Before I get started here, I am putting in a totally shameless plug for VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB. Join me on February 29 at 8:30 CST for a liveblog discussion of Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley. You can find out more about the event and the book HERE.
Today’s Hump Day Topic: Are people we know fair fodder for writing? People in our real lives? Online? Other bloggers? Things we read, such as blog posts, emails, news stories, etc? How do you handle writing about people? What are your criteria for discussing the people who affect you? Have you ever dealt with someone finding themselves in your writing and reacting (in any way)? Share with us your ethics and mores as a writer, when it comes to characterizing others.
This is my blog. That means I am going to talk about things that have to do with me.
Blogs are public places. That means that whoever wants to read my thoughts can do so at anytime. It’s even nicely archived so that one could, if they were so inclined, read my entire blog at once. You should try it while it’s still short.
How much am I willing to put on there for public consumption? I am willing to discuss many things in the blogosphere, but I have my limits. I don’t get too personal or private, if for no other reason than I think that most people wouldn’t give a rats ass as to how things really can be in my life. I’ve made the blogosphere as cocktail party analogy before. I’ve made a couple of friends here, don’t get me wrong, but I think an arms length relationship is best for all concerned.
This is my blog (yes, I’ve already said that.). It is not my husband’s blog. Nor my children’s blog. Nor my family’s blog. They don’t have blogs so therefore I can only assume that they do not want their life stories plastered across the internet, I need to respect their privacy. However, there do come times when what they do or say is worth blogging about. And this is where my rules come in.
1. Never say anything you can’t say to their face. I have broken this rule once with this post and I now regret it. To my knowledge, the parties in question have not seen it, but I am considering taking the post down because of it’s tone. If anything, this post teaches me to really watch what I say in the future.
2. Never use a real name.
3. Never show a picture of the kids. This is more of a safety issue for me.
4. If I must tell a story about the kids, try not to be needlessly embarrassing. Their friends might see it in the future and I can’t afford both therapy and college.
5. Never give out any information that might cause my spouse to be positively identified. He works for a company which might not react well to such discussions.
6. If you are going to discuss someone, give them a “heads up” if at all possible.
But I talk about lots of other things on this blog. Some of them are current events and other blogs. I handle those a little differently, mostly because these people have already decided to make themselves public. So,people in the news? You are totally fair game. Other bloggers? I’ll probably talk about posts you make on occasion, but I’ll always link back to whatever post inspired my comments. But as with friends and family, I’ll always post with respect.
Would I be this way if I were completely anonymous? Probably. I’ve seen some of those anonymous blogs (and not so anonymous as well) that don’t follow any set of rules and there are some that just make me squirm. Reading blogs is a voyeuristic thing, but I don’t like feeling uncomfortable with what I see. So why would I want to do that on my blog? Remember, it’s a cocktail party. Let’s not make a scene, shall we? We’re all here to have fun.
So to me, the rules of the blogosphere are, or should be, no different than the real world. Treat everyone with the respect that you expect from them. When you do need to talk about something, respect privacy and give out as little information as possible. Remember that not everyone you talk to will follow these rules, so watch what information you give them. Finally, if you think you might later regret putting it in your blog, then by all means, don’t put it in to begin with. And that should keep you out of trouble.
So, what do you think? Why don’t you share your thoughts? Join us at Using My Words. It would be awesome to make Julie use Twitter like she promised! 🙂