Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Blogging and Personal Exposure (ooh, sounds kinky!)

Things have been really confusing and stressful and exciting and awful around here lately - between the election and college application deadlines and family crises, we seem to be finding ourselves pretty much standing on our heads and making pitiful little bubbling noises much of the time. Which makes it pretty hard for me to get up the energy and the organized thought processes necessary for the presentation of interesting blog material.

Which brings up the interesting philosophical and ethical questions involved in blogging as a practice. When so much of one's personal life is made up not only of one's own concerns and thoughts and behaviors, but also of the concerns and behaviors of others who have significant impact on our lives, what are the reasonable parameters of disclosure when blogging?

To maintain complete privacy is to render your blog boring and to hold your readers at such a distance that you risk not engaging them at all. To be completely candid and open about one's life is to risk violating the privacy of others, as well as potentially exposing oneself to certain safety problems.

If you are a blogger, how do you balance these concerns? Do you have a conscious policy, a set of boundaries that you impose upon your own blogging practices?

If you are a reader, what expectations do you harbor towards your favorite writers? Do you expect to read about their political views? Their religious views? Their ethical positions? Their private lives?

What responsibilities do you think bloggers - and writers in general - have towards their family and friends, their readers, and even themselves, in terms of maintaining privacy vs. personal disclosure and honesty?


Delighted Hands said...

Good questions.........I want to know enough about a person to see if we connect-interests first really but not so much that I am embarassed like I am in public when someone spouts off about way too personal stuff and they just want to vent without giving me any choice in the matter! At least in a blog vent-I can move on. Yes, good questions because these are new forums but the same values apply-I need to be polite, respectful of others and interesting-these principles apply anywhere and are always contemporary!

pao said...

Interesting questions. Since my blog is hardly anonymous and work colleagues and friends have been known to read it I use the following rule:

Don't put anything on there that you would not be prepared to put on the back of a post card.

This still allows a huge range of scope but be prepared to have the blog attributed to you if it its not utterly anonymous.

shadow mountain jacobs farm said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog. I got here through 3 other blogs, I guess you could call it blog-hopping. I love your question. I just came from a blog (won't mention the name for fear of my life) that had a post about the election. This person was furious about the results. They posted the American flag upside down and had horrible things to say about people she didn't even know. Anger, hatred, and hostility oozed from this blog post. Needless to say I will never visit that one again.

On a positive note I enjoy many other blogs and appreciate their willingness to share pictures of their homes, family, pets and so on. I think a blog is a wonderful tool to reach out to people and share life in general. I'm not usually this wordy, forgive me.

krex said...

(starsaponthars)I'm Still batteling this question in my own life. Only rule is not to use pictures of people with out their permission and that would mostly apply to the cats who are attention hoars, (so I know where they stand), but BF says no pictures of him .

As far as personal information...I don't like the idea of being stalked...(no address) but I tend to not know what is "offensive" to others...so it can be difficult to figure out what to leave out when it isn't something that offends me.I also see things that I really disagree with others about that seem to be "OK" with most folks, so it does seem to a "majority rules" rule. I think the...no politics, religion thing is a pretty good idea in general but I enjoy reading them when I agree with them,lol.