Why do we blog?

The other day a friend and coworker gave me the link to his personal website. It contains photos, pictures, artwork, personal essays and opinions. It is extremely frank and honest. Although I didn’t notice any identifying data when I was browsing, it does contain his first name and names of family members and true details, so I suppose someone could tie it back to the proper individual. It does not appear to have been updated in awhile, but it’s still there. Nicely done, by the way. Many of my friends use their blogs to post deeply personal writings, about what they do and what they feel and what they think. I read such blogs with a mix of admiration and horror.

a-lot-to-think-aboutI do not consider myself an especially private person. I tell many people many things about my life and my feelings. While I’m not sure that there is any one person who knows everything about me (possibly my husband) there is no one thing about me that is not known by somebody else. I am the person you meet – whether here in my blog or in RL. BUT. That person is rarely the entire me. That’s true for us all – we are someone slightly different in every interaction. But I started this blog as part of my job. My audience was my coworkers and perhaps RL family and friends. I never anticipated what SL would be to me nor that this blog would evolve as it has. So when I write here, I am always aware of who may be reading. And I try to never post anything that will backfire on me if it ends up in my work portfolio. I try to never post anything that will harm my family, emotionally or in other ways. I try to never post anything that I will regret should I run for public office (um – that’s a joke, people). In other words – there is a lot that never gets posted here.

I have considered creating an alternate blog. its-good-to-have-friendsAn alternate persona. A place to vent and scream and tell all my hidden thoughts and feelings. But I don’t believe that there is anonymity in the internet. Ultimately someday somewhere somehow everything can be linked back to me. So that coworker/friend wrote: “…asked me why I keep this blog around. Why? For my children, of course.” He went on to say that he figured someday his children or their children or their children’s children (etc.) would Google (or the then equivalent) and find him and know who he was. Okay. I can understand that. But I don’t agree. That doesn’t work for me personally. My son does NOT really need to know who I am that intimately. He DOES need to know that I am human. That I have faced adversity and sometimes I have triumphed and sometimes I have stumbled. He does need to know that I have feelings and thoughts and passion and dreams. He doesn’t need to know the details, he doesn’t need to know my mistakes, he doesn’t need to see me bleeding on my internal crosses or to know when and how I’ve sunk to my ugliest self. He needs to know that such things happen and have happened and that life goes on. But for me – I think it is sufficient for me to say to him – “Yes, bad things have happened. Here is how it went.” And I can tell him without necessarily baring the full spectrum of emotion and detail. My life is not meant to be an open book to him, or to anyone.

confiding-in-a-friendDo I regret this decision, to NOT post my emotions? Oh yes. I certainly do. Many times. Many times in one day even. Maybe I’m a coward. But I simply imagine being faced with what I wrote on some other day in some other mood. And the impulse dies. For those times when the need is overwhelming and there is no friend to hear me, I write haiku. I’ve said before how I love the bare 5-7-5 meter. How I must pare my thoughts down. Forced to cut to only the basic point. You know that I love words and run on and on. Haiku forces a discipline on me that posting does not.

Am I a coward? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I am simply the wrong generation. My friend is my generation, but he hit the web long before I did. So I’m not talking “atomic age generation” necessarily. I am talking “virtual age generation” – that is, the time you plugged in to the virtual life. For my son and his friends – they have always been plugged in. They don’t know life without it. I barely remember life without it, it is so much a part of me now. But I remember enough to know that I don’t want my entire soul bared to the light.

I have seen several articles and stories about how people twitter something, email something, post something, etc. and that “something” comes back to bite them. They are fired, they are sued, they are arrested, they are divorced, they are stalked. And yet not a day goes by without millions of people continuing to bare their souls on the web. The number grows daily. Is it generational? Is it a cultural change brought about by something else entirely? Are we that alone in the world? That egotistical?

I am not saying that posting our inner selves is a “bad” thing. hands-stilled-in-my-lapI really don’t know that it is. I suspect that it will come to be the norm, actually. That the reluctance that I feel will be an aberration. But I am not there yet.

So much I need said.
Can you hear my silent screams?
Hands stilled in my lap.

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4 Responses to “Why do we blog?”


  1. 1 chestnut January 27, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    I have made the mistake of posting something on the internet and instantly wishing I had not. I learned a very very valuable lesson and am much more careful about sharing too much now. I think meditating helps.

  2. 2 Dale Innis January 27, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I don’t think, myself, that posting every detail of our inner selves will become the norm, at least not anytime in the next decade or three. Some people do that, of course, anonmymously or pseudonymously or fully nymously. But I think they’re comparatively small fraction of the on-net population, and I suspect that will stay true even as my daughter’s generation 🙂 starts taking over. They will be, especially when young, more open than we are maybe; but they’ll learn… 🙂

  3. 3 Natalya Homewood January 28, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I don’t think you are a coward at all, the blog is for whatever you want it to be, and shouldn’t be something that makes you feel you have to live up to others standards.

    I like to write deep posts in my blog – althought I don’t often manage to come up with one – however, I prefer to try and make the posts rhetorical.. taking any issues I have at the time, or even just thoughts or inspiration throughout the day, and exploring them so that they can provide some food for thought for anyone who reads.

    However, no matter how much I think about my posts and monitor what goes up there, there has been the odd mistake in which I have acted too rashly and posted a blog post at the wrong time.. and yes, it has come back to bite me on the ass a bit. And yes, I think I have learnt my lesson.

    I, personally, feel that my blog is now purely used to provoke a little bit of consideration and thinking in the people that read it. Personal, touchy areas that hit the reader with the inner most thoughts and feeling of hurt or anger, would be better kept to a personal diary and out of the public eye.


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