Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Etiquette Question

The other night, I had a dream. I was attending some type of conference out in the woods hosted by some of my favorite bloggers. We were taking cooking lessons because I imagine this is what one does at a blogging conference (?). The setting was beautiful and serene, complete with a pond and never-ending sunset. At one point, there was a receiving line with our hosts and all the attendees were able to pass through and introduce themselves. I had a speech prepared for my turn – “Hi, I’m Susie. I’ve been reading your blog since, like, forever…” You know, nothing too gushing. But when my turn came, all I could muster was “Oh my gosh! You’re Catherine Newman!” Even in my dreams, I am such a dork.

So, why did I get all 1960’s teenage girl crying and fainting when she spots Davy Jones? If you are the type to put any stock in dream interpretation, I see bloggers, especially the ones whom I aspire to be more like, as celebrities. But I’m not talking about how popular they are or how much money they can generate. I’m talking about how they can put words together in that way that makes me say “Yes, exactly!” It’s about how a story is crafted versus simply blogged. It’s the ability to invoke some familiar emotion, the ability to verbally express the often unspeakable that I find so hard to attain. This is what I admire. This is what makes me swoon.

But if you are more of the type who doesn’t take stock in dream interpretation and you think something just is what it is, then let me present this real life moment. A few weeks ago, I had made a pilgrimage to Trader Joe’s. {For those of you who are not in the know, imagine a grocery store cheaper than Whole Foods but more fun than Kroger’s.} There was a mom shopping with her toddler and she looked vaguely familiar to me. As we parallel strolled up and down the aisles, I half-wondered from where I might know her. Not from school, not from toddler music class, from the hospital maybe? Did I simply just see her at the museum or some other regular destination? Somewhere between the chips and the vitamins, her child pushed their cart into my behind and it hit me (the cart and the connection). This mom is a blogger! I used to read her blog on BabyCenter and I recognized her and her child from the picture. In the checkout lane, I found myself smiling at her and her toddler the same as I would if they were friends that I had run into. I thought about introducing myself. She would appreciate the recognition, no? Who wouldn’t want to hear how much they are liked and appreciated?

But something stopped me. Two things, actually. For one, I didn’t want to sound like my dorky dream-self, gushing like a schoolgirl. And two, it appeared she was having a tough time. She had to go back out to the car for her wallet, she was shopping with a toddler, and I started to wonder if this were really the moment she wanted to be recognized. I pictured her blogging about the moment later – “And OMG, some crazy woman came up to me in the grocery store and I didn’t even have my contacts in!” (To be honest, I didn’t really look up to introducing myself to anyone. {Humidity + Susie’s Hair = WTF?}) So I didn’t approach her. We each pushed our carts out to our cars and I continued to grin at her like some weird stalker.

It’s silly, I know. Seeing this mommy blogger, doing the mundane mommy task of grocery shopping, with a toddler the same age as mine, brought home the point that we forget when we are speaking of celebrities – that they are humans. Even Heather, the Pinky Tuscadero of blogging, shops for groceries. And I’m willing to bet she doesn’t do it with perfect hair and a full face of make-up either. It’s odd that what attracts us to these particular writers, the fact that they are so much like us, is exactly what sets them apart from us at the same time.

With the upcoming BlogHer conference, I notice there is some talk out there in the blogosphere about breaking down these barriers. They say that popularity is fleeting and random and should not be intimidating. These are very encouraging words for a newbie blogger like myself. But I still would feel nervous meeting any of you for the first time, no matter how equal we may actually be.

So what is the etiquette for meeting a fellow blogger? Do you pretend not to recognize him or her? Do you formally introduce yourself no matter how you are dressed and what your hair is doing? Would you like to be recognized? What would you do if you met your favorite blogger? And if you are going to BlogHer, you will probably have such an opportunity so come back and tell me your stories. But if you are not attending BlogHer, I’ll meet you at Trader Joe’s.

3 comments:

canape said...

Last year at BlogHer, I didn't really talk to one of my favorite bloggers except to get a picture taken with her. I thought she wouldn't be want to be bothered with "a fan."

Turns out, she isn't going this year for multiple reasons, but one of which is that she felt intimidated by meeting people in person.

We are all the same I think.

Etiquette? I would so introduce myself if I could get up the nerve.

I'm going back to BlogHer this year, and I'm going to try to be much less worried about the strata in the blogosphere.

Okay. That was more of a post than a comment. Sorry about that :)

1blueshi1 said...

boy do I wish I could go to BlogHer, and yep, I would probably be totally intimidated by seeing some of my favorite bloggers in real life. except joshilyn at faster than kudzu, I have met her. went to one of her local booksignings and left a comment on her blog describing myself in such an accurately humiliating fashion that as soon as I slunk out from between the bookshelves, she cried, I know YOU!
why yes, yes you do (grovels).

agnes said...

Hello, I am in a tricky situation right now. Six months ago i was visiting my sister and her husband and while I was in the washroom washing my hands I accidently dropped their glass soap dispenser, putting a hole in the acrylic sink basin. I was mortified and offered to pay for the damage to which their reply was 'it's ok it was an accident'.
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