DISCLAIMER: My husband had nothing to do in any way with the *inspiration* for this post.
Loving someone who has a blog can be challenging, even confusing at times. There are so many elements of the unknown and unfamiliar, and you may feel at a loss as to what is happening to the one you chose, years ago.
Here, I have prepared a basic guide of how to speak to and understand your blogger loved one. My hope is to help you interpret various states of mind and behaviors of a blogger, so that you may provide the blogger you love with the in-real-life support and assurance they need.
Remember, the person you love is still in there, and they'd love to share their world with you. Be patient, and understand that the blogosphere they enter is entirely real, and actually does make them happier and more productive in the end. Though, bloggers don't measure "productive" in quite the same way as the rest of the world does, i.e., get to starred posts in Google Reader, check TweetDeck for Mentions, commit to at least five #FF, submit to McSweeney's. Again.
- When your blogger asks, "how did you like my post today?" Do Not answer, "it was like an academy award speech, where they have to start the music up." Not a good answer. Better answer? "I thought it was great."
- When your blogger begins to speak of people with names like "Mumtothree" and "HouseofMouse," do not ask her why in the world would grown women give themselves nicknames like that, instead say, "hmm...tell me who they are again." So much better.
- Realize that your blogger's mood will become quite manic and hand wringingish if she has posted over an hour ago, and nary a comment has come in yet. Do NOT mention her agitation. Instead, be helpful and ask her if perhaps she has not hit the "allow comments" button under post options. This will make her feel better, and bless you for giving her hope. You're going straight up.
- If the bloggy gods smile upon her and decide to bless her with upwards of ten comments! within an hour of posting, realize that she will cackle in frenzied delight, and may not be able to tear herself away from the screen at this time. Gently, without startling her, maintain a watch on her. This is a dangerous state of mind to enter and the household may go without food while she is in this whipped frenzy. Well, maybe not without food, but at least frozen chicken nuggets from dad.
- If your blogger appears to be jumpy, nervous, and begins a new habit of chewing her thumbnails, gingerly prod for answers. This most likely is her first encounter with a "stalker." She will need to be held at this time, and be allowed to talk. Is there a warm baby she can hold? Coax any anxiety out of your loved one, and listen without wagging a finger in her face of how you told her that the internet world is a public world and she knew this when she got into this and now is not the time to act surprised when this type of thing happens when you let her know this possibility existed and of how....ahem, sorry - um, just be supernice to her at this time.
- If your blogger suddenly gasps and bursts into tears after checking comments and reading a comment there, DO NOT ask her to repeat what she has just read. Please. It just made her burst into tears.Your blogger has just been "trolled." This is a delicate situation. Instead, kindly and lovingly pick her crumpled form up off the floor, then show you care by reading the comment for yourself. Immediately afterward, announce in a firm voice that the world is full of IDIOTS and stupid people who wouldn't recognize good writing if it hit them in the head with a 2x4. Ask her to visualize this happening. Then tell her you neglected to let her know that you thought that her post today was the most brilliant thing she's ever written. Tonight would be a good night to offer take out.
- Do Not ask your blogger if she knows what her numbers are, how many new followers she has, what google analytics or sitemeter shows, and when she anticipates getting paid for the hours she puts in behind the keyboard. She is blogging for connection, not bucks. Realize this is her hobby, much like someone who spends time reading, or exercising, or any of the other things that normal people do.
- Lord help you - Lord Help YOU - if your blogger discovers an unrequited bloggy love commenting on another site. Clearly, the blogger she's been crushing on knows how to use the "post a comment" button. Gather the children, and get out of the house. Now.
- Do Not suggest that your blogger have T shirts made up of her site header for $5.00 each, and then sell them to her readers for $20.00 each and that "if she sells only five of them, then that's at least more money than she's made thus far from her blog. Which would be none."
- Her on line friends are real to her. Do not call them "invisible" because you do not see them. THEY.ARE.REAL.
Takes cajones to do that. So, show her the love.
NEXT WEEK: Part II: "Danger Signs to Watch For," followed by Part III: "Pulling Your Blogger Back From The Brink."
It can happen to the best of us.