I was trying to add Sam Gentile to my FaceBook friends list this morning and he declined on the basis that he didn’t know me. And rightfully so; we’ve never met, he’s never seen me, he’s never even heard my name before. But I feel I know him. I’ve been reading his blog for the last couple of years and I love his “New and Notable” posts which provide a great source of reading. This breeds a strange one-sided relationship where a reader knows and even trusts a blogger, but the blogger is oblivious to someone reading his blog. (Once I explained to Sam who I was, he was perfectly happy to add me in)
And Sam isn’t the only person I have this type of relationship with. I also read Scott Hanselman, Hugh MacLeod, Robert Scoble, Andy Beard, Seth Godin and a host of other bloggers. I read their posts, I mention them to friends/colleagues, I use their work, yet they don’t have the faintest idea who I am. Am I’m sure there are people who read this blog, whether on a regular or occasional basis; who are familiar with me, my posts and my work, yet I wouldn’t know who they were or anything about them.
It does bring things into perspective however. I always thought of blogging as a conversation, initiated by a blogger and responded to by readers leaving comments, however it’s a bit more one-sided than that. A reader will absorb a post, but more likely than not, won’t be leaving a comment or contributing to the conversation, leaving a clue as to who they are and why they are here. And this is where social networks start to pick up where blogs leave off. Social networks make the relationship more balanced. Now that I have “befriended” all the people mentioned above on FaceBook, they can check out my profile page and learn a bit about me. If they’re so inclined, that is.
(On an aside, there’s a scaling issue here. You may have thousands of people as friends on your social network, but how many do you really know? But well talk about that some other day)
What about you, do you have any problems “connecting” with bloggers you read?