Blog Friends?

There are some people who’s blogs I read and often comment on or reference in my own blog posts. Some of them regularly make comments on my posts and reference my posts in their own posts. Of these people some of them I have never met or don’t seem to have conversations with when I meet them.

It’s well known that there are different categories of friend including “pen pal”, “drinking buddy”, and friends in the context of sporting groups. Is “blog friend” a new friend category?

6 comments to Blog Friends?

  • PvV

    I don’t know. It seems that one has to be increasingly careful with online associations. After all, Google does not forget. At least not easily. Recent stories in the media about e.g. Human Resources doing online searches on (prospective) employees is one good reason to think twice before linking yourself to another person you don’t know very well. Or create profiles on hyves, facebook etc. and put pictures online that may seem innocent to me but not to others. Recently there was a story in the media about a woman that got fired because she had a picture online of herself in a pirate suit drinking from a cup of which the contents were not visible and with a byline drunken pirate. Lovely case of parallel realities. What’s innocent/funny/nothing to me may not align with the perception others. Frankly I prefer the more anti-1984 solution: for generic stuff like the occasional blog comment I just limit the information (first name or initials only, throw away email address). For more serious stuff like LinkedIn I am very careful whom I associate myself with. So to answer your question: no I don’t think a “blog friend” category is a good idea unless you are absolutely certain that your “blog friend” will never put you in a bad spot. And how can you be certain of that?

  • etbe

    PvV: You seem to have misunderstood my post.
    I am not referring to social networking systems (none of which I like, see the above three URLs – particularly the first). I am referring to people who you agree with in public postings.

    When I write a blog post referring to a specific post someone else wrote it seems unlikely that any person who’s opinion matters would infer anything other than the most direct meaning (that I agreed with their point). When I write several blog posts referring to specific posts by someone then it means that we have common interests (which should be expected in a community where peope are blogging about similar topics).

    As for being anonymous. That also limits the up-side to such participation. I have got paid work in the past based on my community involvement and expect much more of the same in the future.

  • […] Russell Coker asks whether he can identify a new class of friend, which he calls “blog friends“. That is, people he knows through the […]

  • niq

    The “blog friends” are your social network. Where the big-name websites offer hype, the blogosphere offers substance. I think the best precedent is friends you made through older online media such as Usenet.

    You should have a pingback from

  • Let’s see…

    There are also people who participate in the same Usenet or mailing list threads you do, people who report the same software bugs on a public BTS, people who appear in the same photos, and people who attend the same events.

    It would be interesting to have a tool that would find these people and filter out the ones already in your addressbook.

  • I don’t think this is a relatively new phenomenon, I remember back in the X.25 days of JANET in the UK where various BBS developed and the relationships that developed there could, these days, be classified as “blog friends” – people commenting on each others posts in a SIG for instance.

    I think these things are a symptom of a more basic human desire for connection.