March 18, 2011

How much is too much?

This is not my first blog.

I had a blog before they were called blogs.

In my teens, I spilled my thoughts and feelings into a "homemade" web site and posted every few days. At the time, I was young and naive to the power of the internet. I think a lot of people were. This was the height of ICQ and MSN.

I used the blog to document the events of my life for one summer. However, they were often spun towards the people who I knew would be reading. At the time, that included boys that I "liked" who didn't "like" me, boys who "liked" me but I didn't "like" them, and of course, some of my friends. Since this was before the age of blogspot, and let's face it, I didn't have a clue about google tag words, I doubt that there were any anonymous strangers following my ramblings.

By writing each post, I thought I was the one manipulating the words to make for an interesting read. It turns out, I was just making myself more vulnerable to my "followers", who were in essence those who had the power to take advantage. I thought I was being so smart in making them read between the lines and using inside jokes and innuendo to protect myself. Looking back, I'm only reminded of the fact that teenagers are naive. I was a smart teenager and I grew up quickly, but that did not stop me from being naive. As I write this, I am wondering if some of these same people will read this blog, now, over a decade later.

This blog I wrote did not end by disinterest or failure to post.

I still remember how it happened...

My girlfriends and I were up in my room getting ready to go out to a party - a party with MUCH older people. A party that my folks thought was actually a sleepover at a friend's house. We were busy putting on make-up, talking about boys, and figuring out what fake ID to use to buy booze when it happened.

My Dad found my blog.

Anyone who knows my Dad will understand that he has a defensive personality. He holds his cards close and the thought of his daughter "exposing" her thoughts to the internet was too much. I was immediately grounded and although I was allowed to go to the party, I had to be home by 10pm. Looking back, that really wasn't that bad of a punishment - probably better off that way anyway.

Today, I am more aware of the dangers of exposing too much online. At the same time, I love reading others' blogs and am eager to take part in this virtual reality of friendship, support and higher learning.

I have not yet decided where I will draw the line.

Do I post pictures of myself?

Do I use my kids real names?

Do I post pictures of my kids?

Do I talk about my relationship with my husband? parents? in-laws? friends?

Do I talk about my work?

I'm going to face each question as it arises. It seems to me that a good blog must reveal some personal information in order to be effective and interesting.

What would you do?

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