My blog nearly ruined a date once, along with an Emmy-winning cinematographer overeager to protect his reputation.

We were having the standard “getting to know you” conversation over an afternoon pizza. My blog was about to be featured on the cover of the Portland Daily Sun, and I was excited. Mr. Emmy didn’t agree, and at the mention of the “b-word,” his demeanor changed. He turned away from me, crossed his arms and repeated things like, “This is the last thing I need in my life right now.”

I convinced him to read it, and it was hardly the life-ruiner he made it out to be. We ended up going out a few more times and he eventually appeared in the blog under the moniker “Boat Guy.” But since when is having a blog such a deal breaker? As if I was going to sleep with him then blab about his penis size.  Just yesterday my boyfriend told me he really likes being mentioned.

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail rather unexpectedly. “And if anyone knows Amanda Jennifer, please forward this to her because I’m dying to meet her!” It was Allie, who writes a Portland blog called Broke207. She was putting together a Portland blogger meet up, and I was one she didn’t know. This was confusing for a number of reasons, but mostly because it’s really easy to find my e-mail address.

My friend Colleen writes a Portland happy hour blog and had sent me Allie’s message, encouraging me to go with her. There were a few people on the list I knew of but not beyond a few comments on blog posts here and there. Colleen and I were going to have a blind date with ten other bloggers who may or may not be following what we write. I’ve been on enough dates to know how awkward it is to meet someone from the Internet, let alone ten people at once.

I was excited to be included, and invited a friend of mine to join us at the meet up. She’s a professional writer who has blogged for Comedy Central. On her website, there is a “blog” section which links to a personal Tumblr page. There, she makes jokes, humorously complains about the snow and posts pictures of her food and her cats. Her response to my invite? Condescending laughter. “Oh, it’s so funny that people think I’m a blogger.” But, you have a blog, right?

Did she think everyone attending the meet up still had LiveJournals, getting together to listen to early Bright Eyes records? Or was it some kind of hipster backlash to pretend that blogs are not awesome just because everyone has one?

After shedding my shyness, I met Allie, who was so funny, a super fashionable friend of a friend, and a girl who keeps a blog and writes professionally. A few others had blogs that are pretty interesting. I’m positive that everyone in attendance that night would gladly identify themselves as a blogger. Keeping a blog has largely brought me good experiences. It’s weeded out judgmental jerks, made me some friends and provided strangers with reading enjoyment.

And in a roundabout way, it landed me this column.  It can be a great way to hone your skills, whether you’re into food, fashion, jokes, pictures, news commentary, green initiatives or philosophy — whatever you’re most passionate about. Blogging is sort of like life practice. You blog, you see what sticks and maybe get invited to parties.

Blogs aren’t scary; they’re awesome.


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