Posted: 9 December 2007 in observations, other folks, writing

My brother-in-law is a YouTube poster.  People subscribe to his recorded rants about politics or the state of the country. Before you go off with a mental image of a polished, suit clad professional young man, let me assure you that my brother in law looks like a hip Grizzly Adams with an affinity for herb and radical perspectives.  In his videos, he dresses in costumes, dons wigs and accents and, well, I can’t quite figure out his goal.  How do I know this about him?  He showed my sister (the one who isn’t his wife) and her fiance and discussed it at length over dinner.  My soon-to-be-brother-in-law has been pondering the idea of starting a blog.  He’s an aspiring writer but doesn’t know the first thing about Google, judging by his asking me about blog platforms despite this blog being a closely guarded secret. 

I know I’m not writing about anything controversial.  And while I have plenty to say that isn’t mainstream, I haven’t yet figured out a way to keep that both connected to and separated from this site.  I’d like to be a whole person in what I write – in other words, including all kinds of thoughts, even if they are controversial – but keep those thoughts from loved ones should they stumble over here.  Let’s say there’s not a lot of risk with that, since my family seems to be technological neanderthals, but they can open a link well enough.  As much as I’d like to say things I don’t want them to hear here, there’s always that risk.  As it it, I hardly write about work.  Most of the Foreign Service community is actually tech savvy.

So why is it that some folks are out about their blogs?  Why is my brother-in-law so comfortable sharing his YouTube name while I have never mentioned I have a blog, let alone the name of it?  Lots of folks I read clearly write for family as well as the anonymous masses.  I wonder if it’s more rewarding?  More restrictive?  How do you decide what content is blog worthy and who gets to read?

Points for boldness.

  1. I have no idea.

    Either they are extremely comfortable with themselves, or they don’t really have a clue how bad it can be to have some stuff out in other peoples’ hands. Some of us are…a wee bit more paranoid.

  2. Cliff Burns says:

    I feel I have every right to violate my own privacy in my blog–the most intimate confessions, admissions of wrong-doing, negligence; doubts and fears–but I protect everyone else’s. I allude to family members sparingly and rarely pick on anyone by name. I’ve posted a number of rants and they tend to garner more “hits” than my book and movie reviews and, sadly, my fiction (which is the reason I started blogging in the first place). I like people with strong views and passionate natures (like your brother-in-law–maybe you should provide a link to one of his diatribes?). We live in dangerous times: if you’re not worked up, anxiety-laden and desperately trying to cope, you’re not plugged IN…

  3. Linda Ball says:

    I am not the one to advise here. I’m not good with boundaries. I don’t talk much about my blogging. My husband sends people links. I’ve been known to print the site on business cards but then I didn’t hand out that many. When I worked, I tried not to mention the company and to be exceedingly vague about work. “I went to a meeting. It took two hours and then I had to rush to the airport.” Very, very dull. I let my politics and my other thoughts leak through. I count on not too many people reading and those that are being overwhelmed by word count and not finding the thing to be offended about. At parties people sometimes start talking to me in an overly familiar way and I realize that they’ve been reading the blog. It makes me a little uncomfortable, but it passes. Friends fail to write so much as an e-mail, too, and yet feel, I think, that they are maintaining our friendship. Only it’s a one-way street.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Well, “outness” generally depends on who you’d have to deal with if they found out about the blog. Work can be a factor, prickly family members can be a factor.

    I don’t mention my work (it’s terminally dull anyway), and as for my family, they are SO technologically uninclined that I’m not worried about them finding it. I also don’t outright mention my last name or the name of the town I live in (though I do refer to the latter by links so you’d know where it is) so as to avoid Google issues. My first name is so generic that it’s not an issue.

    If my family was likely to read, I’d be a lot more freaked. But they’re not, so…*shrug*

  5. rye says:

    I guess you would consider me “out?” I don’t know. I mean, I use my real name, I talk about most parts of my life, I tell you (somewhat vaguely) where I live. I don’t keep my blog a secret from anyone (except work) but I don’t shout it out to the world either. I guess I consider my blog an extension of me – how I feel, what I’m doing, general day-to-day randomness. I know that some of my family and friends read, but I don’t ever write anything about people I know personally that I wouldn’t say to their face. And as far as people I don’t know personally that I write about – well, I don’t use their real names and I sometimes change tiny details so that it’s not TOO obvious. I recognize that I could be fired for writing about work, but this job is not my life’s ambition and venting about work helps me cope with work. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.

  6. Linsey says:

    I don’t generally tell others about my site. I figure that people will find it if they want to, because it only takes a Googling of my name to get right to it. I don’t care one way or the other if people I know read it, but I would prefer they not tell me if they have found it. The only reason is because I don’t want to constantly censor myself and wonder who might be offended by this or that. I figure that I’ll probably offend everyone at some point, but never on purpose, and that’s the nature of being a human in society today – not just writign somethign on a website.

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