Monday, October 16, 2006

No More Blogging in My Underwear

These days I'm blogging less than I used to, and the content and character of my blog posts have changed too.

When I first started blogging, I loved it because it was very cathartic. I could say what was really on my heart much like a journal or diary, but since it was public, this sort of upped the ante and made me feel I was being more transparent or vulnerable than I otherwise would be -- so I felt more honest; more forthcoming. That was a good thing for a time, but I also crossed some boundaries.

I still journal quite a bit, but keep it to myself these days. I'm finding more and more satisfaction with that, and also with sharing the insights God is showing me only to a few trusted friends, rather than the whole world at large.

It has been a process of boundary exploration for me. On the one hand I want to break free of my tendency to isolate myself, yet I also have found myself wrestling with questions re: how much self-disclosure is too much. Here is the best word-picture I can think of to describe what I mean:
If I am at home alone, or with my wife, and want to sit around in my underwear, I can do that with impunity.

If company is coming over, it is best (for all concerned!) if I get some clothes on.

If the company is close friends who're staying overnight then maybe as the evening wears on I'll go put on my pajamas and slippers and hang out like that.

But I wouldn't do that with just anybody, and if I always sat around in my underwear no matter who came over, that would be wrong on many levels.

Thinking back and re-reading my early blog posts, I now realize I (inappropriately) spent a lot of time in just my underwear. There was a certain freedom in that, but as I've thought through this I've come to see how staying fully dressed is a much better idea.

I know my blog is not read by tons of people, and that most of the people who read this stuff know me -- some know me very well. But electronic communications like blogs and eMail are rife with miscommunication since there are so many aspects missing: non-verbal cues like facial expression, tone of voice, and body language.

And the kicker for me is this -- even if someone completely understands what they are reading, I have to ask myself why I am posting it. In other words, like other aspects of life, my blog posts and other forms of self-disclosure fall under the biblical principle of "just because I can doesn't mean I should".

If I have something meaningful to say, and I want someone to know about it, I've found it is much better for myself and anyone else if I do that face to face. It doesn't mean that communication will be easy or fun. In fact, doing it "the hard way" is better in the long run than just blogging about it and hoping someone will read it and then know who I really am.

So blogging has a place in my life, but it is not a place for soul-baring. It is still a place for personal reflection, and a window into my life, head, and heart...but as you look through that window I'll be fully dressed. =O)

~ Keith

for more on the perils of blogging and the value of either not blogging at all, or being more selective in what/when one chooses to blog, there are some great links here at Conrad Gempf's blog.


Anonymous said...

It's my front porch and my life.

If you don't like my undies, turn the camera off.


Can Opener Boy said...

Hi Choc,

Thanks for dropping by, and thanks for commenting!

Looks like you missed my point, though. =O(

If you want to sit around in your undies, that is certainly your prerogative -- I wasn't talking about anyone else's blog (or undies) but my own.

But since you mentioned it, and since I don't ( think I?) know you -- thanks for the info...if you're gonna be sitting around in your undies all the time, I'll pass on dropping by. Thanks anyway! =O)

~ Keith

Girl in the Globe said...

Hi Keith,

I couldn't help but weigh in on this because I think it's an interesting topic. I agree with you about face to face communication being the best...last time I had to have a hard conversation with someone, I was very purposeful about setting up a time and a place to meet face to face...And like you said, it was neither fun nor easy, but it was the best way to handle the situation. I still think, though, that there's plenty of room for misunderstanding face to face.

I think your thoughts on blogging are interesting, but I don't think they apply for everyone because everyone's different. I guess it depends on why you blog. I don't blog so that people will "know" me. I blog because it's like my art form. Some people paint, others write music, I just write...It's like the words arrange and rearrange themselves in my mind before I even put them down on musical notes in a song I guess...And it helps me move through stuff and get on with my life. I think if I had blogged while my mom was sick, and then after her death, I would've been able to process things a whole lot quicker...

But it goes without saying that there are plenty of things that I keep in my journal that the whole world doesn't get to see...and it has always been this way for me. I think everyone has to figure out for themselves what level of vulnerability to show the world...I don't think there can be any set standard on this.

Because writing is my art form, I live my life expressing myself through it. For me, it wouldn't make sense just to express the highs of my life because that would be dishonest...I have to express the lows too, but it would also not make sense to express just the lows...I'm not seeking anyone's approval...or disapproval for that matter...(If I was seeking either one of those things, I wouldn't have blogged my last blog) but if someone happens to read what I wrote and then say to me:

Reading your blog makes me feel less crazy.

I'm going to be stoked.

Eric Sandras says:

Walking with a limp is not only an indication of struggle and past brokenness, but also evidence of healing and perseverance.

I guess to me, it doesn't make sense to have the limp if I'm not going to share my thoughts with others...not so it can be my badge, but in hopes that I can help someone else learn from it too.

Interesting topic...Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts on blogging. If you want to talk more, you know where to find me offline. =)


Can Opener Boy said...

Hey Marie,

Thanks for your thoughts.

I agree face to face is not the perfect miscommunication-free form of interaction, but for me it is the best thing I have.

Blogging only highs and not lows isn't the point. I'm just still learning what to share and what not to share. My journal was way too open for way too long. It feels good to have that change.

And it is interesting to me that both you and chocov seemed to think I was trying to lay ground rules for other bloggers to follow -- telling others what to write about or what to avoid. I wasn't trying to tell anyone else what to do -- just me dealing with my own limp.

~ Keith

Girl in the Globe said...

Hmmm. I think you missed my point, but that's ok.