Censorship: My Blog's Gone All 1984
Someone asked me the other day if I was still blogging. I said yes, and then said no, and then said "that's a difficult question."
Early in March, my dear friend Robyn came all the way from New Brunswick to visit during her March break. As we often do when together, we looked at blogs and shared our favourite topics to read about, and inevitably we turned to discussing our own blogs. Robyn is an avid blogger, or rather, used to be, and I always enjoy reading her insightful posts. But as we talked more about the evolution of blogging, Robyn made the sort of off-hand comment that all blogs are sort of the same, so who needs to read what I post?
I thought about that. I thought about the blogs I read - varying from book reviews to nail and makeup reviews to life as a female academic - and I thought: maybe that's true. Maybe what I'm putting out into the world doesn't actually matter. And maybe no one cares.
Writing a blog is a very narcissistic thing. It's not the same as writing a private journal or even a piece of journalism - whatever the subject matter. A personal blog is publicly posting your thoughts and experiences based on the notion that people care about what you're doing and what you have to say. And it's true, obviously: some people do care what others have to say.
But I've increasingly thinking about self-editing and censorship, and the fact that once you're out there in the blogosphere, you have to do some critical reading of your work. I'm not talking about spell-check or misplaced semi-colons (an occasional grammatical misstep can be forgiven, I feel, on a blog); I mean idea censorship. I have to be careful what I send out into the interwebs for a couple of reasons.
1) People come to expect a certain style or level of taste from a particular blog. If one follows a blog that's all about craft projects for the elderly, there is a certain level of content and language expectation there, and if the poster deviates from the norm, it's not always well received. I know that if the nail polish bloggers I follow don't post photos followed by a description of application/longevity, I am disinterested in the post. The readership expects continuity from the blog.
2) When something is posted online, it's there forever. Any message you send, any tweet you twitter, any blog post can never be removed from the web. Even if it's deleted, it exists somewhere on some server and can be found with surprisingly little effort by someone who even half knows what they're doing. So it's quite important, especially when employers and future academic supervisors and friends' parents can find your thought vomit splattered all over the web, to make sure nothing is posted that you may one day deeply regret.
So that is why I have taken a long break from blogging. I really like blogging, and I needed to decide if I wanted to continue; and if I did, in what vein did I want to continue my posting? I considered maybe starting to post some "beauty" content (this essentially means makeup and nail polish), but then I thought: "No. I like reading that stuff but I don't want to post it."
No. I think I will continue with the themes I have been embracing for the past year and a half of this blog: snippets of my life, book and movie reviews, thoughts and convictions I experience daily. I also decided that since I am moving to Ottawa in the fall to study at Carleton (LIFE UPDATE YAY), it'll be a great way to keep people who care informed about my life abroad in another big city.
If you've made it this far: thanks for reading! As a prize, here's an adorable picture of a girl and a camel: