I have a question about meeting internet quasi-celebrities! Hopefully this is not something you get too terribly often.
A few months ago, I attended a reading by a fairly well-known blogger/media reviewer whose work I admire for many reasons, but mostly because he’s an extremely funny person and his ideas gave me a lot of insight into racism and classism and other –isms I was pretty ignorant about up to that point. (I’ll just call him BloggerDude.) In the weeks leading up to this event I was alternately excited and nervous, partly because I have mild social anxiety and partly because I didn’t want to either be overly fangirly or unwittingly say something offensive. (Yes, this is something I actually worry about – not because I’m particularly prone to shouting out offensive things, but because of the socially conscious tone of most of his blog and the amount of points he’s made that I’d never thought of before.)
Anyway. BD was on tour and was in my town for two days, and on the first night he invited his readers to just join him for dinner and hang out, so I did. I met a lot of cool people and gave him a picture I had drawn of him with one of his favorite characters, and he seemed very pleased with it, to the point where he kept it next to his plate all through dinner. Afterward, most of us went to the person’s house where BD was staying and just laughed at stupid emails and YouTube videos. The next day, at the reading, he and a few of the people from the night before were talking about his next tour stop and how they were all going to go and spend the weekend there before returning to MyTown. I had to work that weekend or I might have decided to join them, since for most of them besides BD it appeared to be a spur-of-the-moment trip; as it was, I asked if one of them would let me know when they got back so we could hang out again before BD left MyTown for good. They all seemed cool with that, and BD gave me his number.
After that, I did not hear back from him. I sent two messages – one Sunday and one Monday – asking about plans, and didn’t pursue it beyond that; I figured he was doing his own thing. However, since then I’ve attempted to talk to him on Facebook a couple of times – not excessively; maybe two or three times since the beginning of May – and still got no response. We obviously aren’t the best of friends or anything, but I’ve seen him connect before with fans that he’s met, and I was under the impression that we all had a good time.
I realize there are dozens of reasons why he could have chosen to not talk to me, none of which have anything to do with me specifically, and I also realize that Not Everyone Has to Like Me. However, the part of me that’s still gripped by social anxiety will continue worrying at my brain with this unanswered question until I know for sure whether this is because of something I’ve done – and, if that does turn out to be the problem, I’d like to know so I can avoid that in the future. My question is, would it be appropriate to ask BD if I’ve said or done anything wrong? And if so, what would be a good way to word it so as not to come off as OH MY GOD WHY WON’T YOU TALK TO MEEEEEEEE? (I reeeeally do not want to be That Person.)
Hopefully Not A Fangirl
Here’s what happened:
Blogger Dude TOTALLY enjoyed meeting you and hanging out.
However, he thinks of you as a COOL FAN and not a FRIEND.
That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Good artists/communicators/writers/people you’d want to become fans of are really good at creating a feeling of connection and intimacy with their audience. They make themselves vulnerable in their work, perhaps, or have a very relatable communication style. This guy obviously enjoys hanging out and interacting with his fans, and you weren’t wrong to enjoy that or to follow up with him via Facebook.
The fact that he’s not replying to your messages means that you probably shouldn’t send him any more private messages, though. Even if there weren’t a lot of cool people competing for his e-attention, apply the “Contact once, maybe twice, then let the other person contact you” rule of reciprocity for any new acquaintanceship (potential friend, dating partner, employer, client, etc.)
That doesn’t mean you can’t ever interact – Twitter, Facebook, etc. make it incredibly easy to talk to famous people. You can say “Musician, I love the new song!” or “Blogger, that post today was great and made me really think about issue X!” or ask questions. You just have to do it with the assumption that you’re one of many, many, many people who are doing the same thing. Not getting a reply isn’t a personal rejection.
I’m glad you wrote to me and not to him. Sending him an email to ask “whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy won’t you talk to me and did I do anything wrong?” is the fastest way to get demoted from Cool Fan to Whoa, Maybe A Stalker. The answer is that he isn’t thinking about you all that much, because there are a lot of people who are Cool Fans. Writing to him in that fashion makes him have to take care of you around your anxiety. That anxiety? That’s yours to manage.
Next time he comes to town, hang out and have a good time. Don’t ask it to be any more than a good time with someone you admire. Maybe over time and repeated hangouts you’ll get to know each other better, but you can’t make that happen. Trying too hard to make that happen is pretty much the way you guarantee that it never will. When people have a lot of demands on their time and people competing for their attention, the people who are super-relaxed and easygoing about it stand out positively.
P.S. If Blogger Dude = J. Smooth I totally understand and share your admiration/crush/fangirlishness. That man is FINE and serves as the Imaginary Blogger Boyfriend to many of us.