25 January 2010

When the blog bites real life

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Oh blogging. I love it but sometimes I feel like it does more harm than good.

When I started blogging, I shared the link with some family members so they could be a part of my life in Chicago, mostly because I didn’t see or speak to them often.

Then it bit me in the a** a few times. People took offense to what I was writing about or what I wasn’t writing about and that they were mentioned on the blog.

And to them I said, “if you don’t like it, don’t read it.”

But recently, I found out additional people started reading my blog, unbeknownst to me, and found in the archive some posts about my behavior and themselves that they didn’t like.

Part of me wants to say again, “if you don’t like it, don’t read it,” but a part of me feels that exasperation like, OMG I can’t make ANYONE happy.

Blogs evolve and so do the things we talk about on them. And what we write about won’t make everyone happy. For me, blogging is a creative outlet that allows me to talk about things I feel and want to in my own voice. Sure, I may come off b*tchier, lazier or crazier on here, but hopefully for those who know me IRL and have read this for awhile, you know that’s not the case (I’m actually 10x awesomer in person).

But now that I find myself with unhappy IRL people again and I feel very unsure about how to proceed. Do I let myself be censored on a blog that is about me and my life/challenges? Or do I stay the way I am now and maybe be more mindful. Or do I say, f*ck it?

It’s a tough call.

I do know that this blog isn’t about trashing people or saying anything crazy, super, hyper negative. But maybe I need to redefine what I consider “blogworthy.”

What about you? Do you have topics you never discuss on your blog? Or how have you handled situations where your blog has upset family or IRL friends?

New movie review: I love period pieces with some scenes of shirtless men, so I’m reviewing Sherlock Holmes!

Oh and I promise the review blog isn’t becoming all movie reviews. Shopping stuff is coming up soon!


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  3. PJ says:

    I say F it too. Write what you want. That said, none of my family even knows I have a blog so if I blogged about them, they’d have no idea. I have links to it on my FB and Twitter pages, but I have it blocked from family. My friends and strangers can read it, I just don’t want to hear back from my family about what I wrote.

  4. Elle says:

    I gave up caring who reads it and just blog. My boyfriend has said in the past that he doesn’t like our relationship being discussed as it’s private, which I can totally understand (but heck, if he did something bad I’d blog it.) I haven’t upset anyone (yet), and I’m certain to keep everything (and everyone) as anonymous as possible!

  5. Lucy says:

    I made the mistake of sharing my blog with some IRL folks. This fall we had a major blow-out and as that was the primary thing on my mind I wanted to write about it. But I couldn’t, because I knew they would read it and it would just cause more problems. It sucks feeling like you have to censor yourself. I hope you can find that middle ground where you can write what you want without upsetting people. And when you find it, tell me how to do it too! :)

  6. Lil' Woman says:

    Not alot of IRL people know about my blog besides a few close friends and my mom and sister..but I talk shit IRL so they aren’t that surprised by what I post on my blog.

  7. Lys says:

    at this point, i’ve stopped giving my link out to people i know IRL because if they can’t remember it by now, they obviously don’t need it. i only have a few close friends who read it because they like to hear what i think and see what i have to share about my life. i don’t ever really write about things that are bugging me, but that’s only because i usually have plenty of time to process my feelings during the day and become more comfortable with them. i think the only thing at this point that i still won’t write about is my sex life, and i have a few reasons for that, but basically i just feel that’s the most private thing i have control over right now and i’d like to keep it that way.

  8. A Super Girl says:

    This is one of my biggest fears and why I remain anonymous. But, as I’ve broadened my horizons and started to meet bloggers (and subsequently friended a couple on Facebook), I’m afraid my parents will somehow find the blog through Facebook even though I mention it nowhere.

    I’m a nightmare-scenario kind of girl!

  9. katelin says:

    i would just say eff it, but that’s just me. i pretty much write whatever i want on my blog and don’t really know who all is reading any more. sometimes i forget and talk about stuff i haven’t shared with irl friends yet and they get a bit miffed but then they get over it, because that’s what friends do.

  10. MinD says:

    I have no idea what you should do, and I have little advice to dispense about it. Really, it’s your blog and you should do whatever will make you most happy. If that means censoring yourself so you don’t have disgruntled friends/family, then so be it. But it’s your part of the world and people should understand that.

    Personally, when I decided to blog, I decided right then and there what it’d be. I wouldn’t venture into anything overly personal or anything that would offend someone I cared about. I try to keep mine more professional – so I don’t talk about being wasted all the time, ha – and something that I wouldn’t care if employers saw. I guess that’s my perspective though. I also don’t have a huge following and maybe not being as personal is exactly why. ::Shrugs:: But it’s what I wanted it to be and that’s what matters most.

  11. T says:

    I’m dealing with this issue right now. Do I continue to stay true to myself and my blog and continue to speak my opinion or bite my tongue so I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings? I think I’m going to have to go with the first option.

  12. Kate says:

    I have a definite internal battle with this topic. There are a lot of things I’d like to blog about, but some involve family members, friends or other personal matters that my gut tells not to touch in a public space. My rules of thumb have become (1) to trust my instincts (don’t publish anything that makes me nervous doing so), (2) to focus mainly on myself and occasionally reference other people in my life, and (3) to state my opinion in a way that doesn’t offend or demean anyone else. That said, I will inevitably write something that will offend someone, but that’s life.

  13. barbetti says:

    I don’t link my blog from Facebook. None of my family (that I know of) read my blog, because I needed MY space on the Internet, away from judgments and drama and I usually try to avoid specifically venting about someone I know…just in case.

    By the way, COMPLETELY unrelated, but I hope you go to The Blathering this year, as it is in Chi-town! I want to see you!

  14. Like Kyla mentioned, I don’t ever remember you mentioning anything specific stories about any family members or friends (excluding stories about blogger friends) that would cause concern.

    But situations like these are why I choose to blog just for me and not share any of my online life with my IRL family and friends because I don’t want to deal with that boundary/crossing the line business when it comes to my blog. That’s why facebook exists.

  15. Nora says:

    I’m still that girl who hasn’t given her blog address out to her friends. Hell, half of them have no clue I blog or if they do, they don’t tell me they know. I censor some things(like family stuff, some relationship stuff like the how/why and sex topics) but other than that I try to be me.

    I could imagine it’s hard! It is your place to do what you want with it. Password protect? Or just ignore them? Maybe a sit down with the family members who are reading it and are upset, to explain what the blog is and what it means to you?

    I find that a lot of peopole don’t get blogging at all especially if they’ve never tried it before.

  16. RondaMarie says:

    I’ve never really had this issue, most recently I’ve had a boyfriend (now ex, not because of the blog) read my stuff, and it really didn’t bother me. I password protect anything that I think is too revealing of the person I am writing about. Generally though, all my friends and family know I have a blog, but none of them have ever made an attempt to find it and it would be so easy to find since I use my real name. I don’t think my writing would change, I think I would just password protect more posts.

    I’ve been a reader for a while now and it baffles me what anyone may have read on your blog about themselves or others that they found offensive, your writing is not offensive, mean spirited, or outrageous in any way. Keep doing what you are doing, you’re fantastic.

  17. jenn says:

    i recently found out a bunch of coworkers read my blog. i totally feel like i have to censor myself now – although i’ve considered going private instead. it’s a hard balance between being a working professional and a spaz. :)

  18. jen says:

    i ONLY write about positive, happy things which is mostly for me but works out well for the people in my life that read it too!

  19. My family doesn’t appreciate my blog at all. They don’t appreciate “my tone.” I would encourage you not to censor yourself, but don’t use people’s real names without their permission.

  20. Melinda says:

    It is so hard to strike a balance between censorship and freedom of writing what moves you. I struggle with that often, and usually censorship wins out because I don’t like confrontation. Good luck finding your balance.

  21. SoMi's Nilsa says:

    As you know, I blogged about this recently. You’re right – blogging is an evolving process for each blogger. I think the key is telling your story, not someone else’s. And, at the end of the day, if people don’t like you for being you, that’s their problem, not yours.

  22. Allison says:

    I once wrote about how my parents have the same fights around the holidays and I thought my mom was going to flip. She called me to tell me to take down the post because their fighting was no one’s business.

    Also, the BF’s family will sometimes read it, so I have to be careful what I say. I believe one time a certain someone found an archived post and sent it to him, too.

    What a joke!

  23. Rhianna Hoke says:

    Writing for me is therapeutic. I do it for me. I dont try to hurt anyone as I am sure you dont. Heres the thing. ZFor every not wonderful thing I might say about andyone I am sure I embarrass myself (there is a pic of me in a pink snuggie!!), put my self out there, and bare it all 100 times more. So if they dont like it, they should move on. Please dont censor! I love reading you

  24. Heidi Renée says:

    My parents read my blog, and my mom has given my aunt the URL, so anyone in the state of Michigan could be reading it by now. I keep family and work mentions to a minimum, and I have never had a link up on Facebook. There are things I would like to write about but haven’t, for fear of repercussions. The one topic I really try to avoid is my in-laws, because I don’t want to write something that will hurt my husband… even if it’s true. But good looooord, do I want to go there, and go there hard.

  25. Linda says:

    It is really great to find a post so easy to read without overwhelming the reader

  26. phampants says:

    I avoid politics and religion.

    My blog is an extension of myself. What you know of me is extended to my blog.

  27. Maki says:

    I TOTOALLY HEAR YOU GIRL!!! Last year I barely posted because of the same situation as you – some of my family memebers were reading my blog without my knowledge and some of them were really angry. Most of them voiced their opinions to me personally and they understood my point, but I felt like my blog was no longer my blog because I found myself choosing what topic to talk about, make sure I don’t talk about them, etc.

    For all of us bloggers, blog is a place where we can be honest to ourselves. We write for ourselves first, at least I blogged for me.. So, I kind of lost mojo posting it.

    But now I came to realize if they don’t like what I write, they can either f*ck it or tell me about it, so we can talk about it. If they can’t talk to my face, then I’m not going to sweat it. You can not make every one happy – You can stay the way you are, but be more couteous or you can change URL (i’m sure you don’t want to do that but) – it’s tough, I know!

    Hang in there!

  28. I don’t write about sex or fights with my mother. Or fights with anyone, actually. I pretty much assume everyone I know reads my blog on any given day (even if they don’t) so I am pretty good at making sure my content reflects that.

    My mother is very concerned about my privacy and thinks I give myself away too much, but I don’t so I don’t really let that get to me. Other than that, I don’t really feel that I need to divulge information about other people for the sake of reading material. I have plenty to work with just going off of my daily activities in NYC and dealing with a chronic illness. Sometimes I write critiques on health or how people discuss “being sick” and that can ruffle some feathers. But I always try to put in the blog post, “This is MY opinion… and I would love to hear what you think!” to make sure people don’t think I’m some kind of closed minded bitch. That would kinda suck.

  29. Ginger says:

    My general rule is–I won’t post something on my blog that I would be afraid to say in real life to either my grandmother or my boss. I’m pretty much a peacekeeper, so that limits me, but I’d hate for my blog to get in the way of my IRL relationships (or my gainful employement).
    I sometimes wish I had the stomach for more–if only for the venting possibilities–but most of the time, I still have plenty of stuff to write about.

  30. Andhari says:

    I erased my blog url in facebook because of this. I really don’t like my family reading my blog, I usually bitch if they do. That’s just not their place to do so. But people are different though, I know a bunch of bloggers who leave their blogs open but they told me they censor some stuff too. :(

  31. Lindsay says:

    My family doesn’t know about my blog and I’d like to keep it that way. For some reason, I know I would censor myself more if mom and dad were reading it. It’s confusing because on the one hand I could just write in my private journal if I didn’t want anyone reading my thoughts, but one of the things I like about blogging is that I can get advice/input from people who aren’t in my real life. I think there’s a perfect balance somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet.

  32. It is very important to me that what I write never hurt another person. Because of that I have to censor certain things, and Josh and I have definitely said we need an anonymous blog for some stories about people we know that are so hard not to share.

    But, I’ve not always been 100% successful in the never hurting someone arena. When I did it was someone who was no longer a friend at all, but she found out about my blog and read something hurtful and judgmental I wrote, and I felt terrible.

    So much so that I actually had to do the work to make amends. I disliked that feeling so much, that I am now careful about what I say. I miss out on some things, but I preserve the things that are most valuable to me.

  33. Carissajaded says:

    I hear ya, I am always torn about what I should or shouldn’t post. I am lucky in that not too many people have really said much to me about it so far.. but there are a few who have and it is annoying. I know I’m the one who put my blog public, but there are some days when I want to vent about family or boys, and I have to hold back… sometimes i really want an anonymous blog…

  34. nic says:

    That’s been a tough call for me the longer I blog. When I started out in ’06, I didn’t tell anyone I had a blog. But since then it’s become such a part of me and what makes me happy, that most everyone in my life knows about it. They just don’t know the name or url. I’ve slowly invited a few friends to read, and my boyfriend found me from being a reader, so I’m aware that there are people in my life that will read my “real” thoughts. Knowing that, I never use people’s real names and I try to avoid writing about work for all the obvious reasons. I think if more friends or family ever found it, I’d have to stand by what I’ve written.

  35. Rachel M. says:

    As you may remember, in June my in-laws discovered my blog. It completely destroyed them for a while and in all honestly it destroyed me. Unlike you, I went really far on my opinion and realized just how ugly I looked. Time is healing some of the wounds and I can honestly say that having it happen has made me a better person.
    I feared though that I wouldn’t have anything to write about, but life continues and soon I was sharing my humiliations again. Rest assured that if you do decide to not write about certain people life will make up for it by embarrassing you in the gym/work area/public and provide you with something else to write with.

  36. chickbug says:

    My blog, on more then one occasion, caused drama IRL. Tears, hurt feelings, unnecessary drama. And it was never meant to be negative or harmful. In fact, most of the time I realized it wasn’t anything I wrote…it was my friends or families own insecurities or issues that made them read into what I was writing or think I was writing about them (when I wasn’t). You can’t control other peoples reactions to your writing. When you put something on paper (or online) you have to let go of that. And unfortunately, sometimes that means mistakenly hurting others.

    I don’t know if their is an easy answer to this. Add this to the list of reasons I decided it was time for chickbug to retire.

  37. Chelsy says:

    And to further clarify..

    I’ve never read anything here that made me raise an eyebrow! :)

  38. Chelsy says:

    I definitely censor what I write on my blog because I have a lot of IRL readers. I can’t write about anything work-related, can’t complain about friends or family, no swearing or sexual references (I actually don’t do that in real life anyway but if I wanted to swear I can’t!)…so yeah, it’s completely PC and sometimes it makes me frustrated that I can’t vent where I want to most. All that stuff goes in my paper journal instead.

    But I still feel like I’m myself and honest and I’m not always rainbows and butterflies despite not being able to fully share about certain things. And in all reality, my blog is public and I don’t want to be perceived as someone who complains about others or laments over all the negatives in my life–on my blog or in real life. (Even if I think that way sometimes in my head!)

  39. mandy says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever read anything here that is mean spirited. I think you have to stay true to yourself. Personally for me, I try to write about my story and it usually involves friends or family. I try to tell the story with my feelings and reactions, not theirs. I think if people in your real life are going to read your blog, they need to recognize that its YOUR space. Stand tall and be proud of what you’ve written.

  40. This is always a tough, always-present debate. I’ve found myself getting more and more restrained with what I write because more and more family members have discovered my blog. Even now, I’m wrestling with whether to write about a really crappy, sticky situation I’m dealing with because I know the wrong people will read too much into what I write. I guess the key is to just think about how each post you write might affect the most important relationships in your life and go from there. I wouldn’t worry too far beyond your close friends and family though.

  41. Amy says:

    i only give my link to IRL people that I can absolutely trust or feel ok with sharing it with them. DEF NO FAMILY will ever have my link. And as far as “blogworthy” material… idk I tend to post about everything and try to code things well or not give out too many details.

  42. lbluca77 says:

    I don’t know if anyone IRL reads my blog. If so they have never said anything to me about it. But I agree with April you gotta just be you.

    I’ve read your blog long enough to see you don’t say anything that comes across hurtful. I think what you write here is always very honest.

    But really no matter what you say there will always be someone that might find a problem with it. You can’t please everyone.

  43. Kyla Roma says:

    This is a hard one. Honestly, I don’t notice you writing about family & friends so this strikes me as odd. Why would someone who cares for you go pawing through your archives looking for stuff?

    I still have a few people in my life who read my blog with a fine comb and it just makes me exasperated. It’s missing the point. I vote do what you can, but what you wrote in the past is in the past.

    Anyone stirring around in your archives looking for mentions of them is looking to pick a fight with you, not to support what you’re doing. And if they think that one sentence in one post from months ago means your blog has crossed a line, that’s more than a little narcissistic, and that’s their issue, not yours.

  44. Rebekah says:

    Eek. I’ve been lucky enough to keep the family (mostly) away from my blog, but I know that if some of them ever clicked around the archives there would be some posts that would cause mucho tension. I actually password protect some of the more personal posts about 2 months after I post them – just in case someone SOMEDAY comes on that I don’t want to dig through my past.

    That said, I love to read your blog, no matter what content you choose. If a person chooses not to blog some topics then that is all well and good, as long as what they do write is the truth. And you are very truth-y and awesome :o)

  45. april says:

    Ugh, tough call. I think at the end of the day, you gotta just be you. This is your space, and you need to feel comfortable saying what feels right to you.

    You have to be able to set your own bar for what is acceptable to say here and folks will need to respect your space, your right to your own creative expression and the reality that at the end of the day, you’d never do anything to purposely hurt someone. Anyone who knows you knows that, even if it is hard for them to admit. The rest – as they say – is gravy.

    Keep on writing! :)

  46. Yes! All the time. Not so much family, as friends who read the site, I don’t necessarily want them to know all the details as I start over. Especially when it comes to B. I find myself completely censored about him/us but hold nothing back when it comes to MX.