Well, I was thankfully able to make it to the engagement (or was it a "l'chaim?) of "LE7" (Elisheva) and "TRS" (Chanan) last night, who actually met through their blogs. I mentioned to him that I found it ironic that he was the one to criticize me for representing an over-interest in members of the opposite sex on blogs (something I didn't agree with at the time) when he himself found his future wife on a blog. He responded jokingly that he was actually attempting to do away with any possible competition.
There was actually another Chabad "blogging couple" there, but they did not meet on a blog. There was also someone who was close to having met a girl through a blog, but it never materialized. I myself made an attempt to acquaint myself with a female through her blog, but she didn't quite fancy me as much as I did her (not to mention she was already taken!).
There were also a surprisingly large amount of people with their own written electronic journals; from what I counted there were at least ten bloggers present there. Ten, whereas before I had seen none! I first met "TRS" of course, then "Frum Satire" (Heshy), "Nemo" (with whom I had had extensive discussions in the past), "Real and Write", "J" (both of whom I was not very aware of previously) and "e" whom I had known already from school, but wasn't aware he wrote a blog till recently. On the girls side was of course Elisheva, and from what I understand "Cheerio" and "Sarabonne" were there as well ("C" and Chaviva and Tuvia not having been able to attend). There might have been some others among the men that I wasn't aware of ("Dovid" perhaps).
In the beginning it seemed like the only bloggers I was going to see were Heshy and Chanan, but the others arrived while Chanan had started reading a "maamar" of "the Rebbe" (which took a surprisingly long time). I was able to have some interesting discussions with most of the male bloggers I mentioned. Towards the end I stepped outside and an old man was accosting "e" for having trimmed his beard (something considered uncouth in the Chabad community)...which was amusing. ...I was there a little more than three hours..
Though there was one aspect of the gathering which I considered a bit ..of a bummer; the strict segregation of the sexes. Not that I was there to 'meet girls', but I admit it would have been somewhat satisfying to my curiosity to have been able to see some of the female bloggers who are known to me only through words.
I mean, I am aware that no matter how "hip" or "American" these people might be, they are adherents of a "Chasidut" and complete separation of the sexes is an integral part of that lifestyle. There is a general question, though, as to whether it is correct to enact such restrictions on young people who would be facilitated in finding a spouse had mingling been possible. I saw Harry Maryles discuss this recently. He has what I consider to be reasonable ideas on the subject.
The source, of course, for this separation is the passage at the end of Sukkah (52a) which infers that "if the Israelites were separate at times of mourning how much more so should they be separated in times of joy (when sin is prevalent)?". Those opposed to the segregation feel that while this passage is generally true it is not applicable to young Jews who need a venue in which to meet members of the opposite sex for the sake of marriage. Yet this is an old and well discussed topic, so I would rather not burden the person who might be reading this..