Face-to-Face: Meeting blog friends in real life.

I’ve been reading about the BEA convention all over the blogs, but what interests me most is the blogger-interaction angle–you know, meeting other bloggers IRL (in real life).

I’ve cultivated several online-friendships during the last 18 months of blogging.  I email and comment with my online friends more regularly than I speak to some of my ‘real life’ friends.  And yet, we are only virtual friends.  Or are we?

After sharing and chatting with other bloggers and building friendships and support networks, what is it like to finally have the face-to-face meeting?  Can I possibly be the only person who feels anxious about meeting online friends? 

I worry about so many ABSURD things that are really non-issues (but I worry anyway):

  • Will my blog friends think I’m funnier (uglier, prettier, smarter, more insane) online than in real life?
  • What if we don’t ‘click’?
  • What if the friend is nothing like the image and persona I’ve created in my mind’s eye?
  • What if it’s awkward and we have nothing to talk about?

After reading all the posts about dinners and drinks and meet-ups, I’m kicking myself for not making the short trip into NYC to meet all the great bloggers.  Next year, I’ll be there with bells on.

I’d love to know if you’ve ever met up with any your blogging friends in real life.  If so, how did it go?  If you haven’t done it, what’s holding you back?  

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26 responses to “Face-to-Face: Meeting blog friends in real life.

  1. I’m about to meet up with one of my book blogging friends and I know it’ll go well. I met up with one last year and we’re in book group together now.

  2. I worry about the same things as you. The main thing holding me back is distance. I’m in the UK and most of my blogging friends are in the US.

    If I was near enough to meet up then I would do it, but I’d never very nervous.

  3. Yes, I’ve met blogger friends in real life and it’s been fantastic! Every single one has been exactly as I expected them to be. There have been no awkward moments – it was like seeing an old friend. We had so much to talk about.

  4. Hm. I pretty much write the way I think, so my blog is a fairly representative of my personality.

    Except I’m not funny! Well, I don’t think I’m funny on paper either but people online have mentioned that they think I am. I’m full of fun and sass and joi de vivre, but not funny.

    Also my hair is completely different since I’ve shaved it off. Short and pixie like. And (can I be honest?) I would LOVE to lose a little weight before I meet anyone. I know no one else would care, but I would.

  5. I met several folks at the Festival of Books in April that was held at UCLA. I got to meet Amy (My Friend Amy), Trish (Hey Lady), Florinda (3rs), Natasha (Maw Books), Tracy (Shelf Life), Jill (Fizzy Thoughts), Lisa (Books on the Brain), & Wendy (Musings of a Bookish Kitty).

    I can honestly say that their personalities match their blogs so what I had pictured in my head as far as personalities, was right on when I met them in person. If a person’s blog reflects their true personality, then there shouldn’t be any surprises really.

    • ti, you’re so right about honesty in blogging–i guess i’m just nervous over nothing! this isn’t really a forum where sincerity can be manufactured. i guess i just hear too many online dating horror stories from my single friends and project their traumas onto the internet in general. lol. 🙂

  6. I met a ton of book blogging friends at BEA in real life and it was a bit anxious for me, but not as much as it would be meeting some I don’t know at all or for those terrible job interviews.

    everyone was fantastic and exactly as I expected. I hope we all get to meet again real soon

  7. For as long as I’ve been hanging around on the Internet, I can say that I’ve never actually met any of my online friends/blogging buddies in real life! I don’t know why… even though some live relatively nearby, I share a lot of your concerns — mostly that I’ll be dull and won’t have anything interesting to say! Which is stupid, because I’m a complete chatterbox — and anyone who knows me knows sometimes it’s hard to stop me once I get going.

    One of these days, though… one of these days 🙂

  8. Your fears are my fears EXACTLY! I haven’t met anyone in real life for the exact reasons you outlined. Maybe next year when I feel a little more confident I might venture to BEA as well! : )

  9. I haven’t met any of my blogger friends in real life and I think this is primarily because I don’t live near any of them. I kind of like the idea of meeting them, but, then again, I love being semi-anonymous online so I don’t know if I’d ever really be up for meeting them in person…

  10. BEA was the first time I met any book blogger face to face. It was not like meeting anyone new, it was more like a reunion than an introduction. Everyone was just how you thought they would be; it was very easy and natural.

  11. Ti gave part of my answer for me, since she was one of the bloggers I met IRL at the LA Times Festival of Books in April.

    I’ve also met several of my fellow contributors to a local moms’ blog, and will meet who-knows-how-many bloggers of all stripes at BlogHer’09 in Chicago next month. I still get nervous about it – but it’s not that bad, since I already DO know them pretty well, and they know me. My experiences have been pretty much as Kathy (Bermudaonion) described. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty to talk about!

  12. No! I’ve never met anyone. I’d love to, one day though.

    I’d think they’d think I was really young and immature IRL. I don’t think I am, but I worry about it regularly. Especially since I have a Real Job now, but still get mistaken for a 16 year old on a daily basis. One day!

  13. I have yet to meet any blogger friends, but I have not been blogging that long (January 2009). I think most of these book blogging buddies are in real life the same as they are online. You get a feel for the real person after reading their blog and speaking to them on Twitter, etc. for a while. The real person will come out eventually, if not automatically. I can’t wait to meet some friends in real life! I will be with you on the next trip to BEA, I hope! If I can save up some $$$.

  14. Piece of cake! I met Trish at Book Group Expo last year, and we talked all day long! I met the above mentioned group at the Festival of Books and it was like I had always known them. And this weekend I get to meet a few more “imaginary” friends…I can’t wait! What people say about personalities shining through on blogs, twitter, etc is definitely true.

    There’s also a travel website that I belong to that has huge meetups every so often. I’ve been going for a couple of years and they are the nicest group of people. We always have a blast talking about travel (and wine tasting). I think when people w/ similar interests get together there is less awkwardness.

  15. My other blog personality had a meet up and it was totally a wonderful experience. You couldn’t get us to shut up the entire time! If you haven’t yet met Joan, here’s her write up: (I can’t get the tiny url thing to work and I don’t know how to embed… http://joanharvest.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/first-annual-bloggers-beach-convention/

  16. I had a great time meeting my blog buddies at BEA. I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all, and every was just as nice and personable as they are on their blogs.

  17. I think having a common interest of loving books makes meeting blogging friends easier. I can honestly say that I’ve at least liked all the people I’ve met, and quite a few of them I REALLY LIKED, to the point where I plan on stalking their blog now. Seriously, meeting bloggers in real life is the awesome.

  18. I’m even more annoying IRL.

    Someone once introduced me as having “put the A in anal” and I zapped back with, “Yes, both of them.”

  19. I have those very same concerns! I imagine we all do to some extent, don’t we? I had the chance to meet up with a few fellow bloggers at the LA Times Festival of Books this past April. It went very well. I was still a bit shy around them, but they were all wonderful people and we hit it off right away.

  20. Yes! Actually back to old forum days I met several online friends.

    I’ve always found it to be fun, though I never know really of course, how other people feel about me. 😉

  21. Well, I took the time to read through all the comments before I threw in my two cents. Back in 1997 I started posting in a Usenet news group and made all sorts of online friends. We posted in the group, we chatted and emailed each other. In 2003, 25 of us from 3 different countries met in Seattle and spent three days together, exploring the area and having a blast. We’d spent so much time online together that none of us were meeting new people. We were having a reunion. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

    I’ve since had some of those same people come visit me here in Phoenix, and they’ve stayed in my home.

    Also–I met my husband in that same news group. We’ve been married 7 years now, and the love keeps getting stronger.

    Face to face meetings with online friends should be conducted the same way you meet anyone in real life–with a great deal of common sense. I’ve found meeting online friends that I’ve emailed/chatted with for months to be much easier than a “cold” face to face meeting because I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the person online. Extremely few people are talented enough to lie consistently over long periods of time…and if they are lying, I doubt very much that they want to physically meet anyone!

    I tend to be an extremely reticent if I don’t know you and I’m meeting you for the first time. I haven’t had a single problem with meeting anyone I’ve gotten to know online first.

  22. I’ve been extremely jealous reading about all the bloggers meeting each other at BEA. I did wonder why you weren’t joining in Nat. 🙂

    Unfortunately, living so far away (Australia) makes it difficult to get to any of the conferences that other bloggers attend or even to organise a more informal get together.

    I have met someone IRL that I got to know from a parenting forum once. We had a fantastic lunch and she was just as I imagined she would be.

    Of course, I have the added advantage that for IRL meetings I usually have Meredith (Oh the Thinks you can Think) with me.

  23. I regularly meet up with blogging friends, although we didn’t know each other online beforehand. I asked them if they’d be interested in getting together because I found out via LibraryThing that they were local to me and book bloggers. (It’s only after the fact that I started reading their blogs.) But despite the fact that our reading interests are fairly different, we hit it off right away and have been meeting monthly every since (for the past eight months!).

    Having said that, like you I feel nervous about meeting other bloggers I’ve met online, especially in a big group. (I tend to be shyer in larger groups than one on one or in smaller groups.) What if they don’t like me? What if I’m dull? (What if I’m the exception that proves the rule and I’m not what they imagined?) Still I wish I’d gone to BEA this year and I want to go next year!

  24. I completely understand worrying. But I’ve been part of different online communities since I was 14, so I’ve met several friends made online face to face. And other than a few minutes of initial awkwardness in some cases, it always went fine. Nobody really surprised me. What I see online is what the person is.

    I’ve only meet one book blogger – Rhinoa from Rhinoa’s Ramblings. We went to a signing together and then book shopping, and it couldn’t have been more fun!

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