The other day I told a friend that I received conference sponsorship from Pogo.com. She stared at me blankly for a moment and then said, “Congratulations?” After another moment, she said, “I have no idea what that means.” I explained that Pogo is covering my travel expenses for my trip to BlogHer this summer, and she responded, “Why would they want to do that?”
This was not the first time I received this response in regards to the work I do online. I’m sure it won’t be the last. That said, it’s a bit frustrating that I can’t celebrate my successes and failures with my friends and family. My husband, who at least understood the financial repercussions behind my Pogo sponsorship, certainly doesn’t get it.
A few months ago, as I was checking my email, my jaw dropped. And I turned to hubby to share the reason behind my state of surprise. “Ted Murphy followed me without me following him first!” Once again, blank stare. My spirits deflated a bit. “Ok,”I said, “I know you don’t really know who he is. Have you heard of IZEA? PayPerPost?” Blank stare combined with shaking of head. All sense of giddiness was slowly leaking away and I was starting to feel a bit silly for my reaction. “Well… he’s kind of a big deal in the word of social media… Never mind.”
Nowadays, most of my conversations about my work go this way. Even my mom is in on it. “Stop & Shop sent me a nice Mother’s Day gift.” Her response: “How come YOU get one?” (Uh, because I’m your amazing daughter?!) Me: “Uhm. I guess because I’m a blogger?” Her: “Isn’t everyone a blogger?!” Sigh.
The truth is that I am so often immersed in online social media culture that I forget that it still isn’t the norm. Unfortunately, the reminders tend to come just as I’m most excited about a contact I’ve made, recognition that I’ve received, or a special invitation that’s come my way. I’m a giant mystery to my family, involved in a bizarre culture that none of them understand and that seems to make them all a bit suspicious. Still, when I pay for dinner with a gift card I’ve received or give them advice on a fantastic (or crappy) product I’ve tested out, I see a glimmer of hope. Maybe I can reach them afterall…