Behind the 8 ball

by statia on March 3, 2010

When I started this blog, eight years ago, I had no real purpose to it.   I just kind of blogged about what was on my mind.  Annoying, funny, stupid, I didn’t care.   Over the last few years, it’s apparent that this blog is probably more in the realm of a Mommy blog, and it took me a while to deal with that, because I always wanted to remain true to who I am.  And I think I’ve done a good job at that.   In general, I think that I am pretty much the same person that I am when you meet me.  That is to say, I don’t feel as if I’m this character that I’ve built over the years.

But that got me to thinking.   For the past four or five years, blogging to me, is sort of like reality tv, in a way.  No matter who you are, you kind of do spin yourself to be perceived a certain way.  Much like Kate Gosselin is perceived to be a bitch on TV.  Oh wait.   Sure, I might be the same person that I am on my blog, as I am in real life.  And I think now, I’ve met enough people from this here world wide web to attest to that.  But like anyone else, I don’t bare everything.  I have a family to respect.   I’ve always put up boundaries of what I feel comfortable sharing.   So it leaves me to wonder, is this the same thing as “creating a character” of yourself online?   Am I really any different than some branded mommy blogger?

Which begs me to ask another question.   When I started blogging, of course it was taboo to blog for money.  There’s a million and a half posts on that very subject.  It was such a small community that when people slowly started to do it, it was all OH.EM.GEE, teh horrors!  And now?  It’s a credible way to make a living.   But apparently, unbeknownst to me, until just recently, there are “rules” to blogging.  Imagine that, rules to your creativity.   You become a brand, and your life becomes about marketing yourself.   Sure, you want to appeal to an audience, because even if you write “for yourself,”  you’re lying if you say it’s only for yourself.  I’ve tried that line, sister, and yet here I am, eight years later, still writing on a public forum, for everyone to read.   Whether they like it or not.  If you’re truly writing for yourself, you’d get a private journal, no?  When did it become a business?   Does it have to be all about rules?  I’ll be honest, I’m asking for selfish reasons.  I’d love to make a few extra bucks writing.  I enjoy writing.  I never thought I would, but I do.   I find this ironic, because you couldn’t get me to sit down and do a writing assignment when I was in school.    Is it not just about reciprocal reading anymore?  Or commenting?

Are you a just a character, or are you are as you write?  I’m not talking comedic flare here.  I think we like to find people we identify with, but what’s the point of identifying with someone that isn’t all that real?

{ 18 comments }

Veronica March 4, 2010 at 12:04 am

I’m me, all over. How I am in my blog is how I am IRL. That said, I’m very careful of privacy issues and I don’t blog a lot of things. I’m slowly (ever so slowly) making teensy bits of money off my blog and I like that, I like the idea that my blogging could pay for itself. Shit, I mean if someone wanted to sponsor me thousands, I wouldn’t turn it down, but my blog, it’s tiny. I don’t want to be a ‘brand’ I don’t think – I just want to be me, not me watered down and trying to appeal to a greater audience.

I think I’d like to start a blog, where I was a character, have the whole thing fictional (and declare that it’s fiction) and see how that went, a whole other persona that wasn’t me. But I have no idea if I even have the time or energy to do that.

btss March 4, 2010 at 12:41 am

It is real, they are real. Just like the characters in movies. We cheer them on, we are sad when they are, and we share in their experiences. In those two hours, we walk with them. The same can be said for blogging. You write to tell your story, to gain feedback, to vent…whatever. But in those moments of reading you, we relate to you…we walk with you. ;)

Jonathan March 4, 2010 at 1:10 am

What, like I’m a character how? Like I’m a clown? Like I’m funny? Funny how? I amuse you? I make you laugh? Like I’m here to amuse you?

diamond dave March 4, 2010 at 9:19 am

Just like the title of my blog says, it’s the real me. Okay, there are some personal details that aren’t blog fodder, but what’s there is the real thing. Basically I use mine as a combination soapbox/brain dump. Mostly just the brain dump.

donna March 4, 2010 at 9:37 am

All real here. Although maybe my blog is a bit toned down for the reasons you say. I have a family to protect. I certainly don’t post every bitchy thought that goes through my head. I’d alienate the whole world if I did.

Ms. Pants March 4, 2010 at 10:06 am

I am now, and will always remain, a chmodhead.

Faith March 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

My name may be an alias, but the person being portrayed is 100% real. I really am that bitchy/whiny/silly/serious about people needing to use their fucking HEADS now and again.

And over the years, I’ve become less and less apologetic for it all. (Because there was a time when I felt like it was too much. I don’t anymore.)

The fake name is all about being private, is all. It came from a stalking incident, and it stuck. (As in, I was stalking an ex-boyfriend that treated me oh-so-wrong, so I needed a fake name for it. Hahaha! Ha. Uh-ehm…)

I tend to keep internal family shit off my blog, because my family is intense with their privateness, but if something funny happens with them involved, I’m likely to blog about it. Just the serious stuff I keep to myself.

But the poop, boobs, fat, fights with the husband stuff? I put that out there for all the world to see because I want people to know they aren’t alone. Just like they let ME know at one point before I started blogging. Its what I love about being able to share so easily…

Eleanor Q. March 4, 2010 at 11:01 am

I think if you met me in real life you would find that I’m the same person as I appear on my blog. However, blog readers are often privy to an inner dialogue that I don’t always express to RL friends. Even though I don’t blog about all aspect of my life, I don’t think they really change the esssence of who I am. I think for most bloggers, you get a good sense of who they are but maybe not all the gory details.

Old School/New School Mom March 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm

It’s a very difficult thing to balance. I think you do a good job at keeping it real. That’s why I love your blog! You’re real.

I feel like no matter what, though, the internet has a way of type-casting people. Despite our attempts to keep it real, people will place you in a category of sorts.

I, like you, say what I think and write about what is real and important to me.

Shelly March 4, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I’m me, but monitored so as to protect the family and not bore the rest of the world to tears. I have no intention of ever making money from it b/c I think that would put a pressure on me that would take away the joy of blogging. I don’t aspire to have 500 readers either, though. Maybe I’m just weird.

Shannon March 5, 2010 at 9:07 am

I wrote the blog to begin with because it’s not something I could just chuck into the fire and walk away from. I like to think who I am in real life and who I am on the blog are the same, but then what do I know?

electriclady March 5, 2010 at 10:18 am

I’m real on my blog, but it’s only a portion of my reality. Because I tend to write more when I’m going through something tough, and because the whole thing was an IF blog to begin with, I think (but I’m not positive) that my blog gives a more negative impression of me than the reality–negative as in sad or serious, that is. I’m also real on FB, but that’s a more sanitized, happy side of me because I have so many work contacts on there. The two of them put together are probably an accurate picture, but even then there’s stuff missing.

Lindsay March 5, 2010 at 11:39 am

Well, obviously you know my answer! I worry that the corporatization of blogs is going to tempt more women to be “characters”- to be what they think marketers want- and that’s not good for anybody.

PiquantMolly March 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Oh god, I’m totally me. Hence the fact that my writing is so damn boring lately.

Mrs.Mayhem March 5, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I’m new to this whole blogging arena. Characters, advertising, readers – those are all things that don’t really apply yet. I don’t feel comfortable posting our real names, but if everything else is phony too, then what’s the point?? I am all about honesty.

jenG March 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Yeah, it’s me. If anything, it’s more me, sometimes, than real life. I tend to monitor my outrage and profanity in public, where it seems to make people who don’t already know and love me…uncomfortable.

Aunt Becky March 6, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Sadly, I’m the same person, except I have no nieces or nephews. Which is why I adopted the Internet.

Yo-yo Mama March 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I once had the grand dream of becoming commercial, but then I realized that I wasn’t very good at blogging. So then I tried tagging onto other bloggers who seemed to be wildly popular and that just annoyed me too because I couldn’t relate.

If you want to make some cash on the side for your blog, that’s your right – obviously. If you get so popular that you end up with 75 comments just when you tell us that you farted and that scared the dog? Yeah, sorry, but that’s not my cup of tea. I’d much rather hear how you farted and it scared the baby.

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