Blogging has many benefits: improved writing skills (practice makes better), free therapy or tough love (from reader comments), complimentary products (depending on your niche), and possibly a part-time or full-time salary. But the best part of blogging for me has been making friends through my blog.
One of the most memorable emails I received from a blog-reader-turned-friend was in August of 2008 from Seye Kuyinu, internet rockstar and published author. Oh my gosh, reading over his first email I remember how completely charmed I was (not that I told him that!) by his enthusiasm and passion for everything around him. I had been blogging for a long time but was new to the world of Nigerian bloggers and in those days blogging anonymously was the thing to do so I hid my name and other identifying details from him. Once I realized how cool he was, I stopped being anonymous, but by doing that, he unfortunately realized how uncool I was, through my whining about my insecurities. It was cool to meet him face-to-face in Nigeria in 2010 and I appreciate that he’s always there for me when I reach out.
Sharing details about your life on your blog lets readers connect with you and they’re waaaay more likely to reach out if they’ve read stuff that makes them think the two of you you have things in common. That’s what happened with Dee—she reached out and told me what any blogger would love to hear: she said she was a fan, she had read all of my blog posts, and she shared words of encouragement concerning my desire to marry. She also shared some details about herself and said that she’d like us to be friends which was so endearing! How could I not respond? I didn’t know what would happen from there, but we became fast friends, talking almost daily on Yahoo messenger (does anyone use that anymore?). We got to meet face-to-face in Nigeria about a year after we started talking and that cemented things. On my way home from my sister’s wedding in Nigeria two years ago, Dee was the main reason that I added England, where she had relocated to, to my itinerary. She cracks me up with her comments generally and with her FBI-like questioning style and though it’s a long-distance friendship I’m very thankful for it.
I was also fortunate to become fast friends with Detola of Super Working Mum fame. I can’t put into words how much time we’ve spent over the years discussing all things entrepreneurial and I sooo appreciate the emotional support and encouragement she’s given me over the years. It’s awesome to see her business grow (Christian moms, please do yourself favour and check out Super Working Mum Academy)—her site is friendly to all moms; you don’t have to work outside of the home to benefit from it. And I was so thrilled to meet her face-to-face a couple of years ago.
To keep this blog shortish, I’ll stop there, but since meeting the three people above in 2008-2009 I’ve had the honour of taking other friendships “beyond the blog” and I look forward to what the future will bring. Needless to say, I completely endorse taking blog acquaintances to the next level (when both parties want to, of course!). Even if the two of you don’t live in the same country or on the same continent, the internet that brought you together makes it easy to stay in touch. Unfortunately some blog-to-friend scenarios haven’t played out as I hoped but that’s part of a bigger lesson that I’ve been learning about friendships: circumstances and people change and not every friendship can survive these changes, feelings of betrayal, or other incidents. Sometimes I’m the bad friend in the scenario; other times someone gets to know me better and decides they preferred the parts of me they saw on my blog rather than the full package!
Have you made any good friends through blogging, either as a reader or as a blogger? Spill!