Joy from Unfolding Your Path to Joy brought up a good point in her comment on the You Never Listen To Me post.

In part, she stated,

I also know that many [people] create an online persona – a very edited, scripted version of self….

That’s true. Considering we’re creating a digital footprint with everything we share online, some people are careful what they post and don’t reveal a lot about themselves.

Today’s Lesson

Although I’ve spoken to a number of bloggers on the telephone, I’ve yet to meet any of them in person.

Based on our telephone conversations, they come across as who they seem to be on their blog(s).

But, let’s say we met in person.

Would that make a difference?

For this lesson we’re going to answer the question, “If you met a fellow/sister blogger in the real world, what would they notice about you that’s not obvious in your blog?”

I’ll go first.

Depending on when we met, my appearance could be different than what my photo shows. My hair could be longer, shorter and/or a different color. I’d be smiling and would greet you with a handshake or a hug.

I’d be nervous, but on the other hand, I’d be excited to “talk blogging” and learn a little more about you and what makes you tick. I’d bet our words would come easy.

I’d carefully listen to you and share my stories, as well.

Since I write like I talk, you wouldn’t find much of difference in my vocabulary.

After we got the blogging talk out of the way, I’d be interested in learning more about you. Your life.

I would hope we also have some laughs. (I like to laugh.)

I wouldn’t care to hear gossip or a lot of negativity and if the conversation went in that direction, I’d make every effort to change it and might play devil’s advocate.

Although our meeting may not result in a lifetime friendship, meeting a fellow/sister blogger would create a memory I’d never forget.

Okay, it’s your turn.

Today’s Assignment

If you met a fellow/sister blogger in the real world, what would they notice about you that’s not obvious in your blog?

Care to share?

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  1. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    Probably the way I talk. Most likely, I probably would’ve added this person to Facebook already so he/she probably already has a good idea of what I look like based on multiple pictures.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      The way you talk? Interesting. Do you mean you talk differently than how you write, or do you have an accent?

  2. Jo WakeNo Gravatar says:

    I guess over here most people would notice the English accent, other than that, I am pretty open about me and mine in my blogs and wouldn’t think there would be a lot of difference in person.

  3. We have an online blogging community on Face Book where we virtually meet, chat, crack jokes and inspire one another. Many of us in the group follow each other’s blogs as well. Sometimes we don’t visit blogs but just chat up. In that group, our personalities are not entirely hidden from one another.

    I have spoken to two or three fellow bloggers over phone. While they were chatty over the group and blog, they were rather reserved while on the phone.

    Like you, I also tend to talk like I write so there won’t be a great difference in that part. At first instance, I may come across as being quiet but after those initial moments, you might think that you’ve known me forever.

    Many of my blogger friends have seen my picture in ‘About Me’ and Face Book and I look much the same in real life as well.

    What you will notice is my perfume and my handshake which cannot be deciphered over the internet.

    So much so.

    Joy always,
    Susan

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Susan,

      Those first moments of meeting, even if just on the phone can be awkward, but like you said, once the conversation starts flowing, many of us feel like we’re old friends. It’s a good feeling, isn’t it?

  4. I have to say that my online persona is a much more friendly person than I am in real life. Writing gives me that several seconds of thinking before I utter words, and that makes me more pleasant to “write” to than to talk to.

    Sometimes, I speak out my mind to bluntly in real world, so I guess that it’s better to be my acquaintance online than offline.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ana,

      That’s a good point. When we write, we do have time to edit our words, whereas in the real world we might blurt out something without thinking twice.

  5. Someone (was it Cath Lawson?) said a while ago that it’s unlikely that anyone blogging for years and participating in a blogging community would be able to maintain a completely different identity than in real life. I agree. In my case, I think the most noticeable thing about me in real life would be my foreign accent.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      That’s true. It would be difficult to maintain a different personality for years. Plus, can you imagine how difficult that would be?

      I’d love to hear you talk. I love accents. :)

  6. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t share photos of myself online so if someone were to meet me in real life, they might not even know it. Unless they recognized my voice from the podcasts or radio show.

    But they would see that I am pretty close to the person they know from my writing and what I do share on my blog.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chase,

      I’ve listened to a few of your podcasts, so maybe I could pick you out based on your voice alone. Having read your blog for some time now, I’ll bet you’re a real gentleman.

  7. VilmaNo Gravatar says:

    I can say that being me online is a much more different than in real. because i am more friendly online. In real? I’m a bit shy person. Writing gives me lots of ideas, made me think several seconds before i write.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vilma,

      I don’t think you’re alone in how you feel. Many of us bloggers are introverts and have found by blogging our voices can be heard. One thing about meeting a fellow blogger is we all have blogging in common – a perfect ice breaker.

  8. I probably am a little more extroverted on the blog than I am in “real life”.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      I hear you. I’m the same way. In the real world, I’m a lot less verbal, and in fact, most times prefer to listen.

  9. AdelineNo Gravatar says:

    Hmmmm…interesting thought. Probably the way that I talk. Looking at my posts, I seem to be less talkative than I am in person. :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Adeline,

      So, you’re a talker in the real world? Maybe more of an extrovert than most bloggers? :)

  10. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I’d probably do the chat the other way round find out about them and their family, their background a bit more and then move on to the blogging world .. I’d be digging for tips on how they work .. could I do things differently – the technicalities that I miss from being on my own .. and working my way through.

    They could put more background into me .. as I don’t divulge much on the blog .. as I don’t have children and the family aren’t that keen on being put out there! So I keep to myself a little more than I would in normal life ..

    I talk like I blog – eclectically … if that’s a word! Thankfully it doesn’t tell me if the spelling’s wrong! Cheers .. would love to meet one day .. and see the Barbara of Bend .. Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      I’d love to meet you too. I’ll bet you have a wonderful accent. I’d also love to hear more about you, your life and more about your Mum, too. Maybe…someday.

  11. maddieNo Gravatar says:

    I’m pretty shy in person. I even hate talking on the phone. But, the blog is me and my interests because to be anything else is difficult.

    However, I spend a lot of my free time reading about anything and everything so I think people might be surprised at some of the things I’ve perused. Only my family wouldn’t blink if one week I was reading a book on biology and the next, Carthaginian history.

    Okay, fine. I admit it. I’m a nerd.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Maddie,

      Nerds rock!

      You are full of surprises. It sounds like you could talk to anyone about anything considering your reading preferences. Isn’t it fun learning and expanding your knowledge base? Great brain exercise, I think.

  12. suZenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb – What a fun assignment! What people tell me is they had no idea I was so funny since my blogs seem so serious. This isn’t just from bloggers though since I haven’t met any either – but have had a few phone conversations where this has come out. I know hubs says he keeps me around for the pure entertainment factor! ha! I smile ALL the time and usually reveal my PhD in sarcasm after a while of getting to know you. :)
    hugs
    Susan

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi SuZen,

      I’ll bet you’d be a hoot to spend time with. I’ve known you for quite some time now via the blogs and love the sayings you use. I think you’d have me in stitches. 8)

  13. Wise EarsNo Gravatar says:

    I made it a goal for 2011 to meet some bloggers in person – well I have done just that as my acupuncturist has a blog about Sufism and my young neighbor down the street has become a stay at home Dad, so he is blogging his poetry.

    I love to talk with other bloggers on the phone…I do not think there would be many surprises, because I am trying to not write so formally and write conversationally… Most of the people I run into from school days around town say I look just the same except very tired…. Maybe my weight would be different than expected but I am just getting used to being this round and trying to change that and I write about it all the time on my blog…

    I was called Ham or Ham bone as a kid because I was just moving bones!…

    Thank you for your nice comment on Jane’s Art…Patricias Wisdom

    I need to go see my family in Vancouver sooner rather than later, Maybe I can meet Davina on a trip?

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Patricia,

      You’re one of the bloggers I’ve spoken with over the phone and can see why you’ve decided to start your new business, Wise Ears. You’re a great listener and a joy to talk to. Since we live fairly close, I’ll bet we’ll meet in person one day. How nice will that be?

  14. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I get I think people would be surprised at how old I am…from some of the comments I get readers seem to think I am young. Not a bad thing…just not true.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      It’s interesting you mentioned age. Online it’s like we can be ageless. Although when we read some blogs, we’re well aware the author has seen a lot of life based on the wisdom they share.

  15. Hi Barbara.

    This is a fun question. I’ve spoken with a number of my blogging buds on the phone and they’ve all been fabulous conversations. And, I’ve met two online friends in real life and they were both memorable meetings. Both gals I would enjoy spending more time with if the circumstances allowed.

    People might be surprised to learn that I’m pretty shy offline. In person, depending on the company I keep, I am quite reserved… more of a thinker than a talker. I like to make people laugh and that is the part of my personality that comes out when I’m online. In person I’d probably appear more reserved than I do online. And, I’m better with the written word, so in real life my sentences need editing, lol.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Davina,

      You’re another phone buddy of mine and I would have never guessed you’re shy. Our conversations flow so easily. You are funny online, especially on Facebook. Your one liners always make me laugh. 😆

      • Barbara, I think we just click. I rarely talk for as long on the phone as you and I do. Our conversations do flow easily and I love that. You’re a lot of fun to talk to and I’m looking forward to our next chat. I’m glad you enjoy my one-liners! :)

  16. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    It’s an interesting question. I think people’s true selves seem to leak out more than they realize, even just when it’s on a blog. Granted, we all have many sides to us. There are times when we might act out of character, and if we met on that day it might seem like you were a different person than you are here.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi John,

      That’s true. Our personalities do leak out, and even more so the longer we’re online. Good point. If we’re in a bad mood or have a lot on our mind on the day we’d meet in the real world, we might project a different side of ourselves. (Just as we do in the real world).

  17. NaomiNo Gravatar says:

    What a delightful topic – and blog – Barbara! Thanks so much for visiting mine via Lance’s guest post, which is a treat to host :-)

    I’ve had the pleasure of physically meeting a few blogging friends, which was fabulous! I don’t know if they found anything about me surprising, but it’s unlikely given that I’ve included some video on my blog, albeit mostly with me speaking.

    One thing that struck me was how petite one my blogging friends is, even though she’s blogged about it, because size doesn’t come across in a photo, particularly not a head-and-shoulders portrait. It was only briefly surprising, though…and mostly because she has such a big personality that comes across so vibrantly in her blog!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Naomi,

      It was great seeing Lance on your blog. He’s a real sweetheart, isn’t he?

      That’s true. If we do video posts, our blogging buds wouldn’t find too many surprises if they met us.

      I like you story about the petite blogger you met and how you shared she has a big personality. THAT is something which is easily spotted on a blog.

  18. Nice article, Barbara! I think it’s really not that easy to show your true self when connecting with people (readers, bloggers) online since there’s this “voice” that you need to maintain.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Wedding Photographer,

      True. We do have a “voice” online which could be misconstrued by others. Hopefully though, we reveal enough about ourselves so that meeting in person wouldn’t be too much of a shock.

  19. RachelNo Gravatar says:

    Be real. It doesn’t really matter if you seem fat or thin in person as long as you’re still the nicest, lively funny and joyful individual your staff or teammates have known you in the web. I’m pretty sure that with that, the meeting will be as smooth as you want it to be. Nice post Barbara. Thanks :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Rachel,

      You’re right. If we’re “real” on our blogs, if and when we met in person, our personality wouldn’t surprise anyone.

  20. sanjayNo Gravatar says:

    I would love to meet a fellow blogger in person, especially if they are web designers or developers. Learning something from them would be great!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Sanjay,

      Good point. If we were to meet fellow bloggers who are well versed in different aspects of design or web development, we could certainly learn a lot more.

  21. JaneNo Gravatar says:

    First, I hope they’d say “You look so much (thinner, prettier, etc.) in person!”

    But seriously, I’m not sure what they’d notice about me that isn’t so obvious. I’m pretty real on my blog and tell it like I see it. I have more concerns about what I hope they wouldn’t notice about me if they met me in person….like how insecure I am or how torn up I am about my relationship with my parents (or lack of relationship) or how I obsess about being the best mom for my kids.

    Great topic! Really gives me something to think about and how I can be “more real” on my own blog.

    • RachelNo Gravatar says:

      Jane, If someone would say “you look thinner in person!” can get a Hermes bag 😉

      Relax, I think you’re nice and you’ll do pretty well when that meeting has a date.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Jane,

      I LOVE the part where you said, “You look so much (thinner, prettier, etc) That would be a great compliment. :)

      No matter what we notice about each other, that’s what makes us, us. I think we all have concerns we don’t share on our blogs and if we met in person, until we felt comfortable with one another, we might hold some of our cards closer to our chest, which is no different than meeting people in the real world.

      P.S. I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to be the best mom you can be. That’s an admirable trait.

  22. I think no matter how you try you will always be slightly diffrent online. The main reason is that in real life people speak off the cuff and can’t take things back. Online you can pick and choose what you say. You write a post,email, text, etc you then read it, spell check it and change it. so automaticly it is diffrent from what you would have said in real life.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Matt,

      That’s true. We’re not going to be EXACTLY the same in real life, due to the fact we can edit our words, however in most cases, I’d like to think we’re similar to how we project ourselves online.

      Your comment reminds me how body language is another aspect we can’t project online.

  23. ShailjaNo Gravatar says:

    Writing is the best idea to express your feelings as you have the scope to write exactly what you think; you can change your words if they are wrong but while speaking you are not blessed with that option.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Shailja,

      I agree. Being able to edit what we share online makes it easier to communicate, but like you said, in the real world, that option isn’t always there.

  24. JoychristinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Thank you for including my comment in your piece..I love the conversation in the comments!
    I have had the pleasure of meeting quite a few blogging friends in person..some of whom are now in my very close circle of offline friends. My observation, which you shared above, rises from the fact that each site represents something specific about the author..a facet, if you will..while people are multi-faceted. Each meeting, I am surprised by something about the person which is not revealed through their writing online. Not that I believe we should divulge everything through our sites, just that I am reminded to allow what I do share to be genuinely *me*.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Joy,

      I’ve read in your writings how you’ve met fellow bloggers and always enjoy hearing the stories. You’ve raised another great point. If and when we meet fellow bloggers, there will undoubtedly be some surprises. Often that’s based on the fact if we’re writing in a specific niche, those views/beliefs won’t necessarily surface.

  25. Kristina L.No Gravatar says:

    Hi, Barbara,
    if someone would have met me in the real world I’d say I’d give the appearance as I usually do. I don’t tend to wear masks and hide behind them, not even when I am getting social behind the monitor.
    In fact, I must even notice that sometimes it is easier to write something than say it aloud…and that is why we get sometimes more sincere over net than we do in the real world.
    The virtual side has its benefits, but, nevertheless, I’d always rather go for the true thing, alive.
    Oh, and, by the way, loved this post and the way your blog is organized and has an appearance as a notebook. Don’t remember if I saw anything like it before. My first visit.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Kristina,

      Welcome! What you said is true. When we write, it can be easier than when we’re speaking to another person. I think part of that is we have more time to sort out our thoughts, whereas if someone is in front of us, we may not have time to edit our words.

  26. I just met a reader of my blog and wrote about it. There’s an interesting twist and I’ve chosen to link the story in my “Check out” option.

    Dianne, the reader, said I am just the way she imagined and likewise with her. I could see she was quite an organizer so I was guarded, but found she respected boundaries.

    She does want more contact than my time permits, but I know we will sort that out.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amy,

      How exciting. I found it fascinating how both of you had a vision of what the other person would be like and when you met, you weren’t surprised.

  27. JanineNo Gravatar says:

    The thing that other bloggers would notice about me if they meet me in person is that I am not good in starting a conversation. That is what I actually like about blogging, I can talk about things that matter to me and no one would tell me not to. But in person I would be afraid to tell other bloggers about things that are running in my head. I’d be gracious and smile but not have enough courage to start a topic.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Janine,

      That is one of the biggest advantages of blogging. Even if in the real world we’re hesitant to share our thoughts or opinions, on a blog, we can.

      If you come back and read my reply, I’m curious to know; if your real life friends read your blog, would they be surprised with what you share?

  28. vishalNo Gravatar says:

    the titles you give for the posts are really thought provoking! If we met in the real world, your blog is ugly and many others. i really like your style of writing and the way you have put up the presentation on this blog. heartiest congratulations

  29. AlisonNo Gravatar says:

    Hey, Barbara! Interesting idea :) I’m so used to being online all the time now, that I haven’t even thought about this. Well, I guess the main difference is that in person people can also “feel” who you are. And I hope they would notice I’m a warm and positive person. Otherwise, I sometimes dress extravagantly, just for fun, so they might be in for a surprise, lol

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Alison,

      You’ve raised a good point. In the event we don’t share a lot of photos of ourselves online, our blogging buddies wouldn’t know how we normally dress. Although they might “guess”, like you mentioned, they could be in for a real surprise. :)

  30. MichaelNo Gravatar says:

    Due to the nature of my blog, people perceive more my serious, professional side. If we met, they could discover I’m actually a very funny person. Hard to get that from seeing a guy in a suit, writing about insurance!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Michael,

      Good point. If we blog about more serious topics, it’s more difficult for our readers to envision we have a funny side, too.

  31. TomekNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! I think they would pretty much view me in the same way. I try to be consistent in the image I project. However, I’m really curious about this. Maybe I’ll organize some meetings and ask for feedback…Would be an interesting experiment!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tomek,

      If you do a meetup, let me know how it turns out. Although we could be wrong about some individuals, I’ll bet most bloggers are just like they appear on their site.

  32. mark_besnosNo Gravatar says:

    I guess over here most people in world would notice the English accent, other than that, I am pretty open about me and mine in my blogs and wouldn’t think there would be a lot of difference in person.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mark,

      That shows you are blogging from your heart if the only thing others would notice about you is your accent. :)

  33. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Albert,

    From the sounds of it, you’re being authentic when you communicate online. Not only won’t others notice any differences, but it also makes it easier to communicate online when we don’t pretend to be someone we’re not.