I suppose that it should come as no surprise that most bloggers are social animals. There's a certain mentality that can be inferred from the practice of putting a little piece of yourself up on the Internet each day, much less leaving comments on some stranger's web site or making money off the number of hits you get. In addition to that, the local blogging community even sees a few occasional events where we can get together, let our hair down (if we haven't done so already), and mosh a bit: The iBlog conference is likely to get a third installment this year, for instance. And a bunch of people seem to be getting together tomorrow to hang loose and "parteeh" hard.
I find this odd, mind you -- not because I have something against people having fun, but because I don't consider myself to be an eminently social person. If blogging is all about making friends, associating with people you hardly know, and identifying yourself as one big happy family, then what the heck am I doing here?
Heck, most people out there still have no idea what I look like. That should give you an idea of how often I don't show my face around here.
Don't get me wrong, of course. I'm not some total recluse who lives a solitary life on some mountaintop espousing enlightenment for the common man. I'm perfectly fine with meeting new people, going to exotic new places, and experiencing new... er... experiences. I just don't have the same drive as most people in this regard: I will sit next to you at a mutual dinner and make for some scintillating conversation, but I usually won't look to place myself in such circumstances in the first place. No, it's not your breath that's at fault. If anything, it's probably mine.
As far as I know, I've only encountered three occasions where I chose to actively meet with other bloggers: The first was a small public forum over the ill-conceived Digital Pinay 2005 pageant, and the other two turned out to be the first and second iBlog conferences respectively. I had practical reasons for attending all three events, though: the Digital Pinay discussion offered me a front-row seat in discussing one of the most blatantly gender-biased projects in the IT industry, and both iBlog conferences offered a bunch of casual-professional seminars that I could use to improve my online writing.
In a sense, all this is probably due to the fact that I constantly question the purpose and meaning of a lot of things: What are we doing this for? Why are we doing this? Is there anything else we can do that's would be far more constructive or efficient?
Yes, I don't end up getting a lot of invites. Yes, I tend to put off a lot of partygoers with what they call "my constant killjoy attitude". Not everything should have a purpose, after all. Not everything should be done for a specific reason.
The problem is that we obviously have a reason for holding parties and get-togethers -- otherwise we wouldn't be organizing them in the first place. There's a degree of social gratification in there, and more than a little curiosity. It all has to do with seeing familiar faces and meeting completely new ones. And so these things do have a purpose.
So why do bloggers still find this irresistible urge to get together in an endless train of social events? We can cite the standard generalization for attending parties and other such things, but it just wouldn't work -- we're talking about people whose lives are laid out on the Internet for all to see, for goodness' sakes. Meeting up with each other has to assume that we have far more things to talk about beyond introducing ourselves -- simply because, as far as most bloggers are concerned, we virtually know each other already.
This is why, if you were to corner me in some shadowed venue of any blogging event, then I'd be hard-pressed to find anything to talk about. When the chances are that we both read each others' blogs, then what else is there to say? I don't want to find ourselves trapped in an endless stream of responses that are little more than variants of "I like your blog", and "Thanks, I like yours as well", after all.
If there's something more to the spate of blogger gatherings around here, then I'd like to hear it. Heck, I'd be content just to find out exactly what people do in these gatherings, and why it gives them some form of fulfillment.
Sadly, the only way I'll probably be able to find out is to set my wonderings aside and just go.
Sometimes it's difficult being a little antisocial, I mean.