Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Longer Incognito

So many bloggers out there are an open book for all the world to see, they don't hold anything back. We make blog friends and feel we know them intimately but I wonder if we would be friends in real life just because we enjoy reading their life story. I feel like I know some of my blog friends even better than my real world friends because they share all these details that you don't normally talk about face to face even with your closest friends and family.

We know where they live, what they eat, how often they work out, what their cycle is, how often they get it or don't get it, who their friends are, who they're mad at, and all the little details of their lives. We get to see photos of them and all the people in their lives because they choose to share that information with all of us out in the world wide web. They spill their guts, talk openly about their relationships, kids, work, up and downs and everything in between and I admire them for it and love reading the story of their lives. They strip down for us and show their true selves or the selves they want us to see. Maybe it is a form of voyeurism in some way and we get a thrill looking into their world.

I started this blog with the intention of keeping it anonymous. I mistakenly thought with all the blogs out there it would be nearly impossible for someone I know in real life to find it but I've been outed and forced out of the blog closet. I'm not really sure where to go from here. I liked the idea of being able to talk about my feelings and work through my issues with my weight without being embarrassed or censored because of who might be reading.

If you blog anonymously, would you change what you write because you know certain people are reading? If you are an open book, do you censer what you say in any way because you don't want to offend anyone or be embarrassed about your thoughts?

It is very bright out here in the open but I don't think it is possible to get back in that closet and lock the door.

12 comments:

  1. I'm kind of a "semi" anonymous blogger, which I regret as very much a fudge compromise when I set up this blog.

    "Sharon" (which appears on my blog page) is my real name, although I have not disclosed my surname.

    Also, I have let a *few* (supportive) friends know about my blog ... but not the family.

    So I am right on the fence, and *do* actually moderate some of what I write, with a small consideration in the back of my mind "what if?" my dad or brother found out about this ...?

    For the moment it's not too likely, but if in a year or two's time I have lost all my excess flab and my blog becomes popular, there is a small chance they might find out about it and they would not be too pleased.

    I do wish now that I had set up my blog *totally* anonymously and not even bothered to tell the few friends that I have told -- the vast majority of my readers are OTHER bloggers.

    A very interesting subject.

    Best wishes,
    Sharon

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  2. I'm an open book for the most part but there are some topics that are just off limits. I don't discuss what I do for a living or what Ken does. I don't discuss religion or politics and I keep my comments about my family to a minimum.

    Ken has some family members with higher profiles (meaning if you google their names they have wiki pages) so I try not to talk about them out of respect for their privacy and to keep people from linking me to them if that make sense.

    You have to set boundaries that you can feel comfortable with.

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  3. Interesting thoughts! I'm also a semi-anonymous blogger. I use my real first name, which is somewhat unusual but doesn't show up until the 3rd or 4th page of a google) and I write about Memphis sometimes. I do censor, to some degree, what I write about, out of respect for the people involved. I try to write honestly, but without giving anything that makes me easy to find on a map. :) It's a comfort-level thing.

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  4. I was thinking just this morning as I was posting whether I'd be friends in "life" with some of the people I have made contact with on a regular basis.

    I have told people I know but they're all too busy to read! (I'm the only one who's unemployed as of now :) )

    I don't talk about personal matters ie. family, friends.

    I wanted to keep this about healthy living, exercise and interests like my gardening.

    I'm like Scale Junkie and won't talk politics or religion and try to never make personal comments or judgments on people who, let's face it, I really don't know.

    I don't like to write about my emotions or feelings because they are mine.

    Mostly, I just wanted to have some fun and get a little more "techie" with my computer skills.

    I think in the end it's a judgment call and what you as an individual are comfortable with sharing.

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  5. its an interesting topic because I write how I feel and share a lot on this blog to perfect "strangers" (not really strangers anymore) yet would be embarrassed if someone I knew read this blog. I almost think its better that way sometimes.

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  6. I'm an open book. I even have my full name on my site. I actually weighed this for a long time and ultimately decided that I wanted to protect the copyright of what I create: photos, writing etc.

    My family knows about it, so I definitely have strict boundaries about what I'll write about.

    I'll write about my husband and kids, but to a certain degree. I chose to blog, they didn't, so I try to keep a tight leash on the stuff that is truly personal to them. For example, I'd love to give details about how the birth mother of my kids manipulates and hurts them, just to help me work through the issues that her behavior creates in our house, but it's so personal to them that I choose not to. And really, it's happening to them, not me.

    I also only ever discuss work in the context of funny things that happen. Never about coworkers or the company itself, even though I have enough fodder for a book.

    I just find that the harder you try to stay anonymous, the faster you're outed.

    But it's definitely a personal decision.

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  7. For me, I felt like I needed a place where I could be completely honest about my feelings and my fears. Knowing others may read what I write helps me to be accountable for what I do. If I screw up, I'm going to tell you about it. I also wanted to be able to talk about my feelings regarding being obese, hoping that writing them down would release them from me. What I didn't expect to happen is that after a few weeks, I didn't really have any 'feelings' about being fat (sorry - I know some people hate that word to be used) any more. The whole WW and exercise has changed my way of thinking about that so much that I have only had maybe 2 times where I felt bad since January. Now when I look in the mirror, I still see the fat - I'm not stupid - but I see it as a temporary situation now. It no longer saddens or depresses me. Every day more of it slowly melts away. Eventually my true form will be revealed and the person I already am starting to feel like inside will finally be visible to others.

    I decided the the hiding was part of my 'problem' and that it was enabling me to never really take responsibility for my health and fitness. So I decided to tell my actual real weight - which I had never told anyone before. It was really scary, but freeing to put up that before pic and the number 240. It was AA, "I weigh 240 pounds, and this IS what I look like." I really saw me for the first time.

    All that said, I chose not to use my name at all. I originally shared the link with only one friend. Eventually I shared it with 4 other friends from work that have started (or returned to) WW after seeing my progress with it. I decided to be honest about my weight with them because I think it's important. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We are all working at improving our situation. The only reason I haven't shared it with the world is that I don't want to jeopardize my progress by having/worrying about people that barely know me see exactly how much I weigh. Once I get closer to my goal weight, I don't care if they know how much I used to weigh. I plan to show it to my DH once I weigh less than he does ;)

    Would I be friends with my blog friends in real life? Well, yes and no. For one, we wouldn't have met outside of blog land b/c of geography, age, income, different social scenes, etc... That doesn't mean it wouldn't have worked, only that we would have passed 'like ships in the night' as they used to say back when movies were black & white. What blogging allows us to do is to meet other people that share the same core hopes and fears we do. This allows us to love and support each other like those who know too much about us just may not be able to do.

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  8. salubrious fervorJune 13, 2008 at 7:28 PM

    Hopefully whoever 'outed you' has the sense to be kind and let you continue with what you think is best without stifling the creative, and important outlet you, and we all have here.

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  9. oh, and i hope they were supportive in the first place!

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  10. Sharon: I know what you mean about having to thing "what if" certain people find out and would not be pleased but should we change how we write because of them?

    Scale Junkie: I don't like talking about religion or politics in real life either. I love how honestly you write about what you go through.

    Cammy: You are right. I think I would be more comfortable if people I knew in the real world were not reading but that makes me feel like I'm trying to hide something.

    Manuela: I started the blog thinking it would just be about dropping pounds but I think I have so much emotional stuff to get through it is hard not to bring feelings into it.

    Heather: I think the "strangers" out there are more understanding and supportive than some of our closet real life friends.

    Erinslick: I love that you are an open book and think you should take that fodder and get published :)

    Girl with a Problem: We're both starting from a similar place. You are right, it will be much easier to "go public" after we lose the weight.

    Salubrious Fervor: Luckily the person who "outed" me has been very kind but it makes me wonder if I need to change the way I write knowing that certain people are out there.

    JW: I hope they are too.

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  11. These people who outed you - would it really hurt so badly for them to see you as this slice of who you are? You aren't blogging hateful things, you're blogging about your life. There is a chance they'll get to know you better.

    People know I have a blog. Stupid thing comes up if you google my name, so I'm rather screwed. But the thing is, it's my life. My viewpoint. MINE. They don't get a vote. If they don't like me or get mad at me because of something I am honest about - well, that should tell me something rather important.

    And the whole "easier to go public after having lost the weight"??? Oh, you back that train up right there. That is the same thing as not going and engaging in life because of your size. Not going to parties, whatever - because everything will be easier when you have won this weight battle. The thing is, no one ever wins this. It's never ending, a struggle to find a healthy path and stay on it with everything pulling you. The idea that you'll hit a point where you'll feel comfortable exposing your struggles may be true - but it has NOTHING to do with your weight.

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  12. Kyra: You are so smart about this stuff. I love how open and honest you are about your life, your family and your struggles.

    I'm backing the train up. I don't usually avoid doing things just because of my weight (except maybe putting on a bathing suit) but I still feel embarrassed having people know how much I weigh and what a struggle it is for me.

    I think my biggest problem is I'm hesitant to say things that may hurt someone's feelings even if I'm just being honest and expressing what I feel. I deleted a very long post about my recent Mama Drama because I thought it was too hurtful even if it was all 100% true.

    Maybe I need to stop being such a people pleaser and use this opportunity to just worry about me and take care of myself. Hmmmm...

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