It supports us, challenges us and enriches our lives every day. And yet, I still hesitate to admit my membership of that community. When Fin and I met Meg and her husband for dinner in San Francisco, I didn't know how to explain it to his family (not helped by the fact that I haven't told them I had a blog, but that's a whole other trauma). "We're going out for dinner with, um, a... kind of like a friend." "Oh, that's great! How do you know each other?" "Erm, well, we, er.... met on the internet..." 


What people don't understand is that the truth is so far from the creepy sweaty loner stereotype. Bloggers and readers alike are constantly seeking ways to reach out to each other, not only virtually but physically. Just look at the APW book clubs, or the Love My Dress Summer Soirée, or Yay New York; we grab every opportunity we can to come together. To laugh, hug, share stories and trade numbers. To discover with a thrill that cherished online friendships are, in fact, cherished friendships. End of story. (Or, with luck, the beginning of one.)

Lauren put it well yesterday. She has moved thousands of miles away from all of her family and friends to be with her husband, and was feeling somewhat sheepish that the majority of the relationships she has forged on this soggy side of the Atlantic have blossomed online. But, as she said, "Do you have any idea how long it would take for me to find friends that are smart, funny, genuine people as well as being seriously talented writers and photographers without the aid of the internet?".*

The lady has a point.

And so, with that in mind, I will hold my head high when people ask what I'm doing this weekend. "Oh, a girl I met on the internet and her husband are coming to stay with us."

Actually, it's still a bit cringe. Sorry Lucy.

But hopefully I will have gotten over my embarrassment in time for the highly fabulous and exciting Any Other Party, which I will be attending with bells and possibly nipple tassels on. (Just kidding, Dad.)

In case you live in a cave, or don't read Any Other Wedding (same thing), it's in London on the 9th of September. You're all coming, aren't you? AREN'T YOU???

Good. I'll see you there.

{Geektastic greetings cards by 4/Four Cards}

*By the way, she totally included me in this list. It made my day.

19 boats moored

  1. I wish I was able to go to AOP! I would love to meet you all. Aside from a brief flirtation with internet dating (hilarious results) I've only had two internet meets... One was disastrous, the other is still one if my best friends over 8 years later.

    It's weird that we probably communicate more regularly with people we've never met (via blogs) than we do with some real life friends.

    You party people had better take some serious photos! I will be there in spirit!


  2. Kirsty you're on fire this week. Another absolutely fantastic post, not that all your posts aren't fantastic. I never know how to mention that I have a blog, and so don't. Have a lovely weekend. So pleased you're coming to AOP.
    Ps Penny sorry you're not able to come, you will be missed.

  3. Ohhh I thought you were going to start a pen pal chain, with physical paper among us readers :)
    I am thinking about going.... got to figure it out, since I-m in Holland. But yes, you have a point. About the bloging community, it is quite something, and it is unexpected (at least I did not expect it) . Have a nice day, love to read you Kirsty.

  4. I have emailed them but don't know if there's still space! But have checked and still have time to block off a few hours that Friday at work to travel down and could potentially stay with the new brother in law! just in case! How are you getting there? Flying or training it?


  5. Oh Amanda I never even thought of that - whoops! Trust me, you don't want to be my pen pal, unless you don't mind getting your letters in six months time; timely correspondence is not my strong point. I got married in July and sent my thank yous in DECEMBER. The shame.

    JHD - Yay can't wait to meet you!

    Penny - boo. Wish you could have come.

  6. Bex, I'm sure there will be space! They haven't sent out the email confirmation yet. I'm going down on the Thursday night and working from our London office (ooh, fancy) so I'll be there bang on time - can't wait.

  7. Oh flashback to when I first met people "from the internet."

    Bean made me call him, just in case they were axe murderers.

  8. Anna, James is exactly the same!

    I love the interweb, its full of brilliantness.

  9. I'm totally updating my list of things to do before I'm 30 to include, make an internet friend and meet them in real life!

  10. Oh I wish I could come too....*stamps feet*

  11. internet friendships- the wave of the future.

  12. Love this post. I have only started following blogs this year, and think they are fantastic.

    It came up with my new husband a couple of nights ago, that I'd been emailing the girls from the AOW blog, and previously had my wedding dress photos on AOW. He totally didn't get it, and was like, but they are strangers. And, I was like, no they're not, and they are all really lovely, and super cool. He had a look at some of the posts, but didn't get it. :(

    I'd love to meet you all at AOW party, but unfortunately can't make it. Please let there be another meet up.


  13. Oh gosh. This just made me laugh harder than anything has done in a really long time. You're so freaking funny Kirsty! Not only were you on my list, but you were fist on my list. & you best get your self back up to Edinburgh to hang out with me and Kristen after the AOW party! I'll stick around and sleep over at Aidan's crazy relatives house just for you. So sad I can't attend.

  14. oh my gosh, the cringe! just a few weeks ago I attended the bachelorette party of a girl I'd met through APW. completely forgot that in this mix of people from her life, everyone would be asking how we know the bride. their answers were "in law school" or something else totally respectable, and I just had to wince and say "umm, we met on the internet?" it's getting less weird, but still. explaining APW to people is really hard.

  15. I've never had luck with e-love... but I definetively think internet gets us "closer" to friends... love the codes on those cards!!

  16. UGH, double whammy post. First you hit me in the gut with the "meeting your love online" thing (um, I need to go buy that card with the Craigslist computer screen up at top IMMEDIATELY) and then you hit me again with blogging friends. Do you KNOW how many times I had to make up some weak explanation and half-truth for how I knew someone? "Um... we met... uh.... on a community forum? By the way I don't have a blog, promise."

    Do you also know how many times I have plotted travel and thought, "ooh, _____ lives near there, maybe we could meet up?" Which is totally what I'm going to do next year when I go to the UK (HINT, HINT). It still sounds weird, but it seems sometimes like much of my daily socializing happens online. This isn't so bad of a thing, is it? Maybe over time we can learn it's not so cringeful to contemplate.

  17. I love my internet community too. Afterall, without the internet who would we hang out with when we chuck our American farm-life and move to Scotland? Without blogs it'd be like The Book Club, only less funny I'm sure. (am I the only one who knows that show?)