Monday, September 6, 2010

Your Authentic Web Identity

So this post is geared a bit toward the newer bloggers in the crowd but I'd love to see what those who have been in the blog world a while have to say about my words, too.

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I was reading my September Vogue again (yes, the same magazine that led to the horrific tub overflow - it's a little wet) and a sentence caught my eye. I don't know if I'm quoting it directly, but it said something to the effect of "How much do we hide behind our web identities?"

Those of you that have read my blog for a while know that I (pretty much) an open book. I'll tell you anything that is going on in my mind, all of the bad things that I do, and those moments of absolute bliss as well. However, I'm not good at cleaning house. You are more than likely never going to see my home in House Beautiful, and I can tell you right now that you will NEVER see my bedside table or dresser. As much as I try to keep those clean, they always seem to be overflowing with Hot Wheels and magazines, unpaid bills and Incredibly Important Papers. It's not pretty. So I will be a blogger who admits it; my physical world is a little (okay, incredibly a lot) air brushed.

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It does bother me when I read a newer blogger who is struggling with whether she should let all of the controversial or icky stuff that she is thinking about out there. All in all, it's her blog, but if it's something that's weighing on her mind and she needs to get it out, gosh darn it, it's her blog!! Now I will say that I have a few BIG rules that I follow when it comes to blog revelation; I Never air the family's dirty laundry, I try not to complain, I never talk about a trying or hurtful subject that has happened to someone else without first getting their permission, and I NEVER, EVER talk about the larger events in my children's social lives on my blog. I'm sorry, Perez Hilton, but gossip is never becoming of the gossiper.

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So how much of ourselves do we share? I will tell you that when I am having a particularly bad depression day there won't be a post; the words swimming around in my head don't really need to be published on the blogosphere. But I'm never going to try to pretend that I'm Martha Mama when I'm really not (have you seen those Dora the Explorer cupcakes on Nick Jr? Come on. I'm doing good if the cupcakes actually get frosted!). There are ubermoms out there that I am actually in awe of (Lisa of 5 Orange Potatoes and anyone who home schools their children well come to mind).

I think what it boils down to is that a person's blog is their place of expression, and whatever that person feels comfortable expressing has a place on their blog. There are blogs that I don't read because I don't agree with the content or the posts just rub me the wrong way. But it's not my blog or my thoughts on that screen, so more power to the author.

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If you are a newer blogger and you are still trying to find your voice, I urge you to take a look at a few of the following blogs. These ladies (and man), I believe, are truly authentic, artistic souls. They show it in very different ways, but at least I get the feeling that if I met these people I'd feel like I'd known them for years.

always time for tea
be yourself . . . everyone else is taken
CHAI, CINNAMON, & COUTURE
come sit by my fire
Earth Mama
Give a Girl a Fig
heartfelt and homemade
moments of perfect clarity
Practice is Perfect
Puzzling Posts: An Admission of Cluelessness

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ramblins...
remedial eating
SPLITTERGEWITTER
Soul Aperture
Thst's Mrs. Mediocrity to You
The 60/40
There is a Time

And I'm going to stop here. I have so many more I could share with you. Check out my blog roll - these are the people that I wanted to be like when I started out. Be yourself. To heck with the haters. You wanna talk about hiding behind a web identity? Ms. Anonymous Commentor has that avenue covered!

Photos from We Heart It

30 comments:

Jessica said...

Your photos with your posts are so amazing!

beth said...

and you know what ?

i think i would feel like i've known you, too.....if we met in real life... and i thank you for that !

what you wrote is brilliant and i couldn't agree more. i am an open book, but like you, family stuff is private and anything that would hurt them in any way, is off limits.

and dirty laundry/hurtful things.....nope. nada.

and if i'm grouchy, you might know it, but am i going to dwell on it ? absolutely not.

thanks for being so insightful and brave and honest.

Char said...

first, thank you. i'm honored and yes, i strive to be authentic and open whenever possible and i also have a strict rule about not disclosing younger than 18 year old names or locations. i started blogging first as an outlet to myself and then in doing that, found there were many, many like me that all needed to reach out to other kindred spirits.

i'm glad we found each other.

~Onreeone~ said...

I think you can tell my my blog that I am an open book as well. Sometimes the only way I can vent my feelings is through MY blog. I have enjoyed reading your posts and seeing all of your pictures. I'm happy that the August break is over and you will get back to writing some inspiring posts. Thanks- Angie over at One Day At A Time.

Marnie said...

I like your blogging guidelines. I'm the same way, I don't use my blog as a forum to air dirty laundry, or to publically complain.

All the best,
Marnie

Michelle said...

Yes, yes, and yes!! I have much more respect for those women I find in the world wide web who I can relate to...who DON'T have it all together. I would so love to have it all together...but my baseboards and stained carpet get in my way of that. I don't like house work either...and I DID show my nightstand but probably shouldn't have! lol! That was 9 months ago...it's um...changed a bit...shall we say? I can't seem to stop piling!!

Anyway...you are good the way you are. No comparisons. No competition. Each of our lives are our own. And as long as we live it to the best of our ability, what more could we ask for?

You mentioned depressed days...I know of what you speak. And I'm in the process this very minute of completing a small booklet on ways to combat it...it's going to Belgium with me.

Love to you...and I appreciate you keeping it real. xo

Jan @ bobbypins boardwalk said...

Erin, I enjoyed reading your post. You know -- it is something that I still struggle with -- not so much for myself but for my family. What I reveal about myself and my life includes others that I love and I need to be mindful of their feelings too. For example -- my mother is having serious health problems and she is a strong Christian woman who believes in the power of prayer. Without asking her, I posted a request for prayer on my blog. It's still there. I THEN showed it to her. Quite frankly, she seemed a bit taken back. She said it would be fine, however, but she wanted her picture removed. I've posted her picture on my blog in the past and she's never said a word, but when I asked her about this particular post, she asked that I remove her picture.

Well -- I removed her picture, of course, but it kind of made me think of my other family members. Shoot I just go throwing pictures and stories around a little too freely I think.

Most of my blog is about "things", however, so it doesn't get me into too much trouble. From now on though I am going to ask my family members about pictures, etc. before I post it. I never thought it would be an issue, but I was obviously wrong.

Today my mom thanked me for putting the prayer request on my blog. I think having it sprung on her the way I did was a bit startling.

By the way -- I hope you believe in the power of prayer, and if so, please pray for my mom, Maxine. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last week. Further testing tomorrow. Thank you so much

(((((((((((hugs))))))))))))

katieb said...

well said!

Manda said...

Oh Erin.... I feel like an open book no matter where I am. I feel fueled by authenticity.
I see hope in the limp, scares, and being-healed-wounds. I can only hope that when someone gets the chance to see me, they feel they've known me for a lifetime. That I am the same on screen as I am in person.
I'm not one to gossip or vent rage about other's on my blog... but I'm the first to show my own struggles, heart issues and obstacles. There is something about being broken that gives others permission to be real too.

Jessica Warrick said...

I totally agree. Im fairly new to blogging but i realized quickly that i want my blog to be about my life the good the bad and the ugly that way i have a book to go back and read. I post about my children and there issues or adventures and bout my hubby and how clueless he is.. I post about my ups and my downs and in the end i feel better for the content i create. My blog is a true expression of me..

Ashley said...

applause! Thanks for posting this! I am a new blogger and definitely look up to the "real" ladies in blogger ville!

Hannah said...

Thank you for this- what a great post.
I feel that my online identity is an authentic extension of who I am, and in the transparency of my writing there, sometimes I discover more about myself.

Ashley said...

Applause! Thanks for posting this! As a new blogger I def look up to the authentic ladies out there in bloggerville! I'm on the boat with you about what not to expose to others but like you said these blogs are about self expression and if someone doesnt like the content on one blog then the simple answer is to not visit it. Right? I mean thats pretty simple... I guess not for anonymous trolls..

sara said...

Fantastically said. I know I still have that heart-dropping moment whenever I hit publish on a really personal post. I don't mind sharing, I don't mind answering questions or talking about my life. However, I do still get nervous that I'll put something out there and get nasty comments in return. I shouldn't care and should just embrace what you said...it's my space and if you don't like what I'm saying then don't read it. Great post!

Jen said...

I hear you. There's times where I feel like I need to be totally honest with where I'm at and then there's other times where I get a check about sharing so I don't. I feel like if I don't publish anything personal then I become unrelatable and I don't want that.

Jen said...

I, for one, love your blog and your web identity!

Weezer said...

Very, very nice, Erin. Like you, there are some that I just don't feel like I need or want to spend the time on. But with my blog, what you see is what I am and what you get. 100%
I figure I'm doing this for ME and there's just some things I don't need to dwell on for my own benefit or self-ridicule.
This is great advice.
Weezer

Barbara said...

I once had a blog, which because of the people who commented on it, turned into a blog that wasn't "me". So I started over, and shared the new blog with friends and people I know: a couple of weeks ago, when I met up with a friend who lives on the other side of teh planet, she said to me "I love your blog, when I read it I can hear your voice, it is so you!"
It was the best compliment she could have given me.

Charissa Steyn said...

Hey Lady! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! How much a person is willing to share often depends on their purpose for the blog. But there is so much healing that needs to be done in many people's lives when it comes to taking off their mask. Sometimes, people aren't even aware that they are hiding things, they just do it almost unconsciously. Being who God has created us to be is freeing not only to that person, but others around them. So yes, being authentic and real with people in our lives is a beautiful quality we should definitely aim for!

Myrna R. said...

Erin,
Thank you so much for this very helpful post.

I still consider myself a new blogger - about 6 months blogging. So, I can use all the help I can get.

I'll stop by some of the blogs you recommend.

Thanks again.

Zabrinah said...

This was such an interesting post.

I really enjoyed it. I find that I, personally, hide behind my persona/web identity only because my blog isn't so much about me .... as it is about giving advice and showing other people how guys can mess with their mind.

When the day comes when it's important for my readers to know who I am, I'll probably tell them/show them.

:)


~Zabrinah

Mariella said...

You are right Erin, it is difficult to find a balance and our own voice when it comes to blogging. And I also feel that sometimes I have said too much, or too little. As a relatively new blogger I am still trying to find my place here and I have to admit it's not always easy to have something intelligent, "appropriate" or cool to say even if that's my space and my world, but the fact that I am exposing myself with a blog inevitably makes me feel self conscious sometimes. It would be enough to be ourselves, but to be honest, many times that's the most difficult thing...xo

cheri said...

my blog has a very weird name, but it encompasses who i am. i write about almost anything, but i make sure i ask permission from the people concerned.

i do understand that sometimes people cant relate to the topics i write about. after all, i live on the other side of the world. i know that there are differences in opinion, but that's what makes things interesting. i like reading them. in case i dont agree with it, i wont comment and move on.

t does wool said...

interesting and thoughtful post.
the images are beautiful.
As you know...I am rather on the private side...and like to express things in a simple way...yes...each blog is ones own.
Yours is lovely,erin~

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Shawna said...

I borrowed your glitter eyes picture and wrote a quick-flow semi-poem on my blog.

I don't really have a blog identity, or real-life identity for that matter! There's more mom than me in here. These years are not about who I am; these years are about who I can help my girls become.

shawna-mygirls.blogspot.com

Cora said...

Wow...this is so true I believe about all of us. We can either paint a picture of something/someone false or just be ourselves. Thank you so much for including me in your list of bloggers. I try my very best to be honest, simple, and plain ole me. There are blogs I read that I do not agree with something written, but most of the time I just simply let it go. Like you say it is their blog, they can express what they want to, I just do not have to agree, read it nor comment. This I can also say about Facebook comments too. I do not like controversy. On my blog you will find honest true blue me. I like my blog to be a place where I share...good thoughts, recipes, photos, events, and yes sometimes an opinion...after all it is MY blog! I can choose what is revealed and written there...no TMI here.
Thanks

Robin said...

Thanks for being brave enough to share who you are with the world and authentic enough to not compromise your values! Your blog is lovely. :)

Emily Joyce said...

Erin, I appreciate this post so much :) It definitely gave some things to think about. Your guidelines are very good. I really enjoyed reading all the other comments too. Thanks for sharing the links too, I plan to check them out!

kneesandpaws said...

I love your blog to pieces. Thank you for sharing this reading list!

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