audience23 Jul 2007
Aunt B is discussing the dynamic demographics of her readership, and how it impacts her writing and whom she writes about. It’s an interesting phenomenon, and I’ve gone through something similar here – and I’ve felt like writing about it for a while. While Aunt B and many other bloggers went for the pseudo-pseudonymous approach, I’ve always been somewhat of an open book – sometimes to an embarrassing extent. Basically, when your first name is in the URL for your blog, you’ve thrown out any pretense of writing anonymously, right?
I also never really made any pretense of this being a particularly “personal” blog – I didn’t want it to be a diary or a journal. Surely I still occassionally wrote about those things, but ultimately I wanted to make this more about political commentary, music/movie reviews, etc. But, then I got a real job. And since then, the format of my blog basically turned into “whatever I feel like and have time to write about”.
And what’s happened over the years is that my visibility has increased. Not that I’m some sort of celebrity or something, but pretty much everyone I know reads this blog. Friends from high school read it. My entire family reads it. My coworkers, including people that report to me and vice versa, read my blog. So, basically I can’t talk shit about anyone. And what fun is a blog without that?
But seriously, I bring that up for a reason: when the whole breakup (i.e. cheated on and dumped) thing happened, things got interesting in a hurry. I tried my best to be as civil as possible, and trust me, it took some herculean levels of restraint to be civil. Conversely, it was the first time where my public-facing life was turned on its head and I began to feel more like a spectacle. From the very day of dumpage and onward, she and everyone else continued to read my blog. Her, the faux-friend she moved in with, her family, her friends. These people, none of whom could be bothered to give me or my emotions even the least common courtesy, still deemed it acceptable to kill time by checking in on my blog. Morbid curiosity, maybe? I don’t know – it strikes me as odd, at least. They all still read it. Anyways, so naturally the number one thing I wanted to write about, I couldn’t. After all, Dale Carnegie says that if you can’t say anything nice about someone, you say nothing at all. But also, who wants to hear someone whining endlessly about their emotional turmoil? (I’ve reserved that privilege for my friends, who I’m sure can tell you how much fun that was for them.)
Still, it was like a previous outlet for me had flipped around and became somewhat of a point of vulnerability. Someone who had been a huge part of my life for 5 years had vanished in an instant, but still had visibility into my life – like a one-way mirror. It sucked.
So, yeah – when the audience of people reading your blog changes, it can be unexpected and sorta jarring. It’s gotten a lot better, because I’m back on the horse, so to speak. But in the last 6 months, I really did begin to envy the freedom involved in writing pseudonymously. Because, seriously, I could weave a tapestry of obscenities. A tapestry, people.