Thursday, January 22, 2009

Some Personal Blogging Rules

I'm sure someone out there has done this, but I've been thinking a lot recently about some rules (or should I say proscriptions) that I should really keep in mind when I blog. Some I think are universal, some purely subjective. All of these I learned through hard personal experience.

1. Never make public pronouncements of intention that you may not follow. Example: You're a doctoral student, and you announce that you're going to take a blogging hiatus to devote more time to writing your dissertation. When you're back three days later, you will look like a royal ass.

2. Never blog angry. I mean really, really furious, not just pissed off or mildly irked. Don't do it. Just don't. No exceptions, none at all. Unless your anger is effectively masked in humor, which is really difficult to achieve. Thus far, I've avoided doing this, but largely through Sarge's interventions. At times he's had to physically restrain me from my computer.

Some corollaries, such as Never Blog Drunk, are not hard and fast rules. Drunk blogging can be fun for your readers; you must have a high tolerance, though, for personal humiliation. Also, it's best if you're of the "illllloooooveyooooumaaan" school of drunk and not of the "iiiiiimmmmmgooonnnnacuuutyooooou" school.


3. When posting something personal, always consider how people you respect would react to the disclosure: every blogger should have a personal gatekeeper, either real or imagined, someone whose very existence might keep you from posting something you'd regret. It's kind of like WWJD for the layman. When I'm feeling delusional, I like to imagine how Severus Snape would react to a post. He's not a bad gatekeeper, actually, because all those who have read the books know how guarded a character he is. He keeps himself to himself, giving away very little to those around him. I mean my god! we didn't even know about the massive torch he carried for that eyelash-batter Lily Potter, until the bitter end of Book 7 (although, and this is a complete digression, Sarge predicted that plot twist, in near-entirety, as early as Book 4 or 5...is he smart or did he have a secret communique with J.K.?)

In "real life" (and I use this term quite loosely), Sarge is my blogging touchstone. When I met him in college, at a time and at an age when I and everyone else was emoting all over the place, being touchy-feely, revealing all manner of personal secrets and shadows just to get attention or hook up, boys and girls alike, Sarge was dignified and loath to unload all his personal business. He's still like that, god bless him, and I aspire to his masterful circumspection. Let's be honest, though, I often consider his perspective and then go on to shamefully emote and reveal anyway...

4. Exercise extreme caution when blogging about politics or religion: This old truism holds for polite conversation as well as for blogging. I really like to hold forth on things, but it can get you into trouble in several ways. If people don't agree with you, it can make you mad and/or hurt your feelings profoundly. Also, I think you can make others mad and/or hurt their feelings. I keep uncontrollably blogging about politics, which I really don't think is a great idea, but I can't seem to stop myself. I've been lucky that the people who read this blog are so incredibly polite and tolerant!!!!!

5. Exercise extreme caution when blogging about your child: I'm not so sure I always adhere to this stricture, but as Hedgie gets older, it seems very important not to infringe on her privacy. My rule of thumb is, can she read what I wrote without becoming embarrassed/furious?

and finally, most importantly,

6. Don't eat soup over your keyboard as you blog: this one is self-explanatory, and goes also for overstuffed hoagies, chocolate eclairs, and of course hot coffee.

So, does anyone else out there have any personal blogging rules?

22 comments:

Brandy Rose said...

The last one is a big one that I continuously break, however not with soup, but sodas, chips, cookies, cigarettes... My poor, poor keyboard...

kylie said...

hi leah,
never making public statements of intention is a good one for the whole of life. it's interesting that i am so let-it-all-hang-out about lots of stuff but never about statements of intent.
you dont look like a complete ass. you look like you have the blogging bug.

i dont usually blog angry, i reserve the caustic and irrational stuff for emails

i think its perfectly possible to blog about religion and politics, if your points are well made and respectful you can say what you want.

i probably embarass my kids regularly but i think that a little bit of mild embarassment is ok and if a blog serves a little as a journal/ memory keeper then the embarassing stuff is quite possibly the most important!

i guess my blogging rules are about the same as yours

and i try never to post then delete.i have done it but i would like to think that i consider what i'm saying before i post

looks like our blogging rules are about the same

k

Jimmy Bastard said...

Some very deep and profound thoughts from you here Leah. Respect, anger, humour. 3 very good words to use in all aspects of blogging.

Try not to get hung up too much on rules. Rules can be broken as long as you smile while you do it.

tony said...

Eating Toast While Drunk & Blogging Knackers up the keyboard!I can usually tell how much I,ve had to drink the previous night by,the next morning, turning the keyboard upsidedown + tapping out the piles of crumbs that have lodged between the keys!

Rima said...

I always (ok, mostly) write my post on day one, and read it again on day two. If there is something that does not sound right, I edit. Things always look different the next day.

Alan Rickman said...

illllloooooveyoooouleahhhhhhhh

Megan said...

CURSES!!! I am commenting angry because I had this nice long thing typed up and then my boss came and asked me to do something and I was clicking away so fast I lost it.

Yes, I am cheating on my "you're too busy to blog from work" rule! :)

I'll be back after I get home...

Karen ^..^ said...

I broke the "do not blog angry" rule. Lots of times. Yikes. But then I take them down, when the anger fades a bit. I never mention names. but yeah. I still do that one. I also eat and drink over the keyboard, but am extremely careful.

I don't think you look like a royal ass at all, for being back three days later. I think we are glad to see you take a well deserved break.

I definitely have a gatekeeper. Usually of the mentality of my ex husband, who would for sure think blogging was "stupid".

When blogging about politics or religion, I always try to remain open minded while expressing my opinion. People still get pissed though. I don't. I think people should believe and think how they want, and only ask for the same courtesy.

These are really good rules.

I'm back on the patch. Yeah. Talk about a royal ass. *hangs head in shame*

Cece said...

I try not to blog about personal things with my husband. I might give slight sneak peaks every once in awhile, but I feel that our personal life is just that. Personal. I blog no holds bar about the boys. But if I didn't blog about them, well, I would have nothing to blog about because my world revolves around them. Ok, I've got to get to bed now. I'm exhausted. Toodles.

Megan said...

Ok trying to recreate...

Today was the first time I used Liam's name "straight out" in a post. And I'm still nervous about it and may go back and make the change to "Offspring" just in case.

But in case what?

If some random freak is going to hack us to death in our beds, well, it will be a sensational way to go out. But there aren't as many random freaks as our current popular literature encourages us to believe in, now is there?

I'm overthinking this, aren't I?

Queen Goob said...

Dang it! I failed number three - especially if my mother ever gets internet.

I'm all about numbers 2 and 4 - you'll note I talk about my kids quite a bit but not so much when they anger me. And I don't blog much about King the same way you don't about Sarge. It's a personal "space" issue I respect him for.

My mother? Oh....that is a different story entirely.

Good post, Leah, and as both the kids AND the man are gone for the weekend I may have to try out the second part of number 2 and blog drunk.

Leah said...

Brandy Rose: I continuously break it as well. Not really with hoagies and soup, but always with coffee and popcorn, potentially the worst.

Leah said...

Kylie: We definitely have a similar take on blogging. I also like to use it as a journal of sorts, also to hold forth on topics of interest, sort of essay-style, which can be surprisingly personal.

And I've only deleted a post once, when I wrote rawther scathingly about my mother-in-law and then felt terribly guilty...

Leah said...

Jimmy: I like it. Humor, anger, respect, not necessarily in that order...my new mantra.

I break the rules and then instantly regret it!

Leah said...

Rima: I think I could use a bit of a censor sometimes! Editing is a good thing when one blogs off the top of one's head as I tend to...

Leah said...

Hello Tony! you made me laugh. I like that correlation between drunk blogging and fucked-up keyboard, if not fucked-up post...

Leah said...

Alan: darling, I love you too...or something like it...

Leah said...

Megan: you know, I'm not exactly sure why I call my girl "Hedgehog." I used to call her by her name in the earlier posts, but then I stopped. Maybe it's silly. I love when people aren't opaque about names, it makes you feel more like they're letting you in a little, you know?

And blogging from work, well, I do it every day 'cause I'm my own boss!

Leah said...

Karen: you're not an ass for being back on the patch either--I'm in the process of sort of kind of hopefully trying to quit, and it ain't easy! xo

Leah said...

Hi Cece!: I really couldn't talk to much about Sarge out of deference to his feelings--but if I was given license to, I'd talk about him incessantly! I think I still have a crush on my husband...

Leah said...

QG: go drunken bloggers of the world!!!

Effortlessly Average said...

I have a few, yes.

Number one, never blog about the wonderful woman you just met and how she might be "the one" when you know full well that a week later you may very likely be writing about how she now acts like she never even met you.

Number two, never post about a subject on which you're hoping to gain sympathy -or even empathy, for crying out loud- because it may just be fodder for others' laughter. Case in point: a vasectomy gone horribly, tragically wrong.

And Number three: don't pay attention to your hit counter, because unless you're a young, hot guy or a woman with either a proclivity toward sexual exploration or possessing of a "killer rack" (or both), you'll never compete with the kind of activity said people will attract.

Oh, and I forgot one: Killer racks are really cool.