Pen Pals Wanted

Semi-inspired by a similar project by Kev Quirk, I’ve got a project I want to run on my blog in 2024.

I want you to be my pen pal for a month. Get in touch by emailing or any other way you like and let’s do this!

Traditional inkwell and pen, the latter held in an inkstained finger grip, being used to write a letter on unbleached paper atop a wooden desk.
We’ll use email, though, not paper.

I don’t know much about the people who read my blog, whether they’re ad-hoc visitors or regular followers1.

Dan, wearing a black t-shirt and jeans, sits hunched over a keyboard with Pride-coloured keys, looking thoughtfully at a widescreen monitor. On the monitor is a mocked-up screenshot showing site analytics for, but with question marks for every datapoint.
I’m not interested in collecting statistics about people reading this post. I’m interested in meeting them.

So here’s the plan: I’m looking to do is to fill a “dance card” of interesting people each of with whom I’ll “pen pal” for a month.

The following month, I’ll blog about the experience: who I met, what I learned about them, what I learned about myself. Have a look below and see if there’s a slot for you: I’d love to chat to you about, well – anything!

My goals:

    • Get inspired to blog about new/different things (and hopefully help inspire others to do the same).
    • Connect with a dozen folks on a more-interpersonal level than I normally do via my blog.
  • Maybe even make, or deepen, some friendships!

The “rules”:

  • Aiming for at least 3 email exchanges over a month. Maybe more.2
  • Email is the medium.3
  • There’s no specific agenda: I promise to bring what I’ve been thinking about and working on, and possibly a spicy conversation-starter from You bring whatever you like. No topic is explicitly off the table unless somebody says it is (which anybody can do at any time, for any or no reason).
  • I’ll blog a summary of my experience the month afterwards, but I won’t share anything without permission. I’ll happily share an unpublished draft with each penpal first so they can veto any bits they don’t like. I’ll refer to you by whatever name, link etc. suits you best.
  • If you have a blog/digital garden/social presence of any kind, you’re welcome to blog about it too. Or not: entirely up to you!

Who’s in so far?

Want in? Leave a comment, at-me on the Fediverse, fill my contact form, or just email Okay; looks like I’ve got a full year of people to meet! Awesome!

Penpal with… …during… …and blog in: Notes:
Colin Walker December 2023 January 2024 Colin’s announcement
Thom Denholm January 2024 February 2024
Ru February 2024 March 2024
Dr. Alex Bowyer March 2024 April 2024 Agreement via LinkedIn
Roslyn Cook April 2024 May 2024
Garrett Coakley May 2024 June 2024
Derek Kedziora June 2024 July 2024
Aarón Fas July 2024 August 2024
Cal Desmond-Pearson August 2024 September 2024
Tyoma September 2024 October 2024
Farai October 2024 November 2024
Katie November 2024 December 2024 Katie’s comment

I’ll update this table as people get in touch.

Who do I want to meet?

You! If you’re reading this, you’re probably somebody I want to meet! But I’d be especially interested in penpalling with people who tick one or more of the following boxes:

  • Personal bloggers at the edges of or just outside my usual social circles. Maybe you’re an IndieWebRSS Club, or Geminispace explorer?
  • Regular readers, whether you just skim the post titles and dive in once in a blue moon or read every post and comment on the things you care about.
  • Automatticians from parts of the company I don’t get to interact with. Let’s build some bridges!
  • People whose interests overlap with mine in any way, large or small. That overlap might be technology (web standards, accessibility, security, blogging, open source…), hobbies (GPS sports, board games, magic, murder mysteries, science fiction, getting lost on Wikipedia…), volunteering (third sector support, tech for good, diversity in tech…), social (queer issues, polyamory, socialism…), or something else entirely.
  • Missed connections. Did we meet briefly or in-passing (conferences, meetups, friends-of-friends, overlapping volunteering circles) but not develop anything further? I’d love to pick up where we left off!
  • Distant- and nearly-friends. Did we drift apart long ago, or never quite move into one another’s orbit in the first place? This could be your excuse to touch bases!

If you read this far and didn’t email yet, go do that. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!


1 Not-knowing who reads my blog might come at least in part from the fact that I actively sabotage any plugin that might give me any analytics! One might say I’ve shot myself in the foot, there.

2 If we stay in touch afterwards that’s fine too, but it’s not essential.

3 I’m looking for longer-form, but slower, communication than you get via e.g. instant messengers and whatnot: a more “penpal” experience.

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  1. Colin Walker Colin Walker says:

    My first chronological ‘blogging pen pal’ is going to be Dan Q and we’re going to exchange emails during December. We’ve been reading each other’s…

    Read more →

  2. Katie Katie says:

    Just catching up with my feed and, well, this time next year is a long way off to be saying I want to talk more about, but heyho, sign me up anyway!

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