Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Is this the 'Real' life?

I watched an episode of House MD last night. There was a woman mysteriously dying (of course) and this woman was an obsessive blogger. She blogged about everything in her life (even about her marital spats and sex drive) because she felt she had to be "truthful and authentic" to her readers. The team was actually reading her blog to see if they could find any clues as to what was wrong with her. At one point in the show she was faced with a decision. She had to choose between 2 methods of repairing her heart valve. One was a plastic valve, but the drugs that she'd have to take could cause birth defects and the other was a valve from a pig that would have to be replaced every ten years. Instead of listening to the pleas of her husband, she grabs her laptop to ask advice from her "followers".

At first I was irritated. I was offended that they were portraying bloggers like that. I'm a blogger. I don't do that! I wouldn't put that much stake in the opinions of people I had never met. Family is more important than the blogosphere. Then it occurred to me that some people are like that. I've actually had to stop reading a few people because they were like that; people who let the idea of having "an audience" go right to their head.

I love the people I've "met" through blogging. I get excited to meet people in real life that I feel I've connected with on some level. I don't, however, think that some aspects of my life are for all to share in. I'm not so caught up in the total number of people who follow my blog, but rather the select few who actually care about what I have to say. I don't talk about fights with my husband, financial issues or complain about my work because once it's out there for all to see, there's no taking it back. I believe in being authentic. What you see is what you get with me, but at the same time I think you have to be able to decide what you keep to yourself and what you invite other people into. You can be real and still manage to preserve your privacy. Don't you think?


  1. i've heard a lot of people talking about this. i have def seen bloggers who have let their audience, as you say, go to their heads.

    it has caused me to think, rethink, and reevaluate my blog, on many occasions. i often wonder if i'm appropriately balancing being honest, authentic, and maintaining boundaries.

    it bugs me though, that obviously bloggers are being portrayed as attention seeking, egotists. i don't want to be one of those!

  2. totally agree with you, Kameron. My hubby and I watched House together last night and he told me if I ever got like that, he would break my computer!

    One person's blog came to mind as I was watching this episode and I am sure there are tons more who are in the same boat.

    I try to be as private as possible but not vague.

  3. I am with you. There are some things I don't talk about in real life in a crowded room (Say... my sex life) so why would I do that on the internet.

    With that said there are deeply personal things (like my miscarriage) that I would blog about because I think people can benefit from my story and I would benefit from others input.

    My yard stick is what would I tell people at my kids school function. And if it would embarrass me (or them) I keep it to myself.

    And tonight... I must Hulu that House Episode.

  4. I'm not sure I balance authenticity and privacy well, in real life I'm a bit of a blurt it all out kinda gal but I try not to do that on my blog because then I'd have to explain EVERYTHING that comes out of my mouth and that would take forever (and be really annoying and boring).

    Typically, I find I just don't blog at all when I can't find the line between sharing it and over sharing it but like most people, I'm terribly flawed and do periodically cross the line into TMI land.

    I don't watch "House" but I have seen bloggers portrayed in a fairly one dimensional kind of way on other shows too. :(

    BlogBaby's BabyMama

  5. I miss watching House, and I will need to go back and watch that episode. I agree with what you say. And I also agree with Blog Baby in that I find I don't blog at all when I can't find the line (hmm....maybe that explains my lack of posts lately). Anyway, I also think of a few blogs that come to mind where the popularity has gone to the person's head.

  6. I missed that episode, so I can't say much about it specifically. But, it brings up an interesting topic. I don't care to read a blog that is overly-dramatic and consistently gives too much private information. It is enjoyable to read bloggers who share about their daily lives with their families.

    Similar to Michele, I tend to limit my blogging to topics that I would openly discuss in a mixed age/gender group at a church social activity. If I could not comfortably share in that environment, I don't believe I should include it on my blog. That may be why I have so few followers on my blog; but I'm okay with that, too.

  7. Dude, I just blogged about my explosive diahhrea - I think TMI is my bag of tricks. ;-) I don't like to pander but I do understand wanting readership. Sometimes, though, it all feels like one big popularity contest that I just don't have the energy for, yk?

    I think that asking for my readers opinion on a medical topic and then actually taking it into consideration over my spouses would be a bit much.

  8. Very true...and like Michelle I will be Hulu-ing that episode tonight!!

    My outlook is when the boys look back at this what will they think. I do think sharing some things that are personal help me to make that connection, but yes there is a line. Things between my husband and I, I strongly believe should be just that - between us.

    Like others have said, I try to gauge my posts based on whether or not they would mortify my mother (because she does read it)

    Right now sharing (some) of what we are going through has helped me process it. The exact details are not shared, but the experience is.

  9. Good call, I have quit reading a few blogs for the same reason. It becomes not about your life, but about how you are portraying your life to your "audience" and that, my dear, is the difference. They are no longer people you are cultivating "friendships" or bonds with, they are people who are there to listen to you. I'd take 5 people who are authentic to me in my life over that anyday, and glad you do to!

  10. I didn't see the episode, so thanks for the recap. It is crazy how close you can feel to blogging friends, but you are so right. I keep so many things private. Somethings need to stay in the family. There is a balance.

  11. I think there should definitely be a line between what you keep private and what you can share. I don't think anyone thinks Chad and I have a perfect relationship (or you and Aaron, for example) just because we don't talk about arguments, etc. Everyone has their problems and I'd rather not hear about them! And like a few others said, my mom, Chad's mom, and other relatives read my blog. Do THEY want to hear about that? No!! There are appropriate times to ask bloggers for opinions... like paint colors or birthday party dates (haha)... but definitely NOT what the lady did on House. Sheesh.

    Good post, Kam. Very insightful.

    I sometimes still get caught up in my blog followers, though. I don't really care about the number, but when that number goes down, I instantly wonder if I offended someone. But it's usually someone I wasn't following (because I didn't have much in common with them) and it doesn't matter anyway!

  12. Sing it, sister! I agree. I enjoy telling stories about what's going on in our lives, but there are some stories that you just don't share.
    Asking readers for their opinions on a new design or post idea? Fine. On a medical procedure? Needs her internet privileges revoked! Sure, this blogger was fictional, but we all know a blogger or tweeter like this. The weird need to overshare just keeps getting weirder.

  13. I keep hearing about this House episode. I am going to have to check it out on Hulu.

  14. I completely agree. I actually started writing a post a week ago about this topic, but never finished. I did see the House episode on Monday. My husband kept joking about bloggers, but they portrayed her as an extreme blogger, something of which I'm not.

  15. Aaaand that's why my blog is private :)
    For a while I found myself getting caught up with the sheer amount of visits I was getting on my blog before I went private. I had to come to terms with myself and say is it more important to have tons of readers (of whom I don't even know) or to protect the privacy of my family? I of course chose the latter. And I've never been one to share the nitty gritty of my life except to my IRL friends. I just think true privacy is hard to come by these days and we got to protect what we can!
    But I think I shall go 'hulu' that episode, too!

  16. I agree. There are things that some people just don't need to know. My life and family come first, and my blog is way down there on the list. There is such a thing as priorities.

    But, to each his own, right? If I don't like the way someone is on their blog, I simply don't read it any more. Easy as pie! And I would hope that people would show me the same respect as well. I've read the comments that some people get, and you just feel like saying, "Hey, if you don't like what you read, you don't have to stick around"!

  17. I think as bloggers, we're subject to stereotypes just like everyone else. The bloggers who sensationally share EVERYTHING get more attention from people outside the blogosphere. I wouldn't personally ask my readers to help me make a medical decision for myself or my family, but I probably do share more about myself online than I might in person. It's not because I think I'm hiding behind the Interned--I know there's no such thing. But I have always been a better writer than a talker.

    For some reason, when I blog, I feel like I'm writing to an old friend--one who might relate to my struggles, issues, triumphs, and appreciate the candor. And even though I don't know all of them, these are the type of readers I've drawn. Some friends and family have gained insights into my world I wouldn't have otherwise articulated, too.

    I don't think being authentic is about sharing every intimate detail of one's life (that could actually be pretty boring), but talking about what matters in an honest (sometimes edited) way.

  18. Wow, awesome post Kameron. I totally, totally agree with you. I think there are some things that are worth sharing, but some things are better left unsaid. Being the internet, once you put it out there, you can never take it back. So I always weigh the pro's and con's of sharing anything personal.

  19. another thing i don't understand, is when someone apologizes for what they are going to post about, how they feel about something, or a change they are making in their blog. i mean i appreciate that people stop by my blog, but its still MY blog! if there such a thing as a blog pet-peave, then thats mine!


  20. It can be such an elusive balance, huh?

    I just had to pull a short-lived post down a couple weeks ago because I chose to address something that was going on In Real Life, and someone flipped out about it and left a vicious comment.

    It seems like blogging can be a whole 'nother world (which is why it was gratifying to have at least one of my bloggy friends leave a comment calling this other person out), but I had to consider the fact that this "flipped out" person was not doing any good to my Real Life or the blog.

    My guage is to consider if I don't mind talking about my blog topics to people in Real Life, then it's okay. Because it's such a small world and what you put out there can come back to Dooce you!

    All said, we need more pictures of your kids :)

  21. Heather did a great job on you blog makeover -- love it!! (I know, this comment has nothing to do with your post-ha!)

  22. I'm commenting again, why, you ask - because I have to tell you that I love your new blog makeover from Heather too and there is no new post in which to post my gushing. I will need to get a great shot of just Aaron by himself for the blog when I'm down, hey?


What you talkin' bout Willis??