I am not under the delusion that I’m a famous blogger or anything. I’ve been lucky enough to find some people who read my blog and interact with me and that’s been a great and unexpected blessing. But in the grand scheme of things, my blog is rather tiny. I get a fraction of the views even a very small YouTube channel would get, if I’m lucky. And that’s o.k. I have never been a person who is attracted to the concept of fame in any way. It sounds…exhausting…
This said, I won’t lie that there’s something nice about the idea of people wanting to read your thoughts or know more about you. It makes me feel a little special. At least in the comfortable space of my blog. But I never dreamed of the day this could leak into my offline world and I was unprepared.
I’m making it sound exciting! It’s not. It’s a really boring little story but it had an impact on me, so I want to share it:
There’s a little coffee shop I go to a couple of times a week. It’s on my way to work so hen I decide to go into the office, it’s really convenient. It’s also opened at 5 a.m. and has all these fresh baked goods so it’s kind of my go to breakfast place when I decide I’m hungry that day. I’ve been going there for years so I’ve seen the same handful of long-time employees for a long time now. We exchange pleasantries and wish each other a nice day. I don’t know anyone’s name. I’m not the most sociable type. I wouldn’t mind learning their names, but it seems invasive to ask.
There’s a guy that started working there a few months ago. A nice enough man. He works at the register. About a week ago, I plopped down my bag on the counter to fish out my wallet and he remarked that I had a ton of anime pins. We talked a bit about it and about manga. He made some recommendations. It stopped there.
Then a few days after that, he was staring at me pretty intently. Then remarked: “Your hair was silver white before, but no it’s pink”. For some reason, people often narrate my life to me, so I thought nothing of it. I smiled and said something along the lines of “yeah, I was in the mood for a change” and figured it would stay at that. But then he said: “You don’t have a blog, do you?”. My mind went blank. This was not a situation I was prepared for. With all due elegance I said “uhhh, umm, yeah, kinda, I mean um yeah, I write one…sometimes…” I’m sure he was dazzled. My communication skills are second to none!
“I knew it! You write that anime blog! I read that thing about changing your avatar to match your new hair colour. Your avatar is really cute. It’s a great blog! You sure watch a lot of anime….” I never know how to interact with this type of statement. I usually go “ha ha, yeah, I sure do! I really like it”. Bear in mind that this is a virtual stranger here. I figure he likes anime but then again, he may just have stumbled on that post randomly. I scraped the bottom of my soul to gather up all my social skills and asked him if he enjoyed anime and if he was watching anything at the moment. We chatted a bit more about that and about my blog. It stayed perfectly pleasant and surface level. He invited me out for coffee which relaxed me a bit since that’s a situation I’m way more familiar with.
That’s it. I warned you it wasn’t an exciting story. He didn’t ask for my autograph or anything. In hindsight that’s very disappointing!
But it did throw me off for a little bit. For the very first time since I started this blog, I was confronted with the reality that there are people out there, complete strangers, that know things about me, and I don’t know anything about them.
I’m not prone to paranoia or anything. This wasn’t a scary thought. And like I said, I’m not famous by any stretch of the word. But this is a new reality in which I have never existed before. I’m not really a social media person. I didn’t grow up with an internet presence. I’m not likely to have someone recognize me from my Instagram or something. I’m very use to being an outsider and observer. Suddenly having an active role requires a bit of a mental adjustment.
I don’t know how I feel about it yet.
I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I guess banal indifference would be the proper mood here. But it made me reconsider my blog. Do I want to encourage more of this interaction? Should I put more of myself in my blog. Or go the other way and take after some of my fellow bloggers, avoiding any and all personal information from now on?
I guess this post itself answers the question. Next time I go get breakfast I might have an awkward talk with that guy since I posted our shared experience without asking for permission. And I still didn’t ask his name. I am a troglodyte!
As usual, I don’t have a definitive answer. There are a lot of things I find rewarding about being personal on my blog. Connections and interactions that would be impossible otherwise and that mean a lot to me. But I can see how it can be unnerving to be at an information disadvantage when you meet someone new.
Thankfully, it’s not like I’m going to become a huge star any time soon. It’s likely that this situation may never happen again. But it is food for thought and something I never really include in my posts about blogs and blogging. Putting yourself out there means that anyone can get to know you. At least a little. And you should take that into account when starting a blog.
On the other hand, I do love learning a bit about other bloggers whenever they post about themselves. When you read someone regularly, it’s nice to get to know them a bit. It puts things into context.
How about we start with a few questions then. If you have a blog, do you write personal posts on it? Do you include anecdotes for your real life? Do you enjoy reading personal posts?