We sometimes blog not because we want to say something, but because we have to – there is anger or fear or joy or sorrow in us that wants to come out. For many of us blogging has become the most accessible medium for sharing with the world not only our thoughts and passions, but also personal experiences that are often troubling or embarrassing. Many a time, I have come upon blogs that are painful diaries of sorrow, misfortune, or abuse, often hidden behind smiling Gravatars or homepages painted in bright colors. And I felt compassion, as one often does, and also a quiet admiration, that people can share these things with strangers.
Blogging supersedes the personal diary in certain ways. (I, too, have been keeping a diary for more than two years now, and it’s growing thicker every month.) That blogging is essentially social does not however prevent it from creating the personal and quiet environment we need for expressing our innermost doubts and fears, like a diary does. But how much can we truly share about ourselves on our blogs before our “social awareness/unease/angst” kicks in?
I’ve written here about my romantic misadventures, health woes, or how I did not cry when my father died. There certainly was catharsis. What’s more, thoughtful and pertinent comments have lit up dark corners of my mind, helping me accept and understand.
But where do we draw the line? How confessional can we allow our blogs to be? Posting pictures of our holidays or discussing the suffering we go through after a painful breakup makes sense, but what about those deep fears lurking in us, those doubts, those unsocial ideas that we cannot easily express before our social audience without incurring certain risks? Do we keep those to our diary?
Take me for instance. For quite some time now I’ve been intending to tell you about a girl I stopped one day on the street to photograph, and about the romantic adventures and misadventures that followed, and the inevitable end, but something has held me back. I have already whispered that story to my diary, all of it, the joy and the sorrow of it, so why should I write it here, too? Has my “sense of privacy” increased with my follower count? Alas, what a thought!
Maybe some stories have to be shared aloud, and others only whispered, to ourselves. Our lives are made up of stories. Some of those stories we share with our family and loved ones, some with our friends, some we share on our blogs, and others we consign to our diary, sharing them perhaps only with older versions of ourselves when our eyes, by chance or by some brave deliberation, leaf through the mothy pages, two, ten, twenty, or sixty one years later.to
Blogging is personal, that’s the beauty of it, but how personal do you allow your blog to be? Do you blog about some things and write others in a diary? Do you keep a diary at all? Or has your blog become your new “social diary”?