Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Severe Case of Navel-Gazing, or Omphaloskepsis (which sounds better)

High emotion tends to create drama, and drama is usually what draws an audience.  But the thing about high emotion is that one needs to express that emotion in an environment that the person feels is safe - no one likes to put themselves out there only to be met with ridicule and negative reaction.

So in a way, the ability to control your audience is crucial. 

I tried to show this on a 3D graph (with an x, y and z axis) but I couldn't figure out anywhere where I could make 3D graphs except by hand.  And I'm not smart enough to draw that, so you'll just have to imagine it.  It'll be awesome when you do.

Moving on...

For example, my family doesn't know about this blog - and I'd pay anything to make sure they never do - because I feel like if they WERE to find out about it, I really wouldn't be able to write this blog the same way that I do.

I tried to write a second blog (concurrently with this one) that would be available to them.  It started out terribly, and ended up with me just sort of copying and pasting boring and watered-down posts from this blog over to that one.  In the end, it was a terrible disaster, and I put it on death row.  Trying to write to an audience that includes them is about as conducive to creativity as having an open-faced dirty-diaper-sandwich rubbed in your face.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in an audience controlled environment, I can shoot to write like Michelangelo (the ninja turtle, not the angsty and perpetually filthy painter) would write, whereas otherwise, I'd have to write like I would imagine Leonardo or Donatello would write: boring, melancholy and ultimately depressing and stifling. Also, if you're going to choose a ninja weapon, don't choose a Katana or a Sai.  They're dumb weapons.  Nun-chucks are where it's at.  At least the Shredder had those really cool spikes on his hands.

But I've also considered going to the other extreme: total anonymity.  I'm still actually considering that possibility.  This way I'd be able to talk about EVERYTHING.  The problem, of course, is then I can't talk to anyone about it.  Which I love.  My wife is probably starting to get annoyed by just how much I talk about you all.

So I guess in the end, my question is: how do you all manage your blog life and your real life?  Are they intertwined at all?  Do you have any tips/suggestions?


  1. My current boss and former boss know about my blog and read it, at least occasionally. My current boss actually hired me freelance first, then later offered me a full-time spot on the payroll. Talk about stifling those work-rant posts!

    My former boss actually WROTE FOR MY BLOG on Monday. So yeah, I'm not any kind of anonymous. It's freeing in its own way.

    Family, friends, high school classmates. They all are free to read my blog if they want to, but most of them couldn't care less. :)

  2. This stuff is HARD. On the one hand, being anonymous is amazing. Example 1 is NeoIndian, who returned to India after living in the US and writes observations about life in India: http://neoindian.org/. His writing is AMAZING and he makes me laugh. He is anonymous and he says the joy he gets from writing anonymously is very liberating.

    However, if you don't have your name on stuff, how can people know who you are? How do you build an audience? How do you complain about stuff that really matters to you? Also, if you blog about anything you want, there's the possibility you could always be discovered, as PTrunk writes at the end of this post: http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2009/04/27/how-to-blog-about-a-co-worker-or-someone-else-close-to-you/

    So, what to do? Maybe save your ranting for a book? That's my goal, I think.

  3. P.S. http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/08/are-real-names-required-for-real-socializing.html

  4. Yeah, it's a major balancing act, isn't it? My family and my in-laws all read my blog. (Therefore I have imposed the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything" rule. Luckily, they're all pretty easy to get along with, so I'm not too stifled.)

    While I don't openly broadcast my name on the blog, it wouldn't take a lengthy investigation to figure it out. There's really no undoing that at this point. So I write with the assumption that anyone and everyone might find it at some point.

    I try to make fun of myself above all else. If I make fun of others, I do it in a way where I'm not specifically identifying them, if that makes sense. I try not to get too personal. If it's a story I'd tell my co-workers, then I figure it's fine for the blog.

    When all else fails, and I can't write what I really want to write, I throw up a cute picture of my kid and call it a day.

  5. I couldn't write anonymously, I don't think anything I'd write that way would be 'real' you know?

    My siblings and a few friends know I blog but they don't read it, so that's fine. I don't care to share with the rest of the people in my life, so that way, I can sort of write about what I want. I have a filter on, but it's not for them, I just don't feel comfortable writing about things like politics and religion, or swear on my blog. I also keep my husband anonymous and I don't use my son's real name.

    I guess in a way, I'm semi-anonymous. My readers only know as much about me as I let them.

  6. I started all shy but once you get a steady group of people reading you daily and tweet with you, concussion begins. Because now I think of all of you as friends and really why not post pictures of me and talk about facts and daily shenanigans? That's what friednds do. In fact I believe the only reason @1foreignmama and I have not been out for coffee yet is the east coast west coast issue. Right?

  7. I have two blogs. While the two have some intersection in audience, I treat them completely separate. And that's the only way it works. Every now & then, I screw up & reference the "private" one (that isn't really private) on Twitter, and I know at some point, I'll have to deal with worlds converging.

    But, as the two are completely different, I don't need to worry about the voice I'm using in either (I thought about taking daddyrunsalot.com and posting a "family friendly" version to facebook so that I never had my mother asking why I write about boobs so much, but that seemed like it was way too much work).

    The issue with "total anonymity" is that it prompts people to find out more about you. I don't do much to hide who I am, so if you go digging, you'll find me. But, there are some that really, really try to protect their identity, and I know I've heard from a few who freaked out when somebody found them.

  8. When I first started out I used to link to my posts on FB. I regret it now because a lot of my friends and family read it now. Sometimes I'm ok with this, sometimes I feel a little limited by this.Depends on what I am writing about.

    Cowabunga Dude.

  9. Ooooh, what about making your second blog your ninja blog? I think you should try an anonymous blog and let us know how it goes!

  10. I don't really like family members to read my blog - especially the in-laws. I just don't feel comfortable being the real me in my blog if they were reading. Close friends know about my blog but I don't actually know if they read it. I don't use my real name (although it's been mentioned a few times in my blog) and don't give away the names of my kids or hubby. But then again, I share photos....okay it's getting a little confusing here. Bottom line is I'm comfortable with people I'm close with in real life, reading my blog.

  11. I am not a good person to give advice on this one because I went headstrong into marketing my blog everywhere so know everyone knows about it and there is no turning back. If anything, I would say, if you currently can somewhat control your audience I would continue to do so because once you open it up to everyone you are stuck.

  12. I am laughing over the fantastic visuals in this post. Seriously good analogies.

    This is my second blog. The first was more stark (starker?), and included an attempt at anonymity. Until one day when someone yelled down the school hallway "I found your blog and LOVE it." So that was that.

    So I am completely intertwining Literal Mom in my regular life with some degree of success. BUT. Sometimes there are things I want to (really, really, really) write about that I just can't because my blog and real life are one and the same.

    I just figure the things I want to write about I will save for the book.

  13. I started as a friends/family only blog (not a private one or anything, just an update blog). Since my evolution into the actual blogging world has been gradual, I've never started a different blog.

    What that means is that I don't talk about things like my bedroom antics or mother-in-law rants, because she'll see them. And if I think family gatherings are uncomfortable now...

  14. My mom, husband and sister know about my blog, but they don't read it. I don't want my family, friends and coworkers to find it because I know the type of reaction I'd get. So, I don't talk about my blog with anyone. I also don't talk badly about anyone on there because I figure at some point, one of them will come across it. Also, I have a personal FB account for friends and family. But, they don't know about my Twitter account since it's linked to my blog.


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