When is it too soon? Or, an Internet Friend Protocol.

When is it too soon to move from commenting on someone’s blog to emailing them directly? To making IM requests? To exchanging cell phone numbers? To make friend requests on NaBloPoMo and contact requests on Flickr? I tell you, the trials of not becoming a blog-stalker, yet expressing your blog-admiration nee blog crush appropriately is way harder than deciding whether to send the cute new guy a note, or when to call again after the first date. You don’t want to comment on all their posts right away– that’s creepy. And if you start catching up on archives too early? Same thing. But at the same time . . . the internet is no longer the sole province of perverts, insomniacs, and lonely college students. It’s a world full of smart, funny, talented people trying to find ways to use the too-speeded up tools of modern life to slow things down, to reach out, to make connections, and to express themselves through something besides consumer purchases at big box stores.

The other problem is response time. The internet makes things instantaneous in so many ways– but at the same time, you can put it down and walk away. If you have more than one email account, you may not check them every day, or leave them open while you browse in another tab. If you’re a luddite like me, you don’t have the email forwarded to your cell phone. Or if you’re a lameass like me, you go to bed earlier than a seven year old.

The only way around it all (and the confusion and anxiety it may provoke) is to be straightforward.

So, my dears– if I’ve blog stalked you or friended or contacted you too early, or not gotten back to you by email right away, don’t take it personally, or worry that I’m a weirdo. I’m probably busy running errands or working late or sleeping. If you’re creeping me out, I promise I’ll tell you “I think we need a break.” I won’t just stop responding to your comments or emails or IM requests. If you promise you’ll do the same, then your virtual bunny will be just fine.


8 thoughts on “When is it too soon? Or, an Internet Friend Protocol.

  1. jenB

    Your bunny will be fine too. I was worried for a moment this was about me stalking you! It isn’t is it? đŸ™‚

  2. alejna

    I hope I’m not being too forward…Will you be my friend? (After having been invited to be NaBloPoMo friends out of the blue by a couple of people, I’ve decide to throw caution to the wind, too. I tend to be shy-ish in real life, but well, this seems comparatively risk-free.)

  3. Angeerah

    I know the feeling. There are many folks who blog I admire tremendously and feel odd about contacting them via email. I think it’s the same old insecurity from middle school (gah!). Andreahttp://frettingthesmallstuff.typepad.com

  4. Magpie

    Yo! It is a funny dynamic. But I find that if you comment on my blog, I like to email you back (instead of responding in the comments, because I nearly never go back and read comments after comments, so I treat you the way I find it easier for me). Does that mean I’m a stalker?

  5. Who She She

    This is so right on. An acquintance and I exchanged blog addresses a few months ago, and things have been strange ever since. It’s like having sex too early in a relationship. Now that we know all of these personal things about each other, how do we start a friendship? It’s a brave new world, eh?

  6. nyjlm

    aaack- is it me? I have RL friends, really, really good friends, whom I’ve met online, and I’m definitely always open to ‘meeting’ like-minded folks in these here interwebs. I guess I probably follow people’s cues on whether or not a commenting relationship evolves into a friendship, kwim? For me, a big part of commenting often is wanting that connection- wanting the blogger to know that I get where they’re coming from, appreciate their work, etc. rambling now *g*

  7. BipolarLawyerCook

    NYJLM, not it’s not you. It’s not anyone. It was a thought I was having about how quickly friendships develop in cyberspace, and a joke JenB made while we were emailing.


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