Thursday, January 22, 2009

On Blogging, Looks And Questions

Stirring the pot ...




  • Would you be disappointed when you find out your blogger friend's looks do not match the image you conjured up of her? Would you say anything? Would you go off her blog? What is it about a blog that makes you think the blogger would be nothing less than hip and happening?

  • I remember someone saying they didn’t know whether they’d like to meet other bloggers in the flesh, what if they didn’t really like each other? It is a valid fear, isn’t it? Would the real person be the same as the blog persona, and what would you do if she isn’t? Of course, all this is assuming you give blog friendships somewhat the same weightage that you give real-life friendships, otherwise we wouldn’t be discussing this at all.

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  • This isn't related to looks or real-life encounters but blog etiquette. I often come across comments saying, "Sorry for the long comment." I've said it myself though I've not understood exactly why. Is it because a long comment is seen as trying to take over someone else's space, or is it based on more practical and technical considerations such as the amount of space available for a blog on a server/ a blogging platform? Would you welcome long comments? Why not?



53 comments:

  1. Personally, I am not someone who makes friends virtually. Yet, I cannot but think back on some great acquaintances I have through the blog. To me, friends are different. I guess physical presence matters most to me in friendship.

    Choosing friends based on how they look just makes that person sad. I would be sorry for him/her, really.

    As for long comments, hmmm.. you are right, I tend to make long comments on Sig's blog the most, and I have apologized once or twice. I am sure she doesn't mind but I think I did because its her blog and I don't want to steal the show. And this I realised only when I soul-searched following your question.

    I would love to hear others' thoughts so I am going to subscribe to follow up comments.

    And I am not really sorry for this long comment :D

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  2. I wonder... I love it when someone from the blogosphere becomes a real life friend. So, in effect, it would eventually get the same weightage.

    Food for thought: Maybe there are folks who use blogs as that space where they can be someone else. And maybe it is easy to keep up with that pretense there... and hence maybe in reality...

    That is really a long comment, but I won't say sorry. This is your rant and I think you wanted my opinion. I would welcome long comments... it should mean that someone read the entire thing and felt strongly enough about it to say something... and that would give me such a great kick!

    I had no idea about your physical appearance before I actually met you... and I think your blog is very real... thanks to which I didn't have to perform a mental check to think if I really "knew" this person :)

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  3. I would be happy to get long n detailed comments..just shows how much a person cared to read ur posts in detail,n ofcourse they r spending their valuable time in letting you know their view..:)

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  4. ooh, well..that is one interesting thought! ask me, i would always love to see the face of the person whom I know well thru blogs ..well in the sense, just the interaction side....

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  5. Oh what a way to stir our minds Sra? I always attach a figure with a blog but I don't mind if it doesn't match. Afterall I love the person not because of her looks but for her talents. So when I met up all you guys in the Chennai blogger's meet we had I was overwhelmed to hear your voices. Now I attach the voices to the blogs which adds more style and spice to the posts! And for comments I actually crave for comments as I do get very less :)

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  6. I don't think the look matters.
    I have only met one blog friend and it was sirvalli. She was same as her blog, a very warm and honest , loving person. We spend few hours with her family and we all had a great time.
    I love reding long comments.

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  7. I do attach faces to blogs that I read, but it doesn't matter if the faces don't match in the "real" world.
    As for long comments, I love them.
    What brought this on???

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  8. I like long comments, so that's not a problem and no one need say sorry :-)

    Nags, I HAVE seen at least one blogger say they don't like long comments and people are always apologising for them, and it makes me feel guilty when I make a long comment myself - I'm more hesitant about saying friendly, teasing stuff on the blog because voice is not there to indicate the tone and it's easy to be misconstrued.
    And Nags, in college I knew someone who wanted to be friends with all the popular, intelligent and good-looking girls, she even told me she walked up to Tirumala because she got admitted into a college where such girls could be found!!!
    Raaga, about weightage - I've seen a few people say they wouldn't care much for blog friends. I share your views about long comments and I'm not insecure about my importance vis-a-vis the commenter's. I've had good fun with you and all the bloggers I've met, but anyway, you can't please everybody!
    Varsha, true - I'd be very happy and flattered, too.
    Sona, yeah, it's great fun, and sometimes quite surprising.
    Ni, sometimes I think we also have to say a lot to hear a lot - comments, I mean. Take a brief post - there's not much to say, but take a bigger post where you say a little more, and maybe people will react a little more. Of course, one needs to have something to say, without which any post will just sound hollow.
    Happy, yes, Srivalli told me you'd met. When we bloggers met, it WAS a revelation to see who looked like what but I'm not sure if anyone was actually disappointed by the others' looks.

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  9. Jayashree, nothing important, plus the lack of anything better to say :-)

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  10. Am totally stirred.:) Looking back l just realized that most of my blogger friends have their own faces as their blog avatar. We recently had a ravelers meet in Hyd and I was comfortable meeting them as they did me, though I don't have a pic of me in my avatar.;)
    I never bother about how long or short a comment is and I think I have made only one "sorry for....t"
    According to me a long comment is ok as you express your thoughts on what you have read...
    So guys write on..........:)

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  11. Sra, I can see you have been doing a lot of thinking. :)
    Now that you've stirred the pot, I'm waiting to see what comes out of it!

    The only virtual friends I have are fellow bloggers. And though it takes me some time to make good friends, I believe I have a few good ones among them.
    I categorise "friendly relationships" into good acquaintances and friends. I have many of the first and fewer of the second.

    Obviously, one does conjure up some idea of a fellow blogger based on what they write on their blogs. And honestly, the two never really match.:)
    But have I been disappointed? No and I have met four bloggers so far.
    I am not in the least bothered by what my friends look like. To me, it's what they are as people that matters.
    And as I am not "hip and happening" myself, I can handle it if others aren't.:D

    Meeting someone for the first time is a little scary. What do you say to a person whom you only know from their food posts? What if you find there's nothing to say beyond " I really liked that soup/ chutney/ dessert/ pictures on your blog"! So yes, it's a reasonable fear.

    Sure, I love long comments. I enjoy reading them and it tells me the commenter has taken the effort to go through my post. Of course, that also means I have to put effort into my posts to expect that.:)

    Yes, I have said sorry to a long comment a couple of times.
    That's because there's been some debate and I have joined in with my two paise's worth. But I feel its not right if I use someone's comment space to start my own rant and take it over!

    Well, you asked and I commented. I'm sure you'll understand if I don't apologise this once. ;-D

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  12. For me, friendship (real or virtual), all depends on the wavelength I share with the other person. I have some really good friends whom I meet once in 2 to 3 years and when we do, we have so much to share. And, I happen to have one true friend, whom I came to know thru her blog and now we are bestest of friends. She was there for me when I needed a 'friend' the most & I would always treasure that... and I love for what she is..not for how she 'looks'.

    I don't mind comments (short or long) till they have something sensible to say.

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  13. I don't really have blog friends who are real life friends too. I like the blog friendships, I like the veil, I guess it gives me a lot more independence on my blog and that is why I don't share my blog link with my real life friends, except very few.

    If they would be my very good real life friends it is different. But if they turn out to be OK kind of real life friends (the kind who judge you) I would feel a little uneasy as there might be things I share on my blog that I wouldn't share with them in real life or vice versa.

    Ha, ha and what if I want to bitch about certain someone and I know them in real life and they also read my blog, god help me then.

    About long comments -- people say "sorry" because I think they mean to say they are no spamming you like the loooooooooooooong spam comments

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  14. Ok after that longish comment....
    I wouldn't at all mind if the blogger's friends looks do not match the image I have of her/him.
    As long as it is an occasional meet up it would be fine.

    But of course if in real life the person comes across as someone I can't relate to at all while the blog makes me think that I do, I would just stick to her blog the next time and not make any attempts to meet in real.

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  15. Blog buddies are blog buddies, unless you live nearby and meet them and like them too. I wouldn't go and stay with them just because I "know" them thru' blogging. That applies to anybody in my book, even with personal friends. I would hesitate to make it very personal. I am a private person, hate when people invade my privacy. It's one thing for me to tell others about myself, but whole another thing when somebody thinks it's okay to hug me in person because she thinks "I am wonderful" because she reads my blogs!!;D

    I ain't afraid to leave a looong comment anywhere if I have something to say! :))

    I don't like to say sorry unless I am really sorry and if it's my fault!!

    I am an honest person which gets me into trouble lot of times,but I would never say something just to please others but if I get pissed, I will just move away from that blog rather than making her and my day go bad too.Life's too short for pettiness and wrinkled brows, no? :)

    Looks and riches never mattered to me, I deliberately make friends with "underdogs" in college, for which I was made fun of by "hip" girls who wanted me in their group. I always smiled and moved on, such brainless girls those were! ;P

    Intelligence always attracts me, I did marry Arvind by choice, didn't I? Hahaha!!

    I come here and go to few blogs just to read their posts, so wonderful to read. Trisha is a great writer too just like you! :))

    Is this long enough for ya? I could write more if you want! :D

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  16. Sra,
    I was just wondering what made you write this? Probably its something you have been thinking about...

    To be very honest, I am not that much hip n happening at all ..
    I think when people leave long comments( whether positive or negative,and we should be open to read negative comments also , beacuse that is what blogging is all about isn't) , this shows they have cared enough to read what i have written , and I have always appreciated that..
    To me virtual friendship is different than real friendship, and I treasure any friendship I have made so far ..
    To me the physical presence is must so that when we share feelings it doesnt get misquoted...You know sometimes similar words can have different meaning when pronounced with different emotions isn't?
    I like going to blogs what I like to read and try on recipes etc..
    I dont give weightage to how the writer is lookwise, whether hip n happening or the template is extraordinary etc..for me the article , recipe is what is more important ...
    I just think this is a very deep topic and many many things can be written here ..I am all eager to know what others are saying ..
    hugs and smiles

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  17. Hmmm. I like this virtual friendship. & i really wound want to meet if i really got close to anyone (other than just food discussion & knowing each other via comments). The virtual raltionship kind of gives me more liberty to open up, as personally i am not a very social person.

    No looks should never matter when it comes to friends. I would be scared of someone if that person is making friends for looks!

    & I love if people leave long comments in my blog, makes me feel that they have taken their time to express their views. I do tend to keep long comments sometimes:-(

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  18. If I'm honest I don't like the idea of bloggers networking on facebook. The whole point of blogging I think is that you can create a personality for yourself without it giving any privacy away.

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  19. I would love to beat out Asha's post hands down! But typing out comments from my work place practically hiding behind the screen hoping no one finds out that I am "virtually cheating" is not comfortable I must say.

    Well - its inevitable that one conjures up an image from what they read of that person. I have done it myself - and probably will do so. And its little hard to digest that what you thought of that person turned out to be completely different of what you eventually found out about that person - but then that's cos I think no one likes to be wrong ;-)

    But that hardly matters - since as Asha said, Blogger friends will remain blogger friends until living or moving closely. Its rare that you hit it BANG on in the blogging world with someone...(which miracle did happen to me..and I will cherish it always!)..but then its also immature to be presumptuous about someone who you really don't know! So I wont be dissapointed and when I see it, I would love them for the way they are, and I would be expected to be treated likewise.

    And long comments are always welcome...It takes effort, it shows interest of that person with you, in what you have written - and I will not apologise for the same. I will take a long comment any day than 3-4 generic words.


    umm..guess this has turned out to be a long comment after all. So much for my virtual cheating! ;)

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  20. Vidya, I keep joking that I won't put my face on the blog as I want to preserve the mystique - I know there won't be any the moment I put it on!!!
    Aparna, sometimes I think our own rants/ how we identify with what is being ranted about are what create long comments :-D and I don't mind if you rant in my blog. As for looks, I do think bloggers are acquiring the status of 'suitable boys' - you know, you hear how there's this boy who could be a possible match and how he's got all these great qualities, only to have all those images come crashing till you see his picture - maybe imagination and reality in bloggers building up expectations and being disappointed is something like that ... :-D
    Siri, good for you, may you be friends forever.
    Sandeepa, the reason I don't tell too many real life friends and acquaintances about my blog - it started out as a thrill for a secret life but then I noticed that not all are interested or care, and there's nothing more bumming than telling someone you have a blog and them saying ok very plainly, as if you told them something about the weather. I'm glad you "don't mind" "an occasional meet-up" because I'm going to be visiting soon. ;-)
    Asha, so when we do meet, I'll admire you from an arm's distance, alright? LOL! I wouldn't say you can't get to know someone through their blog but I suppose the vibes have to be right. I have this fancy notion that I can feel vibes in blogs too, just like the fancy notion that a person's face reflects their nature - though both notions sound too naive to my own ears to be right. And yes, I have had my share of people in college asking me why I was friends with the plain/the introverted, or was perceived as someone belonging to one of those categories myself. I did, they were right, but I could never social-climb/network. I wish I can, but I squirm and cringe even when I try, so I give up as soon as I start.
    Jaya, I'm no smartie either, just an ordinary girl. Even if the long comment is a rant or they get carried away, it's okay, but nothing like that has ever happened. Till now :-)
    Soma, yes. I always thought I was this friendly extrovert till someone told me I was seen as reserved and even snobbish in my job circles. I was thrilled to hear that. And don't worry, when you do get to meet bloggers, you rarely talk about food unless meet over lunch and even then, it's fun - ask me, I've done it thrice.
    Mallika, I understand, and it's interesting, because in my case, there are three bloggers on a networking site I very recently joined and I am quite comfortable giving myself away to them because I get good vibes from them. But networking is often just a word, really, most of the people on my site, including me, aren't very proactive, or maybe it's vis-a-vis me!
    DK, thank you for cheating for this post - that says a lot :-) Yeah, you're pretty honest when you say it's hard to digest - read what I replied to Aparna, about the 'suitable boy' syndrome - I guess it's a bit like that.

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  21. I am wondering why someone should be disappointed in reality? It is only friendship not ur life partner that you are going to meet and would be disappointed about his/her appearance and some small things u re going to notice in a such short period of time.
    I ve met a dozen of bloggers which helped us to build more stronger after the meeting, we know each other well now and do invite for Tambulam, share our birthdays, (even created a group)…
    If a person doesn’t want to meet in the flesh… Fear of reality? Want to stay virtually and enjoy the cyberspace…. Totally someone tastes… Would even say own choice. With blogger friendship you cannot share of course all your personal matters which you do comfortably with ur dear and near friends which you have met , laughed for years…
    Long comments: I don’t know why “sorry” unless u apologize … Long comment should definitely bring the owner a smile (unless it is offensive)… Now u won babe everyone had left a long comment , proof the platform can even accept LOOOOOONG comments….

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  22. Oooh! Somebody's stirred a hornet's nest :-D

    The best bit about blogging is the interaction with your readers...whether those readers turn out to be good friends in reality...maybe, maybe not, I don't know, for I haven't met any till now. Will I be taken aback by expectations regarding their looks, naaaah! And I'm pretty sure of that, without sounding too saintly ;-) I have never been one to judge people by their looks...too many have fallen short as soon as they pop open their pretty mouths!!

    Now, for the comments,I wouldn't mind any long ones in my blog, though I must say that I usually try to keep it short in others, and if I have had to make an exception with a few extra words here and here, I think I must have apologised,so as not to take over. But, don't expect any today,my dear lady, you asked for it ;-)

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  23. I love this post. To tell you the truth, I have another personal blog where my name is there and all that. This is with my husband who is a privacy fanatic and scared of hte internet :D. Personal in the sense that it is not cooking. Cyn and I are blog friends. I know you read her :) After coming to the US and not having ONE friend, ALL my friends here are bloggers and we are a group on twitter too. Most of them are grad students or newly married like me. :D My first real friend found me through my blog. My second friend sympathized with me after I wrote on my blog about my friendlessness.

    I love long comments too. I say sorry if I type in long comments coz of the whole server issue.

    So, ya, am sorry :)

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  24. I'm back, Sra. :)
    I understand what you mean by the "suitable boy" syndrome. But I think wherever one builds expectations on surmise, a let down is inevitable. :)
    Yes, I have had a few instances where bloggers were surprised to realise I was older than they thought, so maybe that made a difference to them!

    It is difficult to a get an idea about a person from the recipes they present, but I think you can make out something about a person from the the topics they choose or the way they present their posts, even if they choose to maintain some degree of anonymity.

    I don't feel blog friendships can be given the same weightage as real life frienships (though a good friendship can happen as a result of blogs) as most of us like to maintain some level of anonymity for whatever reasons we choose.
    After all, I do hide behind a pomegranate!!

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  25. Cham :-) I'm wondering if whoever will be disappointed feels that way because they expect bloggers to be very different from non-bloggers - and when you like someone, you don't want to hear/see anything disappointing about them - maybe it's something like that.
    Sunita, no, I have no problem with long comments at all. Please leave comments as long as you want always :-)
    N, I'm off to Cyn's blog to ferret you out :-) In fact, I recently left a long comment on her blog - probably the longest ever I've written.

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  26. I have as many 'real' friends as virtual - which is to say I have very few! And I cherish them all equally. I have made new friends thru the blog whom i hope to meet someday. And even if they turn out to be different from how I imagined them (I have seen their photos)why would I be disappointed? Not like I have put them on a pedestal. They are probably regular folk like me, just more talented perhaps ;-) .

    Long comments are the best ones! the back-and-forth can get really interesting...as here!

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  27. hi, I have made a lot of friends through my blog, and while I have not met most of them, nor have I seen pictures, I will not choose friends based on looks. Regarding long comments, there are many times I have hit backspace and delete keys to 'strike out' and edit long comments and make them shorter. Just being cautious not to feel like I am intruding. At the same time, I have left long comments if there were some questions to be answered or any kind of issues raised in the post warranted a frank response, like this one:-) I personally like long comments on my posts, makes me feel that the person has taken pains to spend time and read through the post too!

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  28. hi sra! hmm stirred up a hornet's nest there. i started using the net as late as 1998 and since then i have formed a few long lasting friendships over the net-these people are today my flesh and blood friends. and though i never care for what these interenet friends look like when i meet them - i'd be honest and say that some personalities have been disappointing as well.maybe more because they claimed to be something else. I am usually pretty honest about who i am and my hubby fears that its really simple to know everything about me just because there's not much I have hidden. I think i have also reached a point in my life where i am comfortable with the virtual world as much as with the realworld. and yes i always leave long comments and feel sad about leaving short ones (thats when i dont have much to say) and yes i do feel under pressure to say nice things always :| hehehehe... anyways ilike this post, good drift.

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  29. I always have my own imagination of how each and every blogger looks.. this is something I do instinctively with anybody's voice I hear - even during office conference calls and almost all the time, when I've had the pleasure of meeting/seeing them, the person looks very different from what I imagined them to be... but it's never been a disappointment :)

    I do like the fact that there are virtual friends, some closer than the others, but still to share a common passion and interest across so many miles/seas and feel like you know them well is such a nice feeling.

    Long comments, I don't mind them at all... it would be a welcome thing.

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  30. You pose some interesting questions...definitely food for thought! I would say friendship is about what is on the inside not the outside and log comments are welcome if it's meaningful.
    I see that you have an interest in food and recipes, and I am hoping that you would share them with us at Foodista.com. We have launched an online food and cooking encyclopedia that everyone can edit and for every recipe you add, you get a chance to win a $100 gift card to spend at Sur la table. Remember to sign up first so that you get credit for what you add.
    We also have small embeddable widgets that can help you build traffic from Foodista-related pages. Check it out here.Thanks!

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  31. On a personal note i never think og anyone or i can say visualise or create a image og anyone whome i have not met before. Blog not only makes us to post/share/write whatever you say our view... Iam poersonally not intrested in going on to the looks... Looks never matter to me....

    The one who chooses a friend by seeing the looks/personality or anything for that matter can't be a friend...

    One who looks for a friend without faults will have none....

    Long comments are welcome till the time they are decent and related to the blog content...

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  32. Iam a blogger myself & I have been vary of internet friendships. I do open up a lil abt my life & family thru various posts But I dont over do it. Till now I haven't made any friends through blogs, yes I do know a few ppl by their names & blogs thatz abt it.

    when I am a lil friendly in my posts I feel ppl do not respond that well. I really do not mind making some frnds & as far as the appearance goes, I guess it really doesn't matter as long as you can connect with the other person.

    I do like loong comments since Iam often bored of reading the same comments like, lovely pic .. awesome recipe .. gorgeous dish .. etc etc .. I feel most ppl are just interested in commenting for the sake of it. barely a few ppl mean what they say. & I have often seen that when someone writes lengthy posts, no one really reads it fully cuz no one has the time to. It has happened soo many times that I share a piece of info with my readers hoping that they wud react to it, alas no, instead its the same old comments that I mentioned .. LOL !!

    I would love lengthy comments as long as they are maeningful. its sooo much better than ohh nice post, lovely dish kinda thing, isn't it ??

    I do not usually write lengthy comments unless I have something to say. But I wud be more than happy to recieve meaningful comments.

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  33. i really don't have any expectations from a blogger or even a friend as in what they should look like or be like. everyone's different, so i try not to pre-determine what that person is like. i like that person's space, hence i visit it, chances are i'll like them too.

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  34. There are some blog visitors who over the years have developed into friends though we have never met. We share emails and in those emails we talk about a lot of stuff. When we finally meet, I won't care what the person looks like, that is not important. One gets a sense of the kind of person you're dealing with when communicating with them for a while, you draw on your other senses to evaluate them as well and because the discussion is usually varied, you get an insight into the kind of person it is. You can also tell from the tone and tempo they use in their various posts.

    About the long responses, I welcome them. Again, it gives an insight into the person.

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  35. I tend to make long comments especially on Tumyumtreats after reading the lovely posts.Sometimes you cn see more than one comment of mine in several posts.

    I believe,it depends on the bloggers nature whether they like long comments or not.I like long comments and would love if I get a long comment,but I cannot say the same for other blogger.So,I always say sorry for the long comment.Some people just do not like long comments,and also some people are better online than in flesh.Sometimes we cannot relate to that person -thats what I feel.Its definitely lovely if I become friends with a blogger -but still cannot say whether she likes to be friends with me.
    Do u think this is a short comment- then Sorry next time expect a very looooooooooooooong one.

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  36. I have not yet met up with any blogger friends till date, although I do feel a certain special bond with a few, but then that has simply been a logistical issue, as they all happen to be in different countries. As for judging them on their looks, it has never even crossed my mind, and I am certain, its the same with them.
    But yes, till date I have refrained from attending food bloggers meet because I am not so chummy with the group

    While I have not really shared my blog with friends and family, it has names of my family members mentioned every now and then, and so I have not gone out of my way to hide or declare my blog.

    Finally, if I feel obliged to apologize for a long/ short/extra short/any comment, I perhaps will not be visiting such a blog in the first place!

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  37. Anita, I think you articulated it well - the pedestal is what gives way to the disappointment, I guess.
    Shreya, I didn't think of long comments as intrusion but I wondered if the blogger would think I was stealing the show - I don't feel that way myself.
    Rajani, my Internet friends are my blog friends, don't have Net friends any other way. I've had pen pals - have to say was never disappointed with their looks :-), tho' one of them really changed over less than three years - from smart to dissipated - and cause of much grief to my hostelmates ...
    Desmone, thanks for your comment, and your visit.
    Laavanya, your second para also makes a nice point about the blogging phenomenon - that's one of the things that attracted me to blogs, plus the fact that I can go on talking about food and not have anyone mind.
    Folks, will answer the rest of the comments a little later, need to leave suddenly ...

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  38. Wonderful post. I like to make friends, meet friends; I like short comments, long comments... I'm not hard to please. ;-)

    Paz

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  39. Anon, I know, it has happened to me sometimes that some commenters have not really read through my posts - but it's okay, I try not to bother about things like that. As for the short kind of comments you mention - good recipe, looks good, etc - I think there are many reasons why - they want to make their presence felt in your blog so that you will visit theirs, they are good blog friends and don't want to miss out on your blog if you're a regular in theirs, and probably even feel some pressure to do so even if the post is not that interesting. I value all sorts of comments tho', naturally, I do like detailed comments, and now try to make more in-depth comments than before rather than say good recipe, nice dish. sometimes we can't but help saying the same things in various blogs in swift succession if the dishes are similar - for instance, if everyone is talking about Pongal during Pongal ... and they are your good blog friends and might wonder why you haven't commented - I try to say something related to the post/situation if not the dish itself.
    Bee, yes, that sounds probable and logical, and that's what happened when I met some bloggers for the first time. Some I'd seen on chat, some never, not even in my blog, but it turned out they read mine and liked it - it was a lesson too, in a few ways.
    Cynthia, well put, I think you've nailed it.
    Curry Leaf, yeah, be sure to write a longer comment next time :-D I generally write long comments when I need to share my views about something that stirs me - then too, I re-read what I've written, edit it, and then send it off.
    Delhibelle, yes, some experiences, in blogging too, have taught me not to expect my imagination to be right all the time. I'm not shocked by it, just awestruck at how wrong or right I could have been. As for apologising for a long comment, I guess it's mostly to tell the other person we don't mean to take over their post or their argument ...
    Paz, I just came by your blog today to check why no posts - I'm hard to please alright, but not with the way friends look, or with comments ... :-D

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  40. hi sra,
    i guess you will really know more about this since you seem to have met a LOT of blogger friends. It must be really difficult to visualize how someone looks, talks, behaves when most of us don't even have snaps out there.

    I imagine you as very mischevious, with an omnipresent twinkle in your eye and anyone would be at the mercy of your ready wit ;)

    Not that it won't be most interesting, though!

    I think it speaks a lot for the web, that I am even able to say all this to someone whose existence I would never have known, but for this blog.

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  41. Wow, what a great discussion going on here... It took me a while to read through all the comments, you really know how to stir the pot, don't you sra? :)

    Now, let me go through these questions 1 by 1.

    The only time I might be disappointed by someone's look is if I date online, or go on a blind date :) Luckily, I have never done that and hopefully won't have to do in the future either. It is true that I form some kind of a mental image about each blogger after I read their posts for a while, but I don't even compare it with the real picture after I get to see one. My mind simply replaces the virtual avatar with the real face automatically, I guess :).

    Meeting bloggers is a different ballgame altogether. Now we are not talking about looks, but the personalities. Online friendships are somewhat superficial, the conversation topics are limited, you get time to think before you talk. So there are no guarantees that two people who connect well online may do so well in real life. Also, each person's persona is different with different people, someone who is really fun and friendly with one person may come across as closed and boring to someone else. I guess the chemistry comes into play there, and there is no way to predict how two people will connect in real life. But, I do like to meet fellow bloggers, because sometimes you might run into someone that you really connect with. Even if you don't, it is still fine, I guess. We don't have to be best friends with everyone we meet!

    And finally, about long comments. I love those! I think the comments make a blog post more interesting, and I have many posts where the post itself started out kind of bland, but the comments spiced it up so much and the conversations back and forth made it even better! I love leaving long comments if I have something to say. Sometimes I just don't have much to say. :)

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  42. Hmm...interesting! As for me, I have never really tried converting online activities related to my blog into real-life ones, yet.

    I am quite sure it will be difficult to correctly imagine the person behind blogs, so some amount of surprise is inevitable.

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  43. Pb, you're right to a certain extent, but the ready wit deserts me when I need it most - in real life. Well, I guess, I'm thinking about ready retorts, but that goes with the territory. And I understand what you're saying about making assessments through blogs, and you're right about me, but I'm also a big worrier and somewhat whiner and I wonder if that comes through (if I try to ensure it doesn't, am I hiding parts of me? I suppose so. :-) )
    Sig, I think this is the first time I've stirred the pot ... yeah, what you say's true. All my online friends are bloggers, don't know anyone else. And despite us being food bloggers, hardly any of us spoke about food per se when we met, in fact, Raaga and I didn't talk about it at all, but about most interesting other things, ...
    Santanu, you're right - some amount of surprise is inevitable, as I found out to my amusement ...

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  44. There are very few blogs I actually leave a comment on though I read a lot of blogs. Sometimes, there's really nothing I ahve to say. Maybe I shd apologise for short comments!!:) I am quite a private person and don't share my blog link with friends and family. The blog acts as a veil for me. So I wouldn't judge a blogger I meet by her blog persona.

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  45. Alright, you were bound to get all these long comments for that post Sra! And since you dont mind them, heres one more :)

    I hardly have friends through blogging, just a few regular visitors, if I may say so. I dont know if I will ever get a chance to meet them, but looks will be the last thing
    on my mind if & when I do. I know some people place a lot of importance on appearances but I dont see how that matters if you are comfortable having a conversation with someone.

    Agreed that we form an opinion or a mental image of the person when we read their blogs but we should also acknowledge that there might be a totally different aspect of the person which can not always be visible through their posts. In that sense I will be open to how the person might be in real life.

    I have a few friends who blog. They were my friends before they started blogging. I regularly read their blog and appreciate what they have written. For me there is harldy any difference in the way I read their posts and it hardly matters what I have read, when I meet them personally.

    As for the long comments, they only go to show that the reader took interest in your post and that your post must have touched a chord somewhere which is why the person is sharing what he/she feels. Whether to apologise for writing long comments or not, will differ from person to person. This must be the longest comment I have written so far, & I am not going to apologise, at least this time :)

    I havent had any long comments so far on my blog, but would welcome them whenever there are :)

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  46. Latecomer to the party...

    I dont think about the length of my comments, usually - and I mostly leave a comment when I actually have something to say.

    I love getting long comments - who wouldnt, especially if it was constructive/encouraging/admiring? :) (Although right now comments seem to be in short supply on my blog posts. Perhaps it's the recession...)

    Re blogger friends and meeting them for the first time - I've met blog friends before and become really good pals, just like any "real" friends made in the course of my life.

    With me, if I like a blogger's writing style and content, especially if they have a sense of humour I can identify with, it's never a problem vibing with them in real life.

    Disliking somebody just because they dont match up with your preconceived notions is... well, just pathetic and shallow.

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  47. it IS fraught with awkwardness sometimes sometimes - more so if it is someone of the other gender i suppose.I guess one sees only the intellectual/emotional aspect of a person - and some physical idiosyncracies can be disconcerting!

    Personally, I like long comments - if someone has read the blog and wants to interact thats great!

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  48. Jyothsna, yeah, many bloggers have said this - including me, many of us don't tell everyone we know about our blogs, and I suppose that itself is a comment about what we are like in blog life and real life. Also, many of us are invested very heavily in our blogs, and in our blog friends too, so disappointment is perhaps natural when the blog persona doesn't match the real-life persona.
    Bhagyashri, yeah, I love long comments too but I guess when we all have so many blogs to visit, they become a burden to write. I try to make my comments a bit more detailed when I feel the pressure of time and even when I leave a long comment, I re-read to see if I can be concise without letting go of what I wanted to say.
    Shyam, you're so funny - comment recession! This sense of humour is another thing people can use to claim oneupmanship - I don't mean in the blog world but once when I told someone from a "literary" circle that I would like to write humour, s/he replied it was very welcome but personally they could only do black humour, blah blah ... not a bad thing to say, on the face of it, but the tone made me feel as if plain old humour was just plain and old ... think I've gone off on a tangent. And oh yes, I've had my share of the 'pathetic and shallow' variety of experiences - I would do a blog post about them but am afraid the rantees may find out, and I really don't want this to be a whiny blog if I can help it.
    Cynic, I agree with you. If you like someone, I guess you want them to have looks you would feel comfortable with, and I don't mean that you'd want them to be downright handsome or beautiful. I like long comments, too, but truly was not aware what bloggers would feel - it's an individual preference, I guess, tho' I've seen at least one blogger say they don't want long comments on their blog.

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  49. Sra, I read this post a few days ago and I wanted to leave a comment but somehow lost my train of thoughts and couldn't say anything others had't already said. I've been reading Indian food blogs for almost 4 years now - there were just a handful back then. But now that there are so many, it's impossible to visit all of them. There are some blogs I visit regularly. I feel like I've come to know some of them through the interactions on the blogs, although I don't have a blog myself. I admire the camaraderie shared among bloggers and sometimes wish that I too start a blog (but am too lazy for that). I leave comments only when I feel like I can add some value or when the blogger is chatty and interacts with you (your blog for instance), or if I've tried their recipe and want to give feedback. Looks like I've lost my train again, but bottom line is I don't think it matters to me if the real image does not match the virtual image.

    Mamatha

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  50. Continuing...
    And I would love to meet my virtual friends and become real (as in non-virtual) friends with them. A (non-food)blog-friend who I got to meet in person turned out to be even more interesting, warm and witty in person.

    Mamatha

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  51. Mamatha, there's been so much discussion even I'm beginning to lose my train of thought :-) - I think surprise and disappointment, even, are plausible, when you have expectations, but I'm not sure if they should affect your relationship with them ... like I was telling Cyn, maybe some of us would want to be comfortable with our friends' looks but I'm not too clear on that myself - maybe because I've been at the receiving end of such treatment myself - I can understand that a bit more when you're choosing a partner, but friends? I'm not sure, but I HAVE seen people like that.

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  52. Nice post. It is like enjoying a novel and watching a movie based on that novel. At any point of time, I choose to read the book. Because I can imagine every character the way I want. So, blogger friend should be the same way for me. But, if I already know a person in real life and they start a blog, that'll be different. As far as long comments are concerned, I usually have to force myself not to write. But, what happens with me is when I write something long, it usually will have some tip or advice and I worry that the other person might not like it.

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  53. OMG, you really did stir lot of stuff here!!..:))...I really don't know how I missed this post, but looks like all had loads of stuff to tell and share. The first time I met my fellow bloggers, Lak and Nimi, we planned for 1 hr for lunch and we ended up spending 6 hrs together, not knowing how the time just flew. And none of us had seen each other before. So it was very interesting looking fwd and I don't think any of us were disappointed the way we looked!

    Then in the next bigger crowd when we all met, it was even more fun right. As HC said, it was a pleasure meeting her and her lovely family, my kids really enjoyed meeting them. None of us even felt we were meeting for the first time.

    As for long comments, well I guess everybody loves them. It kind of shows that the reader took time to respond. I don't mean to say the shorts mean otherwise..it depends on the post actually..

    yeah as you know me very well, I am not going to say sorry for the long comment!..:))

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