Saturday, January 23, 2010

Twitter Issues

I have a love-hate relationship with social media; i.e., Twitter and Facebook. Especially Twitter. Upon winning the Steaz contest and claiming my ticket to Blissdom, I (figuratively, of course) was shoved with great force and enthusiasm into the foreign land of social media. For the most part, I really enjoy it! Connecting with people from around the country and even the world is first and foremost a great deal of fun. The internet has made the globe a tiny marble and connected us virtually to one another. But I have reservations.

Much of my study in college was conducted in mass media. I had (and still have) an enormous interest in parasocial relationships (PSR's). Many of my papers, finally culminating in my senior thesis, revolved around them. Here's a link to a Wikipedia article about Parasocial Interaction (PSI). Yes I know Wikipedia isn't the most reliable source of information on the planet, but it had a very clear definition.

So basically a Parasocial Relationship is a one-sided relationship between two people. Often it's used to describe fans and "characters," but can you see how easily this translates into web presence? I've seen this with bloggers. Just read some comments on "famous" mommy bloggers' posts. There are plenty of people who comment as if they know the author. And we, as bloggers, foster this relationship. We tell intimate stories about our lives, our families, and at times, really difficult moments. I LOVE that about blogging. You know I love looking into people's lives, and I love people looking into mine. But still, I feel awkward. And I'd like to start a little discussion. You don't have to answer these questions here (but you can if you want). You can message me on Twitter (I'm @BoldRach4X), email me at racheeb (@) gmail (.) com, or better yet, find me at Blissdom!

How do you feel about blog readers who feel they know you?

Do you consider your relationships on Twitter, etc. to be "real" relationships?

I guess what I'm getting at is this: I follow some amazing people through their blogs and Twitter. I don't want to be the one about whom they say "Man, that girl is CRAAAA--ZY! She thinks she knows me and thinks we're friends, but no way! LAAAAME!"

In the digital age, are we forming real connections with each other? As Blissdom approaches, I'm getting more and more excited to meet so many awesome bloggers in real life (which I've learned is abbreviated to IRL!) and solidify our relationships. I want to make sure our friendship isn't parasocial.


Liz said...

I understand what you are getting at here. I have created some excellent friendships over the past year or so, and I truly feel that I consider the women that I chat with daily on skype, twitter, through our blogs and even on Facebook some of my dearest, closest friends, even IRL. We've only gotten together twice in person, but both times, everything has just clicked.

I'm not sure if this is an isolated incident or not, but I understand what you are saying. I think that sometimes you just have to treat each situation accordingly, and take things as a blog reader and writer and embrace it from there.

Look forward to meeting you at Blissdom!

Rachel Boldman said...

I'm thinking that I'm in the same boat as you--taking each situation as it comes, and treating everything individually. I guess that's the best way to live life, anyway!!

Chitownmez said...

These are great questions! To be honest, I've been on both sides of the coin.

I started communicating with one blogger (who lives in my city) and thought that we had gained a friendship of sorts. It's fallen by the wayside bc I think she thinks of me as the "crazy" so I've just dropped it. I don't comment unless it's something that I really want to talk about.

There are other friends however, that I've made online who I feel are some of the most supportive people I know. They are there for me at the drop of a hat and are there for me 100%. Which makes me happy, but kinda sad when I realize that most of the people at my school who I see on a daily basis, I trust just about as far as I can throw them.

The real thing about being a blogger however, is that someone, somewhere is going to think you're crazy no matter what. They will not understand why you do what you do. They will not feel the need to share in quite the same way. But they are truly missing out on something amazing and that's simply being able to communicate with another human being. That's what is important.

VanderbiltWife said...

Really interesting article. I admit to unsubscribing/unfollowing some bloggers who think they are celebrities and don't interact with ANY of their readers (except fellow Big Bloggers). We're all people and if blogging is about community, we're here to make friends and share our lives!

Looking forward to meeting you at Blissdom! E-mail me if you have any Blissdom questions or want to arrange a time to meet up--it can be quite overwhelming the first time!!