Blogs create a funny sort of relationship. Several of my facebook friends are people I first met through blogging. Some of them have stopped updating their blogs, as I nearly did, but I still keep in touch with them regularly. I sometimes forget that I have never met these fellow bloggers in person. I am closer to them than I am to those facebook friends from high school who weren't actually my friends when we were students. Facebook, too, creates odd relationships.
From time to time I still drop by the long-neglected blogs of people who I never befriended on facebook. I don't know their surnames, their specific locations, or what happened in their lives that led them to abandon their blogs. I keep hoping for a brief post, an "All's well, just busy" or a "Here's a link to my new blog." Instead, I see the same final posts, with no finality in their tone or content. In fact, some speak of new beginnings. One blog's last post features a single wedding photo, another lists a young daughter's first words. My stale comments still follow these posts, and the authors' comments from long ago are still preserved on my blog. It may seem analogous to meeting a friend of a friend, socializing for a while, and eventually losing touch, but there can be far more intimacy in blogging. People share things in blogs that they wouldn't discuss over coffee with a casual acquaintance. Unlike internet dating, where there is pressure to promote only one's best features, bloggers can be raw and open and brave. This allows a deeper connection to grow. In an era characterized by incivility, such a connection is precious. It is for this reason that I continue to visit, every so often, these long-deserted blogs.
Do you see what I mean by "long, rambling post"? One thing I can say concisely: I have met (virtually) a number of terrific people through blogging and I count them as friends in the truest sense of the word.