Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sharing my blog with friends and family

[This is becoming a week of blogging about blogging. Thanks for reading!]

More (and more and more) lately I've been thinking about my blogging anonymity. Over three years ago I started this blog to record my wedding planning, and I told a select few friends and family about it who checked in every once in a while. But after the wedding was over, I couldn't stop writing. I was loving the creative outlet and getting to know so many amazing blog friends; I had forgotten (chose to forget?) that I'd ever told anyone in real life about it.
I loved the freedom to write beyond the trivial - about my marriage, family relationships, life and faith. Things that I generally wouldn't mind people knowing - but things that I wouldn't overtly share among most family, friends and acquaintances.

In order to protect my outlet here, I started a 'family' blog where I just posted pictures and generally surface-y things so my family and facebook friends could keep up with our life in California (since it is so foreign for most of my Midwest circle). But by this summer, I was habitually reposting the light content from Latte Love (read: photos and "what we did this week" stuff) to my family blog and filling in a few details, because I didn't have the energy to keep up with both.

When we got back from Italy, I stopped posting on the family blog altogether. It felt so repetitive, and while a few people may have missed it, I don't think there was much interest in it that Facebook updates weren't filling. I continued to hope that Latte Love was fairly anonymous from my IRL community.

But between the summer and now, four different acquaintances have told me that they discovered my blog completely randomly: though searches, my guest posts on other blogs, or link-ups I've participated in. My professor's wife even somehow found my style site! Most had no idea that I wrote or kept a blog and were really surprised to find it.

It's hard not to talk to people I know about something that is a part of my life - both the writing, and the relationships I've formed here. But when I do mention a blog friend, or a DIY project found on a blog, or a comment I received, it often leads into an uncomfortable conversation that goes something like this.

"Oh, you blog? I didn't know that...?" *looks expectantly*

"I do. But I don't feel comfortable sharing it with personal acquaintances"

"But isn't it public on the internet for anyone to read?"

"Yes it is. But most people I know don't know about it, and wouldn't know how to find it."

"Oh." *awkward pause*

So, why don't I just tell my family and friends about it?
There are two big hang-ups for me when it comes to sharing this part of my life. The most obvious one is that once I share this place, I'll have to be a bit more guarded and censored about how I write about my relationships with family and friends, my marriage, and certain things that might affect E or our family in future church ministry.

The second reason might sound a little strange. But my other apprehension is that people I know will read this blog and feel like they don't know me. Admittedly, I've changed a lot in the last 2-3 years. Getting married, moving to California away from my whole community, and starting this blog - in addition to just getting older (and wiser, I hope!) - has changed me. It's easy for me to relate to family and friends as myself-of-a-few-years-ago when I go back to visit, but its sometimes hard for me to reconcile the me of three years ago with the me now (who's still evolving), when it comes to long-time friends and my family. My habits, tastes, and hobbies have changed. My lifestyle is really different. I've been able to share those interests here without reserve, in a way I haven't felt as free to in real life. (Blogging has influenced or enhanced some of those changes!) Opening up the blog makes me vulnerable.

While I'd never plan to tell everyone I know, or post the link publiclyon Facebook, the idea of more openly sharing it with people close to me is looking like an inescapable reality.

So, friends, as I'm considering this decision I'm wondering where you are. Did you share your blog with your IRL circle from the beginning on facebook, etc? Do a few select friends know about it? or would you never, ever share it with people you know?

How would you feel if your circle found your blog?
I'd love some advice as I navigate these waters!


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