December 3, 2004
The Obligatory Self-Referential Blog Entry
NB: I entered this as a comment on another blog, but thought it reflected enough "content" to bear reposting here [how vain!]:
I confess that I'm having to adjust to the fact that my bro, his wife, and now my mother may sometimes read this blog.
People with blogs have to deal with the idea of a "public persona," often for the first time.
A friend of mine recently started a blog but has not shared the fact of its existence with me (yet). [She later let me in on it, or rather gave permission for its url to be made to be known to me.]
We bothered a friend to start a blog and he did; his daughter has a blog as well. They decided it would be better for both of them if they did not link up as "friends" in the LJ [LiveJournal] scheme. This to me seems very odd, especially since LJ users can add anyone they like as a friend without permission from the linkee.
Part of the attraction of having a blog is sharing those intimate feelings we have but only with people we don't know. Of course, wives, friends, and family all find out sooner or later. Dooce does a pretty good job revealing the things that trouble her in her own life (including an incredible tale of severe depression) while making the content interesting enough that people keep reading. Blogs allow us to express what we consider to be at universal or transcendent experiences. The fact that we can connect with people who know us only by our public person tempts bloggers to create an "alternative personality" for the blog. I suppose that we all do create alternate online personas to some extent, since it is impossible to share everything with the world. However, when friends are in on the secret it becomes hard to limit our newly minted public personas to what we want to put out there. On the other hand, letting friends and family in on the secret encourages us to be more honest and forces us to reflect upon our experiences intelligibly if not objectively.
Posted by webs0080 at December 3, 2004 3:36 PM
That's an interesting piece. I'm always a little embarrassed when my Mom comments on my blog - I think she doesn't completely realize that it isn't a private channel of communication, that other people read it. It was way worse on my old blog and I finally had to tell her to quit making comments that in any way betrayed the fact that we knew each other. But then I realized that most of the people who see my site don't know me and don't give two craps what my mom writes in the comment section.
This is another reason I don't have a blog--aside from hearing enough of my own voice as it is, I don't want to expose myself like that. I do admire those who have the nerve to do it, though.
i know it was an adjustment when my sister suddenly appeared on the hk message board. at first, i felt as if she'd invaded my private sphere and i'd shy away, even feel resentful, when she showed up. gradually i discovered that we were seeing each other in a different way, learning stuff about each other as people, not just sisters, and i grew to value the new relationship.
I started my blog for one reason and found it to be useful for others. I never thought I had anything blog-worthy to say. I realize now it can be a tool for self-examination (and as Sherm says, "for self everything").
Blogs can be intended for a specific "audience" even though they are technically public. In my case I'm exploring a new area of my life that would be difficult to share with all of my friends and certainly my family.
It is liberating to be able to share with select friends, though; people I trust. Knowing somebody will read it does make a difference. It makes me think about the content a bit more than if I were just scribbling in a personal diary. Also, because it is one step removed from direct communication it can be easier to reveal ones inner thoughts to others.
my blog generally makes me feel shallow and completely lacking in mystery. sometimes i think i just keep it up because i no longer feel like it's mine to kill. other times i just feel like a slave to the habit.
it is yours to kill, jm. just because wild protest would ensue is no reason to put it off. i'll be you'd miss it once it was dead, though. or maybe not.
I think we have got to convey our brand after we say anything online. and even, yes, that means increasingly being extremely careful. It only takes a 2nd for something distasteful another and bite - maybe not today, but perhaps tomorrow.