Monday, August 20, 2007


Lindsay Ferrier is a local writer who runs a fine blog called Suburban Turmoil, which those of you familiar with the mommyblogger genre may already know about. She also writes a weekly column for the Nashville Scene, the closest thing we have around here to an alternative newspaper. Recently Ferrier wrote about her friend Elizabeth, whose Busymom blog is fairly successful in its own right:

My friend Elizabeth is the quintessential Nashville mom. She works at Vanderbilt, has three kids in Catholic school and spends most of her fall and spring weekends on the soccer fields. But while she dresses and dyes and drawls just like all the other mothers I know, she’s actually hiding a secret that would stun most of her friends and neighbors: Elizabeth is an Internet superstar.

Most of Elizabeth's friends have no idea she blogs, and she's not sure that she wants them to know:

Offline, though, she worries about the conclusions her colleagues might draw if they discover her secret. “People would probably think I was a bigger weirdo than I actually am,” she says. “I think about it every now and then, especially when I want to tell someone in 3-D about something cool that happened to me as a result of my blog, but, there’s no good way to tell them about it.”

It seems that a lot of bloggers, including myself, find that their family and friends either don't know or don't care what they do online. It's almost as though we've formed some sort of secret society unknown to those who don't blog. My wife knows I have this blog, but she doesn't understand the point of spending so much time communicating with "strangers". She reads my writings once in a blue moon. My parents bought their first computer a few months ago, but haven't figured out how to turn it on yet. (Seriously - they're waiting for me to make my next trip home so I can show them what to do with it.) My father-in-law, an indefatigable e-mailer, has no interest - "I don't want to monkey with no damn internet". I've told a few of my friends about Pole Hill, but they've shown no interest. I have one real-life friend who spends a lot of time online; a retired Marine, he spends nearly all his time on milblogs and gaming sites. No one I work with knows of this blog, for reasons I've explained elsewhere.

I really don't think that's a bad thing, though. I'd just as soon the people I know in real life weren't interested in my blogging activities. Part of it is, like Elizabeth, I don't want them thinking I'm weirder than they already think I am. Mostly, though, it's because I don't want to feel like there's always people looking over my shoulder when I write. I feel I'd have to watch every word carefully if I knew my friends and family were reading. It's an odd thing, but in some ways I feel I can be more open here, writing to people I have yet to meet in real life, than I can be with most of the people I see face-to-face every day.

So that's our topic of the moment. Do your family and friends know you blog; if they do, do they read it? Do you feel there's things you can't write because of it, or couldn't write if they did read your blog? If your friends and co-workers found out you were a blogger, would it make you feel geeky? Can you tell your online friends things you can't tell your friends in real life? Just wonderin' how y'all approach these issues.