“Because the internet should be a tool for bridging gaps as well as building communities.”

This line struck me most about Andrea’s call for entries for Blogging Across Boundaries.  Bridging gaps as well as building communities.

There are plenty of gaps in the internet communities I find myself a part of.  It’s not so much between the topics we cover when we write, but more about bridging the gaps between the words and the people.

There’s something about meeting these people in person.  These people whose intimate details you know but whose faces you can barely begin to picture.  I have had the utmost pleasure of meeting several bloggers in the past and it’s always this startling combination of comfort, ease, and laughter.

This past week was no exception.

Early last week, I met a fellow d-blogger who announces herself online as Violet.  (Real name remains under wraps, until she uncloaks at her own discretion.)  It’s a strange thing, meeting a fellow blogger for the first time.  I wonder if it will be awkward.  Will we get along as well in person as we do online?  What happens when I finally have a face and a voice for this writer I enjoy so much? I stood in the middle of Grand Central Station, looking every inch the Country Mouse.  I have posted pictures of myself online (why why why do I do that?) so I was recognizable, but what she looked like was a mystery to me.  She said she would meet up with me, so I stood like a kid lost in NY until I heard a voice say, “Kerri?”

“Violet??”  Knowing full well that wasn’t her given name, but instead the one she goes by online to protect her anonymity, I leaned in to give this stranger that I knew so well a hug.

When two people meet for the first time, there is often that awkwardness that needs some time to dissipate.   Strange thing, though, meeting a fellow blogger whose heart and soul you have peered into for the last year and a half.  Who was one of the very first bloggers you ever knew existed, well before the explosion of diabetes blogs.  Stranger still, having a discussion about very deep-seeded fears and knowing exactly what she means when she sits in silence.  And possibly the strangest of The bridge to Pumplandia?all, feeling comfortable – instantly comfortable – with someone you’ve never met before.

Weblog.  We blog.  Some of us blog daily.  Others blog when the inspiration strikes us.  We blog about such a wide array of things, ranging from politics to medicines to emotions to experiences.  We don’t share the same experiences.  We don’t have the same backgrounds or interests or opinions.  Yet we are all able to meet together on the web and offer up glimpses into our lives, embracing as a community despite the fact that we wouldn’t know one another if we passed on the street.  Meeting my fellow bloggers has helped to make them Real, in ways that the internet, despite its constant advances, can’t rival.

There don’t appear to be many boundaries, just a lack of bridges.

Here’s to bridging the gaps.