I’ve been thinking a lot about those awkward moments when someone says to you “I read your blog”. It wasn’t such a big deal before. This blog mostly covers obscure issues in educational technology; however, now that I also have a blog about my lived experience with breast cancer, my reaction to the statement “I read your blog” has totally changed.
I first noticed this when I went to the Technology, Knowledge, and Society conference in Berkeley. The conference itself was not that interesting to me, however, it served a really important step in my reclaiming my academic identity. I was able to present some of my thesis research in a way that many people were interested. It was nice to have people interested in what I had to say – people who had no reason to have ever read my cancer blog. They knew nothing about me except the short bio in the conference proceedings.
Then it happened, someone came up to me and said hello. They knew me from something I did online. I wasn’t sure how I should respond. I was in a bit of a panic. Did they know me from academic circles? Did they know me from my breast cancer blog? How on earth am I supposed to respond to the statement “I read your blog?”
Of course, as I start to put myself out into the real world, this situation is bound to happen more often. I know that when I go to the et4online conference (Emerging Technologies for Online Learning) in Dallas, that many of the women at the conference are readers of my breast cancer blog – I know because they have left comments, sent postcards and care packages, and have been there to encourage me when I needed it the most – it is part why I’m going to that conference – because I know many people. The problem is, they know me in a way in which I do not know them. They may have followed the details I’ve shared on my cancer blog, but there is little or no reciprocity in sharing when you blog. Others know you in ways in which you do not know them. This makes for some rather uncomfortable and awkward moments.
So my question for you is, how do you deal with those awkward moments when someone ‘knows’ you because of your online presences? And especially when you do not ‘know’ them in the same way?