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05 April 2006

Comments

Regina

I don't think it's odd at all that you haven't shared your blog's existence with certain people in your family. After all, if you didn't blog, you certainly wouldn't feel compelled to share the details of your daily interaction with friends or your knitting with your family. I think we all have a natural tendency to compartmentalize, and blogging is just one way of doing that: this is where you choose to share the stuff of your knitting life, and occasionally, bits of your family life seep in. However, you do get to control how much of yourself you choose to share via the blog, and anything beyond that can (and does) take place between you and your friends through personal communication.

I've resisted blogging, though now my daughter wants me to start so she can have a blog identity. isn't that too funny? She's envious of Squeeky, Thumper, Twinkletoes, Tadpole and the Martian. I still don't think i'll do it, though, mostly because i don't think i have much to say to the world at large.

As i've said so many times, though: I will forever be grateful for the existence of blogs, because my life has been enriched by the presence of so many amazing people to whom i would not otherwise been introduced.

mamacate

I have made a point of telling everyone around me about my blog. I feel like, *for me*, I need to be constantly reminded that what I'm doing is a public act, and not let myself imagine that someone or other isn't reading it. I deleted something from an email just this morning, because I reminded myself that emails sometimes get forwarded. Not that I won't be honest, but there are certain things that would just be too bad if they were forwarded, especially if there's any work connection. In my new job, I haven't disclosed to blog to many people, but I assume it has been found. You can now google my full name and find the blog in only one link. I had tried to avoid that, but apparently, not carefully enough (I admit to not being vigilant about it). I've been found by people from WAY in my past. I'm glad I treat the blog in such a way that that won't be a problem, just as you have done with your family.

I had a conversation with another blogger recently in which she said "oh, I just blog for me and my friends." A few days later, I saw something she wrote quoted on an email list, and I forwarded it to her. I said "everyone goes through this moment when they realize that the blog is not just one's friends and commenters--there are a throng of lurkers out there, and you don't even know who they are." I mentioned something about giving something away once, and all of a sudden people who had never commented before were emailing me. It was eerie. I'm still a bit freaked that a friend of my coworker's mentioned seeing his name on my blog--I still don't know who she is and I feel I should.

Anyway, it's an odd mix of infamy and obscurity, isn't it? Lately, a lot of people having been approaching me to tell me I look familiar. I suppose as I age, I'm starting to have one of those familiar faces. I've been asking those people if they knit, and if any of them ever said they did, I'd ask if a) we knew each other from the local knit world, and b) they've ever seen my blog. But no one has said yes. Yet. ;)

(sorry for the war and peace-length comment--you're going to have to stop with the thought-provoking posts)

Chris

Great post, Cassie - these are all things I've been thinking about lately! I know my brother reads my blog. My dad looks at the pictures sometimes (he can read, truly, but is more interested in photography). My neighbor down the hall (damn, why did I tell her?? Now I can't bitch about catsitting her obese cat lump this week). Public vs private space and our perceptions of it... fascinating stuff that's recently been turned topsy turvy by new things like blogging.

Carrie

I completely get what you're trying to say. I have told almost no one about my blog, even though I write it as though I was talking to someone. I am thrilled when I get a comment or two, but would be mortified if anyone I knew in person first read it. It's one thing for someone to get to know you through the blog, and then in person, but I feel, for myself, that the people I knew in person first might think, "Who in the world cares what she has to say about knitting?" Not only that, but despite the fact that I met my husband online (not on a dating website, but in an online card-game chat room!) I think everyone (including him) thinks it's weird that I spend so much time online. Knitbloggers generally "get" other knitbloggers. You don't have to justify as much. :-)

LaurieM

You have every right to a life of your own. Do you tell your parents about your sex life? No. Why should this be any different?


Marie

I don't think there's anything strange at all about wanting privacy on the internet; why should it be a paradox? Like you say the knit bloggers sphere is small. Last week a coworker found my blog, and that really bothered me. My boyfriend thought I was mad when I said it bothered me, because, you know, it's the internet, you can't expect it to be private. Also I desperately regret telling family members about my blog. I know they read it, and I feel that I have to be careful. Hopefully they'll get really bored when all I write about is gauge and decreases.

Sylvia

Okay, in real life do all your groups of friends know each other and know the complete you? I have friends from childhood who knew me before I got sick and they treat me completely differently from the ones who have only known me as an invalid. I have cancer support group friends who know my rough edges, college friends who know my wild side, and spinning friends who think my froghair addiction is normal. When they meet each other, they usually get along pretty well, which is a good sign.

I come from a computerized family with strong ties in Silicon Valley. I'm an old lady in internet/maillist years (26 years online in various forms, nerd girl in college, beta testing early pc's, designing and wire-wrapping boards with a crochet hook); chronologically I'm only 43. Ethereal communication has NEVER been private: the sysadmin knows all, and when he's a guy down the hall who has a crush on you it's certain he's tracking at the keystroke level. I resigned myself to that a long, long time ago and refined my writing technique. I am always aware of the potential for misinterpretation of what I write, and tend thus to be instinctively careful.

I was on the big knitlist and the aol boards when they were young, back when I lived on an isolated 1897 homestead in the mountains of Montana and had internet but no plumbing. For me the list communities made up for the lack of a guild. Many, many of those friendships are still going strong. Together in the ether and often in real life, we've divorced, remarried, had kids, survived illnesses, built businesses, and made a lot of textiles. When my DH got sick I posted his condition to SheepThrills and had the answer that saved his life within twenty minutes. The sharing of knowledge, the intimacy, the support -- these have become an integral part of our lives.

Blogging, for me, is a filtered extension of maillists. Various lists have split over the years and it became too much for me to keep up with all of them. The blog is a localized venue for answering technical questions, displaying photos and patterns, and keeping touch. It is also the primary portal I use for surfing. I don't post a lot of personal stuff there, I don't post face shots, I crop recognizable land forms from photos, and I keep the language and content clean. My grandmother, aunt, parents, and other tangible friends read my blog. They also knit and read other knitting blogs.

I used to partition my tangible life conscientiously, filtering heavily and holding groups of friends separate. After many years of having more important things to worry about, the only fragment of filtering left is I try not to cuss.

Julie

Your blog was one that I discovered not long after you began, and I have enjoyed watching it change and grow. With the inspiration of your and others' blogs, I finally began my own. I told some of my friends about it, but I haven't consciously edited my entries (paltry as they are). I've been disappointed in the blog server itself and have thought about switching to a paid service, which is one of the reasons I haven't been posting much lately.

christine

I have told only my SIL, and one friend about my blog, and, of course, Bob knows. But, to me it is somewhat private. It is as if this is a little community that I get to belong to, because of a shared passion. AND, I totally GET the people that I have "met" in blogland, and those who read my blog, usually totally GET me. So, I'm not sure that I want to invite anyone else in my life into that part of my world. It would be like letting my stepmother (god forbid) eavesdrop on a telephone conversation, or read my diary.

Bob respects that this is something that I like to do, and something that makes me happier. And he has never even asked to read the blog, even though he knows that I blog about him............often. I think he views it the same way as he would intruding on a conversation that I'm having with a girlfriend. A totally "need to know" circumstance.

I don't worry anymore about spam and unworthy intruders. If I didn't googled to death over "hooking", then I'm probably safe. Although I have given the dachshunds alias names...................(kidding)

Juno

I wonder about that all the time - when is someone going to notice that all of these new people are in my life? And think about where they must have come from. (And by someone I mean my mother.)

My brother and his wife know but have never asked for the URL. I think he thinks that anyone who'd read a web journal about wool is as crazy as his sister and not to be taken seriously. I would not want any of the far-flung cousins to know about it and I really, really don't want my mom to find out about it. I've been on yahoo groups and email lists before, so I think she thinks that the new people come from there....so I can say that a friend is from online without too much of a raised eyebrow. Or we met through knitting. Or we went to the same fiber festival.
I would probably shut the blog down if I thought she was out there reading it.

Other than that - some of my friends know, some don't. I don't actively conceal it anymore, but I don't ever offer the URL unless someone asks me for it. But I only use nicknames or initials when talking about non-blog people

Oh, and I experimented with sharing the blog with someone I briefly dated.

Mistake. Talk about feeling encroached upon.

But it is almost disturbing, how much less vivid some of my local friendships have become in comparison. How could I have never found out what friendship was supposed to be like, what real compatibility of the spirit was like, until the internet age? How could I have not known there was something more?


--Deb

My family knows about my blog. My mother reads it daily, my niece reads it at school, my sister does from time to time, but that's okay. I never do talk about things I wouldn't talk about WITH them. It just puts a damper on being able to mention, say, that the socks I just finished are actually a birthday present for my sister, but that's not really that difficult a thing. I've told real-life friends, but they seldom read. I have NOT, however, given my blog address to co-workers, even though I really never talk about work. I don't mind friends and family having access to my blog since it's just me being myself, but I don't really want my co-workers having quite that much access. It's a weird line to draw, perhaps, but that IS one of the odd things about blogging--it's both very public and very private. Only other knitbloggers can really appreciate the appeal and rewards . . . although, yes, it can get hard to explain where all the new friends are coming from, why I'm getting mail from far-off places, and so on.

And Margene is right--it does alter the real-life friendships in a kind of funny way . . . although I hear from my blogging friends a LOT more often than I do from my "real" ones. And I feel a lot more current with what's going on in their lives, too, because I get to read/commiserate/sympathise/cheer with them every day--whereas my "real" friends, I'm lucky to hear from once a month . . .

Nope. No point or direction to this comment at all . . . just rambling thoughts . . . Just, yep. Exactly. You've got it.

Imbrium

For the most part, I don't worry about people in my "real life" finding my blog. I have a few friends who read every once in a while, but they aren't knitters, so it usually doesn't hold their interest for very long. I'm a pretty open person, so they're not going to find anything shocking on there. My dad knew I had a blog (he asks me about my writing every time he talks to me, because he has delusions that I'll be a famous writer someday), but he's never asked me for the address. My mother just recently realized that I had something on that "internet thing," and said she'd like to read it, and I told her I'd prefer if she didn't. My parents have always respected my privacy, so they just let it drop.

Yes, if my parents were determined, they could pretty easily find my blog, and therefore find out all things they don't really want to know (drugs! sex! rock n' roll!) But they also know that if they go snooping, they deserve whatever shock and heartbreak they get. They keep secrets from me, I keep secrets from them - I think it's the key to my great relationship with my parents. When I've gone seeking knowledge about them I didn't really want, I've had to live with the consequences. They have to do the same.

Laurie

As you know, I have to be cautious about what I blog. Lots of regulations and ethics make it impossible to talk about work. I've chosen edit, as Sylvia has, and haven't regretted the decision. I felt no need to tell my F2F contacts and friends about the blog. It felt too personal to share with them, which is really contradictory, if I stop and think about it. Then when the DH had his accident, one local friend told all. Suddenly, it's no longer a secret. This feels nasty, and I hope it goes away.

Great post. Very thoughtful, and thought-provoking. I've enjoyed reading the comments, also.

PJ

PRECISELY!!!!

Carole

Everybody that's close to me knows about my blog. Some read, some don't. Dale reads every post and every comment and he's my number one cheerleader. And that's good because I couldn't imagine keeping such a huge part of my life separate from him. Sometimes I have to censor myself but mostly I'm just out there with life. I don't write anything on the blog that I wouldn't say to anyone in person. I agree a lot with what Cate wrote. But that's no surprise, is it?

Katherine

What a great bunch of comments! These types of questions seem so important to me -- how well are we adjusting to an online, high-tehc world? What further adjustment are needed to stay sane? I do not have a blog, but read them (mostly knitting-related). I find myself becoming more and more anti-social (not because of the blogs. I had a baby a couple of years ago and it does tend to distance you from people you were friends with), so I get a kind of "social fix" from reading blogs, I guess. It sounds creepy; I don't mean it that way. It IS unavoidably voyeuristic, though, no matter how innocuous I may be. I feel lately that I should have my own blog so I don't have the advantage all the time of knowing more about a person on whose blog I leave a comment than they know about me. I might seem like a creep even though I think I am a normal person. (Oh, yeah, a normal person who likes to knit and finds her old friends a bit difficult to relate to.)

My younger brother has a blog that he shared with me. I have read it a few times, but I can't take it. It is full of socially conservative, hateful (to me) rants. I stopped reading it because I WANT TO KEEP LOVING HIM. I wish he had never told me about it. If I were to start a blog, I would not tell me family about it. My family and I have rather divergent lifestyles. I want us all to keep loving each other, and sometimes maybe that means some not-knowing. Is that dysfunctional? Hrm, maybe. Or maybe just realistic. Families aren't perfect, but I love mine anyway.

I feel like going ON and ON about this. I guess I do need a blog instead of writing out my life in other folks' comment sections...

Oh, yeah, and hi. I don't think I've commented before. This is a de-lurkation.

fleur

I've told them, but I think they don't understand at all what it is because they even didn't ask for an adress. Perhaps they think I only talk about knitting or spinning?

brooke

I get where you're coming from. I hope you do what's best for your own creative spirit/mind.

Susan

I just started my blog, and I've been thinking about this very topic a lot lately. I've only told a few people in my life, and they're across the country. They're people with whom I talked about knitting already, and it seemed like a way to keep in touch. I don't think other friends and family will know, and not necessarily because I don't want them reading it. One of the main reasons I started knit blogging is I wanted to make some knitting friends and be a part of the AWESOME online knitting community!

Thanks for the post and the chance to find out how so many others feel about it!

terby

Great post, Cassie. And interesting comments. My parents and co-workers don't know that I blog. They do know I knit, however. I only have a few friends who knit, all of whom I met through a message board. The other knitters I know are all online.

I like being relatively anonymous - my blog is not popular, and that's fine with me. I censor a lot, and rarely talk about my personal life, especially my job. A lot about my professional life is readily available online, and I would feel strange about having knitting linked to it. I just prefer to have as much separation as possible, even if the end result is less participation in the knitting community, and a dull dull dull blog.

Susan

My mom found out about my blog inavertantly, which is good/bad. It gives her a change to keep up with what I'm doing, and not call three times a week, which otherwise I'd do. Now don't get me wrong, I love my mom, but she has a tendancy to repeat things. And it elimanates my spot to vent. Anyway, there are family members I wish did read, and friends too, but you can only lead a horse to water. None of my local friends "get it", but then they're scrapbookers ;) (As I get emails from angry scrapbookers.) They don't get the knitting thing either, but they sure appereciate the cute baby gifts. I'm looking forward to meeting all the blogger I feel like I know so well this year at Rhinebeck, that's half the draw of flying cross country for sheep :)

Lorraine The Knitting Hammy

Here's the thing- some people read other's blogs to be nosy, others are truly interested in your subject matter. I know that there are people that read mine for the first reason- but more importantly, I blog for myself and for my loyal readers. Share it with those who understand. Let's face it, not everyone does. Knitbloggers are a very unique group and we are lucky to have this venue. I myself, am having a blast.

Catherine Harrison

I have put off starting a blog, but I totally get what you mean. It just makes so much sense to me that it feels private even though that's such an illogcal thought considering it's so not, lol! I feel like I know the people whose blogs I read, and yet you have never even heard of me or seen ma anywhere since I'm in Nashville, and have never been to the big fiber shows or anything. I'm rambling here, but trust me that's normal for me too. Thanks for writing, I enjoy your ramblings.

janine

Hi, first time commenter here. A great post. I agree completely with what you say. I have been blogging for just short of a year and It has changed my life in many ways. I live on a small island where everbody knows what everybody is up to ( you can't get away with a thing here:-)). Having a knitting blog has allowed me not only to share my obsession with like minded people, it has inspired me with their encouragement to start writing (and selling) my own designs and has broadened my outlook on life as a whole. On the private versus public issue. My family, freinds and co workers (not to mention the students at my school) know that I blog - I even did am assembly on how the knit blog community pulls together to help other less fortunate than themselves, but I have not given the URL of my blog to anyone (including my husband),I never use names on my blog, never comment about work other than to mention it in passing and keep personal information to a minimum. Although I am quite an outgoing person and from this point of view blogging is a great way of sharing with people, I am also a private person with only a few really good freinds in "real" life. This duality seems to suit me perfectly:-)

Rebecca

It's funny, I was thinking something similar lately. I haven't told my SO the address of my blog because I talk about him a lot. So I wondered if he would find it embarassing to read about himself.

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