If there’s a phrase that puts me on edge these days, its someone that I’m talking with face to face suddenly saying: “I read your blog.” There’s often a pause straight after. There’s usually a slightly guilty look on their face at the time, because they’re about to ask a question about some of the more personal information that I’ve posted here.
Sometimes there’s a carefully neutral expression, akin to the one I used to wear as an IT Systems Administrator when in conversation with someone while I was wearing my “I read your email” t-shirt. It can feel that either phrase can be an implicit threat at the same time as a helpful acknowledgement. It is often not until we get to the next sentence that it becomes apparent which way the conversation is going.
These days it’s usually one of three topics: my gaming write up pages, my mental health posts, or allusions to my love life. Well, there’s also one person who picks me up on the WordPress app’s ability to “autocorrect” my apostrophe usage to interesting effect occasionally (looking at you here, Lady G).
In each case I’m usually doing a lightning fast fight or flight calculation. This often manifests as my responding with an “oh yes?”, or possibly a more drawn out “yeeeesssssss?” if there’s something in the tone of the original comment that rings mental alarm bells. More often than not, the next sentence is generally supportive, or picks out a turn of phrase that has put a grin on their face.
These last ones are, admittedly, some of the nicest conversations. That’s because I get to see someone’s joy as provoked by my writing. That’s a huge ego boost, and particularly helps if I’m having a doldrums day. (Sir S was the most recent of these, telling me of the sheer joy he got from recognising himself in the blog – there’s always one 😛 )
To date, the other topics have either prompted grimly supportive statements like “you know you can talk to me about anything”, or semi incoherent reassurances along the lines of “if you’re happy, we don’t give a flying f**k”. I await with interest the day someone tells me, to my face, to lighten the hell up – and engages in a long and in-depth discussion without a look of terror or utter confusion on their face.
Well, there’s one Dangerous person who does, but he’s usually very, very drunk at the time and shows no subsequent sign of recalling the conversations afterwards. This may be a blessing in disguise.
I wonder how many other bloggers encounter this. Many people blog under an assumed name or title of course, but there are many who, like me, blog under their own name. Is this sense of trepidation when talking directly to your audience just a figment of my overactive imagination, or something we all struggle with (even if only briefly?) What approaches do you adopt when the virtual and real worlds coincide?