When I got to work this morning, I ran into my boss in the parking lot. “Looks like you had a great hike on Saturday!” he said. “How was The Bite of Oregon?”
And I realized in that moment the extent to which social media has changed our lives. In the past, you wouldn’t know what your coworkers had been up to unless you asked them. How old-fashioned, right? But Jeff could have recited a step-by-step recap of my weekend because it was documented for posterity on Instagram (my platform of choice these days) and Facebook.
For that matter, he’s probably well aware of the fact that politically, I side 96% with Bernie Sanders. And that I liberally doused my Mexican street corn with Tajin.
There’s no mystery left these days, you know? We’re all open books. Good if you’re sharing photos of beautiful sunrises…
Not so much if you’re talking about all the Bloody Marys you have consumed in a single sitting.
(It was three, okay? I’m not quite a lush).
What’s even weirder is when somebody you’re meeting in person for the first time ever knows every little detail of your life. This happened to me (again) yesterday. Last week, my friend Allison messaged me to let me know she was going to be in Portland and wondered if I’d like to meet up for lunch. “Sure!” I said. I’ve known Allison for more than 10 years. Only “known” is a relative term, because I’d never actually met her. Really though, that’s only a minor detail in the blogging era. I’ve mentioned before how many of my closest friends have come from the blogosphere. My own wife, even. So I jumped at the chance to meet Allison, who lives in New Orleans – so far away it might as well be another planet. A party-happy planet where you can walk down the street with booze in your hand at 2:30 in the afternoon, a/k/a my kind of town. I honestly never thought I’d have an opportunity to meet her.
But there she was, sitting across from me and Tara a mere 28 hours ago, and we were chatting it up like old friends. Which is exactly what we are. Allison was vacationing with her husband Ben, who was unaware of her blogging past, so she had to let him in on that little secret first. Otherwise, how would she explain traveling to a city she’d never been to, thousands of miles from home, to meet up with a guy she’s known practically forever? Believe me, I get it. All of it. I blogged for five years when I was married and never advertised that fact to my wife. Not that I was doing anything wrong or had things to hide; blogging was simply an outlet in which I could be myself without fear of recrimination. Open Diary was such a self-contained little community it can be hard to explain to outsiders, but those friendships have been both genuine and long-lasting. To his credit Ben took the news in stride, and he was very outgoing and friendly. Allison, of course, is awesome.
But I already knew that.
We had a great lunch at McMenamin’s Bagdad Theater, and should we ever find ourselves in N’awlins we’ll let them have a turn showing off their city.
I know many of my readers have also met up with people they got to know online first. What have your favorite experiences been? Anything bad ever happen?