It's an interesting thought. When we read a book, especially a novel, as well as entering into the created world of the book, we also create a world of our own in response. If we are impressed by the book, it's often the voice of the narrator that we warm to, and we can invest a lot of affection or respect in that imagined person. If the author, incarnated, turns out to be less than we hoped for, does this spoil the book for us? Many great authors, of course, have been less than saintly, but that is not necessarily a blow to the reader. What is more fearful is the minor disappointment of mediocrity. When the person whose humane observations of life you so admired turns out to read the Mail and share the same prejudices as your next door neighbour, it can be a blow. W. H. Auden, who enjoyed The Lord of the Rings, was famously appalled to discover that Tolkien lived in an ordinary suburban house with "hideous wallpaper". I recently saw Louis de Bernieres on TV and was mildly put out to find that he comes from London.
Perhaps the same thing might apply to bloggers and other internet word-grinders. Bloggers are particularly prone to creating personas specific to their blog. I wonder how many of the most popular could really match, in person, the impression they give online (and would it matter if they couldn't?). I love Twitter, and often some jovial soul will tweet, "must have a drink together some time", to which of course I say yes, but perhaps a small part of my mind fears mutual disillusionment if it should ever happen. When reading "great tweet-up with X, Y and Z last night", I find myself wondering how many other gatherings were happening where everyone was glancing furtively at their watches and wondering how soon they could get back on to Twitter.
You might even be one of the select group that enjoy reading this blog. But would you want to meet me? For that matter, would I want to meet you? Or is the written word sometimes enough?