Saturday, August 11, 2007

One Foot Out of the Closet

No, not that closet.

Are you a closet blogger?

I've had a couple of things come up this week to make me think about this. First, my husband recently started a blog. While I completely support him in this, and I think it's a great blog, he asked me if he could list my blog on his blogroll. That would be all well and good, however, he has no problem with blogging under his full name. Or sharing his blog with people from our "real life". There are even pictures of us on his blog. So when he asked me, I told him that I preferred to remain relatively anonymous in the blogosphere, to which he had a good chuckle. Actually, I think the words I used were, "I prefer to keep an air of anonymity on my blog". Okay, so that's probably why he laughed.

The second thing that happened is that this week I was approached by an expat website to participate in a survey about expatriate women working in Asia. I am listed in their blog directory, so I was asked if I could answer a few questions about who I am, the company I work for, my role and my some other questions centered around my thoughts as an expat woman working in Malaysia. This was in conjunction with a magazine article that they are writing for a US magazine. While I was flattered to be asked, I doubt that anything I sent to them will be included in the magazine. I mean, who knows how many people they are asking? But as I responded to them, I had to stop and think before I did so. See, they asked me for my name. My full name. The name of the company I work for. My title and job role. Things that could, horror of horrors, force me out of the blog closet.

I'm not sure what my intentions were when I started this blog. Was it to remain completely anonymous? Or not? Or somewhere in between? I didn't think about these things, so I just started writing and figured it would work itself out. Initially, I was so excited that I had joined the 21st century and started a blog of my own that I told some people in my "real life" about it. Some family members know, but some don't. Some friends know, but most don't. Now that I'm too far into it to remain completely anonymous, my main goal at this point is just not to have people from work read my blog. This is tough sometimes because most of our friends are also people we work with. So I've had to be pretty careful about who I tell about my blog. The last thing I need is a bunch of work colleagues reading about my visit to the gynecologist. I've learned that work people are far too interested in some HR chick's personal life. Not because I'm all that interesting, but because they are always on a mission to - gasp! - make us human and thus, forward the post about my latest gastrointestinal issues. "Wow! She goes poo just like the rest of us!" (Actually, I don't, thanks to the family curse known as IBS, but let's save that for another post, okay?)

So, do I censor myself? Sure. Would I censor myself if I was completely anonymous? Probably. I'm far too paranoid not to. But, sure, my blog would be less censored if I was just writing to the great, big blogosphere rather than write knowing that people I know are reading my blog. That's why I'm sometimes envious of bloggers who, whether or not they are truly anonymous, are completely candid and "let it all hang out", so to speak. The bloggers that write about those things that we all secretly think, or do, or say, but are scared to write about them. How incredibly liberating just to put it all out there. It reminds those of us who are too paranoid, or too embarrassed, or too self conscious to do so that in the end, we are all just people, made up of good and bad, highs and lows, crowning moments of glory and times that we want to crawl in a hole from shame, that really, we're all just human, trying to do the best we can.

So what about you? Are you out of the blog closet? Do people from your "real life" know about and read your blog? If so, do you find yourself censoring your posts, or having to deal with any consequences if you don't?


At August 12, 2007 at 12:38 AM , Anonymous donna said...

Interesting question. Many of my IRL friends know about the blog - including you and that's fine. I have told the friends that I want on my blog. But I have been outed to some family members and I know they read even though they lie and say that they don't. At first, I was censoring myself greatly, then I was writing just to get a rise out of them, and now I just pretend they aren't there. Most of the time anyway. But seriously, yes, I do censor myself like mad. You have to, in case you ever get outed accidentally.

At August 12, 2007 at 1:41 PM , Anonymous triad 1 said...

I have thought about starting a blog...but don't think I'd have anything too interesting to say. I mean, who wants to read about snot? Plus, most of my entries would be about work, so that tells me: 1) leave it alone, and 2) I have got to get A Life. I do think blogs are cool - like a diary, only better because people get to comment on it and it gives you a lot of different viewpoints other than your own. And, as we all know, My Brain is a scary place to be locked up all by yourself.

You should not censor yourself too much. If it's worth saying, it will bug you till you put it out there. Take it from someone who re-learns this lesson on an almost daily basis. In my efforts to keep my Big Mouth shut, I now do it too much and end up eating it. So now the pendulum is swinging the other way. Do not do that, Grasshopper. Learn from your big sister.

And oh, tell M - not so much with the anonymousness. I Googled his name and "blog", and it was the first hit I got. :)

At August 13, 2007 at 11:09 AM , Anonymous sarah said...

Weeel - That's an interesting question. My first blog was one that only 3 IRL friends knew about (and for a while, not even my husband). Many more know about this one and I must admit that I self censor more than I'd like to most of the time.

I also work in HR and while I'm 99% sure that nobody from work has found me online, I'm very careful not to divulge too much work stuff in my blog.

At August 17, 2007 at 9:34 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

Yes, I keep thinking that if only I could talk about work, I would have enough material to last, oh, at least several months. Not even including the confidential stuff.


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