Monday, July 27, 2009

Blog Families


One of my favorite "real life" gathering places, the fountain at the National Gallery sculpture garden.

Because we are social predators and run in packs in "real" life, here in the blog world, we form clans, too. Family for homo sapiens includes blood family, family by way of spiritual beliefs, friendships, shared experience, as well as by way of organizations, clubs, community. In fact it's kind of hard for us to shape ourselves into groups of any kind without adopting each other. I find this human truth absolutely adorable.

Almost six years ago when I started blogging, I knew exactly how I found every blog I read. The process was quite orderly in the beginning. Today I can only remember how, and through whom, I found a handful of the bloggers I love. Especially during the past year my blog world has expanded exponentially; I lost track long ago of when and how I found most of my blogfellows.

It's OK. My blogfellows are family. How or why we have become related to each other is not important to me. An adoption of some sort has taken place: magically, digitally, cyberspacially. Don't ask me how it happens, I can't explain it. Some bloggers are sisters or brothers, some are cousins, while others are more distant relatives like cousins twice removed (never understood what that means), but all are related. In my clan we do a dance in which we are sometimes closer, sometimes not so close. I think bees do a similar dance within their hives. I might be making that up ... not sure.

One of the most interesting anthropological (or sociological?) phenomenon of blogging is the way our clans form and how individual bloggers come and go from the clans. I imagine within ten years someone will earn a Ph.D. based on a dissertation about this very thing, the migrations of bloggers from blogclan to blogclan. Mark my words - it'll happen. A Doctor of Bloggography. I'll bet you!

In this brand new Age of Aquarius, it's kind of hard to be a loner. You can still do it if you want to, but even those of us who, in "real" life, are shy and introverted, can party with our luxuriously large blog families without becoming drained as we do at "real" parties. There's something for everyone here, oh yeah!

44 comments:

Celestite said...

yes

steven said...

it's funny reya, i was thinking about the little group of bloggers whose "places" i visit on a regular basis and was wondering about the ebb and flow of interest that would occur just like with people in "real life". i like the idea of blog clans. there are blogs that are drawn together for a variety of reasons and i bet you're right - somewhere out there a sociologist/anthropologist/psychologist is going to have a field day with this whole piece. i too (despite my vocation) am a quiet and introverted person. i like the sometimes peace and quiet and sometimes noise that happens in blogland. good times. steven

willow said...

It is funny out something in cyberspace can actually be very territorial. Fun thoughts, as always, Reya.

sciencegirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

I admire how well you're able to keep up with such an extensive blog family. I've actually endeavored to limit mine to the blogs I now read, because with any more blog relatives I'd be in over my head!

Turquoise Diaries said...

Very nice concept, I like it

Bee said...

I love this thought, Reya. I've been tempted, many times, to attempt some blog family trees. I've noticed, so often, the interconnections and the relatedness. . . and it is fascinating to me why there is sometimes a rapport and sometimes not. You are definitely part of my Elizabeth/Willow tree . . . but then there are so many side-shoots to that (Tessa, Julochka, a Cuban in London, Janelle)! The other day, an old friend from Trinidad (who reads my blog, but doesn't comment or blog herself) said that she had gotten interested in Janelle's blog. I just love the zig-zag across the world.

Elizabeth said...

I think you will be the first PHD
in blogosophy
because you talk about all sorts of important things
in an accessible way
I am proud to consider you a blog-sister.

Nancy said...

It is so weird, how attached I have become to people I have never met. I am attracted to so many people! I learn so much from blogging. And for me, I have not had any friends that have my spiritual beliefs. Most of my friends are very different in their political beliefs, as well. In the blog world I've gravitated to people who think like I do in very esoteric ways.

The Bug said...

It's definitely a community. If someone who usually posts daily doesn't on a particular day I get worried. And I love seeing how things are interconnected. Just today I saw one of my followers comment on another blog I follow - I was so tickled to see him there, like finding a familiar face at a party...

Meri said...

Blog clans -- precisely. I've said it before, but I see these interconnections as weaving a big web of peace over the world, for as we interconnect we lose our will for domination (or is that a female belief?). My verification word is RENTOR. Aren't we all just "rentor"s making use of the space we inhabit and then leaving it (hopefully in better condition than when we found it) for the ones who come behind us?

Reya Mellicker said...

Steve, I don't read every blog every day, oh no! I do have a life, I promise. But I try to get around and catch up to all of them eventually. And when someone new shows up on this blog, I tend to go visit them to say hello.

Nancy I am drawn to many bloggers who are a bit older than the 30 somethings I used to read because we do have more in common, yet some of my very closest blog brothers and sisters are very different from me in outlook and lifestyle, like Merle Sneed (whose blog I LOVE) and on the other end of the spectrum, the luminous Janelle of Ngorobob Hill House.

Speaking of Janelle, who could dislike her blog? It is fabulous.

I get to have a peak inside the lives of people who live somewhat like I do, but also into the lives of people who live drastically different lives, like Val of Monkeys on the Roof. Her blog is amazing. Also I love having blog family that lives in the southern hemisphere, to remind me it's winter as well as summer, and blog family from the U.K. and Canada, to remind me that the U.S. truly is NOT the center of the multiverse.

For the blog family I have here in DC who are also dear friends, like Lacochran, Bonder than You and Hammer, (for instance) reading their blogs shows me a really different facet of themselves.

Clearly I am a blog lovin' kind of gal. Kiss kiss to all blog family. I mean it.

Reya Mellicker said...

A peek, not a peak.

Reya Mellicker said...

Blonder than you.

I hate typos.

Ralph Suarez said...

Hi Reya. If it wasn't for BLOG OF NOTE, I would never have found your blog. So, I am grateful for that. I love the perspective that you share with us, through your photos and through your words. While I don't come here every day, I do thoroughly enjoy my visit, like today. I always leave a little more thoughful and a little more open. It is amazing to find other people who powerfully remind me that I am not as unique as I believed I was. thanks for all your efforts to make this place as special as it is.

Have a great day!

Ronda Laveen said...

I am sure you are right about someone soon earning a PhD in blogging. I remember when one of our music professors at the local JC earned his by citing the Beatles work. Unprecedented at the time.

Ronda Laveen said...

P.S. I did see the shuttle last night here in Cali thanks to you. Amazing. It was moving wicked fast.

Reya Mellicker said...

My roommate saw it from the roof of the house, but I missed it. Dang, man!

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Maybe I can find funding to work on that Ph.D. on the circle of blogging. I've been equally fascinated and can't find a common trend, though there are some. It's certainly not around a common, shared interest but more around gaining interest in things you never knew you'd find intriguing or just never knew about. When I was part of a Manhattan meet up last September, I was pleased to see that everyone lived up to their cyber identity though each with layers I'd not seen before.

Merle Sneed said...

Reya, can I be your crazy brother out in the desert?

Expat From Hell said...

You inspired my posting today, Reya. Thanks for being such a terrific and eloquent example. Today's posting is postively brilliant. Blogclans....I love it.

Best to you.

EFH

Slamdunk said...

I could not agree with you more in that someone will be a "Doctor of Bloggography" soon enough.

Interesting blog.

Jopan said...

cousins removed. if a cousin is once removed then it means the cousin is your father or mothers cousin. second removed, a further generation up. I Think anyway. It's quite weird really because i've just been looking up the meaning, as im now obsessed with jerry lee lewis and he married his first cousin once removed. And so i had to find out just what that meant. but i may have got it wrapped around my neck.

ellen abbott said...

So true and to think that at the beginning of the year I was blog family-less. Reya, whatever would I do without you in my world, without all of my cozy little group.

Lynne said...

Reya, I've noticed since you were awarded Blog of Note that the "family" of people visiting your blog has changed somewhat. Interesting, isn't it?

I've lost some people who used to visit my blog regularly and yet gained new ones who found me in various ways.

And, whatever happened to pod????? I miss him.

Pauline said...

this is a welcome pro-blogging piece :)

Mrsupole said...

Funny how this works, but I have for quite a while now been calling everyone here my blogging family or blogging buddies and it is so true about how you can go to some sites and feel so in tune to what they write and then to others that you have not got a clue as to what they are saying. I am not sure what makes me visit some sites and then never visit others. Just something. I guess it is probably very similiar to the choices we make in real life. That there must be something that we have in common or a shared interest in something. And I have come across only maybe one or two bloggers that I will totally have nothing to do with them. So bloggyland is a lot like real life in that I love so many people in real life and I love so many of my bloggy buddies. Plus I worry about so many of them.

This was a great post as always.

God bless.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

love, love, love your post.

you have such a wonderful way with distilling the beautiful and wondrous essence of things!!

long ago I latched on to the phrase 'fictive kin' to refer to people in my social network that go beyond just friends....and I like the way you have written and described the bloggyhood in these terms of tribe, clan, family -

thanks for your friendship, sisterhood and always helping to expand my universe!

namaste!

Jane said...

Love to you, Sister!

Tom said...

and speaking of phd's, i heard today of someone getting a doctorate in skating! If there is a blog family, yours is certainly one of the best gathering spaces...i see many of the same people here daily, and some new faces daily. I used to pop in to visit new faces more often...but time as it is...

Delwyn said...

Good morning Reya

after reading the comments to my last night's post I was ruminating on this exact topic. I looked at all the fresh posts and chose yours to read before I have to hop skip it off to the physio. The others can wait til tonight...

And there you have written my thoughts down very succinctly.

People do come and go, hover and stay a while like bees, some drop by and you never ever see them again, others just leave a calling card, and some do a blanket postal drop - you see their cards wherever you go and you have to assume they are fishing for respondents...like junk mail...


and then there are those with whom you feel a rapport, those who remain faithful through all stories, some you would really like to know as real friends, some acquaintances, and others I query whether we would hit it off...

But I think what Steven says is very interesting, because I too am a bit shy, withdrawn in the real world, I love my own company and am quite happy to potter around all day doing my own things...I don't need people so much as some others do...so therefore this medium suits those of us with those inclinations very well.

Interestingly enough I just hate coffee mornings, book club chatter...many group activities of a social kind ....I prefer one to one conversation and quiet reverie...I wonder how many of us in the blog clans are like that...

Another good topic Reya.

Happy days

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes, Ladron, I know that Manhattan crowd. They are all of them fabulous blog clan, aren't they? I'm proud to call them friends.

Merle you ARE my crazy brother in the desert. What would I do without you?

Jopan thanks ... Jerry Lee Lewis was deeply strange, but talented, wasn't he?

Lynne, after I was chosen as blog of note, my blog world expanded by leaps and bounds. Things have settled somewhat, which is kind of relief. 8,000 hits a day, (which happened only for a week or so) completely overwhelmed me!

Ellen, you are DEFINITELY a sister, oh most definitely.

You, too, Delwyn, Jane and Mouse. Mouse is a "real life" friend as well, though we haven't seen each other the last couple of times she was here in DC. Next time for SURE.

GREAT comments. Thank you!

Reya Mellicker said...

Also want to say, love the term "fictive kin."

And you, MrsUpole - you are just plain good. And Tom, who built an altar for Jake

and ..

and ...

I could go on and on. xxoo

Gemel said...

Beautifully put. Your words echo the thoughts of my own mind, what a strange and exciting age we find ourselves living in.....

Rain said...

Hello Reya! Would you like to join me on A Walk In The Woods?

Verily I go. said...

Right on! Oh Reya you are so Brilliant Beautiful Bold....(blonde??) Blogclan is so so true. I would be an amazingly embarrasing 2nd cousin removed 3 times by force.....squeezing you and screeching in your ear at reunion. This is such a warmest smile right to my heart. Keep on girl. Par Tay!

Reya Mellicker said...

Verily - what are you saying? You and I would sneak into the woods and smoke a doobie, then come back to the par-tay and whisper our observations about every little thing to each other. We are blog sisters, oh yeah!

And YES Delwyn, I'm happy left to my own in "real" life, whereas here? the more, the merrier!

Lori ann said...

great post reya,

i love the way you put it, i have thought about this subject a bit too, but couldn't put it into words in the sortitout kind of way you have. i love blogging for it's surprise factor. when someone new comes by and your led off down an entirely new path that you never knew existed the day before.
i'm grateful for the opportunity to be here in the blog world.
oh, and yes to janellie and val.
☺ lori

Amy said...

Well said, my Bloggy Friend! It is such an interesting thing, this. Some of us most definitely "travel" in packs and we see each other as we pop in and out of blogs. I love reading a blog I've never read before and scrolling through the comments only to find someone who I already read or who reads me!

I'm so glad to have found you in the Land of Blog. You inspire and enlighten me and I'm grateful.

Angela said...

Can I be a cousin, too, Reya? I don`t come every day, but when I do, I always enjoy my stay tremendously. You make me think, or as Lori said, I have been thinking the same thoughts and am surprised how closely related our minds tick. But that`s so with cousins, probably. Do you mind having a German non-stoic cousin, Reya?

Reya Mellicker said...

Angela you are DEFINITELY my cousin!

As for coming every day, who has time to do that? For heaven's sake!!

tut-tut said...

Reya, I find myself less around the blog of late. Maybe as summer moves away I'll be back around in it more. but I do love it.

Gary said...

I really liked it when the family was smaller and everyone seemed to know (read) each other's blogs. It did feel like 'family' then. The expansion to large numbers has got to change that dynamic to something different, perhaps just as wonderful, but different.

Still, I love my blog family (some who already commented - Steve, Kimy, Gregg aka Junk Thief, and of course YOU). A post isn't complete until my 'family' has weighed in on it. A truly wonderful community.

Reya Mellicker said...

Gary, for me, the more the merrier. In a way I like it that I can't keep up with my whole blog family anymore. I am rich in blog family.

Glad you're home safe and sound btw. xx