I’ve been blogging for about a year, and I’ve been a big blog reader for the last several years. After you read someone’s blog for a while, you feel like you know them. It’s kind of weird, I guess, but I feel like some of these people are my real friends. Well known bloggers like Rachel Held Evans http://www.rachelheldevans.com and Sarah Bessey http://www.sarahbessey.com have been writing their way into my heart for a while, and I’m pretty sure we would be best friends in real life if we actually knew each other. I feel that way about Jen Hatmaker http://www.jenhatmaker.com and Beth Moore http://www.blog.lproof.org too.
Last year I signed up for a blogging class called Clumsy Bloggers Workshop with Micah Murray. https://www.coursecraft.net/courses/z9Pcp/splash I was wanting to do more with my blog and I thought it might help me to do a better job. I actually thought it was about the writing part, and in many ways it was. I didn’t realize was how much I would learn about the mechanics of blogging. I learned how to design and lay out my blog and how to use images and social media to make my blog better. The course did help me enormously in all the areas it promised to do. The biggest surprise? The community of fellow bloggers I would have the chance to connect with.
Once I joined the course, I had access to a private Facebook Page with the other Clumsy Bloggers. There are roughly 275 bloggers in the group, and I now have the option and opportunity to interact with them as often as I want. If I have a question about something I’m writing, I can post it on the Clumsy Bloggers page, and every time one of my fellow bloggers will take the time to answer my question. Technical questions, writing questions, and formatting questions are posed frequently. This group also is a source of encouragement to each other. When the words won’t come, or life erupts and doesn’t allow for writing, these friends are there to commiserate and encourage. This community has been the best part of the Clumsy Bloggers Workshop HANDS DOWN.
My husband doesn’t understand how I can feel connected to people I’ve never met face to face. Probably many of you have that same question! Is it even possible to have an emotional connection with people you only interact with online? I think so. Right now I’m praying fervently for an online friend’s son who is struggling with some real medical issues. Others of us struggle and process theology and things of a spiritual nature. My counseling friends stay connected through things we are reading or learning. We support each other in prayer and by reading each other’s stuff.
Thankfully, my real life friends don’t have to listen to me talk incessantly about theology or denominational issues. At least not all the time! My flesh and blood friends get to interact with me daily or even weekly. We vacation together, walk our dogs together, go to church together and eat ice cream on Sunday nights all summer long together. There’s no substitute for friends on the ground. But my online friends? They matter too. They live in my head as well as my heart.