Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I See You

As I've said before, when I began carving out this little piece of the internet for myself I had no real idea what blogging was or if it was something I could stick with. I had no idea what a sense of community it would bring. I no idea the various types of people I would meet, some of whom I consider friends. I had no idea what I wanted my blog to be. I didn't share the fact that I blogged and over time, its just became easier to not tell people in my real life that I wrote.

I'm very protective of my little place here online. I've worked hard to make it something I'm proud of, someplace where I enjoy coming to share some of my inner most thoughts and feelings, someplace that you want to stop by and read. While I know my picture and name are attached to the blog, I've always considered myself semi-anonymous. I have a site meter and keep an eye on who's coming and going. Yes, even if you don't leave a comment I know you've been here. I don't mind at all. There are plenty of sites I lurk on too.

Earlier today I logged in to check my stats and saw an IP address that hit very, very close to home. I always know that there was a chance that someone would perhaps stumble across my site and I wasnt sure what I would do or how I would feel. I'm not 100% sure it has happened but it may have. In true Mandy fashion I am conflicted in how I feel about it and am not sure how to proceed. On one hand I am proud of what I have written and want to remain true to myself. On the other hand, I share a lot of thoughts that I wouldn't normally share in just a normal conversation with co-workers. (I am well aware that this has always been a possibility, its part of what comes with being a blogger with a public blog.) Do I just keep an eye on my stat counter and keep blogging as normal, wondering who it is that is reading, but stick with this site since its where I've always been? Do I go private, which is something I dont really want to do? Or do I close this blog and start over someplace else being very careful about who I give the address to? I'm just not sure about it. I'm not crazy the thought of starting over, but I also don't like the thought of giving up complete freedom to write what ever it is I want to write.

For the time being I am just going to watch my stat counter closely. I currently use statcounter.com, which I've heard isnt all that reliable. Is there a better alternative? What would you do?

26 comments:

Ray said...

oooo, that is a tough one. I am a very private blogger, and the only person IRL that reads my blog is my husband. I would just keep an eye on it for now. Good luck!

LBluca77 said...

My blog is not really that anon either but I worry someone from my real life will find it.especially since I have talked about real life friends on it. Whoops. Well for all I know they may have found it. I think I did do a site meter but I have no idea how to even check it.

Its a tough call on what you should do. But I don't think you should give it up. Maybe make your blog private so you feel more anon.

Andy said...

I had the exact same problem a few days ago.

The story? A friend of mine (to whom I hadn't told a thing) suddenly asks me "Have you updated your blog recently?". *shock face*

He then tells me how he learned about it, not because of the friends I have told about, but by another classmate.

And I've been deciding what to do. In my case, I'm SURE people are reading it. And honestly, I don't know what to do. Move? Go private? Keep going?

For now, I'm just "holding up", not writing too personal things. But I know there's going to be a point where I'll need to vent and I won't know what to do then.

Ashley said...

I feel the same way in that there's nothing terribly shocking on my blog, but the thought of someone I know finding it kind of freaks me out.

Keeping an eye on things for now sounds like a good idea. You might also consider sitemeter or google analytics.

Jenny and Matt said...

I think you know I check you out daily (google reader!)... was it just me that triggered your statcounter?
Sorry for the stress... I know your wish for (relative) anonymity

Cortney said...

I just try to be careful about what I say and if there is something I don't want the whole world to know I don't blog it.

I found you from a comment on another blog - hope you don't mind me reading!

I use Google Analytics for my stats. It's amazing! It shows you where people clicked to find you, where they are in the world, everything. you should check it out. http://www.google.com/analytics/

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I have really mixed feelings about this. While I appreciate that blogs offer an outlet to people that they don't have in their everyday lives, I think it's dangerous to assume that your blog will remain unknown forever. Even the anonymous ones. For that reason, I've always blogged knowing anyone could stumble upon my blog at any time. I'm true to myself. And I know some of my subjects will make people in my real life uncomfortable. And I'm ok with that up to a limit. But, I do have limits. Good luck with your decision - I know it does not come lightly nor easily.

nory said...

hmmmm... I think it all depends on your comfort level with what you have written and how comfortable you are with what you have written and how you'd handle it if people approached you.

I have a few IRL people who read my blog (mom, boyfriend, brother, best friend who moved and a few others) but I don't write everything I wish I could and I admit that =)

If you start over somewhere else so long as I can follow you there, I'll be good!

Kyla Roma said...

I think that deep breathing is in order - while the IP may be from your city, that doesn't mean that it's someone you know. At the "height" of my blogging I had 100 people a day from my city reading, and only 5 of them were people I knew. It was completely nerve wracking.

If you ever mention your city, someone looking for local bloggers might find you just by searching "20 something Ohio bloggers" or something as innocuous.

I think the best middle ground that I've seen is from a blogger named His Red Head - she posts her normal posts but when she needs to vent, talk about someone in particular, or talk about work/marriage, she makes a post password protected.

You can make your Twitter feed private and put the password there, so people can still access it really easily, or make a list of your regular readers & just e-mail them out the password every time you post one.

Privacy online is so difficult, but I love this as a "middle way" - and I'm sure you'll find something that works for you! But don't move just because you have traffic - that's what happens when you're a good writer.

chickbug said...

I think Nilsa said exactly what I wanted to. The internet is not private, no matter how much we think it can be. I write on my blog knowing anyone I know in my real life could read it. And they do. But that doesn't stop me from being honest, sincere and open. In fact, I think the people in my life appreciate the window they have and the blog has opened up conversations and connections with people in my real life that would have never happened before. I say embrace the openness. You'll be a better person because of it.

Kylie said...

I feel your hesitation. I have been thinking of moving my blog too. I just don't want someone I know IRL to get upset if I said something they didn't expect. I have seen an IP that is in the same tinytown as me. They HAVE to know who I am but, I have no clue who they are. Kinda freaky!!

I'm gonna check out the Google Ananlytics. Maybe it's better than sitememter?

looking4#3 said...

Hard, tough choice. You know what I did when I wanted to be more private. Good luck with it. I totally get where you are!!!!

Katie said...

Uff, that is tricky. I made the mistake of giving my blog address out to my parents, sister, and brother in law...and now I wish I really hadn't. I only write about 25% of what I want to because I don't really want my parents to read about my relationship with S. or how little I really study. ;) I've been toying with the idea of starting a new address myself...

hang in there!

The Alleged Ringleader said...

I would stick it out. In the end these are your personal thoughts and you're true to yourself which is all that matters. I think you should be proud of what you have written!

Amandaaa said...

nahh. don't start over from
fresh. i imagine that being VERY
hard. and annoying. and plus-this
is your sweet little home now.
you'd miss it tooooo much! so if
anything, lean towards going
private.

BUT...until you jump the gun and
do either, wait it out. give it
some time. keep on writing your
heart out. and IF someone you know
happens to stumble upon it-know
that they are reading something
FABULOUS!

xx

Little Fish said...

I just use sitemeter.

Are you absolutely sure that this is someone you know? I can't tell you how many times I've seen an address that I am 100% convinced is someone I know. Then I click on it and see that they found my site by Googling pictures of James Franco. Then I wonder why other woman are searching for pictures of my one true love and future husband and then... oh I'm getting a little off topic (thought you could use a laugh).

Seriously though, you should be really proud of everything you've written!

RebeccaC said...

Frankly, I don't believe in the concept of "anonymous blog". To me it seems like an oxymoron unless you are very, very good at leading a double life. Its just too easy for someone to find you.

Personally, I am very proud of my blog and share it with everyone...co-workers and clients included. Does that mean that I sometimes edit a little bit more closely before hitting the ole publish button? Yes, but not so much that I feel censored.

The bottom line is, no matter how anonymous you think you are, if someone wants to find you badly enough they will. But, you've said yourself that you are true to yourself and everything you've shared in your blog and that should be all that matters. Stay put and stand tall my friend.

MeLaNiE said...

No one knows that I blog either. I've wondered what I would do if someone found out. I wouldn't really care, but it's "my" place. I have mine where it won't come up in google or anything. I don't know what I would do.

Frank said...

Personally I just be who I am. I know there are people who have read my blog who aren't too thrilled with what I write or have written, but that's just me.

Then again, I'm not too much different in real life than I am on my blog (although I'm much much cooler on the internets), so there isn't much I say here that I wouldn't say in my normal day to day life.

Maris said...

I really enjoyed reading these comments and completely agree with Rebecca C.

Even if some of the things you've said are a little more personal than you'd share in real life, maybe the blog is a good platform for people to learn a little more about you.

These are YOUR words and YOUR thoughts and as long as they're not vindictive or hurtful to others (which I HIGHLY doubt because you seem so sweet!) then there's nothing to hide.

I also don't think anyone would ever call you out on something they saw on your blog - that would just be obnoxious :)

Bayjb said...

Hmmm, I mark the IP addresses that I need to monitor but unfortunately there's not much you can do on Blogger to block people unless they are harassing you. Keep an eye on it and address it offline if you need to. Sadly, there is no such thing as an anonymous blog.

alexa - cleveland's a plum said...

i try not too look to hard at the stats, i almost always over think them so i try to ignore them.

don't try to worry about too much!

Cameo said...

you've EARNED your faithful readers and I think you should just stay put, write what you write and to hell with who IRL might read it. If they don't like it, then THEY are the ones with the problem. I did probably the DUMBEST thing EVER with my blog. The first year I had it (started it in October) I put the blog address...... ON MY CHRISTMAS LETTER!!!!! WTF???? I completely forgot about it, never did it again but even now some obscure family member will mention to someone "oh, I read about yada yada yada on Cameo's blog". Ugh. Shoot me now.

Katie said...

A lot of my friends know about my blog. And sometimes I sensor what I would otherwise like to say because they read it. Sometimes I don't. It just depends on how brave I'm feeling.

But don't move, don't go anywhere. Just be here and be who you are.

On my good days I find it incredibly freeing that people I know read my blog.

Vanessa said...

I use StatCounter and SiteMeter and compare the two constantly. Usually one catches the what the other misses. I also use Copyscape and Creative Commons to protect my work.

Auburn Kat said...

Unfortunately, as you know my ex would not stop reading my blog so I had to make that one private and start a new one. I don't regret it one bit. I definitely understand that it's a difficult decision...