It’s normal to struggle with how personal a blog should be. It’s difficult to balance being honest and real with not wanting to open yourself up to consequences of over-sharing.
We’ve had friends worry that sharing photos of the kids is dangerous, that we should better disguise where we live, that we should get a PO Box for our shop shipments. We don’t worry about any of that. We’re statistically more likely to be harmed by someone we know stalking us through Facebook than we are arousing the interest of someone reading the blog, and the same people that worry about what we share here have it all out there on other social media sites. It’s normal for our generation.
But that doesn’t mean there is no filter, even though this blog can get very personal.
We decide what to share vs. what not to share not based on what we’re comfortable with potential readers knowing. I’d have no problem with blog friends and readers knowing a lot us. Our target audience is not the problem for us: we think that the blogging community benefits greatly from bloggers getting real. It is important to break down that unattainable illusion that everyone is leading a perfect life. Getting real helps us to support each other and uplift each other.
But we’re carful about what we post. Firstly, we don’t share problems that are not just ours. I go through so pretty crazy extended family stuff on a regular basis that causes me a great deal of anxiety, but that’s not just my story to tell. Nor are things like arguments with friends: I have a friend that won’t talk to me right now and I’m very upset about it, but venting those feelings is not what this space is for. I don’t feel comfortable invading others’ privacy in that way. Just because we don’t mind having it out there, doesn’t mean that others have the same boundaries (or lack of them).
We also try to think about who might be reading these things later. There are stories that are intensely personal that we would love to tell, because we think that those stories would really help someone. But we worry about future employers reading those stories, child services reading them before we adopt, and our extended families reading them. We think that it is awful that being honest about our religious preferences, our politics, and our personal stories of overcoming hardships could come back to bite us, but it’s a truth we have to deal with and anticipate.
One thing that we don’t think about when applying these filters, however, are people that we used to know as readers. We’re not talking about people clicking on links through Twitter and Facebook or thinking, “Whatever happened to Megan and Jake?” and Googling us. We love that old acquaintances have turned into good friends through this blog, as people we went to high school with found us here and realized that we’re awesome (LOL…but really).
We’re talking about people who won’t speak to us in real life. People who have cut us out of their lives in a very painful way.
A few weeks ago, I jokingly buried a sentence about my “evil ex-stepmother” in a One Step post. There are two ways that sentence could be found: by searching for “stepmother” in the search bar, or by reading every single one of our 60ish posts a month. Yesterday, through the grapevine, I found that I was accused of publicly “badmouthing” my ex-stepmother. Jake and I are so very upset about this not because it brings up unnecessary drama for something so small, or because we feel like our right to free press is endangered by such claims (though both of these things are true). We’re upset because it means that the family members who won’t talk to us are reading this blog. A lot. Jake tried to comfort me by saying that this means that they still care, but I can’t help but think that they’re only reading it in hopes that I’ll fail, for something to gossip about, and for more negative things to say about my family, both nuclear and extended. It is so hurtful to feel like the people that have abandoned me, my family, are spying on me.
It is tempting for me now to put it all out there. Now that I know the family members that have so casually tossed us aside are reading, I really want to tell my side of the story, a side that no one even attempted to listen to. I’m not the type of person to back down, and when I’m given an opportunity to use my voice, I almost always take it. But even though I’m so upset that my hands are shaking as I type and I spent quite a long time crying yesterday, I’m for once not taking the chance to be heard. Because this space is not for them, it’s for us and for you. This post isn’t about public shaming or even catharsis (though it is making me feel a bit better), it’s a warning for you.
You’ve probably thought about the things we’ve thought about when using our blogging filter: “What if my boss reads this?” “What if my grandma reads this?”
What you might not have thought about is: “What if people who hate me in real life read this?”
And that thought is an important one to keep, though I hope that it doesn’t change what we’re willing to write.
How do you decide how deep to go when blogging?
Let’s Get Serious is a blog series where we share our opinions and put ourselves out there. We get that not everyone thinks the same way; the same things don’t work for everyone. These are our opinions. They don’t have to be your opinions. We’d like to hear about what you think, but please don’t be mean to us. Let’s respect each other and talk about it!
Find more Let’s Get Serious posts here.