~ By Jennifer Chait
A while back I got an email asking me what to do when other bloggers or readers want to meet in person, but you’re uncomfortable with that.
I wasn’t totally sure what to say because when I get people who ask to meet me, I swear they’re always total nutcases. I had one guy who sent me a series of emails asking me to hook him and I up with Neil Young, because some government conspiracy was on the rise. We also would need guns he said. He kept telling me I should tell no one but Neil Young. And now, I’ve just told all of you. Damn.
I got another group of emails from someone telling me he had all these crazy inventions. He said that I should meet him, see his stuff, and then show his work on Offbeat Homes; weird work I might add, not even house stuff.
In any case these are typically the emails I get where someone asks to meet up. Not sure why, maybe because of my blog topics. Will I be meeting any of these folks soon – of course not, they’re raving crazies. My answer of “NO!” is easy.
However, what about if you have mostly sane readers? What about when one of those seemingly sane readers does ask you to meet up somewhere? What if the person seems harmless, is also a blogger, leaves nice comments, and says they love your posts, and they’d just like to meet the person behind those words. What then?
Since I deal in weird folks wanting to meet, I asked Deb for her opinion.
Here’s what she said…
“I would say something to the effect of “bloggers meet up at conferences and scheduled local meet ups where there’s safety in numbers. In this day and age it’s just not a good idea to meet someone on one’s own. No offense but fans could be stalkers or child kidnappers or what have you. Tell the person you’d love to meet him or her at a conference or local Twitter or Facebook event.”
I think Deb’s advice is pretty good. Don’t you? Personally there are about five-ten bloggers I’d meet up with in person. But these are bloggers I’ve talked to on a daily basis, or at least three times a week, for a good long while. People I work with constantly, and people I know stuff about (that can be confirmed by others) – i.e. they’re family people, so fourth.
I would never meet with a random reader or blogger that I only have a relationship with through a blog, through the comments, not even if they leave me the sweetest of comments. Not even if they say nice things about me. It’s really just not safe. It’s also, frankly, partly a gut thing.
What if someone wants to meet, and they seem fine, but the person just isn’t your cup of tea? We’ve all been there right – the person who likes you more than you like them. What if the thought of meeting up makes you cringe a bit. And what if you don’t want to offend the reader or other blogger?
Well, there’s not much you can do, is there? What I’d do is tell the reader that when I started blogging, I put some personal boundaries in place that I follow with all readers and other bloggers. That, no offense, but I’ll meet at a blogging or media event, but not anywhere else, because that’s the rule I’ve always followed, and that’s what I’m comfortable with.
If the person is offended then I’d actually question how safe or reasonable it would have been to meet up in the first place. In this day and age we all understand about personal safety issues; it’s a little odd if you don’t. If you lose a reader, you lose a reader. You do have other readers, other bloggers to chat with who get the issue. Personally, I don’t want to offend anyone either, but my personal safety comes before my guilt, you know. Putting my own little self at any sort of risk is also a risk to my family and friends. That’s more important than an overly sensitive reader not visiting your blog anymore in my book.
What do you think? Also, what would you do if someone seemingly cool, but you don’t really know them, wanted to meet. What could you do without offending them?
Jennifer does not personally know Neil Young, as some may think, however, if you’d still like to read some of her blogs you can visit: Network Blogging Tips, Offbeat Homes, Tree Hugging Family, Green Residential Building, or DeClutter It among others.