How to tell people you’re a blogger

In less than a day I’ll be flying back to Canada.  I can’t wait!  After a few days’ work I’ll be re-connecting with friends and family I haven’t seen for 20 years or more, many of whom I’ve lost touch with for so long, the person they see might be vastly different from the one they remember.

So before I set off for memory lane trips through Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal – and even Sherbrooke, Quebec –  I’ve been trying to come up with ways to break it to old friends and family that among the many things I’ve done since the last time we spoke in 1993, I’ve become a blogger.

I know it’s not as if I’ve grown a second head or have one of those dumb-looking disks dangling from my earlobes, but still I hesitated before telling them.  I was thinking: will they receive the news like the people did at a grill party last summer in Canada?

Short anecdote:

Last summer in Canada wife K and I are visiting an old friend of mine at his summer place on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.  It’s so warm, we’ve been swimming naked at midnight and lounging away the afternoons with cool drinks and conversation.  Invited one afternoon to a barbecue at his friends’ place across the road, we arrive and settle into get-to-know-ya chit-chat.

Sooner or later the subject comes around to online life and I reveal that I’ve been blogging the past couple of years and quite enjoy it.  The lady of the house, a woman in her early 60s, looks across the table at me as if I’ve just let loose a loud, wet fart at her only son’s funeral.  Her husband snorts and gapes at me as if my sulphur-laden winds have been aimed directly at him.

“I’ll never understand how or why anyone would want to put personal details of their lives out there on the Internet for all to see,” the woman says in a withering tone.  “What’s the point of it?”

Because she’d been going on about golf and how she’s SO disappointed that a back injury has been forcing her to stay away from her beloved greens, I feel like shooting back at her that I’ve never on earth understood how anyone who considers herself a sentient being could find any point in paying a hundred bucks in a hundred-degree heat ticking off whacks at a white ball, but I hold off.

Instead, I try to assure them I’m aware that the secret to being a complete bore is to tell all, that nobody cares what I had for lunch unless it’s in a detailed restaurant review, that my most personal details will remain offline, and that the goal of blogging for me is to try to describe aspects of my life and things that happen to me in a way that other people can find relevant to their own.

They’re not in the least bit convinced, but I know it’s pointless to keep trying.

So back to telling people.

I know it’s irrational to be hesitant.  Everybody is online, right?  There are tens of millions of bloggers, nearly a half-billion baring all on Farcebook, and for the past couple of years already the cool kids have all shunted over to Twitter.  But in a lot of minds there remains this aura of dilettantism around blogging, that it’s mere teenage scribbling, that sooner or later they’ll put down their toys to do something more serious.

The truth is,  beyond making the entry easier by pointing out stuff on this blog I’ve been most happy with, I have no other way to go about telling them.  None of it needs any justification, rationalisation or explanation.  It is what it is.

So yeah, I’ve been blogging, but I’m still OK.

If you want to start anywhere here, you could look at a few travel posts which have received a lot of feedback.

A month in South Africa and Lesotho about our 2006 trip there and  10 things I learned about skating in Holland – from January, 2009 – are two I’m quite pleased with.  Warning: very long!

Speaking of skating, this past winter it felt like I was living back in Montreal.  It was so cold, the lake in central Hamburg froze well enough to support thousands of skaters, strollers, golfers…

I don’t blog about work, but if I do on rare occasions, I make sure to reveal no details.

I don’t blog about the two ladies in my life unless it’s really special, or pertains to an issue others can relate to, such as asking the question: are we raising our kids to be wimps?

I love writing fake news.   It’s harmless fun, good practice and, because I’m a bit of a lazy sod, requires absolutely no research.

You might find a writing experiment or two, because I like to play with language.

I’ve been doing a lot of travel posts lately, because the places we’ve been going to the past year mean a lot to me.  Turkey and Egpyt were two stops on a backpacking trip 30 years ago, and there was a lot to catch up on.  I think between the two of them you’ll find 20 posts and dozens of photos.

Funny how the posts I’ve linked to so far aren’t the most popular in terms of the number of hits received.  This one – a scam email re-write – is still the top one.  The comment count is now at 112.

If that’s not enough to get you started, let me know.🙂

9 Responses to “How to tell people you’re a blogger”

  1. June 22, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Mark Twain: “Golf is a good walk, spoiled.”

  2. June 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    That first “You’re a blogger?” conversation can go either way. I always hesitate before responding.

  3. 4 Manny
    June 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    “But in a lot of minds there remains this aura of dilettantism around blogging, that it’s mere teenage scribbling, that sooner or later they’ll put down their toys to do something more serious.”

    Ah, that rings so familiar it hurts. It’s not just about blogging, I have it too with general writing. I met this great woman here in Hamburg who was next to me one day when I was introducing myself to some stranger. I mumbled something about being a “nanny” and “enlgish teacher” on and off. And my friend elbows me and says: ” Oi! Tell her what you really do, and enjoy doing!” I blushed, but said: “I’m a writer.”

    I still hardly ever use those words. I hate the follow up conversations, which most often come with: “What did you publish?” and the confused faces when I answer “nothing yet.” Bah! It’s frustrating.

    Anyways, I find blogging a commendable hobby😀 No need to hide what you enjoy doing, it’s part of who you are. (keeping in mind that this comes from a severely insecure writer😉

    Hope you have fun in Canada! <—jealous

    • June 23, 2010 at 3:29 am

      Helga, I’m with you on keeping it away from colleagues. A select few I’ve told, but they’re not about to broadcast it to the rest.

      @Manny – very few books have actually changed my life, but you might want to read: Do what you love, the money will follow. I was trying to pick a path, and it convinced me to go where I am now despite all the doubts and uncertainties. Above all, keep writing!

  4. June 22, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    It’s odd, but I’m a bit reluctant to tell people I work with and some of my “pre-blogging” friends, possibly because I don’t want to change the relationship we have, which is partly based on pre-blogging interests/lifestyles. The work colleagues is simply because work is work, and blogging is my space – don’t really need nosy colleagues having a gander!😉

    On the other hand, I’ve made many friends through blogging, and have even met some of them… all those nay-sayers who think that people “from the Internet” aren’t real! Pah!😀

  5. 7 lilalia
    June 23, 2010 at 9:20 am

    My feeling is that if the initial response isn’t, “Oh, that’s interesting, what do you blog about?”, then I don’t tend to defend my position. If anyone still thinks the majority of bloggers only talk about what they eat for dinner, then they’ve done a good job at ignoring the truth of the matter. What I ask them sometimes in return is, if they were to meet a published author, would they dismiss all books just because some are trash?

  6. June 23, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I love the term farcebook.

    This post made me realize for the first time ever: it has never once occured to me to tell someone who hasn’t asked that I blog. I think it was almost two years before most of the people I spend every single day with had any idea. I wonder if I’m going to encounter some of this when I take a trip back to the states next month. Probably, though I hope it isn’t in a conversation with someone who likes golf. Never understood that sport either. Although mini golf and a beer I can get behind whole heartedly.

  7. June 24, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Oh, Ian, I can SO relate to this. I’ve just stopped telling the “real” people. If they’re not bloggers themselves, they ask weird questions and disturb the rhythm of the thing. It does tend to compartmentalize my relationships, though; perhaps that’s a sign of the times. So many twitterers tweet their lunch, but I don’t see it much in the blogs. Still, those that don’t get it aren’t usually blogging anyway. I loved your phrase: None of it needs any justification, rationalisation or explanation. It is what it is. Yes. However, unlike on less-themed blogs, your travel writing does stand on its own; introspective, without self indulgence.
    Have a really splendid time catching up with your friends! Tell us more when there’s time.

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