I have a (free) account with StatCounter.com, and they tell me interesting things like the countries in which I'm being read; the keyword searches which lead to SiaB; the length of time people spend here before getting bored and going away (a startling number stay for '0 seconds'). The other day I noticed a lot had come from normblog... curious, thought I, and pootled off there to find out whys and wherefores.
Well, thank you Elaine! The lovely lady of Random Jottings has entered the blogging hall of fame, in the form of a normblog profile. Have a look at it here. There are all sorts of questions about blogging, reading, politics, personality and so forth - bits and pieces which you might pick up from her blog, but which are usually in the background. Anyhow, in the course of this interview Elaine mentioned my blog as one of her favourites, hence what we in the business call increased traffic. Shucks, and thanks!
And this got me thinking... Before my blogging days, as you probably know by now, I was (indeed, still am) a member of a Yahoo group firstname.lastname@example.org - it began as a group devoted to those nice grey books I talk about quite a lot, but chatter is often about a whole range of books, which we call 'doveish' for want of a better word. There are only three of us from the day I joined (January 2004) but many past and present are very dear... whats?
That's the point of today's post. What are these people? Well, they're friends of course. I'd count many of you as that, too, of course. Most of you know more about me than colleagues I see everyday, and we certainly have more in common than many people I socialise with - the main reason I blog and am in the Yahoo group is because I love 'meeting' other people who love books like I do. But - or is just me? - do you ever feel embarrassed talking about FRIENDS when you've never met them? The whole thing can sound like people who hold online conventions about cartoon characters, or participate in online dating. Nothing wrong with those things, I daresay, but they're not what we're doing right here. Plus, let's face it, for the most part those things are a little geekier than we're willing to admit to. So... what do I say? At the moment I tend to say "e-friend" in an ironic, very postmodern sort of way. There just isn't the right language yet, or the right social knowledge of this sort of very real friendship.
Language aside, my question for you today is - which e-friend (for want of a better word) have you known the longest? How did you e-meet, and have you met in the Real World? What was it like?
My longest e-friends are mostly in the blogosphere now - Elaine at Random Jottings, Lisa at BlueStalking, and Lynne at Dovegreyreader. The other dovegreybooks Yahoo group member whom I've know since January 2004 is Lyn, who introduced me to it, and thus to a whole different life of reading, and this blog. Ruth, at Crafty People, joined around the same time, I think. I haven't met any of these people, but have met Karen at Cornflower, and Barbara and Jane from dovegreybooks. The former event was lovely, though I'd only been blogging for a fortnight or so, and had only just 'met' Karen online. The latter - met both of them at a book event, by design - was really, really nice. I thought it might be a bit awkward, but we had good fun and, though brief, it was a delight to put a face to a typeface. I don't seek out these meetings, but am not adverse to them if they occur - and think it would be great fun if they happen by coincidence. Doesn't blogging open up a lot of possibilities?!
p.s. for those who read this yesterday - Blogger is now letting me put up sketches again!