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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Blogging Line

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There is a certain line people need to decide for themselves when it comes to blogging. It’s the personal line where we determine how much information we allow the world to know about us. We choose exactly how much knowledge we’re going to let the world be privy to.

As I’ve explored the blogging sphere, I’ve discovered some people who seem to put absolutely everything out there. Each and every aspect of their personal lives, their families’ habits, their children’s nuisances, and the faults of their spouses are made readily available for all the world to read. Sometimes, there are things these people wouldn’t tell their own mothers which seem to be shouted out behind the cloak of anonymity (or not so anonymousness) of the Internet and blogging. I can’t tell you of how many times I’ve inadvertently run across those who’ve written about having ‘procedures’ done, about certain conditions that are better left unsaid, or even use language that borders on an R-rated movie thrown out like confetti at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

I have to ask myself in all these cases…just why is this? Why do people feel that they need to tell their lavatory stories and share sometimes personal and intimate details of their lives with a world of strangers?

Some would argue, “But I’m sharing it with my friends.” Or, “My family reads my blog.” But, unless your blog is set to private, your family is most certainly not the only group of people that might be tuning in.

You know, I remember back when I was a kid. My parents bought me a baseball cap with my name on the front. I was so thrilled. I wore this hat each and every day. One day my sister and I were sitting in the back of our pickup as our parents went into the local nursery for plants for the garden. As we both sat there, bored, a man and woman walked up to us. The man looked at me and said, “Hey, how you doing, Teachinfourth?”

I was shocked. How had this man known my name? Being all of but 6 years old I looked at him curiously and decided that I must have known him. After all, he obviously knew who I was. If he’d have told me that I needed to go with him, I probably would have – after all – he knew my name.

I smiled at him and he and his wife smiled back. I then asked, “How do you know my name?”

To this, the man pointed to my hat. “Your name’s on your cap, son.”

I still think back on that and realize the error of my parent’s ways when buying me that hat – of course, some may argue that it was a simpler time and bad things didn’t happen to people. Maybe they’d be right…or maybe it just wasn’t publicized as much either.

Now, don’t think that I’m not advocating a cease-fire from blogging – heaven forbid! I love this medium of communication far too much…my point is, too much information can be a dangerous thing. Sometimes, I think people feel that they need to out-do each other in the realms of blogging. Some of them seem to think, “Well, if I write about this, then people will want to read what I am writing because it’s personal, on the cutting edge, risqué, or whatever.”

I just don’t know…

When I began to blog a few years ago I had to decide for myself just where that line of personal information started, and where it stopped. Even back in 2007 I decided that there were certain posts that would never see the lit-up screen of another’s computer; after all, some experiences were just too personal.

There have been times where I have written a post and then thought before I hit that ‘publish’ button. Sometimes, they’ve gone into drafts and have never been seen again. Those things which I do allow to be published on a personal nature have always come after deliberation and deciding of whether or not I really want that information out there.

Well, this is about it. I have nothing else to say on the matter tonight. Perhaps I will in the morning after another read, but to be honest, I am comfortable with what I’ve said.

And with that, I’m ready to hit the ‘publish’ button…

Image source: http://www.cartoonstock.com/


Cheeseboy said...

I couldn't agree more. Fortunately I generally just post nonsense and made up stuff. That being said, I still have to think 2, 3 or 4 times about hitting that publish button first.

Exhibit 1a: That teacher that was just fired for her blog.

I definitely agree about the folks trying to be shocking just to get followers or a rise. I've stopped reading several blogs for just such behavior.

Bits-n-Pieces said...

I have 2 "diary sites" where I post much more personal stuff than I do on this site. Those are set to "friends only" and I've had most of my "friends" there for 8-10 years and have met many of them in real life and become "real friends". I have to be very careful here, remembering that this one is not a private site, and not linking to it on Facebook where my family could most certainly "find me". I do share more personal things here than some people do..but that's me. I'm very open and will tell anyone anything they want to know basically. That's something I'm working on as I get older!

Anonymous said...

I totally get what you're saying. Really, I do. When I read those "private" kind of posts, I see people trying to reach out to someone else. For instance, I've recently had my first surgery. I was scared outta my mind. No family member had gone thru the same thing, no friends had had the procedure, but while surfing thru blogosphere, I found countless people who did. People who wrote about their experiences and came out on the other side okay. That was a comfort to me.

I guess sometimes people want to feel connected, like they aren't the ONLY ones dealing with the ridiculousity of life.

Yup, some people are out there blogging just for shock value. Sometimes person's limp is physical, we can see it in the way he walks. But, sometimes a person's limp is hidden under the surface. Sometimes WE'RE so quick to judge without knowing a person's limp.

Sarah said...

I have to agree...though I could very likely be one of those bloggers who throws it all out there (loved the confetti at the Macy's parade comparison).

BUT....I agree with Anon with the whole surgery example. I wanted to write EVERYTHING I could about MY surgery because I couldn't find much about it when I went looking, and I needed someone to tell me something other than, "We're prayin' for ya, and everything'll turn out just fine.".

It seems like the most popular blogs are negative, put people down and use profanity, I just don't read them anymore.

I love that freedom!

Rachel said...

Are you getting after me for my weekend posts???? :D

Teachinfourth said...

Rachel - Were you swearing on your blog again?


Anon - I'm not saying that some things aren't of value, but to simply write something to simply push the envelope, to shock others, or to get a reaction doesn't really seem to be the way to go...

Susan Tipton said...

I can't tell you how many times I've hit publish and then a few hours later worried about what I've said.

I hate being around a married couple that constantly picks at each other- so one of my personal blogging lines is that I don't pick at my husband. In the same vein I always give my older kids veto power over a post that mentions them.

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