I was talking to some non-bloggers about blogging yesterday and it occurred to me that I have never really written an obligatory "my blogging philosophy" post here, though I've commented extensively on others'.
My Blogging Philosophy:
In a nutshell, it's the Internet. Everyone I ever met or ever will meet whether they love me or hate me or something in-between WILL read it. I choose content accordingly.
I take this view even with people in my face-to-face life who I know for a fact will never find my blog. I assume in that case that someone they know will find it and tell them all about it.
So if you read it here, it's something I would say to the face of "everyone I ever met or ever will meet whether they love me or hate me."
For some bloggers, this is too stifling, but for me? I'm a loudmouth and always have been. The teachers at back-to-school night used to say to my parents "she's smart, but opinionated." It took me a long time to understand why they used "but." I always thought opinionated was a good thing. And I still do, but I try (most of the time) to be kind, as well. So if I ticked a reader off,* I probably thought long and hard before I wrote whatever and decided I was willing to tick some people off. I prefer not to tick anybody off as it is usually alienating and not helpful in my pursuit of decency and respect for all, which is high on my blog agenda.
I do strive to be the same person in every aspect of my life. So my blogging isn't hampered too much by my imagined audience of "everyone." But there are some things I just don't blog, because I don't want everyone to know them, or because they intertwine too closely with the stories of others.
When it comes to my kid on the internet, I fall between the extremes of parents who put pictures up and tell about their kids' most embarassing moments and parents in deep anonymous mode who never post pictures. I decided that one year of baby pictures, free to the public was fine, since babies are pretty generic little beings. But I decided not to keep posting pictures into Nat's early childhood just because I'd rather not be in an airport somewhere and have a stranger run up and go, "hey Nat!" If you do think you see us in an airport (or wherever) by the way, please DO come up, just talk to me first! I still post photos with a password. That way the grands and other interested parties can see them, and you can to, if you send me a friendly email. I'm pretty liberal with the password. I'd just like to have a sense that the folks who want to see her love her (or at least wish her the best).
If you blog, have you ever been in a highly public place, like a library or an electronics store, and brought your blog up on a computer and walked away? We were in Chicago, checking email at the Apple store and I did this. I felt really nervous about the strangers in the store seeing my blog. I had to sit with the feeling and decide what that meant. Because that's what blogging is. I think bloggers often feel that we are an intimate little group of folks having friendly chats. I know when I imagine my audience, I imagine those who've commented or sent me email. But my stats tell me that only about 5% of folks who come here and stay long enough to read leave a comment. So those strangers milling around in the Apple store are my audience too. That is: unknown strangers.
Again, it's the Internet.
I've had face-to-face acquaintances come up to me and say in a kind of "gotcha" voice "I found your website!" I have to say my reaction is just, "so?" It's the WORLD-WIDE-WEB. It's not my private journal hidden under my bed. I put it here. Of course you found it.
As far as the axe-murderer thing goes, I have never understood it. Frankly, the Internet, being virtual and all, doesn't seem dangerous to me at all (short of identity theft issues). If someone wants to harm me, following me home from the grocery store would be a lot easier than figuring out where I live from my blog and coming to my house. I see the Internet as just another anonymous public space in our world, like the grocery store, the park, the Apple store in the middle of Chicago, the airport or where ever. And when it comes to meeting other bloggers or blog readers face-to-face, I think that's safer than talking to a stranger at the art gallery. After all, you've had a chance to vet them through some email conversation before coming into physical contact with them.
I like the Internet, because it gives those of us who are reader-and-writer types a strong platform in which to hang out and meet each other. And that is my blogging philosophy!
* For my international readers: "ticked off" is U.S. English slang for making someone angry.