Sunday Ponderings 36 – Publicizing or Privatizing Your Blog

February 6, 2011 Life, Sunday Salon 55

funny pictures of cats with captions

Good morning everyone! I hope you’re all having a lovely day with lots of reading and/or football in store. I feel bad ditching the regular Sunday Salon this morning, but since my topic isn’t specifically bookish, I didn’t feel right giving it the tag. Same basic premise applies, though. And let me say right off the bat that this post has nothing to do with publicizing your blog as in gaining readers, marketing yourself, blah blah blah. It’s more of a personal pondering. Also, please note the ponderings in this post are my from my personal experiences and I certainly hope that the things I express do not create any offense for anyone else.

Publicizing or Privatizing Your Blog

I have so much I want to say about this topic as it’s been one I’ve been thinking about for years (in some shape or fashion). I’ve already scrapped three whole paragraphs of ramblings about audience awareness, so I think I’m just going to cut to the chase on this one. How public is your blog? Obviously there’s a difference between having a public blog and a private one, but how much do you publicize your blog in real life? And let me just define real life as consisting of people who are probably not bloggers themselves. I don’t like the term “in real life” but will use it in this post. My apologies as I’m sure you don’t like it either, but we’ll go with it.

Because I started out as a book blogger, blogging exclusively about books with a fair amount of anonymity, I didn’t talk about my blogging habits at all in real life. I honestly don’t remember when I told my family, but I remember being a little embarrassed. Blogging just about books? What authority did I have to talk about books? And what does it even mean to be a blogger? Bloggers aren’t always portrayed kindly in media so it was just easier to keep my blogging activities private, though I was never ostracized for being a blogger.

There did come a time when I started being more public with my blogging, but my friends and family didn’t get it. “How’s your online book club?” they’d ask. Um…? Ok, scratch that. Not sure where book blog evolved into online reading club. On the other hand, though, I started being more public on my blog about my private life. Some of you I’ve known for three and a half years worth of blogging, and while I know not everyone shares the same sentiment about sharing private life stuff on the blog (another topic for another day?), it just felt natural to me.

It eventually felt natural to combine my personal blog with my book blog into this current blog–I mean, I’ve posted some pretty ridiculous videos of me doing really embarrassing things. And other than my deep dark secrets (ha!), there isn’t a whole lot I haven’t talked about. Of course some topics are better left unwritten as I realize that even though to most of you I’m just a random gal who blogs and I still have a fair amount of anonymity, this is still a very public forum and anyone can read what I write.

In the past year, though, I’ve been more personal than bookish on the blog. And while it would require another post to thank you for all putting up with my shenanigans (as I know book bloggers generally like to read blogs that are exclusively book blogs), I also find myself wishing in a way that I could share my blogging with personal friends and family without getting the blank “you have a blog?” stares or the comments about enjoying my posts when they’re not so bookish (um, lately that’s most of them). Slowly I’ve been adding links on Facebook, and typically only when I post something personal (which is ironic since it’s possible most of my FB friends are book bloggers), but I’m still hesitant about uttering those words, “I am a blogger.”

Sunday’s Questions:
Do you make your blogging public in real life? Why or why not? How do you bring up the subject of your blog–work it’s way into conversation or just blurt it out? How do people react to your blogging? Do they take an interest or just kind of brush it off?

Looking Back to Last Week
-February’s Whip Up Something New linky is up! Hope you join us.
-I showed you the quilting progress on Baby Billy Sue’s quilt
-Finally I reviewed The Book Thief (re-read in 2010) and gushed a little a lot

Looking Forward to Next Week
I have no idea. Fingers crossed a review on either True Grit or Friday Night Knitting Club (both half written posts). Oh, my thoughts on the first section of Ulysses for Jousting with Joyce tomorrow! Huh, and I guess probably just a Wordless Wednesday or a Random Wednesday post. Maybe a recipe on Friday, but we’ll see how the week progresses. I know I’m weird, but I just don’t like posting every day!

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend! And I hope you’re staying warm whereever you are–we’re barely thawed out in Dallas but have more projected snow storms for next week. Unfortunately our city just doens’t know how to handle it like you Northerners! It’s pathetic really, but I’m glad to stay put…until the ice cream runs out…

Happy Sunday!

55 Responses to “Sunday Ponderings 36 – Publicizing or Privatizing Your Blog”

  1. Nymeth

    I don’t ever talk about it offline with anyone other than Mathie. I worry about the blank stares I’d inevitable get because of people’s attitude towards blogging, but what stops me isn’t so much that as it is the fact that I’d feel too exposed if people knew. My blog is more bookish than personal, but there’s still a whole lot about who I am as a person there lurking between the lines. And that makes me feel far too self-conscious to reveal it to people who know me in different contexts.

  2. Jenny

    I’m pretty private about my blog. My family knows but I don’t think my parents read it. I know my sister and her friend read it. My co-workers (only in my dept.) know and it only came up because I was trying to explain what I was doing when I went to BEA last year. But none of them have ever asked for a website and I don’t think they really get what I do. But other than that no one knows. There have been times that I’ve wanted to be more open about it or link to a review on facebook but I can’t, lol! I think I’m afraid of being judged in that mostly everyone on my Facebook are people who don’t read, as far as I know, and who would think it was super nerdy of me to read AND blog about it!

  3. Thoughts of Joy

    I only talk about it with Mr. Joy, but my immediate family and a few friends know about it, so I think that constitutes as private. :) However, I had a question at an interview* about my computer capabilities and within my answer I mentioned I had a “blog” and they gasped! My first thought was OH NO! . . . wrong thing to say, but after they took another breathe, it turned out that they were very impressed. LOL

    *I did get the job.

  4. Amanda

    I’m one of those rare bloggers who doesn’t mind telling people I blog and never has. I’ve been open about it with people since the beginning. I dont’ define myself by it (ie “I am a blogger”) because I don’t feel like I can be called just a blogger, but I have no problem saying that I blog or mentioning something I discovered on my blog or others blogs. Pretty much everyone I know in real life knows I do this, and most don’t care. I used to have my blog feed importing into facebook (until the program went wacky and I had to delete it), and I’ve actually brought several of my friends into blogging.

    Now I know my situation is a little unique because when I started blogging, I knew very few people outside my family who lived in my area. There was a handful (ie 5 or less) friends, and my book club. Most of the people I knew were online friends from myspace. Being a stay at home mom who was always home with kids, I didn’t get an opportunity to go out very often. I never had a vast social network or coworkers or anyone to really be embarrassed about telling.

    It’s also not like I go around mentioning my blog every time I have a chance, or that I try to get people to read it. I don’t believe anyone in my family has my blog address, nor would they care. I used to try to get them to read the blog that had my family information on it, but no one did so eventually I shut it down. But the book blog? No one in my family really cares about books, so the only time I mention the blog is when I talk about something I learned from blogs (mine or others’) that’s relevent to a particular conversation. The opportunity doesn’t come up very often, but it doesn’t bother me to tell my family, for example, that I’m going to a book blogging conference for a week.

  5. Kay

    First of all, Trish, I second your notion to stay in with the weather we’ve had here in Texas. I hardly left the house this last week. Way too cold. Yesterday evening, we went to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and everyone was out. It almost hit 70 and the evening was lovely. I know more cold is on the way, but geez, let’s have spring. LOL

    As to making my blog public or not – well, there is the whole deal that I’ve come in and out of blogging through the almost 3 years I’ve had one. I’ve taken extended breaks and that hasn’t helped much in telling people about it. I have told family members, but no one reads it and I don’t particularly care if they do. I’m the odd reader in my extended family, so I don’t expect any of them to be interested any more than they care what I’m reading. My boss at the library actually put the fact that I had a blog in one of my evaluations. She was more impressed – LOL. I don’t really share it much because the reaction I’ve had is a lot like some others described – blank stares. That being said, I’m not on Facebook and I don’t use Twitter. Blogging is about all I want to do.

    Interesting and thought-provoking topic. I like that about your blog! Keep it up.

  6. bermudaonion

    I don’t talk about my blog much in real life because when I do, I just get blank stares. I did tell a neighbor one time and she had a lot of questions. When I was through explaining things to her, she asked me how much I’m paid for blogging.

  7. Literary Feline

    I keep mum about my blog to family for the most part. I am very careful about what I do write, however, in regards to personal stuff so that if they do happen upon it, no one will get embarrassed or upset. My parents and in-laws know I review books online, but I think they don’t realize to what extent–or that I have my own blog. I’m not even sure they’d know what that meant. LOL

    Many of my offline friends do know though. An old high school friend found me via my blog and we reconnected as a result. And several people at work know but aren’t really that interested.

    I am on Facebook and have no links to my blog as that is more for staying in touch with family. And since most are nonreaders, it’s more a place where I can write about personal stuff without the bookish stuff (not that I do much of that anyway really). It’s partly why you won’t find a link to my Facebook page on my blog. Although, I do have “friends” on Facebook that are fellow book bloggers. Most know I keep the two separate and respect my choice.

    Like Kathy, offline people who know about my blogging are amazed I don’t get paid to blog. I should, they tell me. LOL I don’t think many of them really understand what a blog is and why I enjoy doing it.

  8. Vivienne

    Oh I tell everyone! Can’t stop telling them. I bore my family to death with my blog. But do they read it? Nooo! My mother has only just got a computer, so she wouldn’t know where to find it.

  9. Trish

    *Nymeth – I know just what you mean about the personal aspect and feeling exposed–it’s something I wanted to talk about but cut out for another time–feeling the need to censor is something I definitely don’t want to encounter!

    *Jenny – It’s sad to me that so many of us feel embarrassed or that we will be judged for blogging, is it because media has portrayed bloggers to be a little bit eccentric and off the wall (we’re all conspiracy theorists!)?

    *Joy – Interesting about your work! Part of the reason why I decided to write this post is because my boss recently found out I’m a blogger (after I expressed concern about our new “blogging policy” in our HR handbook). She didn’t really say anything, but it does make me self-conscious that others at work know I blog without my knowing who’s reading. Glad your reaction was a positive one!

    *Amanda – I think it’s great that you’ve been able to be so open with your blogging! I’ve found that my experiences are generally just in my head–for some reason paranoia that I’ll be judged, but when I’ve talked about going to the Texas Book Fest to meet you all, my family didn’t really think anything of it. Later that night when we met up with friends I did think it was funny that my friend asked how it was meeting my online book club–made me wonder what Scott had said! I wish I could be more open–I just never know how people will react.

    *Kay – You almost hit 70 yesterday?! We still have a yard full of snow. :( burry! That’s awesome that your boss reacted so positively about your having a blog. I’ve actually heard about bloggers using their blogging skills to their benefit in the workfield! I also find it interesting how many of us are the sole readers within our group of friends or family–no wonder we all band together in this outlet!

    *Bermuda – Haha! My dad wanted to know the same thing–how much could I capitalize on my blog. Um, it’s not about that–at least for me. ;)

    *Lit Feline – I was really reluctant to join the Facebook crowd because it felt like I was making my life to public–mostly I’m friends with my very large extended family and book bloggers–only a handful of friends from high school and work. I don’t know why I feel so open on my blog but not in other public forums! It’s good that you’re able to draw the line and be satisfied with keeping the two separate. Do you ever wish that your personal acquaintances were more interested in your book blog?

    *Vivienne – My mom has actually *just* started reading my blog and I actually kind of like that she’s taking an interest, but it only took three and a half years! I try not to talk about blogging so much, although it’s hard not to around my husband, but generally like you said, no one reads it.

  10. Coffee and a Book Chick

    I actually blab about it all the time to everyone in my life with the exception of my work. I travel frequently and interact with a lot of clients, and it’s just not something I could share with anyone work-related. With family and friends, however, I’m posting it on Facebook, chatting about it with them, and I think their thought is it’s not a blog, so to speak, but a website that I write and manage, which seems to them to give it more authenticity. My in-laws think that I’m a complete nerd anyway, so this habit of mine just fits right in with their perception of me. :)

  11. JoAnn

    My immediate family, parents, and siblings know about the blog, but only my mother actually reads it. I haven’t even told my book club. My reasons are pretty much the same as Nymeth’s…. too self-conscious.

  12. Fyrefly

    For the most part, I tend to keep my personal life and my my blog life very separate. My family and most of my close friends know that I blog, but not casual acquaintances or people at work. My dad will read posts if I send him specific links (mainly to books that I think he’ll like too), and a few of my friends read the blog (although how frequently, I’m not sure, since they rarely comment either electronically or verbally), but other than that, it exists in a totally different sphere from my real life.

  13. violetcrush

    I am very private about my blog to an extend of trying hard to not let anyone know about it, not even my parents. My younger sis found out by accident which I’m okay with. I told my husband before we got married and although he does read my blog sometimes, we don’t discuss it ever. I like to keep it that way.

    I think that’s mostly because I initially blogged about my personal life which I didn’t want anyone to know about since I was pretty open about it on my blog. Eventually it turned into a book blog and the privacy thing carried on. I just like it that way.

  14. Lisa

    My family all know about my blog, and it’s in my email signature to almost everyone I email, which is a lot of people. I don’t think most of my family actually reads it though. In real life, I don’t talk a lot about it, but nor do I avoid it. With my new job being online my online life comes up more frequently as people want to know how I found the job. I’m ok with most people knowing about it, and I’m careful not to blog anything I wouldn’t want an employer to see, but I admit it gave me pause when I was looking for a job.

  15. Trisha

    I had been blogging for two years before I really let anyone know, and even now I never mention it or encourage any of my family to check it out. I never tell my students or my coworkers. I don’t mix my Facebook with my blog. It’s kind of sad really, but like Ana, I would feel too exposed then.

  16. Jamie

    I keep it private to my friends. My boyfriend, family and my boss know but I just like having my little corner where other people that I know can’t find me. I think also because I use my Twitter sometimes to occasionally vent about things so my blog is linked to that. Obviously somebody COULD find it..but none of my friends are into Twitter and I’ve made it so you can’t search for me.

    Sometimes I feel like I have this double life but really I just like having a part of me that I don’t have to share with my IRL people. I’ve told one or two of them but I’ve never given them the URL or anything or posted anything on my Facebook. I just don’t need people that I’m not really friends with anymore to see more of my life. On Facebook I don’t really have to get too personal but on my book blog I really do. It is my book blog but I do share a lot of things.

    Great post!

  17. Booksnyc

    I mentioned it to my brother and SIL on a whim but have honestly regretted it because knowing they might be reading it somehow makes me feel more inhibited in what I write. I like the anonymity of blogging my thoughts to people that will not read them through the lens of who they know me to be “in real life”.

    I am only a year into this, though, so I may change my mind!

  18. SuziQoregon

    Most of my friends and family know about my blog so although I keep my real identity out of my blog, I don’t keep my blog out of my ‘real life’.

    I will post links on Facebook when it’s a post I particularly want to share with my ‘real life’ friends there, but I don’t have a Facebook presence as “SuziQoregon” or “Whimpulsive” mostly because I don’t want the hassle of two Facebook accounts.

  19. C.B. James

    I’d say my blog is 80% private. Since I teach middle school, I tend to keep my blog away from personal topics. I don’t mention family names, except for the dogs and keep my politics toned down most of the time.

    I’ve mentioned it to family and friends and to a handful of people at work. Usually in the context of particular books or author interviews I’ve done. I hope I don’t come off as name-dropping. A handful of people I know in “real” life read my blog and mention it to me when we meet.

    I like having it as a semi-secret life. But I am aware that what I post can always come back to me. I try never to say anything I won’t stand behind or don’t want everyone I know to read.

  20. unfinishedperson.com

    Ditto what SuziQ said, except I do use Networked Blogs, which automatically posts to Facebook my blog posts. Most of the time, that’s all right, but this week, I found out that isn’t always the case as a relative misinterpreted something I wrote in a post. While I deleted both of our comments on Facebook, I’m not deleting the post. It is who I am and I don’t apologize for that. I’m pretty much uncensored. Take me as I am (well, with a grain of salt sometimes), or don’t take me at all. :)

  21. Teresa

    This is such an interesting topic. I too have experienced the blank stares. I’m not sure why it is such a difficult concept to understand. I have told a select few about my blog, but I’m not sure how many of them actually read it.

  22. Allie

    I love this topic.

    The only person who reads my blog and who is from my “real life” is my mom. When I developed this whole idea, my project, she was very supportive. She reads every post and is even participating in some readalongs.

    There are a few other people who read occasionally. Every once in awhile I’ll get a comment from them. I think, that because of the purpose of my blog and how I approach my “reviews,” it comes across as more personal than some other book blogs. I don’t just review books, but also talk about my reactions to them. I think that is why some of my friends will read occasionally.

    There is a link to my blog on my FB, and every once in awhile I’ll link to a post or two. I don’t really publicize it, mainly because most of the people on FB could care less about my silly book blog. But I don’t hide it. Everyone knows I blog about books.

  23. ardentreader

    I talk about book blogging with my mom, especially the more controversial things people post or ask. And I’ve started sharing about with a friend my age but she does not even have the url for my own blog. I’m very secretive about my blogging in real life and I’m pretty private about my real life on my blog.

  24. Kristi

    I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. I have two blogs and my answers are very different for both.

    My family blog was created this past summer when we moved from San Diego to Scotland. I created it because our family wanted to see what we were experiencing as ex pats. I detail our travel as well as different cultural things we find interesting. I do post about my family blog on Facebook so that my family knows when there is a new post.

    I don’t talk about my book blog with anyone in my family or my friends. I’m kind of embarrassed to tell them because I don’t really want them to read it. I feel more vulnerable sharing my thoughts on books than I do telling about what is happening in my day to day life. Like others have mentioned, I feel exposed. I use the same profile for both of my blogs so I guess my friends and family could find it, but I’ve never mentioned it to anyone besides my sister and my mom.

    Very few of my friends and family are readers and I assume that they would wonder why anyone would care to read about what I thought about books. I worry about that myself sometimes, but I still enjoy the exercise of putting my thoughts on a book into words.

  25. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

    This is a good question! I don’t hide my blog, but I also don’t always talk about it with people initially. I use the blog as a semi-professional thing — I’m journalism, so I’ve put it on my resume and bring it up in interviews to show I’m familiar with online journalism and how to do those sorts of things. I also do some book writing for a local newspaper, and so I mention the blog in that usually (like a tagline — Kim is a local blogger who writes about books at X).

    But with friends and family, I don’t bring it up intentionally or very often. Lots of friends in Madison know I blog, but people from high school and college, not so much. I keep it away from Facebook, if I can, but really, it’s not hard to find the blog because it’s linked on lots of online profiles. So I guess I’m not really private about it, but I don’t bring it up a lot in person either.

  26. Lisa

    I was a little embarrassed to “publicize” my blog very much when I first started. After all, I wasn’t even really sure yet what I was doing, hadn’t learned much about how to work with my blog, and hadn’t developed my own voice or style. I’m much more open about it now–put stuff on my Facebook, pass out my business cards, that kind of thing. But my parents are the ones who really publicize my blog! They tell everyone they know about it and give out my cards and the blog address to all kinds of people. Now if we could just teach people how to comment–I always found that awkward before I had a blog.

  27. Trish

    *Coffee and a Book Chick – I think that’s awesome that you are so open with your blogging with family and friends! I do have some work-friends who know about my blog, and some others who visit but I don’t know who–it’s unnerving, to be honest!

    *JoAnn – There have been times when I’ve wanted to tell my book club, but since I work with them all I’ve decided against it (though some know). I understand the feeling of self-consciousness.

    *Fyrefly – I understand what you mean about the commenting verbally or electronically–even with people I don’t know personally, I’d rather everyone who reads comments–feels creepy to have readers who lurk around?

    *Violetcrush – I think that’s great that you feel so comfortable keeping your two lives separate and I can understand not wanting personal acquaintances to know about your personal bloggings. Sometimes I feel like I’m living a secret life, though, through the blog?

    *Lisa – My cousin writes a personal blog and recently made the decision to go private because of the potential of future employers finding her blog. I feel like I’m pretty careful as well, but as you know we have new blogging guidelines at my own job and it does make me feel nervous that people could be scrutinizing every word I write (written word is so easy to misconstrue!).

    *Trisha – It does make me sad that so many feel like they would be too exposed, but I completely understand the feeling as well. On the other hand, now that I am blogging more about personal things, it makes me feel bad that I’ve been pegged by my family and friends as a “book blogger” who doesn’t write about anything of interest to them. It’s a strange conundrum.

    *Jamie – Isn’t it interesting how many people feel like their blogging (even though strongly book related) is in many ways more personal than what they discuss on Facebook? I feel the same way, but it does give me pause about how “socially connecting” Facebook really is. To me it’s always felt so much more superficial than blogging.

    *Booksync – I know what you mean about feeling people judging your blogging through the lens of how they know you in real life. I feel like I am a very different person through blogging–although in many ways more natural than I am in real life. I wish that some of that could carry over, but it seems many bloggers tend to feel the same way about keeping their blogs private.

    *SuziQoregon – And how has the reaction been amongst your personal friends and family that you have a blog? And agreed–having two Facebook accounts just sounds exhausting!

  28. rhapsodyinbooks

    I’m with Nymeth and the “feeling too exposed” thing. My husband, however, who loves being on stage, is never reluctant to mention it, but people seem to gloss over it like they don’t know what he’s talking about, so it all works out! :–)

  29. Trish

    *CB James – I think sometimes people forget amongst the anonymous nature of blogging that it is all still very public and it can come back to bite. I can completely understand being more cautious to stay away from personal topics in the public position you hold as a teacher.

    *Unfinishedperson – A grain of salt or an entire salt shaker. Ha–kidding. ;) Yes, I think once mixing blog life and personal life one must be more aware of audience, though as I said above to CB, it’s all public–just a matter of who’s reading!

    *Teresa – I don’t understand why blogging is so difficult to understand either. And then there’s the even blanker stares when I talk about “bloggers I know” even though I don’t really know them. In some ways I feel so much more connected to bloggers than people in real life. In many ways this makes me sad.

    *Allie – It sounds like you’ve acheived a really comfortable place with your blogging and how you share it. It’s always bugged me when cousins (who also blog, but on a personal level) tell me they don’t like reading my bookish posts because they’re bookish. But they’re personal I counter–it’s amazing how much you can learn about a person by how they feel towards a book.

    *Ardentreader – I think it’s very natural to want to keep the two lives separate–as I found myself connecting with more people, however, I found my personal life creeping up more and more in my blog. Not sure when the transition came, but it just felt natural. On the same token, I appreciate knowing a little something about those I blog with, but understand not everyone shares that feeling. I think it’s awesome that you can talk openly with your mom, though!

    *Kristi – Wait–San Diego? How did I not know that?? I know what you mean about feeling vulnerable about your book blogging and expressing thoughts on books–I’ve also wondered if people think I’m weird for wanting to take the time to write my thoughts down and discuss them with other people. I used to feel the same way about sharing my personal life with people I don’t know, but have found bloggers to be so supportive–maybe they just feel obligated to act that way but I try not to think about it too much. :)

    *Kim – I’ve learned (or maybe I’m just naive to think this) that many people don’t really go out of their way to seek out personal websites of others. Even though my blog is linked on facebook and I occasionally mention it when I post something personal (like the pregnancy updates), most people still don’t realize I’m linking to a blog and don’t click over. Really makes one wonder about the savviness of people! ;) But it’s great that you’re able to use your blogging to enhance your career!

    *Lisa – Yes, the commenting thing is a big one. I would feel much more comfortable with personal friends and family reading my blog if they actually commented! If seems somehow more intrusive to me to read someone’s blog secretly and never discuss it? I’m not sure how to amend that, though, especially as I don’t allow anonymous comments due to so much spam. That’s great that your parents are so supportive of your blog! And your children?

    *Rhapsody – LOL–it never ceases to amaze me how people tend to just tune out when the words “blog” come up! But it’s great your husband is so supportive–mine just doesn’t get it at all. ;)

  30. TopherGL

    So interesting!

    I have told some people about the blog, and I don’t think even my husband reads it anymore. It’s really sort of like a hobby and mainly a great way to have a reminder of things I’ve read, books or online stuff. I am not as addicted to it as I thought I’d be – I actually struggle to keep it going.

    I feel like I wouldn’t mind if people knew, but I’d also feel exposed and would more than that feel even more annoyed that people don’t read it. It’s also weird that a lot of my friends and family don’t get into books like I do, and if they do it’s a totally different genre and…I don’t know.

    I don’t hide it but I don’t advertise and hadn’t really thought about it before. Hmph.

  31. Bookfool

    My husband’s mentioned my blogging to people at work, but I don’t really say much about it. I guess that’s probably mostly because I’m a bit of a hermit. Who am I going to mention it to? Oh . . . my Bible study group, the only people I ever see on a regular basis. They know I review books. Some have visited my blog and they actually seem to have quite a bit of respect for my reading — they’re definitely fascinated by the quantity and variety. Otherwise, I’ve found if I say I’m a book blogger in random conversations with people, they tend to zone out or look blank without actually saying, “What the hell is a book blogger?” LOL

    As to publicizing my blog . . . I put almost zippo effort into it. I began blogging as a way to purge about books. It was really totally meant as a place to just relax and babble. I had no idea people from 6 continents would eventually show up to read my reviews and I’m still not sure how I feel about that, but mostly I think I feel exposed and uncomfortable. That’s why you don’t see me spritzing up the blog, making it easier to navigate and fancy. I don’t want it to become too good or even too central to my life. Is that odd?

  32. Iliana

    Really good points to ponder Trish. When I started my blog I didn’t tell many of my friends, family and much less co-workers. I still sort of keep it on the low-down. Not because I’m embarrassed by what I post or anything but I feel like the real bookish people in my life who know me know of my blog and any others would be bored so why bother them with my blog.

    I’ve put up with too many glazed-eye looks when I start going on about a book to a co-worker or a casual acquaintance so why bother them with my blog.

    So I’ve had my blog for years and that’s been working well so I can’t see myself changing but who knows right.

  33. SuziQoregon

    As to the reactions of family and friends about my blog? It’s kind of like pretty much everything in life – some of the people I know have an interest and others don’t care. Several of my friends and family read the blog regularly. A few comment regularly. Others don’t say anything. No different than the rest of the things any of us are interested in or do with our time.

  34. Florinda

    Great discussion!

    I’ve never been particularly secretive about my blog, but I don’t discuss it much at work – mostly because I don’t want them to see it as a distraction. Most of my coworkers don’t really get it, though…or they lose interest when I tell them I mostly blog about books :-). I’m fine with my family reading it, though.

    I’ve always blogged under my real name, and before I post something (other than book reviews), I make sure it really is something I’m comfortable putting out there where anyone and their sister could find it. I may misjudge that one day, but in nearly four years I really haven’t stirred much up controversy, so I’m pretty comfortable being public with my blogging.

  35. bookspersonally

    This is such an interesting topic, (thanks Florinda for tweeting the link) – I do separate book/personal blogs but both public, but sometimes wonder if two blogs was the best way to go. I do agree you have to be pretty comfortable with what you’re putting out there!

  36. Trish

    *Topher – I get the feeling of annoyance that people don’t read–or at least if they’re reading, they don’t let me know which seems kind of stalkerish. I guess I just want my cake and eat it to–have a private world but also have people take an interest when I want them to? ;)

    *Bookfool – No, I completely understand about spritzing up the blog, etc. I see people spending hours working on their blogs and I just can’t seem to will myself to do it. I have broken links all over the place, no about me section, because of my combination of blogs and my dropping the blogspot my blog is essentially unsearchable, but it’s mine. I see people throwing SO much time into their blogging, which is their choice and totally fine, but I undertand what you mean.

    *Iliana – I think for me it’s a desire for people to take an interest and a frustration at the lack of interest. At one point I didn’t really want anyone I knew personally to read my postings, but because blogging has become such a big part of my life it’s hard to keep that facet totally separate? Like you, though, I tend to just not even bother sharing.

    *SuziQ – LOL–guess you’re right. It does bug me a bit when friends chastize me for not keeping up with them on Facebook, but I want to say, well you don’t keep up with me on my blog! I know it’s different, but I guess we all just have our own outlets that work for us!

    *Florinda – Thanks for the retweet. ;) I think it’s wonderful that you’re comfortable being so open with your blogging. I wonder if I had started out in the open instead of feeling shy about it if I’d be more comfortable now that I’m trying to transition to a more public atmosphere with friends and family. I don’t understand the apprehension about sharing too much with coworkers–my company just released a new blogging policy and I can’t help but wonder if my habits and writing (though I never blog while working) are being watched. It’s unsettling!

    *Bookspersonally – Thanks for the visit! I used to have two separate and distinct blogs but as I lost much of my reading time and started diving into other interests I decided to combine the two. I was scared that I’d lose readers, and I did, but I’ve also gained some awesome ones. I do wonder how you feel about non-personal friends/family reading your personal blog? Do you prefer to keep them separate or do you mind if bloggers read your personal posts?

  37. Kristi

    I didn’t start my blog until after we moved to Scotland. I’m guessing most people don’t realize I’m an American. :) We’ll only be here for two years then move back to San Diego.

  38. cj

    I don’t go out of my way to publicize my blog but I don’t try to keep it private, either. I’ve posted links to them at Facebook and I’ve sent links to people when I’d like them to read something for whatever reason.

    One niece will not read my political blog because our politics don’t agree but she likes the fact that I have one. She reads my others occasionally and will post a comment.

    The other niece has no interest in any of it.

    My sister, the former technophob couldn’t master the art of clicking on a link when she first got started but she will read something if I send her a link. She did, however make the comment that she ‘doesn’t get it’.

    Bottom line? I do my blogs for me. My political blog is a place for me to vent about things that make me crazy and lately I’ve needed it a lot. It was also mentioned once in a national blog so I can’t say it’s private. My reading blog was something I started mainly for me to keep track of my reading. It’s become a mix of books and personal, like you, but I still enjoy keeping track of my reading.

    And finally – I like being out of step with the ‘norm’. It keeps life interesting.

    cjh

  39. softdrink

    I don’t talk about it much, although my mom and a few friends know I blog. My mom doesn’t read it, though. I have one friend who reads it, but most people I know aren’t into blogging or reading…which is why I usually don’t mention it. I don’t like having conversations with people when I’m convinced all they’re thinking is “she’s weird.” Of course, I don’t mind my readers thinking I’m weird…because I know you all get the reading and blogging thing!

  40. Bellezza

    It’s funny, I began my blog in 2006, but it wasn’t until this Summer that I told my family. I guess I wanted to keep it private, too (I know…private? When the whole world can read it? But, not everyone knew Bellezza was me). I thought this would just be a little hobby, but it’s enriched my life so much to share books with other bibliophiles, to have a voice, to share challenges, and to see little quirky things we may choose to share. I’m glad you’ve been my friend these many years.

  41. Wendy

    You’ve obviously struck a chord with this post, Trish, given the number of commenters! Like you, I do share a fair amount of personal information on my blog (everyone knows about my dogs, my sister struggling with cancer, my quilting projects, my home renovations, etc…), but my blog started as personal and became a book blog so I never really thought much about it. I don’t tell everyone in my “real” life about my blogging – most people don’t “get it”…but I have given out my card once in a while to those who are interested in reading book reviews. I’m not sure how many of my face to face friends even read what I write *laughs*…but at least two members of my family follow my blog. I think it is hard to decide how “public” one wants to be…pretty much a personal decision.

  42. Michelle

    I mostly feel the same as most. I think Nymeth put the reasoning perfectly. One can tend to feel too exposed.

    I think that it is great to have your mom and family as readers. You are lucky to have a family so interested in your blog. It’s great to have a tight relationship with family :)

  43. bookmagic

    I don’t make a secret of my blogging but I find that most people just are not interested. I recently mentioned it to a fairly new co-worker as she seemed like a reader. Then she would ask me for book recommendations and I would give her some but suggest she also look thru my blog. I don’t think she ever did. Turns out she has zip for attention span and really doesn’t read like she said. Oh well.

  44. Jillian

    I actually recently mentioned mine to a couple friends at school. Their reaction was enthusiasm, and one said she was going to do what I’m doing (250 books in five years, with posts about each.)

    I am pretty shy about it, though, and rarely mention it.

  45. Melody

    A few of my friends and family knew I’ve a blog, but they rarely read it since I talk more about books and reading than anything else. And I only share pictures that don’t have a person in it because I respect their privacy (myself included, ha!). When I first started my blog, my intention is to talk about books and nothing else but as the time goes, I began to “open up” and share bits of my life as I felt most of regular readers/commenters have now became my friends and I’d like them to know more about me. :)

    That said, I don’t think I’ll let my coworkers know about my blog though, after all I need a place to vent should I’m unhappy with work (or bosses??) and I wouldn’t want them to read my thoughts there, haha. :P

  46. Trish

    *Kristi – What an amazing adventure! Especially with all the travel you’re able to do.

    *CJ – Ha! There’s a lot to be said about being out of the norm–definitely nothing wrong with that. Glad you’re able to maintain a good balance on your blogs!

    *Softdrink – I was wondering if your new book group knew about your blog–especially since you set one up specifically for the group. I always thought that my bookish friends would be interested in blogging, but I don’t think even they get it! PS–we love you because you’re weird. ;)

    *Bellezza – I think that’s the part I’m struggling with, Bellezza–is that now this has become such a part of my life that part of me wants to share it with others who share the rest of my life. I’d love to mesh the two together, but can’t seem to figure out how to do that. I guess I just have to realize that not everyone will share the same interest and passions. But I’m glad you’ve been MY friend, Bellezza–you’re one of the first bloggers I met and I’ve always admired you.

    *Deb Nance – Isn’t it funny how so many people just don’t get blogging?!

    *Wendy – I agree that private and public is certainly a personal decision. Over the years I’ve gotten to know some book bloggers fairly well either through emailing or just sharing on blogs, but there are still some from way way back that I know nothing about. But I love them just the same. It’s an interesting concept–becoming so intimate in a way with people whom you share one big passion with!

    *Michelle – Well, I wouldn’t really say that my family reads my blog very regularly. Brooke’s better lately because of her own blogging, and mom will pop in every once in a while, but YOU are my most loyal family reader!! I still don’t think that Brooke or mom really “get” why I blog this way and I’ve tried and tried to get Kim interested but she is too busy. ;) Ha!

    *Bookmagic – LOL! Oh the fake reader, huh? I know a couple of those, too. I’ll try to start a conversation about books and then quickly realize that said person really isn’t all that interested in reading after all. Ha!

    *Jillian – That’s great that you’ve found some school friends who are interested! I tried with my grad school friends (who all got lit degrees!) but none of them really get it. I thought it would be a great way for us to all keep in touch now that we’ve graduated and moved to different cities, but I guess people just get busy doing other things.

    *Melody – I have people at work looking at my blog but I don’t really know who and it’s quite unnerving! I mostly forget it about and try not to worry about censoring myself (I try to never talk about work other than really mundane things), but I’d still rather them say “by the way, I read your blog”. And yes, I absolutely agree, Melody! I love when bloggers share parts of their lives. But on the other hand I can understand why some prefer not to. It’s been great learning more about you and your little corner of the world!

  47. Brooke

    I don’t go out of my way to bring it up. Family knows about it even though only one immediate family member reads it; maybe two. I think that if you aren’t a blogger (don’t know if I can consider myself one or not) you are less likely to understand the world or even care about it. It is hard to get sucked into other’s blogs if you don’t really share your own. Just my thoughts!

  48. carolsnotebook

    My friends and family know, not because I’ve told them but because my husband is supportive, thinks it’s wonderful and wants everyone to know. Yes, I’ve glared at him on plenty of occasions, but what are you going to do?

  49. Vasilly

    I keep my blog private because there’s not many people in my offline life that read. Especially to a non-reader why I have a book blog is like explaining to them why I read as much as I do. They don’t get it. My mom and children know that I blog and they’re proud of me, so that’s all that matters.

  50. Emeraldfacet

    Hey Trish, interesting topic- one which I have been debating eversince I started my own blog. To be quite honest I would rather that the majority of the people in my ” real life” not know that I have a blog. My family knows and a few select friends but I doubt that any of them read it.

    I tend to be more of an introvert when it comes to expressing my feelings with others. Eversince highschool I turn to art to express myself- I used to sit down and draw pictures of nature ( for 8 hours straight without realizing where the time had gone). Drawing enabled me to express feelings of sadness, anger, frustration that I would dare not take out on others.
    Gradually during college I was able to get a handle over expressing my emotions with words rather than simple pencil strokes. However, it was still not something I was comfortable sharing with the people I interact with on a daily basis. I think the main reason is because they would get confused and judgmental about it. Everyone is used to, and expect, to see the independent, strong version of me- the one who has ” got it together” all the time. Trying to share the other facets of my personality would only be met with bewildered stares.
    And so I use my blog to express the part of me that gets pushed aside in real life. Having anonymity in my blog allows me to display my work publicly while not having to worry about feeling expose- akin to displaying my drawings without others knowing the emotions and stories that lay underneath each pencil stroke.

  51. Amy

    I had to explain why I wanted a week off for BEA last year, so my work knows about it… and then I gave all my family the Bookrageous calendar for Christmas so they know about it too. My mom and aunt are email subscribers and read it every day, a few other family members pop by occasionally. At first I was really nervous about work and family knowing about it but I’m (mostly) OK with it now! I just try to be a tiny bit more careful about tone! And about not mentioning family and work :D lol

  52. Trish

    *Brooke – You make a great point about not getting as sucked in to other people’s blogs when you don’t have your own. I wish more friends and family blogged and I’m SO glad you do!! I love keeping up with people through blogging–even though I see you a few times a week.

    *Carolsnotebooks – A couple of people have mentioned that their husbands are the ones who share the blog with others! I think that’s great but I also think it’d make me feel uncomfortable if mine talked about it without me bringing it up first, you know? Mine really has no idea, I don’t think. ;)

    *Vasilly – LOL–yes, having to explain why you read as much as you do is just as hard for others to understand, I think! Though I think some read more than they think–they just don’t keep track of it! What always amazes me, though, is how so few of us know big readers offline–surely they exist, right?

    *Emeraldfacet – Thank you so much for sharing your perspective! I think you make great points about the vulnerability that truly opening up and expressing yourself leads to. Especially in your case where your art is a bit more expressive than mine (or a lot!), but it’s also wonderful that you’re able to share that even online. It’s great that you’ve found that outlet.

    *Amy – I think as bloggers we should always be aware of our tone to some extent (even if we’re private we’re still public!), but I would definitely be even more aware if I knew that my coworkers and boss were reading! Some know about my blogging but I’m really not sure who, if anyone, reads. Did you feel relief once your work and family knew about your blogging?

  53. Stephanie

    I rarely talk about blogging “in real life,” but I do link to posts on Facebook, so people who know me as a living, breathing person can check it out if they happen to be interested. :-)

    http;//laughingstars.net

  54. Rae

    I think I didn’t comment on this because I think we’ve discussed this before. However, I just read that you were looking to get comments from non-book bloggers, so I’ll comment.
    When my blog is public (which is normally, except for right now while I’m job hunting) I am more open about being a blogger depending on who I’m talking to. As we’ve discussed, a lot of LDS women blog, so it doesn’t seem as “weird” to mention I blog. If I find out a new friend has a blog I’ll immediately tell them I have one too. However, the last two guys I’ve dated have not been LDS. One of them (the older won, who you’ve heard about) has been in my life for almost seven months now, and he has no idea I blog. I don’t keep it a secret, necessarily, it’s just never come up. The other guy (the one from my building) and I got into some sort of conversation the other night and I mentioned I kept a blog. It definitely does seem a lot more strange to people who don’t have a circle of friends who blog, but I find for the most part I get a positive reaction, or one of indifference. Oh, I also freely tell people from back home, when they seem to take a particular interest in keeping up with me in my life. I’ll mention I have a blog and that I (try to) keep up with it pretty regularly.
    I do think I generally feel more comfortable telling women about my blogging habits than men, for some reason. I think men might kinda freak, like I’m going to write something about them, or something…

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