Thursday, June 7, 2012

Is Your Blog An Open Book?

Yesterday I posted about home parties, actually the post was more about me being sick of home parties, and lamenting the fact that I seem to be invited to them so often.  One commenter had this to say,Thanks for being so open, Danielle. I think most of us feel this way but won't express it.”  That really made me think about how open I am on my blog.

I think I’m fairly open and honest.  I try very hard not to spout off my personal beliefs regarding touchy subjects like politics and religion, but other than that, I will say what’s on my mind (usually with some minor editing, of course).  I don’t know that it’s so much because I’m such an open person, or if it’s because of the anonymity that my blog allows me.  Yes, I do use my real name, and that is me in the profile picture.  Hardly anonymous I know.

The anonymity comes from the fact that for the most part my friends and family don’t know about my blog.  My husband, who is very supportive of my desire to write, knows about it and reads it most days.  My best friend knows about it but, to my knowledge, has never read it.  (Largely, I think, because she rarely goes online.)  That’s it.  I haven’t told anyone else I know personally about it. 

It’s not that I want to hide my blog from my friends and family; I realize it’s possible that one of them will stumble across it one day, and I’m fine with that.  I really am.  I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve posted, and I don’t think anyone would feel hurt, embarrassed, or betrayed by anything I’ve posted.  If they happen to find it online, they will be able it to judge it for what they read, hopefully before they realize I wrote it.  I wanted to see what I could do with a blog on my own, before I subjected myself to the scrutiny and expectations of people who know me.

I tried blogging once before, and it didn’t last or go so well.  I told my family and friends all about it.  My mom and sister seemed to find it amusing and somewhat pathetic.  I think my dad was disappointed that I didn’t go further.  One of my friends posted links all over Facebook to try to get her friends to follow me, which I thought was very kind, but probably somewhat annoying to her friends.  I also felt like I was a little limited in what I could post.  I knew there were things certain people wouldn’t like to read, or that certain things would disappoint people.  Then when I abandoned that blog they all knew about it; that I had tried and failed.

So when I started this blog I only told my husband.  I didn’t tell my best friend until I was half-way through the A to Z Challenge, and pretty sure I would continue blogging when it was over.  Beyond that, I haven’t shared, even though I plan to continue blogging.  I feel like this has been the right decision for me.  I’ve read posts on other blogs where people have said they’d like to write a book, or would like to say more on a given topic, but don’t for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or changing someone’s opinion of them.  I don’t have that worry.  I don’t have to question whether a post is going to upset a certain person or alter someone’s perception of me.  I have the freedom to write and post what I want. 

Another perk has been that I know I haven’t crossed the line between sharing my blog with people I know and pestering them to read it.  I know my blog hasn’t turned me into the person whose Facebook status updates make everyone cringe because they really don’t want to hear about it, again

So what about you; did you tell your family and friends about your blog?  Why or why not?  Do you personally know many (or any) of your followers?  Do you edit your posts based on friends and family who may be reading?

15 comments:

  1. Most of my friends and my immediate family know about my blog (5 or 6 of them actually blog themselves). My blog started because a close friend of mine went travelling for 4 months and wanted to stay in touch with what was going on back home. Since then it's grown but I still have quite a few of my friends who read it.

    I don't think I edit much - not consciously at least - but then I'm not very interested in writing about controversial topics (probably because I haven't formed my own opinions yet!)

    I try not to write about my blog on Facebook for exactly the reason you mentioned - I don't want to be that person who annoys everyone with yet another blog post. I do, however, usually tweet a link to a new blog post but I think (and very much hope) that twitter is a little different and that if people are really bothered, it's easy for them just to stop following me.

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    1. That's pretty cool about how your blog started; I don't think I've heard that as a reason before.

      I think you're right about there being less editing involved when you stick with non-controversial topics. I think I just like knowing that I can go there if I want to.

      Glad I'm not the only one who thinks the blog doesn't belong on Facebook. I haven't advanced to Twitter yet (sometime I feel like I'm really an old person trapped in a young(ish) body), but it does sound like it's totally different.

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  2. Really interesting subject by the way!

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  3. My husband knows about my blog, but he respects my need for privacy and doesn't read it. It's not that I'm posting anything he would find offensive; it's just that he knows I'm a private person who needs a space/place for herself, and he respects that.

    A few other people know I blog: my parents, but they aren't online, and my sister, who isn't interested. I think I told one of my friends, but she's rarely online. I don't know anyone on my followers list personally, and I like that. This is my place to be me, and I don't want people to come in with preconceived notions as to who I am--and I don't want to have to try to live up to any person's ideal.

    Case in point is Facebook: I rarely post there because I don't feel comfortable saying what I really feel. I feel like I need to censor myself because of the people who have friended me (like my in-laws). I can't be me there, and I don't like that.

    Sorry for the book, but this is a really great question!

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    1. I know exactly what you mean about not having to get past preconceived notions and living up to ideals. For me it may not be that anything I'm writing is even controversial or offensive, it just might be something that most people close to me would never expect from me, and I'd rather not have to worry about that, or explain myself in person.

      That's pretty awesome that your husband knows about your blog, but respects your privacy and doesn't read it. I know mine would stop if I asked him to, but I think it's just so sweet that he cares enough to read what I write.

      I often feel very limited as to what I can post on Facebook too, and that's with having been careful about who I'm friends with. I just didn't want to start my blog with that kind of limitation.

      I like the long responses! I was really curious as to what people would say.

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  4. Danielle, I didn't mean to make it sound as if your topic was off-limits or too controversial. I was actually commending you for blogging about something that most of us want to express--but we don't. Plus, I enjoy writers who blog about topics other than writing.

    Now, to answer your question...the first time I started blogging, I did ask family and friends to follow my blog. But this time around, I didn't, because I realize they don't read/participate on them anyway. (And I was too embarrassed after having started so many blogs before and deleting them after a few months.)

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    1. Linda, I didn't take your comment in a bad way at all. It just made me think, which is always a good thing. I'm always looking for topics to post about, and your comment sent me in a direction that gave me a post. I meant it as a compliment that a comment was enough to help me come up with a post.

      I wonder if that's common not to share a second (or more) attempt at blogging with friends and family? I can see your point, too, about not sharing with people who aren't likely to read or participate anyway.

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  5. Hubs knows I blog but he's not computer literate and has no interest in anything I have to say anyway lol. The rest of the family has no idea.

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    1. I guess you don't have to worry about him reading then. The family not knowing about the blog, or at least not reading it, definitely seems to be the theme here.

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  6. This is a great topic! Thanks for posting your thoughts about it. I've met two people in person that I came to know through blogs; one lived in the same place I used to live and another in Arizona; we connected when she came to Southern California for a visit with her family. Both wonderful adventures!

    I made the mistake of telling my sister about my blog and she does read it; rarely comments on it. I would rather she not read it because there are some things I wish she rather not know, but its okay :)

    I used to be very private on my blog as far as not having pictures of us, only using my name and Koda's name but I've loosened up a bit over the past month; I know for everyone that we think is reading our blogs there are a lot of other people out there that are indeed reading our blogs and may never comment on them. It always worries me when parents with young children have so much information about their children out there where you have no idea who is reading their words.

    I also have to change around a bit when I post something that could be a very sensitive nature to someone else's privacy (i.e. like my hubby or son). I often leave out a bit of the story to respect their privacy.

    Hubby usually only reads my journal if I draw his attention to it. When his parents passed this past year and I mentioned it on my blog and people commented saying they would pray, etc. and gave a lot of support, I shared those with him. Otherwise he pretty much hasn't expressed too much of an interest.

    Unbeknowst to a lot of people including him, I blog under another screenname on another blog that I truly write what I want to write.

    betty

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  7. That's neat that you met some fellow bloggers and had a good experience.

    I think the thing with telling someone close to you about your blog is that you can't un-do that; once they know about it you can't really restrict their access.

    I agree with you about not knowing who is reading it and being careful about how much you share, or what kind of information you share. There are defintely some very unsavory characters out there.

    It makes sense to change some details to protect a person's privacy; that's a form of editing I hadn't really considered when I wrote my post.

    I'm glad you mentioned using another screenname for another blog. I've wondered how common that is, and what the pros and cons are.

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  8. I don't tell people that I blog. It's a personal choice. I've had to be careful with what I say due to my profession. I don't talk explicitly about the places I have worked. At one point, I was less open than I am these days. Also at one point, someone from my past who I don't wish to be in touch with found, my blog! It was an icky feeling. I've been blogging for a while and with each passing year, time seems to get away from me and though I'd like to post more, I don't end up following through with that (so kudos to you for keeping it up!) My husband knows that I blog, a few out of state friends, and a couple coworkers just recently found out but that's about it.

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    1. That would definitely be bad if someone from the past that you didn't want to be in touch with found your blog. How awful! Work is the one thing that I'm not very open at all about on my blog. I've always felt that the best way to keep work out of your personal life is to leave work out of your personal life. I do think you give yourself more freedom by not letting too many people who are too close know about it.

      Good luck with trying to post more. It took me a long time (this is actually my second blog attempt) to post semi-regularly but I'm really enjoying it.

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  9. Yes mine is an open book :-)

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