8/7/09

Is this mirage coming from your mind or mine?

Friday~August 7, 2009

Controversial, confrontational, argumentative...

things I'm usually not.

I guess I don't really have a problem with butting heads just a little, and I don't mind when people have a perspective that's different than mine, I just don't like the feeling that takes over my gut when there's a loss of respect. When I watch people totally not hear the person they're arguing with, all stubborn and pig-headed. So I don't really like bringing up topics that make that happen. If only everyone could act like a grown-up, take turns, be kind, and play nice. You know, with some true respect.

But people don't often do that. What usually happens is that one or the other holds so tightly to their perspective that they just simply cannot help but get all fired up, shutting their ears and heart down in the process. Of course, I'm guilty of this too at times, but I don't like that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I'm a part of, or observing a conversation filled with pride and insecurity, the kind that gets in the way of human kindness and only brings judgment and cruelty. I've seen it a lot around the blogosphere lately. It kind of makes me want to shut off my computer forever.

So Heather, what's on your mind, why do you bring this up?

Thank you for asking.

I'm sure some of you will figure out what dramatic controversy I'm referring to in this post, and that's fine. I just don't want to name it, it's been dramatic enough. I simply want to share my feelings about what I think is behind all of it.

If you're not a blogger, it's hard to understand some of the ins and outs of this subculture. But they are ever-present, let me tell you. I love this community, but there are a few things that are completely unsettling to me. I guess with any good thing, space is left for negativity. I get that. I'm fine with that for the most part. There are a lot of things I can ignore. (The competition and comment wars and the focus on the wrong things, I can take all of that with a grain of salt.) But there are a couple of aspects to this that are harder for me to come to terms with.

1. Hero worship. Have you seen it? Have you felt it? Do you know what in the world I mean? Since blogging has become a place for authentic voices with excellent writing, there are thousands of bloggers out there who deserve some accolades. They have hundreds or thousands of readers for good reason. The person behind the blog totally rocks, and so does their writing. I suppose it's natural, this putting of talented people on pedestals. But I think it's just as dangerous as any kind of teetering pedestal. These are simply people, doing what they love for their own reasons. The danger in hero worship is my second point...the confusing expectations that come with glorifying a blogger and their life and the propensity for judging mistakes harshly.

2. Confusing expectations.
Blogs can hold only so much of a person. They hold aspects of a real-life relationship with readers in comments and emails, but these are only aspects. And yet sometimes I think readers get confused about what is owed them.

How about I just turn this on myself as an example? Let's say that all this time I've been sharing my life and thoughts and feelings with you, and then let's say that someone leaked that I'm getting a divorce. (I'm not. If I were, I'm sure I would have written about it, that's just me, even though I don't think I would have to.) Anyway, let's just say that I was getting a divorce, but I hadn't mentioned it, that I just mostly waxed philosophical and positive and flowery and sappy like I usually do. Then you found out I was getting divorced, which is obviously hard and many times ugly. Would you have the right to feel tricked somehow? And if you felt tricked, what would that be based on?

Here's the thing...I've chosen this particular way of expressing myself, knowing that people will read my words. I've loved the relationships within this quirky subculture. I strive to be authentic, sharing what I choose to share with my heart. I mean what I say. I choose what I want to share and what I don't because it's my blog and that's part of the beauty of it. I can say openly what I'd like to say. After I've shared what I feel like sharing in a way that matters to me and makes sense for my life, I believe my responsibility ends. (That's my opinion, if you disagree, please play nice.)

I simply think the rest is up to the reader. Their perceptions of me and my life are now in their hands. They are based on that person's individual way of perceiving things, their experience, personality, and a myriad of other things. Things that are completely out of my control. If a reader somehow believes that because I haven't mentioned anything negative, there must be nothing negative, that's their own conclusion. Just as the picture in my sidebar might lead people to believe I always wear make-up and do my hair, even if I'm not trying to get people to believe that.

Lastly, if a reader becomes attached to my story, and cares about it to the extent that they become emotionally involved, that is also their choice. And I believe that making that choice can be a healthy one, with appropriate personal and relational boundaries, of course. But it's a choice either way, and if it's taken to the extent that the person should somehow feel deceived if they didn't know something about my life, I'm going to have to say that is their issue, not mine.

Is it perfectly acceptable to leave some things out, details that are private or painful or just simply irrelevant to the tone of the blog? Does it have to mean that the intent was to create an illusion of perfection?

How much of a blogger's influence is their responsibility, and how much of it is simply based on the personal perception of the reader?

I'd really like to know what you think.

60 clicked right here to comment:

Haley said...

I'm glad you put this out here, because I've been thinking a lot about this on my own.

I think perception has a great deal to do with it...which is scary because that means that we are not completely in control or what we like, since the readers could potentially turns out thoughts into what they want (or need) to hear.

I myself have just decided that I will be happy when I feel like it...and be sad when I feel like it and write about those things when I see fit.

My hope is that people will just take me for what I am, which is just little plain me.

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

I really do enjoy reading your posts, you always have something enlightening to share. I keep hearing about all this negativity around the blogosphere, but I am glad I am in the dark and have no idea what people are talking about. loL!!

I think you should write what you like. Let others perceive what they will.

Deb said...

this is a HUGE issue you've bitten off, lil' heather. good for you!!

i applaud the way you wrote this, although you are clearly emotionally invested, you kept the ranting and raving out (which i can't for the life of me seem to do)... which makes it easier for us to hear your message and not get bogged down by the emotion. i think you rock.

here's my initial thought... the onus is definitely on the reader. always on the reader. i feel that way in real life, as well. sure, it is easy to point fingers, but ultimately, the responsibility is on the reader.

Kim said...

Heather, I am sure I know that of which you speak, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I too watch from the outside and wonder where people are that they make such assumptions, and frankly horrible accusations about situations in which their only involvement is to be a passive reader of that which a blogger chooses to share.

However aside from the drama in our corner of the blogging universe (and I say that only as a reader in the same geographical area, because I am nowhere near either of your leagues) readers will always read between the lines, so I think bloggers need to be just as careful about what they are not saying as what they are. I think that is part of the responsibility of blogging.

Chele said...

Oh girl! Did you hit a hot spot lately or what?! I love it!! :) I can tell you for myself, being real about who you are is an awesome thing but I don't think that the world needs to know some things. Some things are personal, some things are not needed to be said! Some things I would rather not know unless you are a man portraying a woman! LOL. I have a friend (who is also a blogger) that lost a bunch of subscribers yesterday because of speaking her heart, which I think is a beautiful thing. Not exactly the same of what you are talking about but pretty darn close! I wish people did not assume that what we blog about may not be ALL of who we are! It may be just SOME of who we are! Perfect post!! Hugs to you with make up or not! LOL.

Michelle said...

I think IF their blog is a very personal blog, that is one way to look at this conversation. IF their blog reflects their community, their business or their brand - a whole other conversation could be had. (OR - not. It is their blog after all, should they not blog how they want to?)

In my case, my blog reflects both my community and my business. I feel I can only get so personal there.

I also see bloggers sharing their inner most only the get slammed that they are only airing out their laundry to drive traffic and increase ad revenue.

Bloggers can never win, it seems. They will always be judged for something. Sharing - not sharing, just happens to be the challenge of the day, I suppose.

I certainly do not think that they should be judged for trying to create an illusion of perfection if they are leaving things out. Maybe they were afraid that this very thing would happen -- judgement.

You said it perfectly. The reader makes the choice. Let the blogger blog.

Samantha Gianulis said...

To me, there isn't an alternative to writing what is pulsing through me...and I'm a little fish in this pond. But there is all the dignity in the world to be lost when I throw the first, unceremonious, stone of self-righteousness.
Life is too short, and the blogosphere too big, to be wasted on negativity and conformism. That's my take. I could be wrong (and I will most definitely be challenged).

T & T Livesay said...

I don't know what you're referring to == and that is okay, I am kind of out of the loop --- I simply wanted to ask when you had time to become a Psychologist --- you nailed it. A blog is an outlet -- but by no means a definition of a person or a place where there is some requirement or rule to divulge all things ... we don't even divulge all things with many of our friends - people we know IRL --- why would anyone expect us to share personal things with the interweb and its millions of strangers?

I like reading blogs, I like writing mine -- but I truly do not care who reads and how many hits I get. I will never be a popular power blogger and it just does.not.matter. to me. :)

Dave said...

write for you. followers and comments and all are nice, but this is your voice.

after all, i don't expect my buddy to tell me every time he and his wife have a fight.

if you are having trouble you want to tell me about, you'll tell me. no obligation from your end

Susan B. at warmchocmilk said...

As a new blogger, learning the in and outs this post is very poignant for me. It told me I need to be weary. I agree with what you say, even though I don't know all that much about the blogging subculture, it makes sence when I relate it to "real life" too. Thank you for sharing your opinions.

Kristina P. said...

Great topic!

I show only a small portion of me on my blog. The sarcastic, funny side. And don't get me wrong. That is me, 100%. But I am also professional, warm, empathetic, and serious too.

And I do think there's a difference between not sharing every little detail of your life, and being inauthentic. I think pretending everything in your life is perfect, and presenting things that way, while you are on the brink of divorce, is inauthentic.

But just not sharing every little thing is probably wise.

And I've dealt with the hero worship to some extent, and it's really weird. I have met a lot of great women that I wanted to meet, but I have never looked at a blogger, even CJane, as someone more than just a person. As an amazing person? Yes, but they are still a regular person.

Tooj said...

It is a WONDERFUL thing I don't many readers who might go spreading around my awesomeness, because then I MIGHT feel obligated to ponder these questions. :) I personally put negative and positive in my blog, it's all very real life, as you know. If I feel a reader/commenter has received the wrong perception, I oftentimes comment in my comment section to clarify. I like clarification and I like to be understood, so I do this to be sure my message was received properly by those who actually take the time to comment and read. :) I have yet to encounter any of the subculture negativity, but I think that's mostly due to sticking to my little niche and select reads. I tend to avoid the overpopulated blogs. I like dialogue and I don't get that with blogs that receive hundreds of comments daily. Call me small town! :) Happy Friday Heather. I hope others provide you with some very insightful answers.

Schmutzie said...

You are being featured on Five Star Friday!
http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2009/08/five-star-fridays-edition-65.html

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Great points Heather! I agree.

I have heard of a few bloggers out there who have totally lied, made stuff up - just to seek attention. That seems really screwed up and wrong to me. But, as long as no blatant lying goes on - yes, we should be free to post what we want and to NOT post what is too personal.

Heather of the EO said...

Kristina P,

I agree about the authenticity thing. If I write as if things are peachy and am actually getting a divorce, that's just not OK with me. But if I admit that there are struggles, but don't name them, I think that's just fine.

Hypothetically. :)

Christy said...

Interesting topic Heather. I share one side of me with my readers - my happy, upbeat side. Which is me, like 99% of the time. Or so. I choose to share upbeat happy thoughts on my blog. Is that all of me? No, of course not. But I have a mission with my blog - I want to document my life, for my daughter to read later when she's older. I think about everything I put on there (with the exception of giveaways - I'm sort of growing sick of them, don't look at my blog today I'm a total hypocrite) with regards to how it will impact my family - I'm turning my blog into a book every year - so it'll be a keepsake for our daughter when she's older...but that's really a long tangent I went on didn't I? Sorry.

I think it's perfectly acceptable to leave GIANT parts of your life out of your blog. It's yours, after all!

Melissa Stover said...

i love that we get to choose what part of our lives to put on the blog. do you really want to read about the dirty diapers, the messy house and the screaming kids that are floating around me every single day? no, so sometimes i just focus on the beautiful things.

i'm always out of the loop on what's really going on, but i love these kinds of discussions that erupt after the fact.

Annette Lyon said...

I'm clueless as to what particular blog you're talking about--and I'm happy to remain in the dark.

But I agree. The things I post are definitely my true self--but only a portion of me. I'm not comfortable putting out every bit of me, and I don't think I have an obligation to discuss marital issues or my latest medical problem or my argument with my daughter or whether I've got depression or whatever. If I'm being true in a post on THAT post, then that's enough.

I'm sure a lot of people assume, based on my blog, that I've got a very different life than I do, because I show such a small sliver of it. But it's the side I'm willing to show and comfortable showing--and I think that's okay.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Yeah, I'm totally clueless. I have no idea of the controversy. However, I agree with your points. It's a personal blog and people should share what they want to share and that's it. The world doesn't own us.

Manic Mother said...

I am fairly certain I know what you are referring to and all I got is...the world is filled with morons. People that can't think outside of their own moronic bubble. Ezra's cancer has taught me many things, but really it all comes down to life is too short,and too precious, to sweat the little things and the little people. Amen.

Get Real Girl said...

Wow, what a great post. Considering I am a very small fish in this giant ocean of bloggers I haven't had to deal with any of the subculture of the blogosphere. I write my blog just to write. The fact that I have any followers is crazy to me because when I started my blog I didn't even know what a follower was.

I read other people's blog for inspiration and for laughter. I would love to meet bloggers (like you) because you seem like a really great person. But, I look at all bloggers just as people.

Thank you so much for sharing.

woowoomama said...

i just wanted to say thank you for commenting on my blog the other day because it brought me back to your blog (which i had found and lost) and i am really loving having refound you.


how is that for not at all well said.


you know how much i appreciate the "disagree respectfully" stuff and also "just be nice."


sorry to babble. i have nothing coherent right now but i couldn't let that stop me me from saying hello.


i have recently toned down my amount of time online and my incessant following of what might be going on in the blogging world (not that i was ever that clued in but now i am less clued in) and it has been so relaxing.

ok, thank you.

Angie said...

Very well said.

I take the approach that I am not responsible for making assumptions about any one that I read... meaning, each person shares on the level they are comfortable with, and it's not my place to put expectations on what others should share. For some, life might be really hard, but they are choosing to share joy because they find the joy of the Lord is their strength. For others, they might share every detail of their lives. I am only responsible for me... for the choices I make in sharing on my blog and for the choices I make in reading others'. I feel like I'm rambling here... hope it makes sense.

Kazzy said...

I honestly think it is a girl thing. I think women want to connect. I think women also care a lot more about perceptions of others than guys do. And because of these tendencies we accidentally (sometimes intentionally) get ourselves into trouble.

Women feel wronged more often because they think "I have given my heart here and have felt it get trampled", even if that was not intended. We can be very quick to feel a RELATIONSHIP when we are reading someone's blog. It is a strength that can easily become a weakness.

We are not obligated to bare our souls if we don't want to. And at the same time, we are allowed to share as much as we want. We are all different and have different reasons behind out writing. My motto... BELIEVE IN A PERSON'S BEST INTENTIONS. And I believe in yours.

Kimberly said...

I am cracking up that it says Talk to me goose. Ok, I had a point...yes, I agree. Its my blog, I am honest, but in no way shape or form will I tell you all the details of my life. I get to choose how much I put out there (although there are like 20 people reading it, so its not all that much control). I feel it is the same for megabloggers. I'm not entitled to know everything about any one but me. End of story! I can hardly keep track of myself after all.

Heather of the EO said...

Kazzy, I just have to say that BELIEVE IN THEIR BEST INTENTIONS is a really big part of how I feel about this. Most of the time people are not intending to paint an inaccurate picture. It's like Angie said, they're choosing to focus on the joy on their blog, so they don't go into detail about the bad things.

Life Is Beautiful said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aunt LoLo said...

Oooh...this is tough. For example, when I first started reading your blog, I had the HARDEST time remembering WHY I had found you. The voice you have chosen for your blog is so different from the FIRST voice I heard from you, I almost didn't recognize it.

That said, the voice on your blog is a LOVELY voice, and it is the voice YOU have chosen...and people have to remember that. When we get online, we BECOME someone. It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to accurately portray yourself online. These aren't diaries...these are stories where we've cast ourselves as the leading roles. And I think that's something that people need to remember, especially in the Mommy Blogger community. Reading about me and my BBJ and Siu Jeun does NOT give you a clear picture of what our life is like. My blog is a place to boast on my kids' accomplishments and share our adventures. You don't see the messes, the tempers, the tantrums...because my STORY is about adorable kids doing funny things and going on interesting adventures. Period. If, for example, I was getting a divorce...I'm not sure it would make it onto the blog. The blog isn't about my relationship with Lo Gung. It doesn't fit in the story.

Life Is Beautiful said...

Definitely food for thought! I suppose the blogosphere is similar to other mediums like television, radio, and entertainment where some followers make an emotional connection to the writer/actor/journalist and envelop a sense of entitlement to their lives. Or, jealousy takes root and things go awry. I agree with one of your other readers who said:"(my paraphrase) On a personal blog we are free to share what we want to share and are free not to share what we don't want to share." So true. Personally, I'm a Christian and I feel God will hold me accountable for what I do and say, AND He will hold me accountable for what I write on my blog. I'm not saying that I only post the great things that happen in my life; I also post the funny things, the sad things, and the embarrassing things. But that's just what it is...my life and my thoughts, not someone else's. Whether a person is a Christian or a Muslim, a blogger, a follower, or someone who comments, it should be our obligation to treat one another in a way that's respectful. Whether someone chooses to do so (or not) is NOT something I can control. Beth Moore said it well when she said, "Disagreement is not sin. Prejudice is." Whatever form prejudice takes, be it racial gender-related, religious, or socio-economic, it's okay to disagree but it's not okay to be unkind.

Heather of the EO said...

ooooh, Aunt LoLo...that is so interesting. I LOVE what you said. LOVE it.

Interesting that my voice was different in two different places. I guess I'm multi-faceted. :)

I don't know what to say other than I loved your perspective. It's so true how blogging is more like a story than a life. If that makes any sense at all...

Heather of the EO said...

Oh, and it also made me think about my surprise when at BlogHer, my blog friends told me I was so different than they had imagined (not everyone said that, but some) I was all "REALLY?" Because my blog IS who I am, but I'm probably so much more too.

jodilee0123 said...

I think the computer screen blinds many people. They get this sense of entitlement to say whatever they want through comments. . . things they would never ever say to anybody face to face. It is kind of a scary desensitization process--like playing violent video games or watching horrendous things on TV. They expect to hear about every dirty detail and that it is their right to know everything. And, they can get down right mean. I often wonder what is so awful in somebody's life that they want to purposely hurt somebody else. These people will not ever change. Stick with the positive people and ignore the negative. Reread and think before you hit "enter". There is also "delete" when needed. And hopefully, if I ever make a mistake. . . I can set a good example by simply saying, "I'm sorry." I have actually called back customer service people and apologized for being rude to them on the phone. It is even easier to send an email! But, like I said--people who think it is really okay to be mean probably would never apologize or think there is even reason to apologize. I truly believe that God brings people into our lives for a reason--even if it is only to remind me of how I don't want to be.

radioactive girl said...

I read somewhere that someone wrote (that is really specific, right? I can't remeber where or who or I'd quote them.) "everything on my blog is true, but not every true thing is on my blog". That sort of sums me up. More often than not I do share everything, but there are some things I do keep private and that is my right. Just because you have a blog doesn't mean you have to share your entire life!

Kimberly said...

So here's my take on this, to be taken with a grain of salt because I'm a blogger who shares pretty much everything.

Connecting with someone on the blog level can be equated to the process of befriending someone. Sometimes it's mutual, sometimes not so much. Sometimes you get to know someone as you hang out on the sidelines and watch how they interact with others, and maybe you think you know them better than you do, etc...I think that last scenario especially applies to big name bloggers.

So, I can understand why people might feel owed if they suffered from the delusion that being a blog follower is the same as being a friend, and then they might feel cheated not to have been given insight into a major life event.

However, sometimes it really is a delusion.

I have blog friends who I communicate with by email on a regular basis, who I've met in person, and who I send b-day and Christmas cards to. If one of those friends left me out of the loop on something major in their life, I'd feel hurt and upset.

Then I have other friends who it's more like an acquaintanceship, you know? I don't feel the same in those situations.

And, to sum up this hugely long comment, when writing a blog you're writing to friends, acquaintances, AND strangers. The right to hold things back considering that needs to be respected. A famous blogger is not obligated to share anything they don't want to. You can be sure they're sharing it with their REAL friends, harsh as that may sound.

Kori said...

I am not sure of what controversy you speak, and probably care even less. I am just going to throw a thought out here: we none of us expect every single person in the world to tell the truth; there are liars everwhere. So why are we so surprised when we find them in blogland?

That said, and I think I echo other commenters here, my blog is my blog. Period. I could be sitting next to you at a park and we could see the exact same scene, and go back to describe it on our respective blogs, and the stories would be completely different. Are either of them less true? Nope, just different.

I just write because if I don't, I go nuts. That's it.

Sara@i.Sass said...

I love the conversations you start Heather.
This goose says: My blog=my words, my opinion, my sharing.
Your blog=Your sharing.
like it, read it
Don't like it, buh-BYE!
You make me smile girl! I heart you!

The Rambler said...

I've been reading some blogs out there that have mentioned the same thing. I feel like some people with agendas are stalking around trying to make bloggers feel like poopy :(

I have to agree with others. I think we write the blog for ourselves (some of us anyway). If someone else stumbles upon it and comments that's great. But it is OUR blog. If someone doesn't agree with it, that's fine. But to be outwardly negative toward a person or to expect a blog to be something other than it is always boggles my mind. It's like going to someones house and telling them what's for dinner needs to change. Your the guest...not me.

I honestly love to write. And when others comment back it feels like my 'diary' talking back to me. I clicked my blog public because I felt I wanted to make new friends that shared the same passion of writing and reading that I did. And the support from others has given me more confidence in my writing (it's no Shakespeare or Dickens but people enjoy it).

And the most fabulous part of this whole thing has been finding blogs that I really connect with. That have shown me I'm not the 'only one'.

I went off on a rambling tangent there....not sure I answered the question correctly :)

Again, you are most excellent. Great topic!!

DeNae said...

I think one thing you're talking about is boundaries. In many ways, blogging is not that different from conventional writing. And I'm always a little surprised at the level of intimacy people feel toward a blogger, which, if the blogger were a novelist, would seem strange and out of place.

I'm no different. I have a number of paper-and-ink writers from whom I expect certain things: Good plot lines, believable characters, etc. Even my favorite non-fiction writers are only held to a very short list of standards and expectations.

Why, then, do readers of blogs feel entitled to more than that? I may want to sit next to David Sedaris on an airplane and just feel his vibe for a couple of hours, but I would never expect him to write to my demands or my perception of what our "relationship" really is.

There will always be those who expect too much, and those who take from the experience too little. The trick is to be true to your CRAFT, not just to yourself.

MoziEsmé said...

As another commenter said, write for you...

There are many personal issues that I don't write about; I think it would be unethical to do so, because they involve other people, or organizations, etc. Just like in real life I don't tell everyone on the street my life story, the same is true on my blog.

That being said, if I have a blog that is specifically geared towards marriage and relationship issues and advice, and I am personally going through a divorce, I've got a conflict of interest going on and probably need to pause my blog or reveal a little of what is going on.

There's a gray line - when you put yourself out there as an expert on something, then you have more responsibility. But when others just perceive you as an expert, then I'm not sure what to tell you... :)

Carrie said...

I think all bloggers leave things out, sometimes on purpose, but not to mislead people. For example, I am very careful not to write anything about a fight I may have with my husband. But that doesn't mean my marriage is perfect, I just don't want to tear him down in public (and blogging is definitely public). Also, most people don't share their embarrassingly unholy thoughts or everything they're going through, do we?

I think the reason people take these things more personally from a blogger than from any other author is that sometimes when you read someone's blog, you consider them a friend, even though you may not personally know them, so when you find out they're getting a divorce, you feel like they should have told you because, 'we're friends'! :) KWIM???

Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility said...

I treat my blog like my life: I only share what I feel comfortable sharing! I think that's every person's right!

♥georgie♥ said...

I also have no clue what is going on-but this is a very thought provoking post...

i am an expert on ME,i try to be real on my blog, I am an expert on MY childrens,i try to be real on my blog,I am an expert on my husband,i try to be real on my blog...

I was run through the wringers many months back-literally had the breath knocked out of me, i almost caved and quit blogging then i remembered why i do what i do...it's a release for me an outlet, it's the one thing no one else can take away from me...it's my voice in this big ocean-I am just a small lil guppie voice but it's mine....

I♥You muches

Adventures In Babywearing said...

This is a great post, Heather. I don't think there are any right or wrong answers. I think that a blogger, writer, what have you, can and should write whatever they want. And a reader should be able to decide for themselves to believe whatever they want to believe.

It's not the writer's responsibility to make sure every reader understands, the writer does not owe any reader anything (in my mind)... because personally speaking I do not write for an audience other than myself. It's just publicly available to be read. I am not sure if this makes any sense, but it does in my mind and I guess that's what I am getting at. It is impossible for everyone to "get" everyone else.

I had a comment recently saying that I was so much better than her (she said it as a compliment and as a dig at herself.) And I just shook my head and thought OH MY. If you saw me apart from this blog, you would think so differently. But we just have our blogs to put out there the right amount of this and that that we want. I hope that readers realize this. We're all human. We make lots of mistakes. We are often ugly inside and out and are also beautiful and get things totally right sometimes, too. No one should be faulted for either- blogger, reader, whoever you are.

Steph

Amber Lynae said...

I think my blog is a place for me to make what I want of it. I don't use it to lie to my readers. But that doesn't mean I have to give them every detail of my life either. I'm with Annette abou staying in the dark as to what blog you are talking about, because I have no clue. But i blog for me, and I love the comments and the followers that I have, but in the end it is my outlet to say what I want to say when I feel like saying it.

--It's Your Movie-- said...

Oh gosh, I am kind of a cynic. But in the nicest way. I just know that I am human and a wreck inside and everyone is human and a wreck inside because we are uh, human. The people who think they are not a wreck inside are probably the most wrecked of all. Anyway. All of that to say that I try not to put people on pedestals at all, I just try to love them.

I thought the Heather I met at BlogHer matched the overall vibe of the Heather I get from your blog. But real and with hugs. :)

april said...

Here's what I think. You share what you want to share, it's YOUR blog. If a reader doesn't like what you have OR haven't shared, heck with them. That's just the way I feel.

And I had no idea this stuff went on. I'm still new to all of this.

PS. My perspective of you is I love you. The End.

Erin said...

Just yesterday something happened that almost made me want to delete my blog. But then I took a step back and reminded myself that I know who I am, and that is what is most important. I certainly try to be myself on my blog, and sometimes people misunderstand me. I need to learn how to have a bit of a harder shell and not be affected by those times. I write for me, and I am honest for me too!

Terresa said...

I've pretty much done a strip tease of honesty on my blog, and sometimes regret it, but hey, it's who I am and what makes me, me.

Bloggers have to have closed doors somewhere. And blog followers should respect that. Period.

Terresa said...

PS: are you referring to CJane's blog? Just a guess.

Debbie said...

What does Aunt LoLo mean by "forgot how she found you"? Jeez. How quickly people forget:)
I loved this post and reading through the comments. The voyeur in me (which is HUGE) loved seeing everyone trying to guess what you were talking about.
I wonder about this "whole picture" issue from time to time. I want to think I truly "know" you and LoLo, but do I really? I hope so since we take our friendship further through emails, etc. But I know people who just read my blog don't know the whole me. Like LoLo said, I don't write about the mundane fights and daily crud that clogs my life. Although I do tend to let you guys in on it.
I think it is healthy to draw some limits on our lives. But not to the point of dishonesty. Although I guess some do that. I read about a blog once that had a ton of followers that was a man writing as a woman.
And I think the "hero worship" is a completely different matter all together. There will always be a very small percentage of people who idolize celebrities big or small.
And I apologize for the rambling of this comment. I don't usually do that:)

Peanut said...

I honestly don't get it when readers attack a writer about what they do and do not post. It's just like real life... no one (not even a blabber like me) gives out all the information, all the time. I write the stuff I want to remember: the kids' stories, the family memories, the emotional journeys... but the stuff that has happened in my life that I'd rather forget (the baggage that comes with me whether I like it or not) I have no interest in writing about, just like I wouldn't tell everyone I meet about all the gory details of my life. And there are some things I don't write about because of how they would affect other people, my parents' divorce is one example. Why some readers get this sense of entitlement about every detail of a blogger's life, I'll never understand. I write for me... the fact that I have a few readers that enjoy my writing, that's just a bonus.

Good on you for writing about it and not getting into the emotion of it.

Kim said...

I know you and I have talked about this a bit, but I wanted to leave my two cents here also.

I think that whatever a blogger chooses to share or not to share is her perogative. Obviously if I say everything is perfect in my family, or portray that when in reality it is the complete opposite...that is probably not ok. But honestly, if someone doesn't like how I portray my family or my life, they don't need to read my blog.
A blog is like someone's home. You invite them in and expect them to be kind in your space.
None of us share everything that goes on, there are things too mundane or boring, or just private that we don't share and we are not obligated to. There is no bloggers code stating that you must share everything about you all the time.

You did a great job with this post. I know it's been banging around in your head for quite some time, good job my friend.

Melanie J said...

I don't know what specific drama you're referring to, but I also think Kristina P. hit the nail on the head. That's exactly what I would have said. And ditto to your follow up comment to her. I think if you're Martha Stewart and your house is a wreck, you don't go on TV and tell everyone how to be a perfect homemaker. But if you're Martha Stewart and you keep a nice house but you've had a squabble with a daughter, you don't have to share it and it isn't hypocritical.

I'm tired, so I know I'm not drawing a really accurate analogy here, but yeah...I think there has to be honesty in blogging. I don't think a blogger has to tell EVERYTHING as long as what they omit doesn't make what they include a lie, you know?

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm with Kristina & Melanie. If there are parts of me I choose not to show, I think that's my choice. That said, I try to be as honest and true to myself as I can when I choose to write/post anything.
While I believe that the act of writing and of reading is a shared experience and that words only have meaning until they are read/spoken (even if only to yourself) I do not believe that all words should be spoken. It is okay to hold back. It is okay to respect boundaries of privacy and sanctity--especially your own boundaries.

Lee of MWOB said...

I'm not exactly sure of what drama you are referring to but yes of course I agree with you in that as bloggers and writers and PEOPLE we present what we want to. That's our prerogative. Tell the good stuff and be mellow with the sad stuff. Or the ugly stuff or the painful stuff.

I've come to realize though that the bloggers I'm attracted to are the ones who are REAL. Because real ALWAYS includes a bit of everything. The good, the bad and the ugly. And if someone only presents good and perfection, I have no interest. Cause it's not real. I know that. But that doesn't mean that the blogger has to divulge the bad and the ugly stuff, it just means I will choose not to read, you know?

The other aspect that comes into play and I've thought about this with a blogger we both like who is quite big is when the blogger KNOWS he or she has a strong following who has put him or her into that "Hero-worship" category. Isn't there some responsibility to the hero as far as realizing how his or her worshippers is perceiving him or her? Because there is power in that....and with any power, it can be abused. You know?

And I also believe when it comes to blogging, community is the most crucial aspect and we've heard a lot about transparency in the blogging world and being transparent as a human being I believe is the main way to build a true loyal community.

Heather - great topic of course. I could go on but I won't. Hope to chat soon...

Heather of the EO said...

Lee,

Yes, I do think the hero does have some responsibility to the worshiper, I suppose. Because they DO play some part in having risen to that status (by continuing to blog and work on increasing a readership). But I think there's only so much they can control with that responsibility. And kind of power DOES call for responsibility, definitely.

Roban said...

I, apparently, have missed all of the drama (thankfully), so this seemed like a huge topic for me to pop in on....

I think it's the bloggers perogative as to how much they want to share with the world. That doesn't mean that they're bad or misleading... it's his or her right to decide on their topics and how they approach them.

And I guess I'm just not very blog-savvy.... I don't know who the heroes are, which I guess is a pretty nice thing :-)

mama-face said...

Wow, this post has been rattling around in my head since the first time I read it, and I've read 2 times more and I still have no idea what I will say.

I do not know about the dramatic controversy you refer to, probably because I'm a fairly new kid on the block. But I think your post points to a lot of common threads that exist in human nature.

We want to be understood. We want to be loved. And we all deserve that. But that stuff just has to happen; it can't be forced. So, if someone doesn't understand you (you being anyone) and has a certain expectation of you; most likely you won't live up to their ideal. You can't please everybody. But it seems like a tiny minority of this subculture of blogging expects more from a blogger than of their real live acquaintances.

Of course you have the right to present yourself in any manner you choose; and I believe it ought to be in an honest way, but still on your own terms. I think everyone has a different motivation for blogging and that motivation dictates how much information you choose to disclose.

Clearly, I have a lot to learn. I continue to be surprised by this whole blogging phenomena.
I think if you really want to be in part of a person's life through their blog you treat them just like you would a friend. You listen to their story and things fall into place if you are meant to be friends. Friendship is a choice. If you really are a friend/follower you should treat that person with respect. Doesn't mean you can't have your own opinion, and share it; but it does mean that you try to respect theirs. If you don't like it; move on. Remember that the blogger is a real live individual whose thoughts aren't always going to fit into your ideal. One of the things I love about blogging is the opportunity to make friends with people I would never ever have the chance to meet in the 'real' world.

I have no idea if that makes any sense; or if answers your questions in any way. It would make me very sad if you felt like you couldn't blog on your own terms. The same for any blogger, you know, a real live individual.

Done. phew.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I'm just catching up with blogs after camping for five days and you've brought up a really interesting topic here. I just want to say that if this is your way of trying to say that even though you seem like a really nice inspiring normal mom on your blog, you're really a closet drug addict and a swinger.... well, I'd just like to cancel our upcoming dinner date. That's all.

(kidding. you're great. I personally would be creeped out if you laid out every detail of every decision on your blog. If that were the case, why would anyone even want to know you in real life. There'd be nothing left, you know?)

susana said...

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___________________
Susana
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