May 05, 2006

Deleted

When I first began blogging, I told no one about my blog. I wanted to keep the space for me. I am often protective of my own spaces, perhaps as a result of growing up in a small house with a bunch of siblings and extras. But gradually, as blogging became part of my life, people started finding out about it. I live in a crowded house with very little privacy, and I am not much for keeping secrets. My college-age daughter started reading the blog. And I gave the address to a few close friends who live in other places and who like to get these daily glimpses of my life. My husband knows about the blog, but is good about respecting the space as mine, and he does not usually read the blog unless I ask him to read a post. My sons don’t read the blog but they know that it exists, and they tease me about it, often in front of other people. Most of the extra kids who come to the house know about the blog, and join in the teasing.

One way or the other, my blog is becoming more public all the time. And an awful lot of people seem to read it. So this week I did something I’ve never done before. I read through my archives and took down some posts. The posts weren’t offensive or untrue, but they were deeply personal. I sometimes use writing as a way of working through issues, of sorting out my feelings, a way to move toward healing. The posts were important and painful to write – and I treasure the comments and support this community of bloggers gave me in response. But it was time to take them down.

25 comments:

Stroll said...

Well, you have to do what you have to do. I've deleted posts before myself, because, like you I meant for my blog to be anonymous but of course people I know found out about it which is no big deal. But I do have to censor myself at least a little bit now. There are more people who know me in real life than not who read it, and there's not nearly the amount of readers you have. But I know what your talking about in this post and it kind of hurts when you lose the ability to go there in your posts and really, really purge. Anyway, I love this blog and even with those newly missing posts it's still something I look forward to reading every day. :) /End ramble.

SuzanH said...

Interesting. I've been having a dilemma--a few people in my area have found my blog by googling my name. It's very weird. I don't know how to address it, because I started it as a semi-anonymous space to vent. And now this.

Maybe some pruning is in order, but that won't help with the other.

BrightStar said...

I'm sorry to hear that appears as though you don't find this blog to be as safe of a space for you any longer.

chichimama said...

I find myself self-censoring frequently and have taken down a few posts from before anyone knew about my blog.

I sometimes regret sharing my space with those I love. But it frequently helps them to understand me better as well. It is a fine line to trod. Hugs to you.

Phantom Scribbler said...

(o)

I'd tease you a little bit about the price of becoming a bloggy rock star, but it's not really a teasing matter when your space for working things out becomes compromised.

Girl said...

Well that makes a lot of sense. Maybe I should have consulted with you before pissing off my roommates in my blog.

jo(e) said...

I guess I should say that I think I am okay with the change. I only took down four posts -- four out of more than 450, which is hardly anything.

I do feel that I have to be more careful than I used to be about what things I write about, which of course is a loss, but on the other hand, it is a relief not to be secretive about the blog. I am used to being pretty open, and I prefer to be that way.

I think I have slowly shifted my ways of thinking about who my audience is as that audience has gotten bigger. So it is a change, but not necessarily a negative change.

Leslee said...

Jo(e) I do the same thing from time to time as I learn who my reading audience is. I found out a couple of months ago one of the teenagers from my church actually reads my blog- daily! I try to keep that in mind when I'm writing and the few times I've vented about my job have come down just in case because though the thoughts and feeling were very true for that moment does not mean that they'll be true if and when a coworker finds my blog.

sp said...

Jo(e)

I certainly know all about this since I just deleted my own blog when information about its existence leaked to grad students in my department. That's the WORST bunch to have reading your personal stuff - bored, bitter and nosy as hell. They just love looking through people's stuff in case there is good gossip in there for them to feast on.

I wish I had deleted my posts individiually rather than deleting the blog using Blogger's delete tool. Or, I wish I had known about ways to keep Google and other search engines from indexing and storing cached pages of my blog. Because now....even though I can't regulate what's in Square Plate anymore, it's still readable in Google's cahce for anyone who feels like looking. Sadness.

If I start a new one I will definitely keep it a secret, no matter how hard it is.

I'm sorry you had to take down some posts. Did you save them somewhere or did you just trash them?

Lisa V said...

Yes, I've taken down some posts, more than you, in the last couple of weeks. Precisely the same reasons though. Just too personal to be out there anymore.

I was freaked when my daughter's friends found the blog, but after I thought about it, I knew they would be too bored to keep reading. I was right.

But now there is a little more filter between my brain and the keyboard.

angrygrad said...

SP: You can change the status of the posts to "Draft".

jo(e) said...

Yes, that's what I did. I just saved them as Draft. So the posts are still there, but I am the only one who can read them.

cloudscome said...

I often think about this. I have only been blogging for a few months, so I don't have much in the archives yet. But I tend to forget what I wrote so I know next year I will have no idea what new readers will be learning about me. I also try to keep my blog about the books I am reading, but can't help put stuff in about my kids. I also want to share photos of them, but don't want to lose control....

Today for the first time I posted one of my own poems, written by me. Scary and exhilarating at the same time. If I ever go back and look at it again I am sure I will want to delete it.

Is this not the reason to blog, rather than keep a private journal or just talk to people IRL? We want to share, but not so much. I've told my colleagues and family and friends about my blog, but I feel very nervous about it, and self-conscious.

negativecapability said...

I don't know how it happened, but I've been reading your blog since the first post - and I can't believe how big it's gotten since then! I am honored that I was able to read those glimpses of your life, but can see how you would want to take some of them down.

Seeking Solace said...

I just looked at your blogroll and saw how many of us are listed. WOW! But, I have loved your blog since the first day I stumbled upon it. I have found your posts interesting and inspiring. But I totally understand why you did what you did. I often find myself posting things and then taking them down because I am afraid of what reaction may result. Like B* said, it does suck that blogging cannot be a safe place anymore.

Caleb said...

jo(e): Just a note of support: I've done the same thing at my blog before. It's strange the way a kind of social ethics has sprung up around blogging, so that unspoken rules ("thou shalt not delete posts") quickly come to feel as though they have the force of law. But I think a lot of these "rules," when examined more closely, break down. The reason for leaving posts up, presumably, is that blogging is a public medium, and withdrawing a post has the same vague stigma as withdrawing a book from circulation. But I don't think that analogy is apt: even though a blog is theoretically public all the time, in matter of fact I think most blogs go through life cycles whose phases are alternately public and private. A post written during a phase when the readership of a blog was ten people is substantively different from a post written when the readership is 100, and authors shouldn't have to offer a defense for saying so.

Anyway, just a long-winded way of saying that I'm sympathetic to your decision and hope you aren't feeling any phantom guilt about making it. And in case I haven't said so, I wanted to add how much I enjoy reading your blog.

jo(e) said...

Thanks, Caleb. I think at first it did feel sort of wrong to take down some posts, even though they were just a few posts buried in my archives. But now that I've done it, I feel okay about it. It feels less like I'm silencing myself and more like I am coming out of the closet. I think I am okay with my blog being a more public space. I do like having readers ... after all, that is why I am blogging instead of writing in a private journal.

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

You know, I have actually thrown away journals. I came across my high school journal awhile ago and just decided that it didn't hold any interest for me... didn't in any way reflect the person I am now, and frankly, was kind of embarrassing. So I pitched it. I have no regrets, LOL. I think the blog is kind of like that.

Psycgirl said...

SP mentioned this.
Is there a way to keep your blog from showing up on google?? If so, please please someone illuminate me!

You can email me: stressfultimes@gmail.com

Autumn said...

I switched blogs, pulled everything off the old one, and haven't relifted the archives yet. Haven't decided if I want to yet. And it's been over a year....

I've pulled posts, or made them more private, for many reasons - including people asking me to pull them. I've asked others to pull posts - I felt mixed about it, but at times, you have to protect yourself and others. It's for the best in the long run.

I think sometimes people assume that those of us who have our identity stamped on their blogs can be as honest as those who are totally anonymous. Sadly, that's not the case. But I think it's a good way for people to get to know us.

A good friend recently went back and read all my archives. I even sent them my old archives from the blog I pulled. That was because I trusted them, but would I want most people to do that? No way.

Zeno said...

Your blog is yours, to do with as you see fit. Certainly it's worthwhile to protect some private space, and you're just taking steps to shelter some things that might otherwise become too public. That seems perfectly reasonable.

I don't usually get a lot of blog traffic myself, but the main thing is that only a tiny handful of my readers know who I am. I naturally avoid writing stuff about that select few, although sometimes I think it would have been nice if I had told no one what I was doing. So far, though, it's been nice to talk about my posts with a few close friends and colleagues. For now, it works just fine.

Scrivener said...

Psycgirl: You can insert some code in your blog template. It should go into the main-column section of the blog, right after the <Blogger< tag.

Just paste this code into the template:

<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX"< <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOFOLLOW"<


It instructs the search engine spiders not to look any further at your page. I can't find the page right now where I got that code (which I don't use on my main blog, but I do use for my dissertation blog), but it should work just fine.

Scrivener said...

OOps, one correction, at the very end of that code, it's supposed to be a > (greater than) sign to close the tag, not a lt;

Scrivener said...

Dangit, two corrections. Both tags end with a greater than.

Let me just try that again:

<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX"> <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOFOLLOW">

Just paste that in after the <Blogger> tag in the main-column section of your blog's template.

halloweenlover said...

I'm bummed that you had to censor some of your posts, but I understand. I also have kept my blog a very personal secret space, but more and more people read it, and I'm aware of the possibility of a family member or coworker stumbling across it.