From Virtual to Reality

My illustration of the virtual people who read my blog for the first time.

When I began blogging, I remember getting the jitters. I had worried about using my real name. Since I was blogging for a writer’s platform, it made sense to send it into the blogosphere along with my words.

My friends and family wondered how smart it was to expose myself to strangers. Some thought I could be conversing with thugs from prison. “Hey!” I retorted, “Everyone makes mistakes and if they enjoy my blog, well, that’s a great sign of positive reform!”

They wondered how I could possibly make friends online.

What I write is more revealing about who I am than anything I say in public to my real friends. Writing gives me time to collect my thoughts which are usually whipping around aimlessly in my pea brain. People who read my blog know me better in some ways than people I met in real life five years ago.

Pretty strong statements, eh? Well, I believe they are true, for me anyway.

Blogging is one-sided like a lecture. The feedback given through the comments is where the magic happens. Conversations have continued on Facebook, Twitter and through email.

Flash forward a year and a half and I have made some pretty amazing friendships. Do I even know what these people look like? Some use photos of themselves on their blogs and others use avatars of furry little creatures. Does it matter? Hell no. It’s what they say that matters.

Writing is the great equalizer. Words draw people together by interest, content, depiction of beauty and sometimes just by support.

The most wonderful surprise of this whole blogging experience has been the community I have found.

Now, when I go on a vacation, I want to meet my virtual friends in real life. My husband Danny and I recently traveled to California. I contacted a few bloggers located in the area and we met for dinner.

Lynn Kelley, me, Debra Eve, August McLaughlin, and Debra Kristi

Those same jitters returned as my husband and I walked into the restaurant. As soon as I spotted Lynn KelleyDebra Eve, August McLaughlin and Debra Kristi, I relaxed. It was like meeting old friends for the first time. We knew everything that was going on in each other’s lives since we all follow each other’s blogs. The connection was instantaneous. We were able to fill in the little details, talk about future plans and share ideas.

The night raced by. When they stood to leave, there was still so much I wanted to ask them. Knowing that I would “see” them on their blogs, Facebook and Twitter made it a little easier.

We will come back again. In the meantime, Danny and I would love to meet my other blogger friends when we travel. He says that his goal is to be Mr. Susie Lindau and carry my bags around the world. Good thing I didn’t use the name Little Miss Granny Panties!

Have you ever met bloggers in real life? 

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Filed under Humor, Life

158 responses to “From Virtual to Reality

  1. Pingback: Why blog? And what the heck is a writer’s platform? | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  2. I met my future lady on Facebook, and she lives some 1,000 miles from me…for now. She is one of many that I have met from online social sites. Never met a blogger though since I am relatively new to the blogging arena.

    • Congrats!
      I really believe that in a way the online person can get to know your better depending on how revealing we are. I blog a lot about my family and activities using my goofy sense of humor, so my readers get a pretty good glimpse into who I am!
      Thanks for stopping by Bryan!

  3. I have not yet met any real blogger. I have met about 8 different women cyclists from cycling Internet forums where I’ve been alot longer than blogging. At least if we had nothing else to chat up, it would be cycling stuff that binds us together.
    My partner however has met 2 of my blogger readers since he cycles all over the continent: they each wanted to give me a cheap little gift which was nice of them.

    • Awww! That was nice! I think that it may depend on what a person blogs about. When people blog about their lives, it opens up a perspective into what is going on. Each blog has a unique feel just like the blogger, so when you finally meet them, they are so familiar especially when we have had many discussions in the comment section.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Pingback: Friends – Gods – Tours and Crazy Moments of Immaturity | Debra Kristi's Blog

  5. Oh, I forgot… I am going to visit Aloha Doug next month… will report back on my findings.

  6. That is a good illustration. Of course use your name, I could not imagine not. It is funny how we meet and make good friends we may never meet.

    I’m hoping to meet Roxy someday, and shake her paw.

  7. Love this (and your illustration, too!). I think you hit the nail on so many points here – the part where we get personal on blogs, nervousness at the thought of meeting ‘for real’. And yet, there’s already such community. I’m getting warmed up to the idea of a literal ‘blog hop’ myself! :)

  8. What great post. Some of the things you point out about blogging and acquaintances are definitely true. Sometimes what I write is more revealing than what I tell people in real life. And you do make connections with adventurous wild riders. Sorry that I missed you this time around. Maybe the next time you come down here we’ll hang out. :)

    • I think people really find out what our interest are and what we are into, enabling all kinds of connections!
      You had a triathlon to participate in. You really rock the wild title! I definitely will give you the heads up next time we come out. :)
      Thanks so much Guat!

  9. I agree that the comments are what I value the most about the blogging process. It’s where you can make relationships, especially with people who follow the blog and what you write. I haven’t met any of my online friends in person, but mostly because they’re on different continents. How did you ever get a group like that together?

  10. My timing is perfect…just as I was about to type my comment…El Guapo popped in before me….I began to follow you, after becoming a follower of his!……even though I haven’t gotten to know you very well yet…I enjoy the way that you express your thoughts and entertain us all….same with Guapo…some day I hope to meet fellow bloggers…there is the possibility of meeting one at an art show in Cincinnati next spring…and it would be just awesome..congrats to you for getting to meet your friends “for real” and judging by the long list above, you’re going to meet many more…jealous!,,,in a good way :)…awesome post!

    • Awwww! Thanks so much! I am looking forward to meeting more of my virtual friends. You will really enjoy meeting yours! I think conventions can be a great way to plan to meet others too. Guapo rocks!

  11. Wow….such a brilliant way to look at blogging life!! I just began blogging in January and have already made some great connections through writing those same random whirling thoughts. I look forward to reading more of yours!

  12. Great post Susie. i love this bit: “What I write is more revealing about who I am than anything I say in public to my real friends.” I feel exactly the same way about blogging and writing. Reading your words makes me want to meet you in real life!

  13. I had so much fun! Thank you so much for making it happen. It was a night of writers’ magic. ;) You made a wonderful post out of it all too. Look at all the pretty people! Can’t wait to see them all again.

    • I LOVE that photo and plan to print it out! That was a night to remember. I am so proud to be friends of this group of amazing women!
      Thanks Debra for making the effort to be there!

  14. Diana Stevan

    What a wonderful post! Glad I found you. What you say about writing and meeting people online is so true. I have yet to meet those I’ve met online, but I’m open to that if the opportunity presents itself. The other point you made about being reluctant at first or unsure of what to say in your blog is also true of those who write. It is a judgment call as to how much you want to reveal. I have deliberated often about what to say in my posts. I have surprised some with my honesty, but it’s all good. Thanks for this.

    • Thanks Diana! I am glad you found me too!
      I made a decision early on not to drag politics etc, onto my site. I choose to write upbeat stuff since that is how I am. When life gets me down, I escape through writing. In the meantime, I have met the most amazing people. They are as real to me as anyone! It reminds me of the old penpals only we probably write a greater volume and a wider range!

  15. I’m more than a little envious. I rarely get to meet offline people I know online because of where I live. I have plans though :) Whenever my husband and I travel in the future, I hope to be able to meet some of the great people I’ve met through blogging.

    • I am so glad and hope you come to Colorado! There are also many opportunities for meetups at writing conventions. I am hoping to go to Thrillerfest in NYC next summer!
      Thanks Marcy!

  16. Susie, you are such an amazing woman! I so wish I could’ve gone that night to meet you. The next time you’re in California or I’m in Colorado ~ for SURE. I’ve loved hearing the stories from that night and seeing the pictures.

    I know exactly what you mean about meeting old new friends. I consider all of you family. I love the relationship we’ve all made here in the vastness of cyberspace.

    • I love it too and chances are slim that we would have met any other way!
      I do feel like there is a connection made through writing that is different than words and there is nothing better than meeting those behind them. :)
      I would love to meet up someday Tameri!

  17. I’ve only met one blogger so far but I agree, so many become friends even if you only know them virtually. I hope to meet more in the future! Glad you had a fun evening!

  18. Pingback: From Virtual to Reality | EditorEtc LLC

  19. Awesome! Looks like you had a great time with some great gals, Susie. I’ve yet to meet a blogger in real life though I do have plans to meet one in December. I will be in Zurich (all the way from California) and have already made contact with one of the bloggers I know who lives there. It will be a short window to meet before I fly back to the States and she and her fiance move to New Zealand, but I’m super excited to meet her. Even more so after reading a great story like yours!

  20. If you come to western Canada, I’ve got a guest room.

  21. We are bound to meet. Sooner rather than later.

  22. My IRL friend, Shannon Esposito (whom I met at a writers’ conference), dragged me onto Twitter and FB. I was kicking and screaming but she insisted that this is what I needed to do to market my writing. Boy, do I owe her big time, because meeting up with other writers online has been an incredible experience. If I need support, it is a tweet or a FB post away. And I’m really getting into blogging now as well.

    I’m so envious, Susie, that you got to meet so many of the WANA’s like that! I hope to meet everyone in person someday.

    • You will! It is so worth the effort to plan it. I would like to meet others on all of our vacations!
      It is an amazing community that I am very proud to be part of.
      Thanks Kassandra! I am glad you joined us!

  23. You have a wonderful blog n your personality shines right through. It’s like talking to a wall til you get the responses n some or most are so delightful. Then you get one and you just say aww and then u remember its a blog n you don’t have face, real in person contact. So life is busy n I find the online real and exposing but….I miss real person stuff. So I must find a way to combine the two. This is the biggest blog I follow.

    • Thanks so much Lilie! It is important to find a balance. If I didn’t get out in the real world, I would have very little to write about.
      I really find the comments the best part of blogging! It is where we all connect!

      • When did u switch ove to name? I have my blog, twitter name and then a pen name for a novel. Any suggestions on what to do? Should I have just one? I could use pen name n just keep blog title as Gardenlilie. Appreciate ideas.

        • I have always used my name. It just made sense to me. You can always make the switch. Are you keeping your pen name for your novel? If so I would make them all consistent. I am no expert, but a lot rides on name recognition… :)

  24. Julie Catherine

    Susie, if you’re ever in British Columbia, Canada, I’d love to meet you! You’re one of the most fun people I’ve ever met online – and I know I’ve told you this before but it’s true, I live vicariously through your awesome and hilarious adventures! So glad you all had such a great time, and that’s a wonderful photo! :)

  25. You do a great job with your blog, it’s always a fun read. I’ve met a fair amount of folks from cyberspace over the years, and count these folks as dear friends today. Enjoy!

    Blogging is more a relief valve for me, not my primary writing outlet (that would be novel writing) but there are certain blogs I make it a point to read and yours is one.

    • Ohh! Thanks so much Nelle! I read yours regularly too, although I may be behind since we just got back….
      I love this whole new world and the coolest thing about it is we can be from all over the world!
      Hopefully, I will meet you “for reals” someday too!

  26. That is awesome! The next time you’re near the Sacramento or Lake Tahoe region, definitely look me up. Heck I’d even go down to the Bay Area or up to Reno if we could meet in person. (We could do the Vegas scene too, but that might just get us in trouble.)

    That photo was too cute! So glad you gals got to get together. This past July I was a stone’s throw away from a bunch of WANA’s at the RWA convention and I didn’t even know it. I missed the Twitter and FB posts so I didn’t get in on all the fun. Maybe next year in Atlanta!

    “Words draw people together by interest, content, depiction of beauty and sometimes just by support.” Amen sista!

    And Mr. Susie Lindau? Love it!!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Awww! Patricia I will definitely let you know when we travel to your area. I would love to see you.
      We really want to ski Tahoe and have a pass that would cover the cost!
      What would happen in Tahoe would stay in Tahoe… Hahaha!
      Thanks so much!

  27. I met the lovely Peg-o-Leg and posted about that meeting (we both were traveling through Michigan within miles of each other – and met at a deserted Wendy’s).

    It was really fun, and not at all strange. I am hoping to meet many more bloggers at some point…just need to get out of Florida more often.

  28. That was such a cool thing to do! I love how you live life, I just do.

  29. You actually met up with August McLaughlin?
    You rock, Susie! I never get to meet anyone…

  30. The digital connecting the real. Tools laid before us to use or abuse. You use them well always with such a gift for natural story telling ;)

  31. “Writing gives me time to collect my thoughts which are usually whipping around aimlessly in my pea brain.” Absolutely!! How wonderful to meet with blogging friends. I would be scared to death, but super excited too! :)

    • I was nervous until I saw everyone and I instantly relaxed. Such amazing people. I think is so cool how we have the opportunity to connect with people through blogging we would never meet in real life since geography alone would keep us apart. Like you!
      Thanks Valerie!

  32. It was so fun meeting you, August, Debra and Lynn! And believe it or not, I’m extremely introverted. When this idea came up, it terrified me! But it was liking meeting long-lost sorority sisters or dorm mates from college. Thanks for bringing us together, Susie!

    • That’s so great and hard to believe that you are introverted! I am so glad that you felt so comfortable sista!
      Thank you so much for finding the restaurant and coming to meet me!

  33. What fun! I would love to meet bloggers in real life. I think it would be like meeting with old friends, too. Plus you’d never run out of things to say, would we?

  34. This is so true.. writing is the great equalizer, Susie, and a great way to connect lives who would never have met. We find people who share the same (or completely different) passions in life. How awesome to have met some of your blogging friends!

  35. Ha, haa! I used to have another blog, when it all started back in 2006 but it was dedicated to the art of irrverence. I stopped blogging overe there, mainly because I got tired of it, but I made friends and met a few people who lived around the area. It’s good to put a face and see who writes everything, behind your computer screen. :-)

  36. I think I have already decided that my next trip will be somewhere that I can attempt to meet up with some bloggers. I commend you for having the guts to go! I agree so much with everything you wrote. I sometimes feel more connected to some of my internet friends than my real life friends.

  37. I had the opportunity to meet @lishafink and another blogger recently! It is really so wonderful to connect with someone when you admire their words. So jealous! I wish I had been in that room! ;-)

    Apparently all bloggers are hot!

  38. Last night I met a blogger buddy, Jen at rollergiraffe, and her husband, Kris. They’re visiting the Big Apple from Calgary. We had a great time hanging out and I was glad that they appreciated my input about sites they should see when in NYC. I’m a far less accomplished social networker than you since I’m a relatively anti-social networking type, but even I have cultivated some special friendships with people through my blog. Hey, that’s how I’ve gotten to know a gem like you.

    • That is so cool that you got the opportunity to meet up!
      They met the right person since you really know your way around the city. :)

      Hey thanks! …polishes gem…. Right back atcha!

      I will definitely look you up the next time in NYC! The only difference between you and me is I am not working full time and have more time to dink around! Hahaha!

  39. Great post Susie! unfortunately, I’ve never met any bloggers in person, and there are two whom live less than an hour’s drive from my home. If you ever come to Michigan, look me up!

  40. What a fun group, I wish I could have been there! I get to meet a few members of SCBWI in a couple of weeks and Ishta again, yay. One day I will go further and come and see you all. Great illustration Susie, you need to start writing pbs :)

  41. Coleen Patrick

    I hope I get to meet you Susie! If you’re ever heading to Virginia, let me know! :)

  42. Aw, that’s great you all met up like that! I have met only one blogger so far, Charles from Mostly Bright Ideas. We met at L.L. Beans and spend a few hours talking nonstop (his poor wife!) It was fun finally meeting someone. I hope to meet more bloggers in the future.

    It is very true that you have a certain persona online, then when you meet the person in real life, it’s exciting but a bit startling…to see a person’s mannerisms and hear their voice for the first time is a trip! Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where “relationship” George collides with “Independent” George. I wonder if I have a different vibe with my “Blogger Darla” versus “Real Life Darla”.

    • It’s funny because I have spoken about you several times to my husband. He actually brought you up at the meet up and said that he has always wanted to go to Maine and there is a blogger there too! Hahaha! He really wants that bag carrying job!
      You and I would be the least shocking since we have videoblogged. I really felt like meeting blogger friends just made the friendships stronger since we all knew each other already!
      You could always take a trip to Colorado too!

      • Tell your husband you guys should make a trip here. We have lobster, pretty foliage and Bean’s….what more do you need?
        It is kind of unfair that you and I do so many vlogs so everyone knows our voices and mannerisms, but so many other bloggers will never do a blog. I am very curious what people sound like!

    • I would love to meet Charles too by the way! He cracks me up!

  43. I think it would be great fun to meet and hang out with the friends I’ve made online through blogging

  44. So not as scary as a blind date then since you already know them? Must be weird as you really do know them, people can bare themselves on their blogs more than they may do otherwise. Suppose it’s no different o penpals of old.

    I have read about other bloggers meeting and I expected the world ot implode, so it’s good to see everything is still ok.

    I haven’t come across many other London bloggers, but I haven’t sought them out either. I mainly follow American and Canadian bloggers, I have harboured an idea of going over there and was fully planning to get advice from bloggers to save me falling into tourist traps of terrible restaurants and bars, but it would be cool to meet some for a drink. It does seem nerve wracking for some reason, and also seems weird to put a voice to the blog, you get their voice in your head from the way they write, I wonder how this translates to being in person.

  45. Dear Little Miss Granny Panties, I mean Susie. LOL! You are a riot, and as sweet and fun as you seem online. Meeting you and others really did feel like meeting old pals for the first time. Talk about an excellent first date! ;) I can’t wait for more, which I’m confident we’ll have some day. *raises glass*

    • Awww. Thanks so much August and you too!
      I so agree. It was a blast! I loved meeting you too! I really felt like the friendships had already been formed

      Now you have to come out to Colorado!
      I will let you know when we make a plan to come out to LA again!

  46. No, I haven’t actually met anyone…yet. I plan to someday.
    I know Indiana is not a big vacation hot spot, but, perhaps, I may get to meet you someday as you pass through.

  47. Hey Susie, nice to know you are enjoying your wild ride across America and hope to see you and Mr Susie Lindau sometimes in Africa too!

  48. Two things…

    1) I can’t believe you can draw that well! For the girl who does stick figures, that is amazing. You are all-around talented, Miss Granny Panties!

    2) I’m still bummed to have missed! I have finally snapped my almost two week long headache and the sniffly nose is about gone, but every time I see that photo I smile. :-)

    • Thanks! I whipped this drawing out a year and a half ago when I had long hair.
      I used to be a medical illustrator. I thought I would be illustrating books not writing them! Writing really is my passion. :)
      I am sorry we missed you too! Barry Crowther, MJ Monaghan, Tameri Etherton and Karen McFarland all missed it. We will come back again and plan another meet up!
      I am glad you are feeling better. I had a nasty cold, but it only lasted two days and I was over it in Santa Barbara, thank God!

      Thanks Jenny!

  49. I can’t imagine meeting any of my blogger friends in real life. I like that our blogs give us a certain amount of anonymity to represent ourselves in a certain way. I’m not sure whether that illusion would be shattered if we met each other in real life.

    • It has only added a new dimension to the relationship! It filled in all the details. I loved it. I have met others too. I would definitely look you up if I ever came to Shanghai, so you better be ready or would you leave town….
      I would love to meet you someday!

  50. I haven’t met any yet (except my family and friends who read my blog of course) – that must have been amazing. Come over here and meet me!!!

  51. I had my first face-to-face recently with a blogging friend and his wife who were visiting from the East. I was nervous, but it was great fun and sparked a new level of friendship. Do you know of any organized gatherings/meetings of bloggers iin the Denver area?

  52. lynnkelleyauthor

    It was wonderful meeting you and Danny and August and Debra Eve and seeing Debra Kristi again and meeting her hubby. If I hadn’t had to get up so early the next morning, we would have stayed to hang out a few more hours. Thanks for planning that meet up because it was great fun! Say hello to Mr. Susie Lindau for us!

    • Hahaha! I will say hi to him!
      It was a blast and I seriously got that little pang when everyone got up to leave. I kept thinking, “So soon???”
      I loved meeting George. Tell him hi too!

  53. It’s weird – I have yet to meet any bloggers in real life, yet I could swear that I had… I started to mention the people I’d met and then realized there weren’t any.

    • Hahaha! I talk about other bloggers all the time just like my real friends. I mentioned to my husband just this morning that the Byronic Girl had arrived!
      We will definitely make a plan if I ever get to Oregon. Let me know if you take a trip to the mountains, Denver or Boulder!

  54. Little Miss Granny Panties! Ha! He probably wouldn’t have minded that either. What a guy. That is so cool you got to meet that many at once! Great photo. :-) I’ve gotten to meet quite a few from all over. It is such a wonderful experience. And fun!

    • I know! Little Miss Granny Panties just popped into my head and I had to entertain last night…I didn’t have a lot of time. Hahaha!
      That is great that you have met others too! I love the community and the support of other writers is second to none!
      Thanks Angelia!

  55. How wonderful to meet some of your blogging buddies in person! I would love that! Like you, I think my readers know me extremely well, and I feel the same way about many of the bloggers I follow. At this point, all my online to virtual meetings have been in the dating realm. It’s just not the same…

    • Dating must be such a trip! You should have them read your blog first! :)
      I think it is true that we do reveal ourselves through blogging and people get a sense of who we are without meeting us in person. The friendships are amazing and just as real as any I have in my real life!

  56. I started blogging ever-so-anonymously. Then, also because of writing, I also started emerging although my ‘furry animal’ remains. We then started what I coined the name of MOB (Met Other Bloggers) for, and the people were all super. Except that by far the majority were female, and I could hardly ever get a word in edgewise! :)

  57. I would love to meet other online bloggers, especially if it means I get to travel! I see faraway destinations like India and Austrailia as dream vacations/speaking engagements! On more a more realistic note, if ever in the Harrisburg PA region, drop me a line.

    • Oh, and I am so with your husband. If I could be the bag carrier for my wife that would just be awesome.

    • I definitely will! I am going to start a notebook with everyone’s locations in it. You never know!
      I would love to go to those locations too.
      Hey I was thinking about you when were in LA! Apparently The Edison, which is this super cool hot spot we went to on Saturday night, had a Steam Punk New Years Eve! It is the most amazing place and can only imagine what the costumes were like.

      • That sounds incredible. There are some comic cons that are close enough that I could day-trip, but I have not found any major Steampunk ones, yet.

        • That would be the ultimate costume party. In fact, Danny and I need to come up with some new costumes for Halloween. I wonder what I have down in the basement that I could throw together….We have a costume room! Maybe I will blog about it!

          • That Would Rock! You could do a selection of costumes and allow your followers to vote on it…I must confess, I have been rocking the same full body Winnie the Pooh costume longer than I care to admit. It’s warm, which makes taking my son around the neighborhood much more bearable <– Yes, I did just commit to that pun.

  58. LOL! Little Miss Granny Panties – nope it doesn’t have the same ring as, Susie Lindau. You guys look amazing and I’m blessed to have you as my friends.

  59. Sounds like a great time! You’ll have to let me know if you ever find yourselves down in Florida!

  60. I agree with your comments about being able to open up on a blog. It’s an amazing experience.

  61. So far, I’ve met two online people in real life – on from twitter, and one from blog/twitter, and both were delightful.
    This week, I’m hoping to meet a couple of other bloggers. We have plans to meet at a classic NYC burger joint. I’m looking forward to it.

    • How fun is that???
      I think it is great to meet people you have gotten to know through the internet. We also connect because we are writers which is also a great community!
      Thanks Guapo!

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