Thursday, June 3, 2010

I used to have a pen pal . . .

Last week I spoke with Natalie @ Mommy of a Monster and Teri @ The Bipolar Diva via email about SITS and how it's great that we met up through that site.  It got me thinking about how technology has changed the way we communicate.  photo credit

I've mentioned before that I'm a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Christian.  Growing up, we had a magazine called Guide, which basically is the equivalent to unisex, mini version of Seventeen Magazine for SDA kids.  The magazine had all sorts of articles, games, jokes, etc.  But near the very end of the magazine was a section for  pen pals.  (come to think of it, it was almost like personal ads for kids  . . . whoa)  I remember reading through the names and descriptions and thinking "Hmmm . . . . she sounds interesting, maybe I'll write to her."

So I wrote my letter and sent it on it's way. . . . and waited.  Things didn't move as fast back in 1994 as they do now.  Finally one day, my father brought home a letter just from MY PEN PAL.  I ripped it open in anticipation and read through it.  We exchanged letters and got to know each other.  It was amazing to know with all our differences (I was black, she was white; I was in the Caribbean, she was in the states; I went to private school; she went to public school), we had sooo many things in common (we both LOVED Kris Kross; had crushes on guys who had no idea; could relate to everything each other wrote in the letters).  Eventually, we stopped writing to each other, but I still have her picture in one of my photo albums.

One thing I never did was tell my friends I had a pen pal.  I could just imagine hearing, "What?!? You are talking to a COMPLETE STRANGER!!"  Then one day, a wise man named Al Gore invented THE INTERNET (tee hee).  Now talking to complete strangers is the norm.  With Myspace, Twitter, Crackbook, Facebook, blogs and a multitude of other internet-based social mediums as close as your smart phone away, you're strange if you don't talk to complete strangers.  However, just like my pen pal, I keep my blog life to myself.  Only my husband and my friend Audrey know I blog.  My blog, like my pen pal, is my dirty little secret . . .

Do your friends and family know you blog?  What do they think about you baring it all on the net?


  1. Today I heard the question "Since the Gores are divorcing who's going to get custody of the internet?" heehee

    Yes,my family knows that I blog. I really wish that several of them didn't. Or maybe I'll make a secret blog?

    I've met so many wonderful people online. In you I feel that I have met a friend, a friend that I cherish!

  2. Ms. U, I had two pen pals in the last millenium and my family knew about them. It was not exciting as your pen pal friendship.

    In this millenium my Hubby knows I blog, one of my sisters-in-law knows that I blog, my sister knows I blog but doesn't know about this particular blog. They all know that I blog but I haven't confirmed is me they are reading on the net.

    I will like to tell all my family and friends to read it when I am preggo but some other times I feel like keeping it for myself and maybe start another one that I can share with everyone and keep TheBabyPlan for my personal reflections, but sometimes I also know that this is the space on wish I can let people know my mind and read my real feelings. Is like a platform on which I share my thoughts once without shouting it to everyone. A platform that my own family can learn to know me better or me to know myself a little bit more.

    Plus I like to meet people all over the world on the net, always bearing in mind my privacy :)!

  3. My husband knows, but my family doesn't. BUT, my blog is tied to my facebook through networked blogs, so who really knows? My stalker SIL found my flickr page through my blog, so im pretty sure she knows about it. *le sigh* I wish that I hadn't ever done it, because with people I "know" reading it, I have to censor myself some, which really isnt ideal for a palce where I want to really just be myself. I've been considering throwing that out of the window and just saying what I wanted to say anyway!

  4. My hubby knows and encourages me to blog, but he doesn't read. I've told a few family members and I do have it linked to my facebook though networked blogs. But, I don't say anything that I wouldn't say to someone's face. There are times when I'll "soften" the details so as not to hurt someone's feelings (if a post relates to them), but I still are truthful. So far, I've only gotten positive feedback from family.

    For the times when I want to be a little more blunt, I've often thought of starting a new, anonymous blog. But, I quickly dismiss that idea because I don't have the time to maintain anymore online addictions. *lol*

  5. Thanks for the shout out, friend! You know I've told you before how glad I am that we cound each other :)

    The first few weeks I started blogging, nobody knew. Not even my hubby. Now, everybody knows! But the funny thing? Most of my friends and family don't even read it. I'm so much more open and honest on my blog. They'd learn a lot more about me if they did read.

  6. Hi! I'm your newest follower. I found you on Mommy of a Monster.

    Loved this post!

    I rely way too much on modern technology... I have an iPhone and it just makes it too easy. I text, email, Facebook, Twitter and blog on the thing. BUT, I still send hand written greeting cards and letters from time to time because everyone deserves something in their mail box besides bills!

    As far as blogging, it is an amazing outlet for me as a new mom and a way to document my son's life.

    I kept it a secret for a little while, but now I thrive on the feedback. Come check it out if you get a chance:

  7. I had a pen pal when I was growing up! We wrote until high school. I was cleaning out my old files when I was moving into my house after getting married and found her address and wrote her. It was so neat to hear where she wound up!

    I like the idea of blog friends being pen pals. It's so much nicer than readers or followers.

  8. So true about how technology has had so much impact with the way we communicate. I used to have a pen pal too when I was a kid. We also stopped writing as we got older, but now later in life we have become facebook friends and randomly keep in touch :-).
    My friends and family know I blog, but I kind of wish they didn't because then I could be more honest. My husband actually hates it and thinks the whole concept is weird. He's a very private person and just doesn't get it :-(

  9. Pen Pals! I guess that's what bloggy friends are, really. I never thought of it like that. My family and friends know I blog, but only my mom and hubby read it. So I can say anything about anyone else and they would never know it. But I don't. I censor myself.

  10. My family doesn't know. My husband does! My husband reads it. Some friends read it from church and school...but not my family. That would be weird.

  11. That is so funny... I never thought of blogging as pen pals... but I do feel like my blogging community is different than my every-day-life community. Rings true...
    thanks for stoppin by today!

  12. My blogging is definitely secret. The only others that know I do it besides the hubs is my mom and brother and I let my mom read it once and she is now forever banned (just in case I want to say something about her!).

    It's weird that I actually got into blogging to make friends. I hope that my virtual buddies can turn into real buddies.

  13. Hi again...another comment from me! Stop by my blog tomorrow - I have an award for you!!

  14. Heheh crackbook..

    My best friend knows but not my family.It just hasn't gotten around to that. It's not a secret blog but i really don't have a reason for them to read it either.

    Social media affects everyone in one way or another. To some it might just be more addicting. =]

  15. That's an interesting cartoon. It makes you really think.
    I've actually held back a lot because I know that my family doesn't all agree with displaying your whole self on the net. I think it is a good protection.

    And yet I love getting to know others the more they share.

  16. My blog was actually started purely to share family stuff with my parents, inlaws, etc. Only a few friends and fmaily ever read it and practically no one commented.

    I think the day I joined communities such as SITS plus participating in NaBloPoMo really made me a part of the blogging community.

    Happy SITS Sharefest!

  17. I miss the days of pen pals! I wish it was safe again to bring them back. My family does know I blog but they don't read it and I don't share all personal stuff on my blog. It's a lot of fun to connect with others.

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  18. My family knows that I blog. My mom and bonus mother-in-law are faithful readers. But that's okay because usually, I don't have anything too crazy to say that they don't already know about in some shape form or fashion.

    SITS has been great and it's one of the best things I have done as a blogger.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog last week! I like your blog and I will be following you. Have a great day!

  19. Everyone I know knows that I blog, but in some ways I wish they didn't because sometimes I want to write about something that I don't want some of them to read. I also have a relative that loves to parrot back the things I write about, I find myself censoring my blog sometimes.

    p.s. were you a Pathfinder too?

  20. LOL @ the Pathfinder question, I was also raised SDA for like a couple of years when I was like 10-12 but since it was my Grandmother who me into it, my mom wasn't too thrilled about having to pay that much money for a uniform. So I never made it in...

    Re your question, for the most part my family that lives in other states find joy in being able to know what's going on with me without having to call me- but there are certain things I try to keep away from talking personally about like my romantic relationship. That's just a smart move to me, because I would have a hard time trying not to vent online if I get mad.

    You're blog is steadily growing, congrats to ya!