I was once the new kid on the block, the new kid at school. Being used to moving quite a lot, I knew what I was in for. On the first day of school, I wore a clean shirt and a nice pair of jeans, not my best ones, as I didn’t want to come off too strong, but I looked fine, and approachable.
I stood in the middle of the playground, near the exit door, just in case I bumped into the wrong crowd. I peeked around and noticed someone wearing a shirt I liked. That someone responded with a hello and we started chatting. Before the bell rang, we knew each other’s name, and before the week ended, I was part of a small group.
This is how I joined my first community on WordPress.
Starting a blog is like trying to make it through your first days at a new school: you’re thrown into a pool of unknown faces where you quickly try to form new connections based on obvious common threads. Personally, I was attracted to clever writers, disgruntled parents who nonetheless adored their kids, artists, and satirists. The first friendships were built on nothing else than the words I enjoyed from bloggers. Once we liked and commented on our mutual posts, we would take it to the next level: Facebook.
A Facebook friend request is like inviting a classmate to your home. Forget about your well-crafted sentences, when bloggers drop-by, they’ll be exposed to your reality, may that reality be peachy or crummy. In the beginning, I didn’t think much of it: I like you, you like me, let’s be friends. And like that kid from school you barely know but invited anyway for a soda, sometimes, you’re in for a surprise.
Admittedly, most of the friendships I built on WordPress went sour, and no one is to blame but me. We don’t really know each other on this blogosphere. Sure, we have a pretty good idea of who we are and what we stand for because of what we blog about, but our identities are embellished by adjectives and synonyms. Even our ugly is pretty on this forum. I might have known you were a right-wing conservative, or a jock; I might have ignored that little voice in my head telling me not to go there, but you had a way with words, and I gave you my home address.
Lasting friendships were forged as well. We stood in the hall by our lockers, trading notes and gossiping about the science teacher. When the bell rang, the clique walked home together, talking detours, stopping by the music store, and grabbing a bite at the deli down the street. We gelled. “I’ll see you tomorrow…”
Damn right you will.
Like the girl at school who brags about her A+, like the kid who makes discriminatory jokes but claims not to be a racist or a bigot, like the boy who wants to do everything you do, like the real world, I parted with those I wouldn’t meet for a 2:30PM matinee or share a cinnamon bun with at the corner café. It’s nothing personal, there are no ill feelings. I have been around this block for quite awhile now, and I have surrounded myself with bloggers I love, with those I call super friends. My posse.
Just like high school, but just fucking better.