One of the oddest things about the blogosphere is how intimately it is connected to the world of Twitter. Too intimately sometimes (recall my post about the inadvertent tweet which led to my mother’s discovery of what I thought was my secret blog). That’s the creepy downside. But the fabulous upside is the world of women I now know through the wonder of 140 characters that show up in a window on my computer or a screen on my blackberry. I’ve never met most of these women and probably never will. Few live nearby and many are in far away lands. I would say 50% or more of my twitter friends are Brits. And yet we’ve found each other and know odd details about one another’s lives.
Example: Spice Spoon writes one of my favorite blogs. I found her after she commented on one of my posts. I followed her to her blog, which is rich in delicious prose and amazing recipes. And so I began to follow her on twitter. Miss Whistle and CharlieCircus and Liberty London Girl and Mrs. Trefusis are also friends with Spice Spoon (I imagine it was one of them who led her to me in the first place) and our lowest common denominator – the thing that seems to unite us in spite of relatively disparate backgrounds – is a great passion for food: discovering it, cooking it and, of course, eating it. I would venture to say that a boozy party might be another one of our shared interests. But first and foremost is food.
Food may be the thing that introduced us but Twitter is the glue that holds us together. Through Twitter we learn of one another’s favorite books, the best place to get a haircut in a foreign city, the grooviest new stockings for winter. We share gossip, interesting articles, thoughts on politics or religion and of course interesting new blogs. Every now and then we share heartbreak about a child, a job or a friend.
It’s a uniquely inviting group – there is very little exclusive about it. All that is required is a genuine interest in the world around you and an ability to squeeze that interest into a compelling 140 characters. Usually those characters lead to an article or blog that yields greater fruit. And the bond is sealed.
And so when someone violates one of our own, we feel protective, we feel united, we feel downright angry and we bond together. The other day, Spice Spoon was insulted by a reader. And she tweeted about the fact that we are all, those of us in the blogosphere, so vulnerable to those we don’t know who come to visit our site and leave whatever comment they so choose. And she’s right of course. The great fear of blogging (which I still consider a bit wimpy) and the greater fear of "real" writing (the kind with an editor and publisher and such) is the fear of discovery and the fear that discovery will lead to criticism or worse, contempt. But the flipside of contempt is camaraderie - the camaraderie forged by women across the continent and across an ocean, drawn together by shared interests and hilarity. And to my amazement (and often amusement) the scary world of writing has also led to new amazing and supportive friends. Take that, critics!