Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You Can Pick Your Nose but You Can't Pick Your Readers. Unless Your Readers Are Boogers.

That may, officially, be the grodiest title I've ever chosen. Don't worry, it's not Thursday yet and I won't be writing about boogers. In fact, I promise this is the last time I'll ever use the word "booger."

Instead, I'll strike up the perennial blogger favorite (hey, did anyone ever notice how similar the words 'blogger' and 'booger' are?):

Virtually every blogger has written a post like this: "My mom/an old boyfriend/my boss/all my cousins discovered my blog and I told them to not read it! But they did it anyway. It's so disrespectful of them! It's an invasion of my privacy! Especially because I want to bitch about them at length without any consequences."

My response, now and ever, is, "Fat chance." Once you've hit that 'publish' button, you're accountable for everything you say about anyone who might stop by. That includes everyone you mock, anyone you've hurt, and the truth about any stories you tell. It's simple, really: don't write anything you wouldn't say.

And blogs are open to anyone who might stop by. You don't get to dictate your audience. Don't like it? Take it down, slap up a password, or watch what you say. I mean, really. The Internet is hardly private property.

I wish I could change my mind about these things, because it would make the second half of this post much easier to write.

Recently, I was found by someone I'd hoped could lose me forever. Someone I haven't seen in over a decade emailed with the sort of lengthy, emotion-dredging manipulative intrusiveness that made him such a negative part of my life to begin with. My response has been to not respond at all. I think that's best.

I don't know if he's changed, and I hope he has, but that's beside the point. The point is that I have changed. I've had enough love by now to know that I don't have to open up my life to anyone who stops by. I can pick and choose, something I get better at each and every year. I don't have to be that love-starved mess from long ago.

But I know I don't have the right to dictate who can and can't read this site. And I've always understood that blogging under my real name carries a price. On the whole, it's worth it, because I think anonymous blogging can make it too easy to be heartless or slippery.

Living in the open makes me remarkably easy to find. I briefly considered closing up shop or donning an alias, but we all know that wouldn't happen.

There are over six years of emotion-barfs, opinions and stories to choose from. I stand behind them all, even though I'm far from perfect and could always have further to fall. I like to think my stories are worth sharing. And I'm glad I have all of you along for the ride.

I just ask that those of you who belong in my messy past don't contact me.

In the comments, object to my repeated use of the word 'booger.' Or explain to me exactly what the hell I'm talking about. Because I have no clue.

23 comments:

Jo said...

No you can't choose. And the worst part about it is that when you know that certain people are reading you unconsciously censor youself. I hate that. I don't want to censor. But if it's someone whose feelings you don't really care about? Well, it's THEIR problem not yours.

Brando said...

I prefer to use a fake blog name, like "Vesuvio di Zorro" who writes all sorts of scandalous stuff about everyone and everything. Then when people are like "damn that Vesuvio, he's such a bastard!" I can be like "yeah, I hate that guy!" and no one will be the wiser. Unless they read this comment and figure it out. Then I'm screwed.

Shannon said...

Jo - Overall, I'm pretty careful about what I say. I figure I don't have the right to be hurtful. But I am worried about people I'd rather forget using this blog as an excuse to get in touch with me. (I do sometimes hear from old friends, and that's always great - but if I've cut you out of my life then it's best to stay away).

Brando - Vesuvio told me he hates my new hairstyle. But you say you like it. I'm confused.

[F]oxymoron said...

You can hide a booger, but can you really hide a blogger?

Google doesn't do boogers... yet.

Jamie said...

If you don't want people to find your blog easily, it helps if your blog URL doesn't include your first and last name... just sayin'. :)

I have my blog linked on facebook. I don't go around advertising it, but I don't care if my friends read it. I'm happy they should.

But I don't want people to be able to google my name and find my blog. That was the case until very recently, when one of my "friends" liked to my blog from theirs with my full name next to it. Thanks, you. I discovered it ONE DAY LATER but google had already cached it. I am not sure if the gig is up, or if it will go away eventually... oh well.

Just A Girl said...

Fortunately I don't think my parents and/or family are that interested. They know I blog but I don't think any of them has ever even attempted to find it.

I don't want to say I censor myself but I prefer to make fun of myself rather than anyone else. After all, who knows more ways to embarass me? :) I just try to leave other people out of it.

bh said...

Wow. I've never had such a raging desire to pick my nose.

Anyhoo ( A word I despise, btw), I've always appreciated the honesty of this blog. It's for that purpose that I elected NOT to blog. Because I don't want to have that revelatory moment, where a loved one goes "I can't believe you said BLAH" and I don't want to have to sensor myself, since I rarely do that on the non intertubes, and blogs where people shield feelings tend to be really boring. I mean, who wants to watch NASCAR drive the speed limit? You want the wrecks.

The great thing about e-mail is that you don't have to answer it. But that doesn't mean it causes any less pain when somebody who should jump in a black hole fails to and lands in your inbox instead.

Now I don't know what I'm talking about.

Shannon said...

Foxy - WOuldn't it be, "Googer"?

Jamie - I have no issue with people finding my blog. But if I've cut you out of my life, then simple decency would dictate not using my blog as an excuse to contact me.

JAG - My dad, uncle, sister and cousin all read this. My mom doesn't because she's scared of computers.

Shannon said...

BH - Oh, definitely. My choice was to read the email (which took several attempts, boy howdy it was LONG) and then decide against a response. There's something satisfying about letting that message fall into a black hole.

Hammer said...

Didn't Dr. Johnny Fever get fired for saying "booger?"

Tina said...

I have settled for a sort of in between spot - I talk totally candidly about my life and frequently bitch about the people in it - I've warned folks not to take anythign too seriously be cause I use the space to vent at times but if they do - thats their right. My husband finds it useful - he says it lets him know WHY he's in trouble.

But I do not use real names - my own or anyone elses because I think its not fair to the people NOT choosing to blog but still being blogged about to have the details (and one sided opinions) of their life spilled out there where people thye know may read them.

Now I'm not sure what I'm saying - did that make any sense?

Zandria said...

Very well said! I've never regretted being a non-anonymous blogger.

Shannon said...

Hammer - Maybe Blogger will cut me off for saying booger?

Tina - Actually, yes it did make sense. Thanks.

zan - Thank you!

FoggyDew said...

The people I know who I want to know about my blog do. This number does not include anyone I'm actually related to. Not because I write about them, but just because.

J said...

This is why I can never blog. I'm full of rage. You could totally tell, right?

Patty Duke said...

Blogging is a strange world to me. Sure there are dozens of blogs that I read daily or weekly. Some I even comment on, thats if I like the blogger. But I don't think a could ever right one, simply because I didn't grow up with computers. I put all of my thoughts in a handwritten journal, where I could be as nasty and neurotic as I wanted to be. I could be honest about X's little member and Y's huge one. They'd never know. I could even write about how I felt sorry for S, X's girl friend.

But I commend all of the bloggers out there who take the time out of their lives to wite about life on the web.

Mr. J said...

I have someone from my deep dark past who occasionally reads up on my life via the blog postings I make. It's more than a little weird that she comments on that when we talk once a year, but prefers to be voyeuristic for the other 11 months and 29 days.

She used to try to pick my nose. I guess booger made me think of that.

Back to the point at hand, so yes, I do censor what I post and what I say sometimes because I don't want random strangers or long estranged loves keeping tabs on me anonymously. Never posted anything about my love life, nor do I use names when talking about others. Guess that's why no one reads my blog anymore...

Dmbosstone said...

I just wrote a post for my company blog about this topic- I'm sure you read the CNN article being passed around about people outing bloggers.

I agree with you- once you hit that button you have to be prepared for anybody to read it. It's funny how we expect to be able to share everything but at the same time be really selective on who we share everything with...

Dagny Taggart said...

You can't keep people from reading your site, but you CAN think less of them for it. Personal bias with no rational basis is a prerogative, one I choose to embrace thoroughly.

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