I always find it weird when someone from my real life reads my blog. I mean, I know I have some relatives and friends who read here, but it never fails to surprise me when someone says, “Oh hey, I read about such-and-such on your blog.” I know I publicly put it all out there, but it still throws me a little.
I suppose I feel like I’m just throwing words out into the ethos and nobody is reading it.
Sort of like my job, really. I write user guides. Who actually reads those?
(Answer: nobody. At least not until they’ve already tried to do something with the software and broken it, at which point they might look for the answer in the manual.)
And considering I’ve been blogging for over 10 years now (holy cow), I have to say that for the most part, it’s been a really positive experience for me. I’ve made some great friends and connections through this weird little social media thing. I feel very fortunate.
There have only been a handful of times that I knew someone was reading my blog who I actively did not want to read it. One of those just happened this week.
And I admit, it freaked me out. I felt sort of exposed, and I started second-guessing everything I’ve written here. For a minute, I considered changing my URL, changing my Twitter handle, making everything anonymous so it isn’t tied to my “real” life at all.
But the thing is, what I put here on my blog is such a tiny fraction of who I am. I’d guess it’s less than 5% of my life. I share what I choose to share. You don’t hear every mundane detail of what I ate for lunch (you’re welcome), and there are also some intensely private topics that I keep to myself (sorry). I cherry-pick the subjects around here. And even still, I’m well aware that some of the posts I’ve written might not make me look so great. But that’s life, I’m human, nobody is perfect, yadda yadda.
I understand that for non-bloggers, the concept of blogging might seem strange. Just throwing all of these personal stories out on the Internet for any stranger to read. Heck, if you go read GOMI (which I do, daily, because I love that site), you’ll find plenty of people who take issue not just with certain bloggers, but with the concept of blogging as a whole. I get it.
I guess it’s just… I’m a writer. Maybe I’m not all that great at it (I’m certainly not anywhere near as good at storytelling as some other bloggers), but it’s what I do. I’ve had diaries and journals as long as I’ve been able to write in sentences. Transitioning it to online writing felt natural to me.
And to be honest, I love the feedback that happens with blogs. I can write about something – a problem I’m dealing with, some issue with one of my kids, whatever – and I get comments that sympathize, or offer suggestions I haven’t considered. I so value that interaction. And I’m not as good a commenter as I should be, but I love it when I come across someone else’s blog and I can leave a comment that says, “OMG me too!” or a few words that will hopefully be supportive or helpful.
This week I got scared for a minute. But now I feel defiant. I’m not sure if that’s me being true to my middle-child nature, or maybe because this person used my blog to go after someone I love, which tends to bring out my inner pit bull.
I guess the point is, if someone wants to use my blog as fodder to criticize me, they’re welcome to do so. Maybe I do sometimes overshare on this site, but at least everything I say is honest, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for some people, both online and off.
And really, with all of this technology comes some really nifty features, like comment blacklists and email filters, so I don’t have to see the criticism if I don’t want to see it.
So, you know. Whatever. Bring it on. I ain’t going anywhere.