Liveblogging Session I

I’m in the room listening to a panel about personal blogging and blogging “naked” – most everyone attending writes personal blogs. I’m going to liveblog this for those of you who would normally be here with me and hate to be missing out.

On the panel:
AAG (I’ve not been to this site, but it stands for “Always Aroused Girl” – just thought you might want to know.
Heather B. who I love with all my heart. So fun. She is also found here.
Anastacia who also can be found here and here.
Kris who can also be found here.

Kris is discussing how frustrating it is when you have a personal blog and it’s not taken “seriously” as a blog since it’s not topic specific. That is why they created Indie Bloggers. Amen, girl. She has a 3-legged cat and feels like she’s trying to represent the life of a single woman in DC still renting at 33 and what it’s like living that life.

Audio problems abound, of course. That always seems to be the trickiest part with these workshops.

Stacy (sp?) blogs about anything and nothing, which is how I like to describe myself. She likes having a space of her own and discusses being completely honest and how you have to hide from things in your personal life, but you want that honestly online.

Heather started writing after getting back from studying a semester in Spain. She documents her life after college and has been blogging for about 2 years. Writing about how much “it sucks to be an adult.” Which – amen! Just the trials and tribulations of doubting career choices. She just moved in with her mother and talks about how “fun that is.”

AAG – been writing for 2 years since her marriage was winding down. She writes about sex/divorce/relationships etc. She is very honest about her experiences.

Moderator asks how honest can/should you be –

Kris – Says even if you are “completely honest” it’s still just a slice of the writers life. In her first year she protected everyone. Then her relationship ended and she looked back on that year as almost “fake” because she felt that year was dishonest.

Stacy – Discusses who you blog for and keeping honest as your readership grows. Finds herself wondering how things are getting interpreted. She also feels better being able to talk about things now (like depression) that wasn’t something people documented four years ago – so she’s hoping that’s a good indication of the future.

Heather talks about the bad side of being too honest (almost getting kicked out of her apartment) then she decided that was too honest and toned it down a bit. She hopes her words will give others in her position hope that the future gets better.

AAG – Jokes that she actually went online because she didn’t want anyone to find her paper journal, which is quite funny and she appreciates the laughter. That someone goes online to protect their thoughts. She brings up the good point that taking out the garbage can be interesting depending on how you discuss it.

The moderator brings up that miserably embarrassing stories make funny blog entries that get feedback which is what’s different from writing in a paper diary. Knowing someone is going to read your site makes things different.

Moderater – Were you a diary/journal writer before becoming a blogger?

Audience member said that she found other blogs about parents with twins which gave her support and made her want to do the same thing.

Another audience member likes being able to choose how to document her life in her own words. She likes writing her own story.

Stacy discusses that the feedback makes it okay to be human and makes you, as the writer, feel better about your problems, mistakes, and issues you’re facing.

The discussion goes to what if your family knows you have a blog, either because you told them or because they found it, and what that does with your “honesty” level. Kris lives in fear of her parents finding it and she doesnt want her parents to find it. The moderator opens this up for discussion and I’m going to add my 2 cents here because I’m too scared to ask for the microphone –

I consider myself to be honest on my site, AND my family and friends all know it’s there. Sometimes I’m sure my brother would like it if I didn’t talk so much about ass-sweat, but I honestly think seeing this site allows my family and friends to get to know me better. My Dad and I used to be really close growing up and I feel like this blogs gives us that same closeness again. I enjoy that my family and friends read this space – I think it helps me give them insight as well.

Shenuts gets up and talks about the downside for her and she thought she was being safe but found out she was not. With family and her job and discusses that no matter how anonymous you may think you are.

This is what I say to that: It is the SAME thing I tell my son – ASSUME EVERYONE IS READING THIS. When he writes on his MySpace page that he needs to assume that, for example, his Nana is reading it. His friends like to use harsh language because it’s cool and I don’t actually mind if he does that, but would she mind? And yeah – she probably won’t find it – but he needs to assume she will so as to avoid future conflict. That’s the way I handle it – and it may keep me from being 100% honest, but that’s okay because that’s life.

An audience member now discusses how she felt like she should apologize for just writing a personal blog. Like that somehow a personal blog is something insignificant. And how we should be proud instead of ashamed.

Another audience member discusses that the personal blogs are documenting life truthfully now. We don’t have to worry about, as a generation, if our story gets told properly. We can tell our own. I love that idea. I think it’s an amazing sentiment that this is MY story and you may think it’s stupid that I worry so much about my blinds being dusty? But at least I can be assured that no one will ever try to write my life story as someone who CLEANED HER BLINDS, heaven forbid. Let it go on record MY BLINDS ARE TOXIC, Amen.

Heather discusses that when she is writing about other people, she discusses it as what her reaction to a situation other people are in, making it about herself as well. Instead of about them. And that’s what I do too, I think.

Everyone is discussing what they discuss about their family and no one seems to have MY situation, where my husband tries to tell me what to write. Doesn’t anyone have that? No? Oh. Okay then.

Now everyone is discussing where they draw the line for privacy for themselves or their family. I draw the line at documenting my children’s real names, but I do put their pictures all over flickr. Some think this is bad, but listen, with MySpace? People post pictures all over the place. They aren’t going to ask your permission, I’m learning, before posting pictures of your children. Now, I try to teach LilZ not to do that – but his friends don’t have parents teaching the same thing. SO – I try to be careful, but the internet is growing very quickly and we are no longer able to control it. It’s very hard to protect them, and I just try to be smart about it.

Heather answers a question about whether or not anyone feels they’re breaking stereotypes. She says that people assumed she was white until they saw her pictures on flickr.

An audience member discusses how accurate of a history we’re painting if we’re censoring ourselves. Interesting point too.

Discussion is about talking about race with your site and whether that’s important or not. And there is also discussion about past abuse and should/can you document. And possibly if it makes someone uncomfortable that’s a GOOD thing. This is all great discussion and hard to liveblog because I’m so into it. This is just a great session. Wish you were here! ;)

An audience member (a BOY! Yay!) discusses how hard it is for him to talk about TTC as a man and how some people don’t think he should be “allowed” to talk about it because he’s a man, I guess. It’s an interesting point of view and he also says what I added earlier: He is NOW closer to the REAL people in his life because of his site. I think that’s great and he said his site was “Maybe Baby” I’ll try to find the URL.

ANOTHER audience member echoes my sentiment that she is closer to her family BECAUSE of her blog. AMEN.

The conversation is continuing…and I’m just enjoying it…and it’s hard to liveblog. Someone discussing the value of linking to sites completely different from your own to show your readers a complete timeline.

Okay – time’s up – Do you have anything to add?

18 Comments

18 thoughts on “Liveblogging Session I”

  1. What fun… thanks! I heart Heather B. as well.

    That whole private/not private thing is weird. Certain friends of mine know about my site and read it regularly, yet I keep it somewhat secret from most of my local friends. I’m not really sure why I make this distinction, but I do.

    My parents know about it and my dad used to read, but eventually he said he wouldn’t anymore. It was cute when he did, but I also felt somewhat limited in what I could write about, and he could tell that so he told me he’d stop.

    My boyfriend also knows I have a website (and that I talk about him and put his pictures there), but he’s never even asked for the URL. I think he knows that I would probably censor too much or worry about him thinking I was a big dork if he actually read it. I don’t keep any secrets from him and if he asked, I’d tell him the URL, but he’s just not that interested and knows it’s sort of my own side-project thing.

    I also google my real name regularly to see if the site ever comes up. (It doesn’t, even if I google my real name and my website name.) But still, I know to be especially careful about my job, so I try to keep that completely anonymous aside from my field and my general location.

  2. My BFF Liz was sitting behind you in this session and called just to tell me that. I squealed.

    The session sounds awesome. I hate that I’m sitting in my office listening to cheesy adult contemporary music while ya’ll are expanding your freaking minds and stuff.

  3. It is interesting that people say they are closer to their family because of their blogs. While I know my family reads my blog, there are still things that I am comfortable writing about, but not necessarily talking about. When I write, I can edit and reword before hitting publish. When I talk… it is all out there and I can’t take it back. I don’t communicate well as it is, so when my family brings up blog stuff, I tend to not really want to talk about it.

  4. I don’t have anything to contribute because I’m still trying to figure out where I stand on the privacy issues. So far, only one person who knows me IRL reads, and just a handful know that I have a blog.

    Thanks for the rundown.

  5. Thanks, Zoot. It’s like being there.
    Just occurred to me that you must type extraordinarily fast.
    3 people at work now know that I blog. Makes me just a bit uncomfortable because I feel now that I can’t blog about my job and there is something unsettling about acquaintances knowing some of your deepest and darkest, you know?
    Can’t wait for the next installment.

  6. TTC = Trying to Conceive.

    Big issue, for anyone.

    Men are supposed to just suck it up and “be a man” about it.

    Probably put our marriage on the rocks (more than once) as I’m the ‘problem’ in our TTC equation. Rocky because of my guilt, not because of my lovely wife.

    Guys are weird.

    And? AAG rocks. I love reading her. And I don’t know Heather, but it’s funny – I assumed she was white. Just based on the NAME. Isn’t that freakin’ awful?

  7. I will just say that my husband would try to tell me what to write about once in a while. It got to be a joke. He’d fart and I would ask if I should write a blog about it.

  8. Hey oZot, glad you are having fun at blogger, minus the cramps of course. Anyway I checked out the other blogs you put down and yours, and AAG’s was an eyeful! Make sure that your kiddies or parents aren’t in the room when you view it!

  9. This was the session I most regretted not attending. My roomie went and talked about it all weekend, so I’m stoked to read your liveblog of it.

    Privacy: I thought I wanted privacy from one particular internet stalker I have. She found my blog once and I moved it. Recently she found it again, and I just sighed and decided to ignore her. Point? Now I’ve stopped worrying about who reads it, gave the url to my mom, and am so much happier about “blogging in the open.”

  10. In the beginning, when no one read my blog, I didn’t use real names. Little by little, they started creeping in and I just kept them. I thought about redacting my kids’ names and stuff but I found it odd.

    I personally have a hard time reading the blogs chock full of acronyms and descriptive monikers – one or two is okay but sometimes they resemble alphabet soup.

    I also find it difficult to write without using real names. It doesn’t feel honest for me (no judgment on anyone else).

    My life is an open book. Or an open blog. So long as my mother doesn’t read it… :P

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