Friday, January 12, 2007

To blog, or not to blog?

Piggybacking off of Mommy, PhD's post about anonymity, here goes:

I'm having some of the same questions about anonymity, as well as the purpose of blogging in general. I've found blogging surprisingly helpful! First, because I'm able to get support from the few friends I have even if I'm not "around" in person for a few days. Second, it just really helps to vent sometimes.

However, I've started leaning toward the idea of this blog as an online journal. I like the idea of writing about anything I want, regardless of whether or not anyone comments. The problem with this is that there are some things I'd want to blog about that I intentionally do not discuss with anyone IRL. Given that several of my friends read my blog, this would expose some very personal matters, which I would never want to talk about with them (or anyone I actually know). Isn't this weird?? I wouldn't have any problem publishing the issues in a public blog, or even talking about them with perfect strangers, but I would never want to discuss certain experiences with my friends..... I don't understand that, but that's the way it is. I'm toying with the idea of starting another blog that specifically for these *personal* posts, but I have yet to make a decision...I'm also thinking about the old saying: If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. That is, I seem to be doing okay without having "worked through" lots of old, yucky stuff that's happened, so why bother drudging it up now?


Sarah said...

I advocate "secret" blogs if your purpose is to work through personal issues without worrying about hurting people or exposing yourself in unwanted ways. Once you invite one person to read your blog, it changes the whole thing. You have to really think about your audience. Blogging is different from journaling because people read it, even if it's only a handful of people you don't know. It's a different writing experience--not like talking to yourself, as in a diary, but not like talking to your best friend, either. Anonymity definitely has advantages (just ask Batman). (Okay, so that was a dorky joke.) Blogging as community building and blogging as catharsis, while they can be complementary, are two different purposes that can be separated by writing two different blogs. It makes a lot of sense to me. (And now you're wondering if I have a secret blog. I don't. Or do I?)

L said...

Interesting discussion -- well, I just wanted to know that I added you to my blogroll just now. Thanks for having me in yours!

Well, I do think of blogging as journaling in a sense. I might write about things that I might now want to discuss or disclose in a face to face conversation, but that I'd be fine with anyone (even friends) reading. It doesn't mean that we would have to talk about it, but these would be things I wouldn't mind if they knew. I don't think the feelings that you described are strange at all.

Well, I have to read you more when I have time.

wwwmama said...

This is all very interesting and important, I think. The main thing is that because blogging is still relatively new (at least to me), lots of bloggers are figuring it out as they go along, which is ok. I want my blog to serve my needs, and so it is primarily a place to vent and find community but also to give me a writing outlet that feels semi-polished. That's why I don't blog daily, so I can feel like I'm thinking about what I'm writing and how I'm writing it rather than a journal entry I'm compelled to produce everyday. I do regret sending out my blog link to some (not all) of the people I sent it to, but most days I convince myself they're not reading because I want to err on the side of openness. If I was pushed to it though, there's very little on my blog that I wouldn't let anyone I know read. I guess that either says that I do edit myself in some way OR that I'm very open in real life. Actually, both are true.
My mother read an entry where I'd posted about my husband and I being intimate and was a bit shocked. Not about what I said, just about how I'd put it online. But that wasn't a bit of a concern to me. I'd be more concerned about complaints I make about work or giving away too much information about my research...
Sorry so longwinded. See, this is why I don't blog daily. I have to work at being concise!