Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blogging Nightmare

This blog was giving me nightmares last night. As with most dreams, I can't remember too much detail so you're spared a blow-by-blow account. Last night, however, there were at least two occasions when I woke up, apparently still having the same dream, when all the details seemed crystal clear. Details that left me a bit uneasy when I got up this morning.

The gist of the dream:

I kept running into people (not people I know or have known) who'd read the blog and taken extreme exception to what they'd read and, as a result, were subjecting me to verbal abuse and threatening me with physical violence.

They were being threatening enough for me to consider abandoning my blog

Although I 'anonymise' names as far as possible, I supply enough narrative for people to recognise themselves if they were to read what I've written about them. So far I know of only one person who's stumbled across things I've written about him without me having actually directed him to my blog. Even though I've said or implied some less than pleasant things about some people (him included), I doubt that any of them would threaten me physically over what I've written.

Mike recently posted his lecture notes on blogging for a Creative Writing workshop in Nottingham. This is what he has to say about the confessional aspect of a lot of blogging and how it can lead to unwelcome discovery.

Confessional aspect.

- depression/divorce/sexual misdemeanours etc etc
- cathartic for writer, car crash rubbernecking for readers?
- "online disinhibition effect"
- liberating effect of screen: confession booth/heart to heart with
- "I'm insignificant"/"no one will find me"

Many, many examples
- people have been sacked
- sites closed abruptly
- own experience (unfairly bitchy account of posh lunch party, found by
friend of the hosts)
- assume that they WILL find what you've said, don't say anything
wouldn't say to face
- stick to being rude about politicians/celebs: that's what we pay them

OR... stick to YOURSELF as subject
- hence criticism "bloggers are self-obsessed"
- goes with the territory

I wonder if last night's nightmare is a warning signal of some sort?


Blogger andrea said...

I've been chastised for what I've written on my blog and it's *given* me nightmares! (especially as the critic was one of my dealers...) It's not an anonymous blog but I have structured it so that you can't find the blog if you google my first and last name. I've discovered that that gives me a false sense of security. I'll admit to feeling quite shocked when someone who I had no idea was reading it says, "You blog was funny on Tuesday." It's a brave new world of communications all right.

2:07 am  
Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

I struggled with this when I first started blogging. What is allowed, what's not allowed, how much should I/can I reveal and when do I infringe on the prvacy of others? Even when you blog about yourself, it somehow does involve others as well.
Now I have a simple rule... would I say the same things I say on my blog to someone's face, can I defend my viewpoint, would I feel offended if it happened to me, etc.
My blog is tongue-in-cheeck and mostly opinion based on circumstance.
As for the rest, I don't really give a continental f*ck. Life's too short and far to complicated for me to second guess every little thing I do.

9:15 am  
Blogger GAMBIT said...

I have not been blogging for long and am still unsure what to say about other people on my blog. Even if they never read it I am always convinced that people who know them may and this could lead th problems. How to disguise the person is also a problem. You have to give enough detail to keep the context of the story but hide enough to prevent embarressment. How did you handle being found out ?

8:01 pm  

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