Last Christmas, I met Katie for the first time. She'd married Bart's cousin earlier in the summer, but I'd missed the wedding. She'd commented on my blog a few times, so I knew she read and I knew she'd been reading for a while. It was the first time I'd met someone I didn't know who read this site.
Throughout the evening, I kept wondering what she thought about me - if she was surprised by how different I was in real life, or if I seemed much the same as my blog would lead you to believe.
Some people are, I think, very similar online and in person, while others (Ralphie comes to mind) are very different.
I think I'm pretty different. I'm definitely quieter in real life, since it can often take me a while to warm up to strangers enough to feel comfortable telling stories and making jokes, and I certainly am too reserved to tell you how deeply I hate your partial feed or that your private blog makes me crazy because it cannot go into google reader. My voice is probably lower than you expect. My "at ease" face makes me look confused (I know this because one of my professors my first semester at BYU asked me daily if I was getting everything because I looked so perplexed throughout the lecture).
I wondered about all this again when Kayla came out to visit. We'd clicked so well online. We turned into instant friends after her first email, but there was no telling if it would translate well into real life. Fortunately it did, beautifully, but I know we both felt the original tension of "is this going to be the most awkward two days of our lives?"
Last week, I met one of Bart's classmates and she mentioned she'd found my blog via Facebook. I know my blog is public access and all, but it's still weird to meet someone that you know virtually nothing about and realize they, quite possibly, know a lot about you.
It's just such a weird thing, putting yourself out there online, because people can know a lot about you, enough to draw major conclusions about what you are really like. And yet, it's never the whole. How do you see me based on what you read here? And how different might that image be from who I really am? It's a fascinating difference.