Saturday, August 11, 2012

Confidentiality and Blogging

This blog is over seven years old. It started as a way to instill the habit of daily writing. I thought I wanted to write a book and thought blogging may help me find time in each day to write and to help perfect my writing ability. I have not written a book except the fiction manuscript I wrote for NaNoWriMo in the mid-2000s. I never edited that and never will. I blog now out of habit, I think.

I am having one of those moments again where I feel like I tell too much online. And then I think to myself, "Who gives a crap about what I think and about my life, does anyone really care? Why am I still blogging?" Other times I wonder if my regular blog readers wish I blogged more about homeschooling or details of this or that about parenting or education. I have no way of knowing what people want to hear me ramble about unless they leave a comment asking. I seldom am asked questions.

I have kept the names of my kids and my husband off the blog. I have never published my husband's photo. He asked this for separation for his career. You know, if someone he works with or his boss read something on my blog that they thought was controversial, such as about homeschooling (it's so controversial don't you know?) or a parenting philosphy we use or something, in case I'm too alternative or too weird.

Yet when I keep information off the blog it starts to feel impersonal to me and as if I am lying by omission. When big things are happening and I don't blog it I feel that my online persona seems to be one thing when in reality my real life is something else. I do not intend to deceive anyone but sometimes things are too personal. Other times if I tell you things you could find out who I am in two seconds and I am trying to not have it be so obvious to strangers online what my identity is, and my husband, and my kids, and our home street address, so forth and so on.

I did have a weird experience once. I never told a soul in my Cub Scout or Boy Scout worlds that I blog and then one day a father who I'm friendly with said he did a Google search on a topic and my blog popped up. It was an essay about my son and Scouting and he said it made him cry. I was happy though that he told me this in private and did not out me to the entire Boy Scout Troop. It has never been my intention for the leaders and parents and the boys themselves to read my blog.

I also found out once that one of my close homeschool friend's son (my son's friend) did a Google search about visual processing disorders (that he and my son share) and he found my blog and began reading it daily. I never knew this and months had gone by. The mom, my friend, never reads my blog, she says she is too busy to read any blog let alone mine.

So I will tell some things and if you find out who I am I am not so sure that I care anymore. Anyhow someday if I really do ever write and publish a book I would use my real name and it may be mentioned that I'm the blogger known as ChristineMM of The Thinking Mother. So then the cat would be out of the bag anyway.


scimum said...

It's a tricky one, isn't it? I have no idea who you are 'in real life' because I live half way across the world from you. I read your blog because I also homeschool, and my eldest is slightly younger than yours, so reading your comments warns me what I might experience in a few years' time.

There was a case in the UK of a woman who a column for a national paper under the headline 'Living with teenagers', and although she said she would stop when her children found out, it appeared that nearly everyone around them found out before they did. I felt that was unfair on the children and she should have stopped once her cover was blown, so to speak.

I blog too and although I have used pseudonyms for myself and my children I think anyone who found my blog, and knew me irl, would recognise who we were instantly. There are some references to personal stuff that I took out when I realised more people had started reading my blog - mostly because I didn't want my sons to be embarrassed.

ChristineMM said...

Scimum, What kinds of things do you think parents of teens should not talk about due to possible embarrassment?

I am curious.