March 16, 2005


My blog is becoming more well read than I really ever thought was possible, which is a good and bad thing.

I started this blog as a means by which to strengthen my writing skills, which I think it's done, at least marginally. It also provided a much more interactive method of keeping a journal, which I thought was cool.

The downside of all of this is that, more and more, people I know are stumbling across this blog, and not all of those people, not surprisingly, are pleased about what they're reading here. That happened again today.

I'm torn about what to think here. On the one hand, I've always known that blogging under my real name and about my own personal experiences, thoughts and politics, entails a certain amount of risk. People I know and like could find something here that displeases or disappoints them.

On the other hand, despite all the self-assurances I pile upon myself that I'm being truthful and honest in my narratives, at least as far as I perceive them, my face still gets hot from a twinge of embarrassment or regret when someone I know drops an e-mail or comment saying they read something here that they didn't agree with, and that they'd like a certain post removed. That's still tough for me to swallow.

On the third hand, I can't help but think it's probably a good thing to get such subtle reminders that this blog is available for public consumption and, although I'm fine with people reading about me and viewing pictures of my rear, some of the people I mention here may be uncomfortable with the content.

At any rate, I got an e-mail today from someone I like and respect, and they didn't like something they read here, even though the post accurately reflected my thoughts at the time.

It makes me wonder about my approach to blogging, and whether I'm doing it right or wrong, or if there is a right or wrong way to blog.

Posted by Ryan at March 16, 2005 02:21 PM

I know exactly what you mean. I used to write indescriminately about my beliefs, often citing actual people or incidents in my blog posts. It generated a lot of heat in college because once one person found out about my blog, they told everyone that got mentioned or that might have a relation to a story about my blog. I actually ended up taking down some posts, but part of me really wanted to keep them up because that's how I felt.

As it is now, I don't take anything down. I don't care if people don't like what I write because it's what I believe. It might be stupid or naive of me, but that's my stance at the moment.

Posted by: Rick at March 16, 2005 03:17 PM

See now, there are some distinct advantages to writing under a pseudonym. The best being plausible deniability, "Why no, boss, that's not my blog, look at the name of the writer. That's not me." Even though I know this would fail under even the lightest scrutiny.

But there is also the anonymity of it. I don't worry so much about pissing of my friends because very few of them know about my blog. And I also have another blog that has no name attributed to it and is really for venting whatever I want without any regard to who might read it.

But then, I don't censor myself very much on IP these days either so its all good. And its been many, many months since someone got upset with me about something I wrote.

I don't think there's a right or wrong way to blog. But it might behoove you to anonymize people you might be writing about.

Posted by: Johnny Huh? at March 16, 2005 03:59 PM

I got a chuckle seeing "Johnny Huh?" and "censor" in the same sentence.

Posted by: Mike at March 16, 2005 04:42 PM

Corrct that. "Censor" and "IP" in the same sentence. But you knew what I meant...

Posted by: Mike at March 16, 2005 04:44 PM

Correct "Corrct." Oh, Christ, nevermind. Downward spiral.

Posted by: Someone other then Mike at March 16, 2005 04:45 PM

Ryan, Fuck em if they can't take a joke man.

Posted by: donna at March 16, 2005 08:48 PM

Ryan, it takes two people to make one person upset. Fine, maybe someone you know and/or respect doesn't like something you've written. But for bollockingly-god's sake, let them use the appropriate forum - the comments box, and not take the cowardly way out with a private email.

Stuff it, if someone did that to me, I'd add their email (full address and all) to the post that pissed 'em off. They'd certainly be a bit more cir . . er . . forgot the word I was going to use . . oh here it is, circumspect (?) in future.

Your blog, your thoughts. Other people may have opinions, let them start their own bloody blogs. Sheesh.

Posted by: simon at March 17, 2005 05:35 AM

I have a test for content. I only post real life things about people that I have already said to that person. I made this decision early and it wasn't so much to protect the sensibilities of the people around me as to prevent me from losing my contrary and combative personal nature by giving me a sneaky back door stress venting venue.

Posted by: Jim at March 17, 2005 06:13 AM

Ahh nuts, I just took down a post from a couple of days ago that I woke up to the next morning and found to be embarrasing. Part of me wants to put it back up.

Don't sweat it Rhodes, the more you say, the more opportunity you'll have to piss people off. It may not be a goal as much it is a by-product.

Posted by: seed at March 17, 2005 11:50 PM

Mike, the IP is this case isn't Intellectual Property, its Intellectual Poison, the name of my blog.

Posted by: Johnny Huh? at March 18, 2005 01:09 PM

I got into blogging for similar reasons - to sharpen my writing and reasoning skills and to prompt me to dig deeper into issues. Two or three days into my blogging career I started to think about some of the people I knew who could end up reading my blog - including some who could have some influence in my day job. It was almost paralyzing.

What I soon realized, of course, is that I'm never going to have everyone agree with me, and some may strongly disagree. Except in the cases of some of the nutjobs out there, however, this isn't something to be feared. Blogging shouldn't just be a kind of back-slappers club where we read and right only for those who agree with us. Nor do I think I can overwhelm someone and change his or her mind purely through my wit and the devastating logic of my argument. What I aim for, however, is to start brushfires in people's minds that could lead them to begin to think about something in a new way.

I have heard second-hand that some people I like and respect have been a bit more than peeved by some of the things I've posted. I'm sorry they feel that way, but I don't hold them in any less regard as a result (and what they might think of me isn't really within my control anyway). These people are very useful to me, however, because I can picture them as I write - not as invisible censors but as real people with whom I want to have a conversation. This way instead of doing the easy thing and writing the first snarky comment that comes to mind, I am inspired to make my case as best I can, to anticipate their arguments and try to address these in a way that might give readers an opportunity to adjust their thinking without it being a breach of their honor. I may not often meet my own standard here, and there will be some who will reject me regardless, but that is the ideal I'm pursuing and so far it's been effective in getting me past the paralysis.

Carry on!

Posted by: John S. at March 20, 2005 01:52 PM
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