Bloglife: Privacy and Other Concerns

From time to time I plan on sharing a bit about what I learned during my years as a blogger. Hopefully these posts will give you all a bit of insight on how and why I do what I do, and how bloggers fit this crazy Internet world into their lives. I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I promise to respond. Thanks for being a part of this journey!

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I started writing this blog back in 2004…yes 2004. Back when Beyonce was still singing about being Bootylicious. Good times. In 2005, a year into my mostly private blogging journey, Facebook exploded on the scene and soon everyone I knew was sharing their lives online. I wrote about pretty much everything back then, but I have always had a fairly strong filter. Sure, there are some older posts that make me cringe, but for the most part, I’m okay with the things I’ve said in this space. For the first seven years of Crazybananas, the only people reading were my best friends (my family is anti-internet in general) so I always wrote as if I was writing to them. That was my filter. If I wouldn’t say it to my best friend, I wouldn’t say it on this site. And it worked pretty well.

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Things are a little different these days. What I write here is read by strangers and passed along to others who I’ve never met. I feel lucky though…since I’ve been writing for such a long time (albeit, in a more private setting) I had the time to develop a blogging voice and standards for how I deal with what I share on the web. I think people would be surprised about how little I share about my life on the Internet. In fact, I know many, many people who share way more private details about their life on the Internet without a blog, using platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

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There are a few things I flat out won’t share here, either for ethical reasons or because it just doesn’t work for me and the people in my life. I don’t write about arguments with my husband (unless they are hilarious) and, in fact, when I do write about Trent (or post a photo of him anywhere) I have him look through what I’ve written and approve before it goes live. If it makes him feel uncomfortable or he doesn’t like it, I don’t post it. It wasn’t always like that, but through trial and error, we’ve found works for us. Somewhere in my draft folder are a ton of amazingly hilarious posts about silly fights or interactions we’ve had that will never see the light of day. I don’t want to pretend we are perfect on this site (and I don’t think I do), but his privacy is important too, and just because he is part of my story, doesn’t mean it’s okay for me to write about him without permission.

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As Lucy has grown older, I’ve shared a lot less about her as well. Her story is her own, and is not mine to tell, so I try to keep what I write about her more focused on how it affects me. Of course, being her mom is a big part of my story, so I will write about my experience, but when it’s a story solely about her, I ask Lu before I post. I also get her approval on photos and videos where she is included. Sometimes she says no or that something makes her feel embarrassed, and I won’t post those. Tate is still young enough that much of his story is my story, but I imagine as he grows up, I will do the same with him. In general, I don’t post photos of the kids in states of undress (although I have posted a very covered up bath photo to Instagram in the past) and when I post updates to social media, if an image shows the kids are at a certain location, I always wait until we have left that location to post them. I also don’t post anything that shows our home address or the kids’ schools. I know these things could probably be easily discovered, but it makes me feel better knowing I’m not making it any easier.

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At Alt Summit, a newish blogger brought up her struggles with being authentic without losing privacy…she wanted to know how more seasoned bloggers kept their voice without sharing everything about their lives. There were many opinions, but the consensus was you don’t have to share it all to be authentic. In fact, keeping something for yourself may actually help grow your writing voice. If you feel uncomfortable sharing something, it will come through in your writing, and the reaction might not be positive. All you can do is be true to yourself and share your story as you see it. Your life is interesting and rich, and your story is worth telling. Only you can decide what is private and what is a public part of your journey.

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