Wednesday, July 3, 2013

IWSG: Why I Don't Tell Everyone About My Blog

It's IWSG day hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. Once upon a time, I had another blog. It was a semi-personal blog that I shared with a few family members, friends, and some acquaintances. I call it a semi-personal blog because while I shared some stuff that was personal, I wasn't often sharing stuff that was too personal, if that makes sense. 

Once, I blogged about a fairly common and uncontroversial topic, one without any serious scandalous connotations. This issue really weighed down on my heart, and I needed to get it out of my system in words. I spent quite a long time writing the post, and a heavy burden lifted off my shoulders after I published the post. ....

...until a then-acquaintance who read that particular post said something to me like, "I just can't believe you wrote that. I would never write about that." I don't believe it was intended to be a mean comment. It seemed this person was trying to help me see, from her perspective, that I had misused my blog for a purpose that she felt it wasn't intended for. This happened years ago, when I was less comfortable and experienced with social media.

So I deleted that post because one person criticized it. I look back on this decision with some remorse because when I deleted my post, I also deleted comments from readers who offered some very thoughtful and supportive words. One person even shared she had gone through what I'd gone through. It really made me feel validated to know that people got what I was saying. 

But once you delete a post, you don't get it back.

At this time, I don't share many deep, personal details here on this blog. But still, I don't find it necessary to let everyone know about my blog. Of course, this will definitely change once I hit certain milestones in my writing journey, but for now, I need to honor my intuition when it  warns me against announcing my blog to everyone and anyone.

Do you tell everyone about your blog and/or other social media accounts?

Have you ever been criticized for something you shared on your blog and/or other social media accounts?


Karen Jones Gowen said...

It's just my family who knows about my blogging and so far none of them have criticized me but then I'm not very controversial online. The comment of your friend doesn't sound very supportive!

Lynn Proctor said...

i think as a writer, it comes with the territory--i enjoy hearing about people's real lives and thoughts :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Yes, occasionally there have been some awkward moments. I have a cousin who unfriended me on FB because of my support of gay marriage. And I'm totally okay with that,(because I had already hidden his posts against gay marriage from my news feed!).

The funniest (although not at the time) was when my mother called me up to yell at me. She was so upset that when my husband answered the phone, he thought someone had died. But oh no. She just wanted to ream me out for sharing a post from the Facebook account "I F*ing Love Science." The post was harmless enough (Nikola Tesla standing with Doctor Who's TARDIS.) But the source of the post was labeled, along with THAT WORD.

I could NOT get her to understand that I hadn't used the word, just shared a picture from someone who did. After the 10th time she told me how embarrassed she was that our relatives would see this, I had to promise to take it down.

I am 48 years old, and my Mommy yelled at me for "using" bad language.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

There's always going to be someone who does't like something we say or do, and I'm learning to be more okay with that than I once was. That being said, I tend to not write about "controversial" things on my blog anyway, and I only share some personal information, trying hard not to stray into the TMI territory. :)

Unknown said...

It is always so curious to me that we writers are SO sensitive to everyone's comments! (Hence the overwhelming bloggers on this blogfest!) I mean-- it really doesn't work does it?

Oh--and by the way, young lady. You should be ashamed of yourself for using such language!

Go to your room!
~Just Jill

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What a shame someone had to criticize a post that was personal to you.
Since I'm published, I've shared my site with everyone from day one. But I don't write a lot of really personal stuff on my blog either. Or controversial.
Cynthia, you do what is comfortable for you.

Mike Louie said...

I struggle with this question daily!

Sharing is something I love to do. At the same time, there are posts that I published that made my family cringe (mostly during my earlier blogging years) and then there are those posts that prompt my family to call me up and say how proud they are to have me as a son/brother.

I think it takes a skill, an art, and a focus when it comes to effective sharing. Even if it is something controversial, can you frame it and write it in a way that is universally appealing (not offensive)? Ultimately, my focus isn't to please everyone. It's to express my personal thoughts on my platform. People can opt-in or opt out. Those that opt-in are cherished. Those who opt out are free to spend their time elsewhere.

In the end, we all have a voice. There are huge consequences for being bold. And that's a very exciting experience I enjoy - for the better or for the worse.

Elsie Amata said...

Unfortunately, I can't share my blog with my family or friends. There are some people I truly want to share it with but just can't right now. I write under an alias but also know that technology being as advanced as it is, anyone with true determination can find out who I am. It's strange to write such an open blog under an alias. I don't write to hurt anyone, only to let others know they aren't alone.

I have been criticized on both my blogs. I don't always take it well. My skin isn't thick enough just yet. =)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I do let people know about my social media sites because I want to connect. I do watch what I say though. Too bad the person made a comment that made you feel like you needed to delete the post.

Nancy Thompson said...

You gotta let what people say, good or bad, slide off your shoulders. If your goal is to publish, you have to get over that fear of criticism. It gets easier and easier the more you receive. It doesn't even register with me any more. It's your blog. You should write whatever the heck you want to write. Screw what other people think. They can write their own thing online if it's that important to them.

Nice to see you! I'm one of Alex's minions this month.

Meredith said...

I have to admit, the only person in my family aware of my blog is my husband. And I don't share it with my Facebook friends (well, only a select few). I don't want to hear the moans, I don't want to see the eye rolls. I just want to be around other supportive writers. Of course, I am just assuming I will get a negative reaction. I could be wrong. Maybe one day I will share.

Meredith’s Musings

Pat Hatt said...

I write what ever the heck i want and be damned if people like it or not haha not that I share it with many in real life, but if they see it they see it, I won't delete it. Of course doing it in an off the wall way helps too.

Paul R. Hewlett said...

Great post and thanks for sharing such personal topics. I also do not announce my blog to everyone. It is a bit weird, kind of like my blog is separate from my day to day life. I'm not sure why that is or if it should be that way, but for now it is. Thanks for taking us along on your writing journey.

Paul R. Hewlett

S.P. Bowers said...

Unfortunately I think there will always be someone who doesn't understand or doesn't like what you say. I think everyone should think two or maybe three times about posting it, but if you still feel it's right then do it.

I once had someone do a post on their own blog criticizing something I had said. They didn't use my name but from a comment they had left on my post and the things they said it was easy to see. That is one of the unfortunate sides of how close we really are on the internet.

DL Hammons said...

I don't hide it from anyone, but I don't advertise it to friends or family either.

And yes...I've received criticism, and duly ignored it. :)

Sher A. Hart said...

Oh, yes, I have been criticized. And yes, I told my family I have a blog and sometimes still tell friends. Sometimes I even hope my family will actually read my blog. Most don't. At least, they never comment if they do. And in case you're like me, always forgetting to subscribe to comment replies, here's what I said to your comment:

Thanks, Cynthia. It was scary. I'm always glad to hear from others whose spouses support their writing. And I do feel the same. I've got a wonderful critique group that took almost a year to gather, and between them, you, and other writers, I have enough positive energy to keep at it. Thanks so much to adding to my positive support!

Cynthia Heart Books said...

Karen- That's great that your family is supportive!

Lynn- I enjoy hearing about other people's thoughts too.

Dianne- Thanks for sharing these experiences! Facebook can certainly create unexpected family reunions.

Madeline- Yeah, I try to avoid the TMI arena too.

Jill- Funny enough, in that post, I didn't use any bad words either.

Alex- Thanks! I do feel it's important to honor what feels comfortable to us when we share here.

Mike- From observing what goes on in the blogosphere, I find that even uncontroversial posts or posts written with the best of intentions can still incite a negative response.

Elsie- You have to do what's comfortable for you.

Natalie- Thanks! I appreciate your thoughts.

Nancy- I have a thicker skin now than I did back then. I appreciate your thoughts.

Meredith- I totally understand your need to know you are supported before you take the next step.

Pat- Judging from all those comments on your blog, I'd say a lot of people like "off the wall."

Paul- You're welcome. I totally see what you mean about wanting to distinguish your blogging life from the other hats you wear.

Sara- I hate being misunderstood, but as a writer, that just comes with the territory.

DL- Good for you!

Sher- Thanks for pasting the comment here!

John Wiswell said...

I have a harder nose about this issue than most bloggers I know. To a degree, I have privilege and feel safer in my identity. To many other degrees I'm completely insecure and unsafe, but don't care. I don't have handles or pen names; I blog, tweet, Facebook and Reddit under my real name. If family or friends seem like they'd be interested, I'll bring it up. I'll let anybody know and candidly discuss their concerns if they have them, even if it means them screaming at me in the comments section.

But I sympathize with you, because getting screamed at in the comments ruins my nerves. It's just something I'm willing to subject myself to for open discussion and the privilege of expression. It can be so hard, though, that I understand why you'd delete a post, and equally so, why you'd regret doing so. I hope I never cause you such anxiety.

Cynthia Heart Books said...

John- Fortunately, I wasn't screamed at in the comments section during that incident. But I still felt uncomfortable with that comment I received, even though I don't think it was intended to make me feel that way. Today I have a much thicker skin.

Ghadeer said...

I agree with all the above commentators that writers have the right to write whatever they want to write about, and people who don't agree will just have to tolerate the different opinion!

I don't actively share my blog with the people I know but I do have a link to it on my facebook and twitter profiles for anyone to read. Sometimes I find myself wishing I had always remained anonymous (as I started out) but then I think how my blog has helped me learn to express myself well to everyone around me, especially since I'm not the kind comfortable talking about my thoughts and feelings freely verbally.

Unknown said...

I have never been openly criticized but the person that I wrote about without names quit liking my fan page on face book. No great loss really. I kind of felt like my blog is my place to vent. It is mine to do what I will. I never use actual names on it still sometimes people know who they are anyways. I kind of look at it as karma. What went around came around and bit them in the butt. Oh well, I never liked them much anyways. LOL


Ruth Schiffmann said...

I know what you mean. There's some sort of safety in keeping our blogging world separate from "real life," and when they eventually come together it feels like worlds colliding. So far, I haven't received any hurtful comments. So sorry that you had that experience, but from this post it's evident that you've grown from it.

Purple Assassin. said...

I prefer to not tell anyone.
Anonymity is personally relieving!

Gina Gao said...

No, I definitely don't feel comfortable telling everyone about my writing and blog.

Anonymous said...

I don't talk about my blog. If people Google me and fins it, they'll mention it, but because I haven't broached the subject with them and I'm tight-lipped when they say "I found it!," they don't say anything else.

Sherry Ellis said...

My blog posts do appear on Twitter and Google (but not Facebook). I try not to share anything too personal or controversial. I wouldn't want to be criticized for offending anyone. Sorry you had that experience!

Empty Nest Insider said...

I'm sorry that you had to go through that whole ordeal. There's always the possibility that someone will misinterpret what you write. You just have to do what works best for you.


Cynthia Heart Books said...

Ghadeer- Glad to know that having a blog has helped you!

Kathy- Thanks for sharing!

Ruth- Oh yes, what had happened isn't such a big deal now, which is why I'm able to write about it!

The Purple Assassin- Thanks for commenting!

Gina- I understand!

Medeia- I imagine your blog would get more attention from others around you because you're a published author. =)

Sherry- I totally hear what you're saying.

Julie- Yes, you can have the best of intentions, and someone might still get it wrong.

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting topic! In some ways, I wish I didn't tell people in my life that I write -- because they constantly ask me when my book is coming out :)

That said, I have a blog and Twitter acct that I use for writing only. I don't really talk about them with family and non-writer friends because they are less relevant to them. But I wouldn't be bummed if they stumbled on them...

Anonymous said...

Also - let's chat soon about LA. We should try to meet up during the conference! My email address is gina dot carey at gmail

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