Monday, March 21, 2011

Shock and Awe Blogging or Just Plain Awful

When my friend Micky and I were talking about her new blog, we discussed deciding what to share and not share about our personal lives, especially children, on blogs. When I started this blog, over two years ago, I decided from the first post that I would not post pictures of my children, would not state their real names and would not delve into deep parenting issues. As you know, my blog is focused on cleaning, so this has been an easy line for me to uphold. I have touched a bit on cleaning with children, but there are few personal anecdotes about them. There are several reasons why I made this decision. These are:

1. My boys did not make a decision to blog. While I have decided to share a bit of our family's private life regarding housekeeping, they did not. They are entitled to their privacy.

2. The teenagers and adults they will become may not appreciate having pictures and anecdotes from their childhood on the Internet for all the world to see.

3. I am aware of the creep factor. While I don't think blogging is risky business, I do think there is the occasional weirdo on the Internet who has bad intentions. I don't dwell on this issue. I prefer not to think about it, actually. However, I think it's natural to feel protective of one's children, no matter how small the risk.

4. While some of my readers are mothers, not all of them are. Posting more about my children would take the focus off my blog's purpose, which is to talk realistically about cleaning and decluttering and could, possibly, alienate some readers. My children certainly factor into the mess in our family's home, but there is so much more involved in housekeeping than children. Similarly, I may blog occasionally about cleaning up after pets, though not everyone has pets. I like to think there's something for everyone here.

I'm bringing up this topic because of a post I read at Babble yesterday. If you follow my blog, you've seen me link to Katie Allison Granju's writing on occasion. She wrote a thought-provoking piece of advice to the new generation of "mommybloggers". She was prompted by another writer at Babble who shared too much about her family dynamics. Way too much, to be precise. She openly confessed to loving her son more than her daughter and wrote some pretty horrible things. Her children are only 3 and 1. I won't link directly to her post because I don't want to support that kind of "shock and awe" writing, as Katie calls it. But, if you are curious, you can link to it from Katie's post.

Katie's advice resonated with me. I don't know how many times I've read a mommyblog and been astounded at how much over sharing the writer has done. I literally cringe at some of these and wonder how the mother can write such personal details about her children for all the world to see. While I understand the need to vent, I don't understand the need to vent to the world. I strongly believe that if bloggers want to talk about parenting topics (especially parenting challenges), they can do it in a general way that doesn't include their child's name and picture.  Maybe it's time for mommybloggers to take a step back and think about what they are sharing and what the future implications might be.


  1. Barb -- that's really scary! I haven't ever seen a blog like that but it does remind me of people on Facebook who post too much personal info and don't remember who else can read it (one of my friends constantly posts private info about work problems and yet I KNOW our boss is her "friend" on Facebook!).

    I just started blogging and am trying very hard to remember that fine line -- I want to share but also be safe....and protect the folks I love as well.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

  2. I totally agree with you. If we have issues with family, that is our private business. Also, with too much information, telling about a trip you will take in the future, someone can come and steal you blind. Then you have a huge mess to clean up!

    Perhaps blogging is a means for some of us to vent. Forme it is a way for others to pray for us. I love my husband who has mixed dementia. I am very proud of him, but I don't want to embarrass myself by saying too much about him including his name. He is DH for "Dear Husband". I try to keep my blog as professional as possible, but do share our saga at times.

    I need your blog, Barb, because I am having to deal with clutter all the time to simplify our life as senior citizens. You also write well.

  3. I completely agree with you. One needs to be prudent about what they share with the whole world.
    I am new to blogging and knew before I started that I did not need to share too much personal information.
    I love your approach to cleaning up the clutter. Realistic and sensible without going to extremes! Thank you for sharing all the helpful information.

  4. Amy - Yes, Facebook is another area where some share too much. I've heard of a few people getting fired over what they posted. Your blog is off to a great start!

    Carol - We definitely have to be careful about not posting when we are going on vacation, both on blogs and on Facebook/Twitter. Thank you for the lovely compliment! I enjoy your blog and really see how you blog about your DH with respect and consideration for his privacy.

    Emma - Thank you for the compliment, too!