Thursday, August 24, 2006

The secret world of blogging

I spent this beautiful, late summer afternoon on a long walk with two Mom friends and their kids at a local park. Two things came out of that walk. 1) Not only was I made painfully aware that I am really out of shape - if you push a stroller uphill for a few miles you eventually have to go downhill, right? Uh, no. Apparently not - but 2) I almost put my foot in my mouth thus possibly changing the course of my life as I know it.

I almost outed myself as a blogger.


Okay, that was a little dramatic but, to date, I have shared the knowledge of my blog with my husband and my sister. Until recently I have had no desire to share it with a friend or other family member. This is my sanctuary, the place I can rant and rave about almost anything I want. Oh the sweet freedom of the blogosphere.

Today, however, one of my friends was telling me about the journal she's been keeping since her son was born.

"Oh, why don't you start a bl...." cough, cough, cough.

"A what?" she asked.

"I think I swallowed a bug." I lied. "A book. I was saying that I think you should write a book."

Yeah, it was a pathetic cover-up. I have no idea if she can write, so why would I suggest she write a book? But thankfully the seeds of my craziness were planted long ago (and, funny enough, she still likes me) so she brushed off my strange suggestion. I chalk up the fact that she let the conversation die to my past history of inappropriate comments, her patient nature, and our lack of oxygen from pushing the kids up yet another hill.

I've often thought about how my real-life friendships would be different if all the women I knew had blogs. No, this is not a scenario I'd like to follow through with. I like my secret life. It makes me feel kind of, um... Naughty. Yeah, kind of naughty. My friends don't know what I do with my spare time and I kind of like that aspect of it. (More drama alert) I'm not going to compare blogs to 900 numbers, because that's just wrong. And slightly dirty. Eww. But there's a reason why I keep this blog to myself and share it with strangers. I like to speak my mind without feeling the need to censor myself because I might step on someone's toes or feelings.

The other night Mr C. and I were discussing that very same friend. I really like her, I told him, but she's so reserved. I'm the one who is supposed to be the quiet observer. That's my M.O. I don't know what to do with another person who is just like me. Funny enough, when we email each other I can see bits of her humor and you know what? She's freakin' hilarious. In a very dry way that I like. I don't understand why she doesn't let it slip out more often when we're together.

I even said to my husband:

"She and I would probably get along even better... If she had a blog."

If there were one person I would share the secret world of blogging with - okay, not so secret. Not secret at all really. Let me rephrase. My secret world of blogging - it would be her. It's probably more curiosity than anything because I'd like to know what's going on in that head of her's.

So I pose this question to you, all knowing masters and mistresses of the blogosphere: Would you invite a friend into your blog world? And if you have allowed friends to view your blog, do you find that you censor yourself? Does it affect your real-life relationship? I've always relied on the kindness of strangers. So what would you do in my situation?


Amy said...

I shared my blog with a few choice friends who I thought would enjoy it. It actually made us a little closer because I am so reserved in real life. I tend to hide behind my sarcastic sense of humor but I let loose about my deeper feelings on my blog. So yeah. If you think she can be trusted I might share it with her.

Bea said...

I have mentioned my blog to most of my friends, and some of them express no further interest, while others are regular readers, though not usually commenters. It's a bit weird. I got an email the other day from a friend I haven't seen in awhile, and she updated me on everything going on in her life and then added, "I read your blog religiously, so I've got a good idea of what's going on with you" - and then listed various things she'd learned from my blog. Which left me with not much to reply to her long and newsy email!

I got an email from that friend's husband the other day, though. He said, "I told a co-worker about your blog, and she's in there reading it right now, saying 'It's all so true!' over and over again. I think she likes it." That kind of live-action reporting is priceless!

Anonymous said...

One by one I've come out to friends. Only a few of them read regularly though, but one has her own blog too (as do a few of my PIMs, but although I've blogrolled them, I don't read them regularly).

If you don't think it would change your friendship if she chose NOT to read you, then go for it. I think that's probably the more bothersome outcome than a friend who would love to read every word.

Anonymous said...

My best friend, whose husband is a minister, reads my blog. She never says a word to me about all the profanity, but she never comments either. She has her own blog but she only posts once in a while.

I've referred to my blog in conversation with family members, and it's like they didn't hear me. Not one of them has said "really? What's the URL?" But I would share my blog with anyone who asked. I figure life's too short to worry about whether my Grandma might be offended by my liberal use of profanity. I say tell your friend to get a blog!

Ashley said...

yes, i have invited friends into my blog world. only 1 actually but then i think she gave the address to a mutual friend of ours (no big deal really) but now 2 people know so i have to be twice as careful. and yes, i do censor myself to an extent. for the most part, i am me but there are sometimes things i'd like to talk about that i don't. and that isn't just for the "real" friends that know my blog address--it is also so that you not-as-real friends won't think i'm crazy. and also, i wish i knew if my other friends had blogs and what the addresses were b/c i'd LOVE to see what's going on in their heads.

Debbie said...

I've shared it, because I -- um. I don't really know *why* I've shared it, but I suppose it makes me feel less retarded when I talk to my friends about what I do with some of my time - these people don't have kids, so they naturally assume that I hang out watching daytime tv and eating the proverbial bon-bons all week, and I just want to set them straight a little. that, and I don't have any other friends outside of this plastic screen sitting directly in front of me. I kid. sorta. but truly, I don't mind my friends reading, since I think of you and several other bloggers as my friends, and I'm not ashamed to tell *you* what goes on in my warped excuse for a head, so why wouldn't I do the same with my RL pals?

but I draw the line at extended family awareness of le blog. gross. that would suck. then I *would* lose my ability to write freely.

p.s. I've been so into your posts, lately. your writing just keeps getting better and better, Mrs. C.

Will said...

Oh my gosh...I can't stop talking about my blog. I'm on the opposite side...I use my real name, I talk about my town, I invite my friends and family to read it.

I don't know if I'm just vain and I want attention, or if I just don't get being anonymous. Seriously, I've told strangers, "Yeah, I wrote about that in my blog" and I was met with much confused bewilderment.

At least you're not an attention hound, right?

Sandra said...

So we are naughty but not dirty? Funny lady.

I have told my friends and some read it every day which I love. It has actually made some of my friendships stronger because they might get a glimpse of a side of me I'd be too shy to share in real life.

But my parents and my coworkers? Not on your life.

Anonymous said...

NO Don;t invite the friends, I almost slipped like that with the mommies in my area but then stopped!

i have a few friends that know about the blog but they don't even read it because they always ask me about the baby and how I'm doing etc.


Waya said...

Yeah, I feel the same way. I like to have my blog all to myself and my life separate. But my neighbor does read it, I guess I "slipped" in telling her that and she absolutely loved it but now I have to be careful not to write anything about her, so in a way...I've been censored!!

Ruth Dynamite said...

My blog is public knowledge. I have a large non-blogging following composed of my friends, family, and people they've told, and I'm OK with it. They never comment, but I know they're there. Do I self-censor? Yes, in the same way I check myself in the mirror before I go out in public. I still pick out my outfits - for better or for worse - in the same way I consciously choose my words and subject matter, knowing that some people will like 'em, and others won't. But I think this is a good thing.

I think you should be proud and protective of your blog. If you feel a real connection with this friend, then let her in. You might be pleasantly surprised! (Sorry this is so long!)

Anonymous said...

Quite the topic, Mrs. C. My blog is a secret, and anonymous, as is yours. I have a few people who know me who know it exists -- and only a portion of those read it regularly. And they almost never comment online or to me. That is strange as well because I don't know what they are thinking. I am at the point where I don't care. What I'm most concerned with is my LOCAL friends reading it because it's too personal - it goes too far into the deep well of thought that I believe they just wouldn't get. Not that my friends are shallow - they aren't - but I don't believe them to be deep thinkers, or heaven forbid - writers. As for family - well, hell no. I want to be able to be sad and happy and r-rated and misbegoten (is that a word) without being analyzed or signed up for a long talk. As for censorship, I do it rarely, and then I do it for myself. I have things I would not let those I know who read my blog read about - and to be honest, I write about that stuff somewhere else! But sometimes don't you just want to let everyone in to this great place of yours? Sometimes? I do (to mine, that is). But I'm glad I don't.

metro mama said...

I tell my friends but, surprisingly, I don't think many of them read it.

My sister-in-laws are the only family that know.

My hubby has told a few of his friends.

Binky said...

My family is the only group not allowed to know about the existence of my blog. If my family found out, I would close up shop immediately. It would be impossible to write with my mother's voice ringing in my head as she tells me how ridiculous I'm being for voicing a particular opinion. I've told most of my friends. I will tell acquaintances, too, if it comes up, though I won't usually broach the subject myself.

Anonymous said...

My bff and a couple other friends know about it and that's it. I've actually told a couple other friends but they don't care to read it.

Heh. Ironically, the folks that read it rock and I love that they read it because it keeps them up on what's going on with me.

But that's it. I don't tell anyone about MU - just cool mom picks is anything.

And then I say I write and just leave it at that.

I had one friend email me once and tell me she read my "newsletter" - so I figured she wasn't reading it much anyway. heh.

Anonymous said...

My brother found my blog a couple of months ago and I kinda flipped. But, he reads everyday and hasn't said much about it - he's even commented a few times.

I thought I was going to censor myself because of him finding it, but I haven't. And I won't. He knows I'm nuts - so it works out. :)

Christina said...

Yes, I have invited friends to my blog. But only good friends - I'm not going around telling everyone. If it's a friend that I have any reservations about, then I won't tell them.

I'm actually more cautious about telling family. There are certain family members who would use my own writing against me, so there's no way I'll tell them.

Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said...

I am not only in the closet, I'm back there with the 80's denim jacket. And I ain't coming out.

ms blue said...

I've told many friends and relatives. I originally started blogging to keep in touch. I don't mind censoring myself to make sure that I'm blogging nice.

However I think I rarely hold back because I think about 1% of them actually make their way over. It is a little disheartening that most of the people that I care about don't bother to stop by but my new comrades around the world make up for it immensely!

Damselfly said...

The more, the merrier ... but yeah, I have refrained from writing some things that I thought might hurt some readers I know "in real life."

Amy said...

I've been fairly open with my friends and siblings, and a few of them read regularly.

Several of my husband's friends and co-workers read, too, and I had a strange experience the other day of one of them coming up to me in the park when our kids were playing, and screaming "I just read your blog!!" (it was her first time). I was embarrassed for about two seconds, and then flattered.

Anonymous said...

I've shared my URL with a few of my friends...some of them love it and read it every day and others (like my best friend) really don't care too much to read it, which is totally fine by me. There are friends that I just haven't shared my blog with, for whatever reason. I figure if I want them to know, I'll tell them about it. If they ask, I'll tell them. If I'm hesitant at all about telling anyone about my blog, I don't tell them.

j.sterling said...

i tell pretty much everyone. my whole family, all my friends in real life and online (message board).. everyone knows, and i don't care. lol

Anonymous said...

Everyone knew about my blog from the beginning. There's times I wish my parents didn't know, because there's SO MUCH MATERIAL there, but aside from a little self-censorship to protect the innocent on that front I don't worry about what I say. Unless you're going to say things that hurt people's feelings I don't think there's any reason not to share it.

And if you're worried...and you trust the can always ask them not to disclose the secret.

I guess I just hate keeping feels devious, and I'd rather just say what's on my mind to everyone.

Major Bedhead said...

My sister found my blog when she was on my computer, but I don't know if she reads it regularly. My mother knows I have one, but I haven't given her the address and don't plan on it. My dad doesn't know I have one and it will stay that way.

I don't have that many friends who live close by, so that's a moot point. A few friends know that I have one and they read it and that's fine, but since our relationships are mostly via email and phone, it's not a big deal. I might feel differently if I had to see someone on a regular basis. I'd probably not tell, in that case. I wouldn't want to have to censor myself.

Lisa said...

I got my cousin blogging. And I love that I can read and see what she's been up to. I've been trying to get a few of my friends to blog. It gives you a whole new insight into a person.

I even tried to get my hubby into it but that didn't last long.

Mom101 said...

Everyone I know besides clients knows abobut my blog. I suppose the only issue is in how you see your site - is it a diary? A place for secret thoughts and things you could never say out loud or to people you know? Because if so , forget it.

But from what I see of your blog, it's amazing. You don't vent, you don't whine, and you don't rag on your family. So...I think your friend would really like it. But of course it's your call.

I've actually gotten closer to friends who read my blog. They feel like they "know me" more now, or can keep up with my day to day life in a way they hadn't. It's one-sided, of course, but I still feel a deeer connectionw ith them.

Crunchy Carpets said...

I have told people I blog.
I decided early on that I didn't want to use it to bitch or tell on people (well not too much anyway) or at least make sure it was stuff I was happy to share with people anyway.

My mom refuses to read it.
All worried she will learn something weird.. I don't know.

So far only a couple of friends (one blogger who inspired me to start) read my blog and comment and they are cool and that is fine with me.

Anonymous said...

I've been found by random family members and friends. I always say it's like tying naked. They're out there reading and I'm here typing and I just feel naked lol.
For the most part, I pretend that no one ever reads my blog...and then I just type. ;)

Mamacita Tina said...

All my family and friends know about the blog. I'm really careful to stick to the kiddy topics and motherhood and such. I feel there's a lot more I would share with the world, but unfortunately I can't, don't want to upset someone. So yes, I definitely feel limited in what I say. Good luck with your decision.

Blog Antagonist said...

OMG...people in my real life would die if they read my blog.

I'm known as kind of...quiet. Polite. Reserved. Sometimes I seem standoffish. Because I have a lot of opinions, but I've found that sharing them with people IRL can lead to a lot of social tension. Especially since I live in the South, and my views often differ dramatically from those of most Southerners.

So, umm, in other

Most people irl have no idea I write or opine, and I'm going to keep that way for now.

Beth said...

Oh, everybody knows about my blog. My sisters, my parents, my friends. Everyone. And yeah, I do find that I sensor myself when I'm writing. I can't really write about how one of my sisters pissed me off if I think they might read it the next day, now can I? I guess maybe that's why I don't write very often. That, or the fact that my brain is a dried-up old prune right now, and I couldn't pull a decent writing topic out of it if you paid me to. But either way...

Cristina said...

Interesting question....

I recently sent one of my friends my blog address. She's pretty much the only friend that I sent it to and I only sent it to her b/c I feel REALLY comfortable with her. Like, I know that I would not need to censor myself with her b/c she is SO non-judgemental. The wonderful thing that resulted from this is that I think we are becoming BETTER friends now that she reads my blog. It's the craziest thing. She's even started her own blog in the last month. It's really been great for our friendship so far.

However, I have other friends (even some I've known longer) who I will probably never share my blog with. I just don't feel like I can be that open with them for various reasons.

My advice is to think back on all of your posts and think of this friend reading them and then assess how you feel. Do you feel embarrased or awkward or ashamed when you think of her reading these posts? If not, it probably won't hinder your writing to let her know about it. If you feel that you WOULD feel even slightly awkward having her read it, then I'd say don't tell her about it.

Velma said...

%$#@ BLOGGER!!! Just ate my well-thought out, thoughtfully expressed post. Yargh.

Short answer: Nope. I'm keeping it anonymous. I *like* the secret identity feeling. I *like* the freedom to express things that my friends and family have already heard and are sick of hearing and yet I still want to talk about. I like having a place where I don't have to self-censor, because in real life, I *do* have to censor myself and I find it incredibly stressful and hard to do.

The Domesticator said...

My friends and my family know about my blog because...well, I have a big mouth. And yes, sometimes I do censor myself a bit. But, I have found the more I write, the more I don't care. It's not like I would personally attck anyone on my blog. I don't do it in "real life" so why would I do it on my blog? Sometimes, though, I do think about starting another secret blog and not tell a soul...then I guess I can be naughty, too!

Mama of 2 said...

I haven't really told anyone close to me about my blog. I don't know why really...cause honestly I don't really believe that they would care to come read my rantings. But I think I do it more for me. For the anonymity it allows me. I like being able to vent -- rant -- cry -- ask for pity -- from faceless strangers that have become my friends -- cyber friends. I think letting my other world in on it would ruin it for me.

carrie said...

My husband and his big mouth let it slip at a family gathering and it was before I had given any thought as to the "whys" and "hows" I wanted to write, I just knew that it was something I enjoyed and I hadn't written anything that needed to be censored anyway. But, then my intelligent, well-read aunt and uncle started talking to me about it and how much they enjoy it and how they PRINT it off for my grandmother because she doesn't "do" the internet, and I started to be nervous about my writing. That only lasted a little while though, and I figure, you know, it's mine, and this is me, I never intend to offend anyone and I don't want to be negative anyway, only truthful and honest with myself. So, if they like it, great, but if not, they still love me in "real" life.

Now, more of my family and friends that aren't nearby read it and like that it is another way to connect with my family and see and hear about the kids, so that makes me happy.

If I have anything really horrible to say, I guess I could always skip over to True Wife Confessions, read a few of those, maybe add my own if I felt like it, and feel a little better!

I understand your reluctance to share, however, there are times when I'm with other friends (who don't know) and I think they'd think I was nuts for doing this. I guess it's something that I need to get over.


Anonymous said...

My family and friends now know about my blog. It was secret prior to being pregnant, but then my husband blabbed about it because I had posted some belly photos and he thought I should share. Cue one harried night of deleting/editing old posts to make it "family-safe". So, I definitely censor myself. One or two coworkers know about it as well so I'm really careful about what I write. It is a nice way to share details with everyone about my daughter, but it is difficult at times to stifle thoughts/feelings.

mo-wo said...

We count the friends we have as bleaders on one hand. I like it that way. I recently told a kindred mommy spirit I don't get enough of about the blog and am glad I did.

But I only do it with a 'clique' sad to say.. I would hate for example if my blog ever got out to my Mom or some other friends I *need* to write about. Tell her if she can handle the info the way you want it handled and don't get your hopes up about her blogging. NOTE perfectly wonderful and nice people totally don't get what we are up to with these thingy's

petite gourmand said...

I'm in the exact same boat.
No one except big daddy knows about my blog.
I think I kind of like it that way, not sure why,
I just do.
not that I really post about anything really juicy or super intimate, but I guess I like knowing that if I did decide to, it would be anonymous.
Then again I probably would never post about anything that I wouldn't talk about openly with my friends.
But then again, I wouldn't invite my friends over and ask them if they wanted to read some of my old journals, to me it feels like the same thing...
But I do have a friend that just had a baby and is at home on mat. leave and I think she might really enjoy reading some of the blogs that I do
(like chicky chicky baby)
so do I mention them or not? hmm.
Sorry I'm no help at all.

Gina said...

Pattie the Domesticator said exactly what I was going to say here. EVERYONE knows so I do have to censor myself and I hate that some days (especially when I am really hating my husband and the hubs and MIL read religiously). OH well, the purpose was the journal Liam's life. I need another secret blog so I can be "naughty" too. I might even cuss! ;)

kittenpie said...

Ha! I am constantly on the verge of outing myself as the blogging and the blogmamas become more part of my life. It'll happen one day, and then what?!

(oh, blogger just answered that question: vahthpnk)

Anonymous said...

I have one good friend who has my blog address and reads it regularly. I feel very comfortable having her read it, because we're close enough that we'd discuss things in person that I also discuss with her in real life. My husband also reads my blog. But otherwise, my blog is off-limits to people I know in real life -- I don't feel comfortable sharing it with casual friends or family, because I wouldn't normally discuss personal stuff with them the way I do on the blog.

With respect to your friend, you could just mention that you have one and see where it goes from there. She may not even express an interest in reading it, but if she does seem interested, you could give her the address.