After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Your Advice Requested

I have a problem.

Thank goodness I have lots of friends and acquaintances. But how should I respond and how should I feel when people write to me to ask what's new, what have I been doing? People who know I write a blog and have the URL to tangocherie?

I feel that if someone really is interested, they will check my blog once in a while. Then they will know about our trip to Tigre, that Ruben's car was stolen, that we danced an exhibition in Boedo Tango.

Is it necessary that I rewrite this news in private emails to these people? Am I wrong to feel offended?

Please give me your advice. I'm not at all worried that the folks in question will read this.


Sarah said...

Some people just aren't in the habit of keeping up with blogs. It is a fairly new-fangled way of keeping in touch, you must admit.

Also, I know that at least for me, even if I do read someone's blog, sometimes a more personal interaction is desired. As a friend, I'm less happy just being one in an audience, what I'm looking for is more direct communication.

tangocherie said...

Hi Sarah,

How would you feel if I forwarded you a copy of the post where I answered your particular questions?

Or would it be more acceptable if the post were copied into an email?
Or is it important to change the wording?

I'm not being sarcastic, it's just that sometimes I feel out of touch. Like, "If you REALLY care about me and what I'm doing, and you have a computer and internet, why can't you simply log on?" And then maybe leave a comment, or write a personal email for further info.

Sometimes I just feel so frustrated.
And then I wonder, is it just me?

tangocherie said...

Isn't the whole internet thing "new-fangled?"
And what about social networks like Facebook?

Sarah said...

Hi Cherie, I understand your frustration. I think it is a big part of why I quit blogging, I must say. I wasn't interested in broadcasting any more. I wanted my communications to be more intimate.

Blogging, facebook, twitter, indeed, it is all pretty newfangled. On the other hand, direct personal communication, whether it is ink and paper or typing an email, is as old as can be.

I guess forwarding a post is one way of replying, but it does seem a bit impersonal, don't you think?

It's not a simple issue, that's for sure! There's a time for public sharing of information, and a time for intimacy. In this day and age it is sometimes hard to tell when which is appropriate.

tangocherie said...

If anyone would like to call me here in BsAs, my phone number is
54 11 4932-5027

Or, if the phone's too new-fangled or expensive, my mailing address is:

Cherie Magnus
Maza 1009 8 "34"
C.F. Buenos Aires 1220

But I might not get it for 2 months, or ever, lamentablemente.

tangocherie said...

I love blogging, and keeping up with my friends via their blogs or Facebook.
My feeling is though that if someone can't be bothered to check my blog once in a while, how interested, really, are they in my life?
What do you think?

Reed said...

I hear ya, Cherie. I feel the same way sometimes. My blog about life here is pretty active and I still get random e-mails saying, "What've you been up to?"

My answer --> It depends mainly on the age of the person. Anyone below 35 should be able to keep up on a blog. And if they forget the URL, it's on friggin' Facebook so they can look it up whenever they want. Incidentally, my dad who is 84 is probably the most avid reader of mine, so there are definitely going to be exceptions on either end.

I try to be chill about it and remind myself that "blogging is its own reward." But when one of my closest friends said he won't use Google Reader because he has to go to that website, I about had a fit. He's got like seven friends who write travel blogs. My local, in case you're interested:

Sarah said...

I guess I'd say put yourself in the other person's position. Because *you* love blogging and keeping up that way, doesn't mean that *everybody else* does or is used to it. I may be very interested in someone's life, but just not really in the habit of using a blog as a means of keeping in touch with them. Different strokes! If via your blog is your preferred means of communicating with your friends, you could reply thusly to their messages.

tangocherie said...

Ok, Sarah, I'm trying to put myself in the other's position:

"I love to write and read email, but hate to read blogs. I do not like to telephone long distance or wait for snail mail."

So should I, tangocherie, to answer questions from friends, forward blog posts, copy blog posts into personal emails, or write the same news in different words?

The advice that I request from you is, which is preferred by non-blog-friendly folks?

I really appreciate your answers.

Sarah said...

I would imagine that a nice friendly note with a few personal lines and a reminder of the link to the blog for further life updates would be appropriate? But don't get too ruffled if you have to do this every time in reply to emails from these particular people...If you're truly interested in communicating with them, you'll make accommodations, right? It works both ways. :)

n a n c y said...


I think you have some 'high maintenance' friends. I read your blog and FB. When you have something specific for me ( or I for you) we go private. Works for me. And I don't feel you exist to entertain me.


Caroline said...

That's exactly why I set up a blog each time I travel to Bsas so I won't have to keep repeating myself ad nauseum. then I send the link to family and friends each time I made a new post.

If I were you, I would just be honest and let them know that the answer they are looking for is in the blog. Then send them the link. You don't even have to directly respond to all their questions, instead you can thank them for their interest and say your blog has the answers "and more!" as if they get a bonus.

Frances R said...

Are these people your close friends and relatives?

Pantina said...


Thank you so much for your encouragement! I was ready to hang up my shoes and go into hiding. Your comments were spot on.

I will definitely take your advice and I'll keep you posted.

In joy,

P.S. I love blogging but for my close friends nothing beats an intimate, direct conversation. I have even sent a card via "snail mail" every now and again...

Tina said...

I had a friend complain once that she just doesn't have time to read a blog. But then she got facebook, myspace and everything and souped up her profiles, and spends a lot of time on there. Sheesh.

Usually when someone asks a question by e-mail, I give a bit of a tidbit, a few details and then I say, "Actually you'll find a lot more about it here:" and I put a direct link to the related post. It seems to work great, even with the friend who hates remembering to check my blog.


Anonymous said...

As technology changes, so do the "codes" to everything. I think technology has outpaced our social niceties and we're still trying to figure out what is "polite" in the cyberworld.

For me, anything posted on the internet (via any of the increasing options), is for "public" consumption. Everyone, everywhere, gets to read the exact same thing.

Thus, if I consider you my friend, and think you consider me yours, I would hope to be more than just one of the nameless, faceless entities who have access to the same information. Depending on how close these people are to you, or how close you want them to be, they may be asking for a bit of recognition as individuals, and not necessarily for information about your activities.

I think Sarah's advice of sending a line saying you're doing fine, and for more info, check the blog, is a good one.

Katie said...

I know that one of my primary motivations for setting up my blog was to avoid rehashing the same details in countless emails to umpteen different people. I like Tina's advice: give them a tidbit so it feels personal, and then send them on to the blog.

Anonymous said...

Non verbal communication is still the best, e.g. on the dance floor


tangocherie said...

Thanks, everybody! I really appreciate your input.

Good advice, all.

Señora Capone said...

Would love to know what juicy blog Frances is reading!

Señora Capone said...

Oh that was supposed to go on Johanna´s blog :)

Anonymous said...

LOL Señora! So would I!!!

coog said...

I'm late with a reply - I tend to do the sorta catch up-blog reading/one stack at a time;) Anyways, I think it's a common problem with friends who don't share your everyday life. Sometimes you can't keep up with all the stuff that's going on but then you eventually find the time to get back to reading. Why would it matter, new-fangled or not? How important is a friend to a friend? Don't we put up with stuff we don't especially love to make sure we know our loved ones are alright?
When there are busy times it's totally ok to leave a fb message, short but sweet, when there's more time, why not take it to read a friend's blog and catch up on the details?
Seriously, if one of my friends doesn't care all year what I'm up to (despite my emails) and then comes up with some "So, what's new?"-line, I would respond in a similar way. "Oh, nothing really, all the same." and maybe wait another year to send it off ;)
In the end, you do know - in your heart - if they really want to know...besos

Christy said...

My guess is that those who do it are wanting to create a more personal communication than the blogosphere. Maybe they want you to tell them something you haven't shared on the blog.Myabe they want to imagine that they have a closer relationship to you than they do. I wouldn't feel offended by it if I were you. It is flattering. But it is a time-eater so the question is how to deal with it nicely without wasting too much energy. I wouldn't give the personal emails any more energy than you feel you want to. "Nothing to tell you that I haven't already written in my blog. Good to hear from you. blah blah."

I love tangocherie and it is the first thing I open when it awaits me in my new email. You have a wonderful gift with words.


Scott said...

This is a very interesting problem, and I think you'll be surprised at my opinion given that, not only am I a geek, but also maintain 3 blogs.

I think blogs are impersonal. A very useful medium, but impersonal. Sure you always put a bit of yourself in every post you write, whether or not you want to, but the point is that any information you put on there has to be acceptable not only to your closest friends and family, but also to any random stranger who might happen to follow a link from somewhere you didn't even realise had a link to your blog.

Also when Niki and I started our (warning, shamelesss plug alert) tango trails blog we had two main purposes in mind. The first and most important was to document our own experience of Buenos Aires and our thoughts on tango so that years later when we look back we can remember, and we can compare our expectations from before we left, with what actually happened in Buenos Aires.

The second reason was to avoid inflicting the dreaded "group email", that was the common form of communication for travellers before blogging became big, on all our friends. emails are a push technology, ie you push them onto people (inflict). Blogs are a pull technology, ie you request (pull) the posts if you are interested.

I still get friends and family asking what I've been up to, and I think there are many reasons for this, but I would say that the major reason, especially for people who already read my blog, is as follows.

We often aren't really interested in "what someone has been up to", in as much as we are interested in a personal interaction with them. To feel as though the relationship is valued, and to remember why it is you like interacting with that person. Because we interact with everyone in a slightly different way, and we bounce off each other differently, this can never be properly conveyed in a public facing blog post, but can be in even the briefest personal email. The question "So what have you been up to?" is more an opening to allow the interaction, and not an invitation to copy your latest blog post into an email.

Admittedly, I also get people who I feel I don't have that much of a friendship with asking me this, and then it's a matter of how close I feel I want to get to them, and how we interact as to how much I say in an email before posting a link to my blog, or copying parts of it.

I also think it's quite acceptable to have an email signature with something like the following

"for more info on what we're doing, check out our blog {link here}".

That way you are not fobbing anyone off, it is in your signature, and if they are really interested, they'll visit.