Sunday, September 11, 2005

Modern Day Pen Pals ~ Duh!



You guys probably already made this connection a long time ago, but I am newer to the Land of Blog and slower than you. It dawned on me today that blogs are really letters. Used to be, you'd write a letter to someone and send it off and if you were lucky, you'd get an answer within a week or maybe a month. That letter went to one person (unless you were lazy enough to copy and send it to someone else, like the girls who had more than one guy on a string). Nowadays, we write a blog and hit publish, and the numbers of people who read (or might read) it are limitless; to say nothing of the speed with which we receive an answer or comment. Boggles the mind!

Did you ever have a pen pal? When I was in 5-6th grade, we were offered the chance to become a pen pal for a child of a similar age in some other, more exotic part of the world. The one I chose, was a girl named Crista Dietz, who lived in Hamburg, Germany. At least, I think it was Hamburg. I regret that I have not kept her letters, and the one photograph I had of her is lost somewhere in my many boxes of memorabilia. We kept up our correspondence for about 2 years. I harbored dreams of one day going to Germany to meet Crista, but that never happened. Crista, I hope you've had a nice life.


Along with the realization that blogs are the same as letters, I also think that some blog writers become our "pen pals" - or - "blog pals". We get instant comments and sometimes email. I see other bloggers mention getting together to meet each other, and feeling as though they have already met since they know so much of what the person is like. Isn't that what it would be like to meet a pen pal with whom you have been corresponding for a while?


The point of all this is that I have finally learned what I will say when someone asks me "What is a blog" or "Why do you write one?". I am writing letters to the world, and it is answering me. Blogdom is a collection of letter writers and e-pen pals, doing what they do best - writing. I am so glad I have it all figured out at last!

19 comments:

utenzi said...

You know the drill, Judy. Michele sent me!

I think of blogs more as a diary but you're right, most people use them more as a pen-pal consortium. I know I treat my blog that way. Or more accurately, as a quasi-magazine that contains items that I think some people will be interested in. Were it a true diary, I'd not care if anyone else was interested.

For a true pen-pal experience, places like cyberfriends.com can be used. They're free and appealingly organized. Blogging takes too much time to do both though...

I hope you have a nice work week, Judy.

Elevation Goddess said...

Thank you for visiting my blog!! As a fellow Carolinian, [Me south you north] I hope your weather holds up for the next couple of days. I love your blog, and I love the previous post. I found one of my old report cards, and the main comment they had for me was, "Her creativity expands quickly, however, her math is still lacking." Still rings true today. Who needs math when you can be creative and build your own. :D Anyhoo, thanks again, and I'll be a repeat visitor!

Elevation Goddess said...

Oh yeah, and I agree with Utenzi. My blog is more of what i'm thinking about at any given moment because my thought process changes so much. I think that a blog can be anything you want it to be, which is cool. And it can be a way to connect to other people you may not have ever met in life under different circumstances. Ok i'll stop talking.

Brenda said...

i hadn't thought of it that way, they are like having pen pals.

i wanted a pen pal so badly as a child, i would write letters to people and never get any response. i just remembered that i used to put notes in bottles and throw them in the river hoping for a response, too.

Angela said...

Well, very nicely put! I always refuse to call my site a blog--journal, yes. Diary, yes. Blog, NO! But letters to the world, yes, I like the sound of that too!

Kevin said...

A blog can be many things, including a forum for correspondence. For me, it's a place to release the slightly warped creative juices flowing inside me. So far, so good -- nobody's sued me, yet.

srp said...

I had a penpal from Argentina in high school, Nyssa had one in Russia. It was great fun. Hmm. Wonder if they are on the internet now.

Laura said...

You know, this post brought back some memories for me. My mom used to write letters as easily as some people change shoes. She was always sitting down at the kitchen table to write to various relatives around the country. Her letters were almost like listening to a newsy conversation.
I have often found some blogs to be written in the same manner.

Another thought, it's still a lot of fun to get a bonafide, hand written letter in the mail, instead of email.

Marie said...

I had many pen-pals as a kid... one in Arizona, one in Wales, England, Germany, France... The one in Arizona & I wrote for many many years and never met. We talked on the phone, but never met & eventually lost touch. Hmm.

Yes, I've had this thought before too. ;-)

Have a good day, Kenju!

Gerbera Daisy said...

I agree with Utenzi and Elevation Goddess. My blog started out as a journal/diary of sorts. I started writing about things that happened at my job. Now I write whatever is on my head. There were only 2 people that I knew of that had blogs and I would check them. Now I have a list of blogs I check regularly. I'm hooked!!

I had a pen pal from Germany too!! Her name was Marianne Henglemann. We wrote back and forth for a few years. I regret not saving her letters.

colleen said...

There are so many reasons and needs that blogging can fill. I also look at it as record keeping. I've got a blog draft on this subject. I used to be a prolific letter writing but email and blogging changed that. I can trace my love for letter writing back to high school...passing long notes to friends that would sometimes go on for days.

About your question on my site. I think our leaders need to be more centrist so that they can represent the majority better. I don't expect a president to represent my interests fully, but when they are so extremely far to one side or the other, it can be so dividing, which is what we have now.

Kim said...

I have had many pen pals over the years. Don't laugh, but I was writing to as many as 10-15 at one time, all through the Journey Force group (that was Journey's fan club in the '80s). That was when I had a job where I sat alllll night!Blogs can definitely be letters, and I never thought about them like that until I read yours!

Lesser_Lumpkin said...

That is a really nice way to think of blogging. I too had a pen pal when I was little but unfortunatly the person never wrote back. So does that count? Anyways I get replies now although my blog is more set for entertainment perposes. Of course it is in the letter format.

The Lumpy

Jamie Dawn said...

You and I think alike. My hubby laughed the other day when I said something and referred to my "blog friends."
He said are they really your friends? I said I think of them as such. He said he liked the new term "blog friends." As we discussed it further, we came to the same conclusion as you did. My blog friends are my pen pals. I love that I have a connection with several people around the country and a few outside of the U.S.

I'll be heading to your neck of the woods this week. I am flying into Raleigh-Durham tomorow and driving on to Winston Salem. Usually, I fly into Greensboro, but for some reason the cost was much higher this time. I will see my throat/voice doc on Wed. I will be posting about it when I'm there, so you will be updated on it. I am looking forward to enjoying the wonderful hospitality that I have come to love about the people of the Carolinas.

I stopped by Michele's blog yesterday and participated in the fun. Thanks for the referral. She has a wonderful thing going on there!

rashbre said...

I've never been a strong letter writer, but have used email in various guises for as long as I can remember. The blog is a social extension of the social emailing, and interesting as it evolves. In the spirit of Michele's comment game from today, I suppose one day blogs will become a universal way of Life.

Michelle said...

Very well written. I love the instant connections that blogs allow, for our instant gratification society! I had a pen-pal in school too. He lived in France and since I was taking French, I wrote all my letters in French. It was so exciting to get a letter back and then translating what it said.

catherine said...

"I am writing letters to the world." That's a great line.

Weary Hag said...

Two separate responses on this...
I have a penpal of 26 years in Buenos Aires. We hit it off so well that I took the time to learn Spanish so I could write him in his native language on occasion. We finally had the chance to meet when his brother won a trip to the U.S.A. about 13 years ago. They stayed at our home and we had SUCH a wonderful time. Nothing like the old "letter in the mailbox" feeling.

Another penpal I had more recently was the very person who introduced me to and suggested I take up blogging! The downside to that is we don't write regular emails anymore ... we just comment on one another's posts!

Penpalling is a wonderful pastime!

Dominick Welch said...

Keep Blogging!