Monday, December 7, 2009

In Real Life

In the last five days, The Frugal Hostess has met no fewer than five formerly internet-only friends.  It would be even cooler if she had met one per day, but two happened on Thursday and three happened today.  Here are their deets; check 'em out in order of appearance:

@WholeMind and
@leekfixer and
@runwithtweezers and
@brokesocialite and
@thepioneerwoman and

TFH is certainly down with sending you hither and yon for some good blog action, and she wants you to check out all of the peeps she digs.  But that's not really the point of this post.

Many "internet famous" social media and blog superstars talk about the importance of transparency.  Some say that putting it all, and sometimes they really mean all, on the line is the only way to live with authenticity.  TFH was recently at an event where the speaker admitted he had totally forgotten to bring a component of his presentation.  He chalked admitting his mistake up to being real in his business, which resulted in a round of applause.

Now, clearly The Frugal Hostess walks a fine line when it comes to being transparent.  She has no problem admitting when her projects go wrong, like when her homemade shampoo gives her dandruff, when her house gets infested with fleas, or when her Lentil Loaf is so gross that FruHubs is able to run a table saw on the power of his resulting gas.  But she stays somewhat removed by never revealing her name and never speaking in the first person.  There are a couple of reasons for that.  First, it's an homage to Miss Manners, who was a formative part of the young FruHo's childhood.  And second, TFH wants to be able to say what she wants without making the clients of her IRL business fire her. And, maybe, well....  Well maybe The Frugal Hostess is just a little afraid.

So, if you're a blogger and you meet other bloggers and internet friends In Real Life, how do you go from being who you are on your blog to who you are?  Where does authenticity and transparency fit in?  (Please don't leave any silly comments that say, "Be yourself."  Seriously.  You will be banned for life.)  In Real Life, TFH is who she is here, only without the distance of the third person.  She's more like a floppy, licky Lab puppy - desperate to make people laugh, desperate for a pat on the head of approval, and desperate to eat everything on your plate.  OK, maybe not that last part.  (Yeah, definitely that last part.)  She's also loud and talkative and maybe a touch overwhelming.  She cusses like a sailor.  (Way more than you read here.)  Sometimes FruHo remembers to pull back on that (the intense and cursing parts) when she first meets new people, and sometimes she doesn't. 

How much of being the person you really are is transparency, and how much is just too much?  Does the goal of authenticity excuse us from considering other people?  Does dropping the f-bomb the first time you meet someone mean that you're super-transparent, or does it just mean you're tacky?

Does any of this make sense?
The Frugal Hostess is spending so much time with The Frugal Hound (who is actuallyno longer a puppy) that she fancies herself dog-like.  Please comment. You can also join the Frugalistas on Facebook for exclusive content, follow on Twitter @frugalhostess, or subscribe so that you always know when a new post appears.

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  1. Thanks for the mention! I always enjoy when I am able to meet those I know online IRL. There are just so many things you can communicate with a keyboard.

    My friend James over at NotEastToForget posted about Tweetups and the importance of meeting people face-to-face:

  2. It was great to finally meet you IRL, too! I don't know...

    "I yam who I yam..."--(that great philosopher) Popeye, so I'm not inclined to draw a line in the sand.

    I have met folks from the social networking realm who are engaging/funny on-line but are, frankly, bores in person. And that's OK...

    It's more of a social experiement for me and has made me be careful about pre-judging someone or, better yet, assuming that I really know them.

  3. Honestly, aren't we all different people in different situations - at least to some extent? I had to pretty up my personality and be more serious when I was wearing my lawyer hat, at least with clients. Luckily, it is ok for litigators to swear like sailors among themselves, and keep a bottle of scotch in the desk drawer -- but not in front of clients.

    I'd say be whomever you want to be online. There's a lot more latitude there than IRL, where we have to be who we are. Unless tequila is involved, then we tend to be who the tequila is. Not that I'm talking from experience. Ok, I am.

    Meeting online friends is ooooodddd. Kind of like meeting a celebrity, where you feel like you know more about this person than perhaps you do. I don't have any great advice for it except to say that, luckily, my two lives don't cross. Much.

  4. Maybe it's because I've known you for so long, but your "voice" on this blog is incredibly similar to your actual style in real life...and it's fabulous. Don't ever hold back on any of it!


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