Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Mulling and navel gazing again

I've been thinking about this post for awhile. And, to paraphrase the words of dear SleepyJane, it's probably all been said before. But not by ME *grins*. So I'm going to say it anyhow... Because I can:

Blogging is weird. Because when you're blogging you're yourself but you're not.

Backing up a bit...

Remember a few weeks back I said I'd run into an ex-colleague and she's doing well and I was glad to see that etc? Anyway, we decided to schedule a catch-up lunch, which we did. And it turns out she's been reading my blog for the past few years, so she already knew a lot of my news (hello, L, if you're reading this. Would love to know how Dubai was).

And that fact made me think. Firstly, you never know who's reading. This is one of the main reasons I try to keep my blog fairly anonymous. If I have a run-in with a client, I'm not going to diss that client here because a) it would be unprofessional and mean and b) it would have the potential to cause quite a lot of trouble, especially if it turns out my client reads my blog.

On the other hand, it's also weird that I do know some of the people who read my blog, whether it's because they tell me they do (hi, Dad) or because they bring something up in conversation that I know I only put on the blog (you know who you are, A).

Sometimes it's nice to know that there are people out there at all and you don't just exist in my computer monitor. But it does mean that I censor myself. For example, I used to ask you lot about what to get my family for their birthdays. But now that some of them read, I can't do that anymore.

But back to where we started... Meeting up with this friend for lunch also made me realise that there's a lot I don't put on this blog. A lot of it is stuff that's not mine to share but affects me like family stuff, TSC's work stuff, relationship stuff etc.

And thinking about all the stuff in my life that I don't blog about, I started asking myself whether that means I'm not actually very honest here. But I don't think it does. Just as there are certain things you're happy to share with your best friend but not with ALL your friends, there are some things that I have to deal with in real life that don't get put up here, not because I'm trying to keep secrets or be someone else, but because I DON'T know who is reading and some things are just nobody's damn business except mine.

Now really getting introspective, I find that the things that do go up on this blog serve a few purposes (which is why I keep blogging, I guess). Sometimes I need to vent or to say something that I don't feel like saying out loud to people outside of my screen. That's the great thing about the internet - chances are that somewhere out there, someone has said something more emo, less intelligent and far more likely to cause offence than any gibberish I come up with here. Generally, these are posts like this one.

Other times, I want to get opinions or advice from you lot. Another wonderful thing about blogging is how it puts me in touch with people outside of my normal social or work circles whose opinions are completely different from those I'm used to hearing.

Sometimes (and this is hard to admit) I'm just looking for sympathy. You guys are great at making me feel like you care, even about the silliest things (the need for validation - such a human longing).

Whatever the case, I believe I blog honestly. From the heart. I am just as corny, easily annoyed and generally nutty in real life as I am here. And vice versa.


Of course, blogging lets me share what I WANT to share with you here. And what I want to share tends to be the nicer parts of me. Everyone wants to be liked. I'm no different, so sometimes I don't post the way I really feel about things here because it's not PC. Or nice. I can be very judgmental, but I try to hold back.

One might argue that it's the same in real life - we often stifle our real opinions because we don't want people to know that we actually think.

Example, "What do you think of my new Renault?"
I'm thinking, "French cars suck. Your services are going to cost you a fortune."
I say, "It's pretty. I like the colour."

We all do that, right? Or is it just me?

But blogging is an even more exaggerated way of only showing people the bits you want them to see. Because while in real life you might witness me losing my temper or saying something monumentally stupid and inappropriate, which I do all the time not having a very strong brain/mouth filter, my blog allows me to reread what I've typed, mull over what I'm about to publish and, if needs be, go back and edit things (like I habitually do when I have enough time - I go back and remove typos I've noticed). I can even delete posts.

You can't do that with real life conversations. It would be super awesome of you could.

"Steven Seagal's an amazing actor."
"You're a dumbass. *awkward pause* I mean..."
Rewind. Erase...
"Steven Seagal's an amazing actor."
"Hmmm... Personally, I prefer Bruce Willis."

But where was I?

Once again I've reached the bottom of a post that's as long as the DA's bulk sms list and not yet figured out how it's supposed to end.

A conclusion, one supposes.

So, in conclusion... after much thought and self-interrogation, I reckon I'm an honest blogger but a dishonest blogger. And that blogging is weird. And to be taken with a pinch of salt. But still to be enjoyed. It does have many benefits along with the few issues.

Much like every other form of communication, I guess.


dbawiw said...

I enjoyed this. Nicely put!
Oh, and I drive a French car. JUST KIDDING.

Glugster said...

I totally agree. Steven Seagal is an amazing actor.

Jay said...

great post. I can relate to plenty of what you are saying

Shrinky said...

I think most of us, unless we blog completely anonymously, feel the need to self-censure what we put out up here. Sometimes we HAVE to omit certain things which might cause hurt or offence to those whom we care about, right? That's not to say we are being dishonest, there is a very big difference beween being discreet, to going out and writing some great big, fat whoppers about who we really are!

Most bloggers write about what is important to them, and tend to be authentic and true to who they are, the few who don't are usually found out soon enough in time.

But you are so right about that rewind thing - gee, what I wouldn't give to have that in real life!

Cam said...

I completely agree... French cars suck :D

Bagman and Butler said...

I didn't know that Steven Segal drove a Renault! I learn something new everyday. But seriously (seriously? never!) - I remember Mark Twain writing that nobody could write a completely honest autobiography because we are always editing our lives.

po said...

Firstly, you are so right, French cars suck. Heehee

secondly, when I started blogging, I was playing with telling stories, writing memories of weird things that happened to me, and I think sometimes I exaggerated or twisted things to make a better or funnier story, ie I bent the truth. I was trying to teach myself how to be entertaining, so absolute truth was not a priority. But when I got actual, like, readers, then it was different cos I was blogging as a person or a persona at least. That is not to say I am utterly honest but I wasn't trying to write artful stories any more. But obviously there are loads of things that I leave out still. Woah. Like loads. I too have some people I know who read my blog. Well, that was when I was actually blogging, I guess :)

Damaria Senne said...

Tam, you're touching on an issue I constantly grapple with, so thank you. I don't think of what you just explained as being a dishonest blogger. Sometimes, what happens in your life is none of our damn business,unless you WANT to talk about it in some way.
I've read posts where people are said to be "authentic" and the posts usually have some heart-wrenching details that do show that we're not alone and do inspire others to change/take action. But I'm always left with the feeling of "I wouldn't want to be that naked on the Internet." Not even because I fear that I will offend other family/friends /clients ( which is a big factor), but because that kind of self-exposure is not me, even in real life.

phillygirl said...

Hahahaha. I always find it weird when someone I know in real life reads my blog too. I'd actually mostly rather not know, tbh.

And I agree there's plenty I don't write about either because I know who IS reading or because I don't know. But I figure it's fine as long as you're still yourself on your blog. It doesn't literally need to be everything that's going on in your head. I wouldn't say omitting thoughts on certain parts of your life makes you a less honest blogger.

Ordinarylife said...

I also worry about this, sometimes I feel like I am "lying" as I don't write what is really going on as it would hurt the people around me. So I put out a more sanitised version. I have toyed with the idea of having a totally anonymous blog, but that was what I tried to do initially anyway.

and... I sold my french car - it was crap.

Shayne said...

Great post Tam. I think we all grapple with this topic. I know I have many, many times. But my blog is also private, so i know (or i think i do) who is reading me. So i'm a little more free with info, but there is still A LOT that goes on/is going on, that my blog readers will never know about.

We choose what we want others to see in our blogs, and i think our daily life is much the same isn't it? You choose what you tell your friends/family about a particular situation you have experienced/are going thru. You decide how much to let them know.

Same here isn't it?

And I LOVE french cars - specially the Renaults. But i've never had one - jsut for the record.


Helen said...

Blogging is weird. I find that when someone else I know admits to reading it it gets hard to write anything for a while.

I subscribe to the 'don't say anything on the blog you wouldn't say out loud in a crowded room' philosophy. It seems to work.

I do miss the days when it was really anonymous though and I could have a proper vent once in a while!

Nes said...

Totally agree! I've just started blogging and it is weird. For example I am so much more upbeat in my blogs than in real life but I find it is good for me to try and be more upbeat so I don't think its a problem...its for me in the end :)

Slyde said...

if i could go back in time, i would have made my blog 100 percent anonymous. it would save me such headaches, plus i'd be able to talk about the 10% of my life that i cant discuss publically.