I started Judgment Call primarily to entertain myself, and a small handful of friends who I knew would read it. Don't get me wrong, I'm as narcissistic and attention-seeking as the next blogger, but my blog-view has always been pretty limited. I've had the occasional e-mail or IM exchange with new people through the blog, but the only other bloggers I know offline are people I already knew, and I've never considered myself part of any kind of blogging "community."
There's a group of gay bloggers (we need a good word for that...maybe "floggers?" "blags?") that includes my real-life friend, MAK, that does a pretty regular happy hour at a bar in Midtown. I've never gone because my schedule doesn't typically fit with everyone else's happy hour, because gay bars generally make me uncomfortable (they make me feel fat, hairy, and poorly-dressed), but mostly because (ahem) I've never been invited.
Last night that little happy hour turned into a terrifyingly large blogger event, to which the entire Internet was invited, and I decided to check it out on my way to work. I don't know why exactly the idea creeped me out so much, but I really didn't know what to expect. I guess it's like going to any party where you don't know anyone; what if no one liked me? What if I didn't like them? I don't actually read that many blogs regularly (though there are apparently some lovely people who've linked to me who I haven't had a chance to check out yet), so what if I had to make small talk with someone who was boring online and even more so in person?
Turned out none of that was a problem, though it was decidedly weird. I panicked briefly when I didn't see MAK (the fact that someone had thoughtfully made nametags for everyone didn't make me feel any less self-conscious about just introducing myself to strangers), but then I spotted him and made my way over. Here's how the introductions went...
"This is Adam."
It was like that for everyone, so I didn't feel bad about it, but it was definitely an odd sign of our Internety times. I was actually quite surprised by how many people there did know me from my blog. Granted, I didn't stay long and only met a select few people, most of whom I read, but it was nice to meet those other 15 people who show up on my Sitemeter stats who I couldn't account for before. And they were all very complimentary, which was a lovely ego boost. I met Charlie (and, free from the shackles of not talking about work online, discovered that we know all the same people...which is why I don't talk about work online!), Mark, Crash, and our lovely token females, Zenchick, and MzOuiser (who I'd never read before, but we had such a nice chat that I surely will now). There were a couple other people who've fallen victim to my terribleness with names, including a lovely boy with a stack of nametags who repeatedly said I was cute (blush), who may have been Steven (though BoiFromTroy was the one who did the logo, so the nametag thing confused me), and someone else with whom MAK and I had a brief conversation about how jealous of his metabolism we are.
There were many, many other people there, and the whole thing was a little surreal. (I suspect it would have been less so if I'd been drinking!) But it was lovely to meet you all and put faces and voices to web pages. I hope you'll keep reading! (Next post to be a massive TV wrap-up, I promise!)
Update: The skinny boy was Accidental New Yorker, nametag boy was in fact Steven, and I guess that means I didn't actually meet BoiFromTroy. Thanks to MAK for the clarification.