Censorship and the Blog

I started writing about my life ( for an audience of strangers) when I was fourteen. I wrote for a popular teenage book series for eight years and in that time, wrote about my boyfriends, my parents, my friends... I used their names, even. My entire adolescence can be found in the pages of books and so, it's nothing new for me to write openly, nothing new for my family and friends to read about themselves. Names were never changed to protect the innocent. 

In order to write honestly I feel like I need to be wholly honest when it comes to my life and changing names, settings and other details (for me!) compromises my non-fiction. I write fiction to escape my life and memoir to remember it. Of course, easy for me to say when my family is so supportive, right? Trust me, I know.

I do understand why people are cautious online and I respect it completely. I understand why photos, names and even pictures aren't made public.  Very much I understand. And of course there are plenty of things I don't blog about at the risk of hurting, offending or shocking the people I love.

As we all know, there have been many occasions where we as a community have been called out for "exploiting our kids"  because we choose to write about OUR experiences with them. Because they happen to be part of our stories, our lives. And that's just ... well... Dana has some words for those mofos on today's Momversation. And Heather. And me: 



Do you censor your blog? Why or why not? And where do you draw the line in terms of what you are willing to share with the Internet. Is it possible to share too much? Talk to me... 

................................................................


And in other news, my whole "NO PINK!" rule? Has gone completely out the window. 

GGC

71 comments:

Issas Crazy World | 10:45 AM

I am having computer issues, so I'll have to listen to that later.

I used to be very open on my previous blog. I showed pictures, used real names and said whatever I wanted. Then it bit me in the ass. I finally had to delete my blog, just to not deal with the drama in my family anymore. This time around (and I waited 18 months to start a new one) I am more cautious about extended family stories. I have changed my husband and kids names, just so we're not as easy too find. Then again, I'm more open about myself this time, I feel more free to be honest about what I'm going through. Mostly because I know it's a safe place now.

Mirinda | 10:48 AM

I always roll my eyes when I visit a blog and they call their kids little names like "monkey" instead of using their real name. Or the blogger not even revealing their name. I mean, really. Get over it. I fully agree with what you said. If you are writing fiction that is one thing but when your blog is about your life...well, then it should be.
I don't censor on my blog names of my family or myself. I did remove the link that went to my business website. However, I'm not an idiot and it'd take someone less than 5 minutes on Google to find it.
Where I hold back is in posting on issues in relationships, especially my marriage. And I don't want my best friend to read a post about a fight we had two weeks ago that I wrote will still seriously pissed off!

Sorry, that was long :)

Little Miss Moi | 10:52 AM

yes, I censor my blog from just about every perspective - my name, photos, what i do on a daily basis. I guess I got paranoid because I live in a country with an active secret police, and I wanted to ensure that I could return to the country where my husband has his job! I would love to be more open with my readers, but not until I leave the country!

Ashley | 10:52 AM

Oh, wow. I read all of those books when I was in high school. I just recently started reading your blog, so it's kind of blowing my mind that you were in the Chicken Soup books. Now I'm gonna have to dig them up and see if yours were my favorites :)

the notorious b | 10:54 AM

For me, personally, I don't use any names in my blogs. I just use nicknames.

I had a very ugly divorce, complete with a literally insane ex MIL, and it made me really skittish about using names. Like, she doesn't know where my son and I live, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Unfortunately, I also feel I have to censor content at times, ie, I don't call my cousin a crazy bitch even if she's acting like one, because I know she reads the blog.

However, if you feel safe and your family is understanding, then I think that is awesome!

Beautiful kids, by the way!

http://thenotoriousb.blogspot.com/

the grumbles | 11:15 AM

My mom recently started reading my blog... for about 9 hours a day! She seriously checks it a few times a day. I feel like I'm being stalked.

Previously I never worried about censoring things, but my family does NOT have an open-share-it-all type of relationship and I'm pretty freaked out about it.

Looks like all my honesty is busted now, that and my foul mouth.

Lia | 11:15 AM

I censor my blog. I tend to refer to everyone in my family by just the first letter of their names so the people that know us knows who's who but you can't google my son or my husbands name and end up on my blog.

I try to be honest and open about things and I think I am, but only when it's stuff about me. I recently took care of an extended family members child for couple of days and I was frightened and upset by the state he was in when they left him with us and his severe delay in development. It took me days to find the perfect way to write about this on my blog so that if his mom ever found her way on there, she wouldn't be offended and start a family war.

As far as photos go I would never post any photos of my son naked in the tub for example.

I love your blog, it's refreshing to find someone who's very open and honest on their blog. I aspire to write as interesting and real blogs as you do.

Erin | 11:20 AM

I'm in a somewhat unique situation because my husband is a police officer. There are so many things that I want to and could write about, but he could potentially face repercussions. Sounds crazy, but it's true.

And, my family and even some family friends read my blog. While that doesn't cause me to hold back completely, I don't want to alienate anyone. It's not so much about offending people, but about hurting them.

So to a degree I censor, but I really prefer to see it as self-editing. Sometimes what I need to say can be said--I just have to write it carefully and with thought. And that's not such a bad thing.

Chelsea Robbins | 11:29 AM

When it comes to blogs, I just figure I have to write for me. It's an outlet. If people want to read, they can read, I'm only going to get out of it what I want to get out of it, if I be myself and write for myself and not censor myself. Blogging is like spin class, it's a release to get your words and ideas out. You have to do it for yourself and not pay attention to the judgements of those who hang on every word you say....especially when they don't get your sarcasm and are offended.

Average Girl In Average World | 11:35 AM

I do censor some. I have tried to not post my picture (only because I am publicly known in my area due to my work) and no one in my family NO ONE knows my blog name, my blog info, nada. My poor hubby still doesn't quit understand what a blog is.

Anonymous | 11:38 AM

I agree with Erin. I think that you need to do some self-editing in order to protect the potentially innocent. This isn't like writing in your diary where you're the only one who will read it. It's out there for the world to see. http://www.TheNaturalSapphireCompany.com

In Due Time | 11:38 AM

I sensor a little bit. Mainly to make it a little harder to find me via Google using my name, city, and infertility. Or whatever. I also use my nieces initial when I talk about her, because I know I could be easily found by adding that to the mix. I also don't use my other halfs name because he's getting his PhD and I don't want them to be able to read about any of his personal life which could affect his schooling or a potential job when he's done.

I don't suspect I'll sensor too much more even after we had kids to the mix. I like the way I flow. Heh.

shane | 11:40 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.
midnightanthropology | 11:41 AM

I censor some names. If I am censoring a name I usually just replace it with a nickname, so the person I am writing about realizes they are featured in the story.

This is to protect myself, as I am a bit sneaky. Certain people I blog about aren't aware of the existence of another certain someone.

With that being said, I think your blog is wonderful. The thought that you were exploiting your children NEVER crossed my mind. I view your blog as a place you go to talk about your life, your kids are a HUGE part of that... why wouldn't you include them?

shane | 11:42 AM

it's definitely a difficult line. i keep immediate family's names and try to write pretty honestly about my life and beliefs.

but...

i'm also VERY aware that my mum, in particular, reads what i write and, subsequently, i definitely self-sensor. i do write about my struggle with faith, but ultimately pull a few of my punches.

also, there's ground from my childhood i'd really like to write about, but, to be honest, i'm afraid of causing hurt to the ones i love...

sooooooo

i leave that scab for later picking sometime.

but it's a struggle. something that's AWAYS forefront in my mind every time i write from the heart.

M | 11:47 AM

I GOT to throw my blog into the ::PRIVATE ZONE:: when some people from the town I work in started skulking around the internet and stirring up some ugly about my pirate mouth.

Surprisingly, I'm not bitter. I was for a little while, but I realized that the bitterness wasn't worth my time and money. (My stomach doctor made a killing!!!) Instead, I've chalked it up to experience and moved on.

I started a new blog right before the new year. I've kept my name under wraps, the same with pictures for now. Until I feel like I can function without being cyber-stalked, I'll keep it that way. I want to share my thoughts and say what I want, not what people want to hear. I want to have that freedom of speech that we all so proudly claim to have... and until I find a job where I can be myself all of the time, I'll have to keep a bit of myself hidden for a while.

Thank you for your daily honesty and for sharing your life. You make me laugh, make me cry, and make me want to look at life a little bit differently.

Hearts,
M

Juggle Jane | 11:56 AM

I censor my blog by omitting names (yes, I use those annoying nicknames) only because I don't want to censor myself when it comes to topics and I don't want to hurt certain people.

I started my personal blog because I wanted to be able to say ALL the things I knew I couldn't say on the family blog that my mother-in-law visits.

I still struggle with how much to reveal. In the end, I guess each blogger does what feels right for them.

shane magee | 12:01 PM

sorry about the multi-posts!! hassle with my id! (kind of ironic!)

it's definitely a difficult line. i keep immediate family's names and try to write pretty honestly about my life and beliefs.

but...

i'm also VERY aware that my mum, in particular, reads what i write and, subsequently, i definitely self-sensor. i do write about my struggle with faith, but ultimately pull a few of my punches.

also, there's ground from my childhood i'd really like to write about, but, to be honest, i'm afraid of causing hurt to the ones i love...

sooooooo

i leave that scab for later picking sometime.

but it's a struggle. something that's AWAYS forefront in my mind every time i write from the heart.

Sass E-mum | 12:16 PM

I started off blogging with real names then thought better of it. Basically I got paranoid. Since then my inner voice calls my family by their blog names. Freaky weirdo that I am.

I apply the Dooce rationale for self censorship.

Friends have spotted me on line - which scares me a bit. I think the anonymity makes it easier for me to get the words down.

So far I've kept my mum off my blog. That seems to be quite important...

mames | 12:23 PM

great piece. you all crack me up, it is like the powerhouses of valley girl mom speak over there.

i find your no holds barred style really refreshing and plan on reading here for a long time to come because of it. i started blogging because of a difficult pregnancy and never stopped from there. i had pictures of their 3d ultrasounds up before they were born, i did refrain from using the ones where the doctor imaged their penis' at 18 weeks, letting us know there were two boys in there.

i naturally censor some things and i never get to write as often/much as i would like, so i lose some stuff too. but i would never ever change this blogging thing. because it has changed me so much, given me an outlet and a voice. and that i like.

Marin | 12:28 PM

I don't use anyone's name, even my own. My friends and my family didn't ask to be written about on the Internet and it's my job to protect their privacy. We're all going to start working soon enough and I would never want someone's job chances to be affected because I told the Internet about that one time they did X.

I think that if I were older, done with school and had a career-ish job, though, I would be far more transparent.

P.S. OMG Chicken Soup! I'm going to need to check mine and see if you're in them.

Katy | 12:34 PM

I censor my blog.

When I first started blogging, I didn't censor at all, I am fine with what I write and am willing to take full accountability to the content.

Unfortunately, there were people in my real life who would read my blog daily to create problems with my fiance, step children and their mother.

Also, my partner is not always comfortable to being mentioned, so I never blog about him. Though I have been a parent to his children for the past five years, I find it prevents a lot of drama when I don't blog about them.

I just want to say that Kathy Lee can fucking SUCK IT. That chicken head squawked about her children ALL OF THE TIME on national tv every morning when she was still with Regis. All you heard was "Cody Cody Casey Casey Cody" pouring from her mouth. What she shared about her children on television, was pretty much what Heather shares about Leta.

So a BIG "FUCK YOU" to Kathy Lee for that... though I can think of many things to say that to her, mainly for just sucking.

Also, (writing a novel here), to the bloggers out there who anonymously judge and trash other bloggers and their families, a BIG FUCK YOU. Those people are jealous of your creativity, beauty, insight, talent, success and families. Only people who are very small would waste their time judging you and bloggers like you, Rebeca.

becky | 12:42 PM

I guess I don't censor so much as I just haven't told people about my blog, specifically parents. A lot of what I write about is my childhood, pieces of my past, and about how my experiences (and my parents' experiences) have shaped me. But I know my parents are fairly private people and might feel upset to know I was sharing about them (even though nobody would ever know who they are).

It's been a struggle, figuring out how I feel about it all. But... they also don't know how to use the internet, so I'm not too worried....

Elizabeth | 12:47 PM

I currently do not censor. However, nobody really reads my blog either... and I don't have children. When and if those two things happen I will take it into consideration.
I will say, after thinking about it, that I do not write very personally about anything but positivity in regards to my marriage. I will never use my blog as a weapon against my husband.

amelia | 12:51 PM

I use a nickname for my daughter - mostly because I get all paranoid that her classmates will google her years down the line and they'll all read about how she bit her mom's nipple when she was a baby or something.

...that's about the extent though. No work-related stuff, but that should be a blog rule.

I love your blog, bytheway. Your Fable and my daughter were born around the same time...I've had fun reading your experiences with her.

Miss M | 1:00 PM

I truly admire the bloggers/writers that are comfortable sharing with our a censor... Heather from Dooce, you here at GGC, Kristin at Motherhood Uncensored... I wish I felt more comfortable writing so openly.

I would probably share more, but there is an underlining fear that my ex will find what I have written and use it to create problems. I trust him very little. I also promised my husband that I would not talk about our personal life (arguments etc) on my blog. I also don't use my daughter's name for many of the same reasons that other moms don't. She doesn't have an opinion because she's 7 and doesn't understand the reality of the internet, but when she's 17, she may have a strong opinion. Who knows, she may want to go to Yale one day and then they google her and there for the whole world to see are the most embarrassing childhood stories ever.

A | 1:04 PM

Censoring. Ummmyeah. I used to not do it. Mainly because I didn't think anyone besides family would be reading the blog (when I sent them emails reminding them to read it).
THEN, I started posting stuff that might be relative to other readers...who "happened" to stumble upon my blog. And I started censoring. Mainly because I've had someone ask me "hey, your house looks like our house...is it in 'this' neighborhood?" That kinda freaked me out. Then... I posted an entry about how wonderful my husband was, and he got a Google Alert b/c I had mentioned the company that we met at (where he still works). He freaked because he is in an upper-level management position, and didn't want his co-workers finding our family blog. He doesn't want his people knowing his age, etc...
So, I don't use our surname in our URL anymore...I tend not to use it anywhere on the blog, actually. That goes for first names too. I tend to refer to people with first letters. But I've always done that with my husband, so that's nothing new. With our daughter, I call her by her given name (which sounds like a nickname, so it works) and all other sorts of nicknames. It's just natural! I do have pics, I won't censor those because that is the main reason I started the blog...to show pics to my family who live 10 hours away.
I do self-edit b/c I don't want to hurt or upset family members...but in comments on other peep's blogs...I go buck wild! ;)

MMMadrid | 1:17 PM

I censor my blog about my job becuase of what happened to Heather @ Dooce. It is super hard to do becuase my job is very funny by the nature of it and gives me wonderful material. So, I just bite my lip on that one. I don't write things about my husband I wouldn't want him to know becuase he reads it. Other than those two (very big) things in my life, everything else is up for grabs. See for yourself:
miospacer.blogspot.com

Amelia Sprout | 1:23 PM

I censor because I work in IT and I have a brother-in-law in Information Security who has made everyone paranoid. I personally wouldn't censor pictures if it was up to me, since I think there are more creeps on the bus, and they knew where we live. However, I like having the names be slightly anonymous. I will share my real name if there is a need, I'm not that crazy.

Kristin | 1:28 PM

I'm all about being real. I find that blogs that aren't real, aren't very interesting.

I don't censor any names in our immediate family, but use initials & nicknames for extended family & friends, only because they have some sort of privacy that's to be respected. I also write about everything (with class). My marriage used to be off limits, but not anymore & my husband reads my blog daily & hasn't complained. Nor has he said anything about my writing about his family (A HUGE drama in our life. He knows how important writing is to me. I recently started comment moderation because I was getting hate comments about my issues with my in-laws. I just couldn't deal with it at the time - someday soon I'll go back to uncensored comments too. It bothers me that I even have to censor that right now.

Kaitlyn | 1:32 PM

I'll blog most everything about myself, but I draw the line when I think it could start affecting other people or my relationships with them. I like that you're so refreshingly honest, I just find that there are some people in my life and in my boyfriend's life who wouldn't appreciate some of the things I have to say. There are definitely times I wish I had gone anonymous but now that I've started my blog (which still gets very few readers, so very little to worry about right now) I wouldn't change it. I only post photos that have Ryan and I in them, I feel I would need to let other people know about my blog in order to get their permission, which I'm not interested in doing.

Keri | 2:03 PM

Hey Becca, I love your blog and have been a faithful reader for a couple of years but I cannot participate in Momversation discussions because I'm deaf and your videos are not subtitled. Is there any way you can subtitle your Momversation videos or at the very least, provide a transcript? Thanks! =D

Daddy Geek Boy | 2:19 PM

I keep real names out of it. I have a personal rule not to write about anything that I would keep secret or want my family kept secret. It's really just for me to sharpen my writing skills and for my amusement and to keep my family and friends informed. So I'm not worried about content.

Some day my kids will probably be old enough to ask me to stop. If they ever do, I will listen to them.

jjlibra | 2:43 PM

i actually started a blog, first to keep a far away friend updated and then another to write about how horrible teenages are. i chickened out and stopped both of them for fear that someone i knew would find it! i am not ready to reveal my innner thoughts to people i know on a blog. is it crazy that i wouldn't care about strangers?? anyway, i get both sides.

and fyi...my five year old daughter said that you are pretty and she likes your outfit and you look prettier in the video than you do in your straight from the bottle picture because your hair is longer (though i think your hair is just up but bangs are shorter)and she likes your headband :)

jjlibra | 2:45 PM

oh AND....how is blogging any different than talking about cody and cassidy (kathy lee gifford's kids)on national television??? i only know their names because she talked about them all the time!! i didn't even watch the show!!!

bitemycookie | 2:52 PM

i censor only when i don't want my mom to know too much about my sex life. i'm kinda afraid of my mommy.

mommymae | 2:54 PM

i censor names online. i use our middle names. we like to keep something private. and i don't blog about everything. i don't begrudge anyone for their take on it, since no one is getting hurt. ya know?

April | 3:26 PM

i think you and dana hit the nail on the head for me... i write what i'm thinking, but don't write anything i wouldn't say to someone's face. i do, occasionally though, like to make my husband and mom squirm a little... and i like to make my sister squirm a lot :-)

but, nothing TOO bad! i use my kids real names and all that jazz. i've not revealed my last name, but i haven't hid it either and with the amount of information divulged in my blog it would be very easy to figure out.

so, well, i think it's fine to write what you want and what you feel, just be prepared for backlash from whoever you write about.

also, i'm with you, insofar as i would LOVE to write about every nitty gritty detail, and i've considered doing an anonymous blog for that purpose... but then, it would be found out. because i would open my big fat mouth and tell someone. and then i'd get it in the ass. LOL.

my sister is always telling me i'll never be able to run for public office bc of my blog, but i think she's got it totally backwards. i have ZERO skeletons... it's all out there. no mudslinging for me! haha!

sorry for the novel.

Issas Crazy World | 3:29 PM

@Miranda I don't mean to be a pain, but I'm wondering what is the difference between not talking about certain things in your relationship (with your husband or friends) and some of us renaming out children? It's still protecting our families in some way.

I don't use nicknames for my kids, but I know lots of people that do. I do however call my kids by names that we didn't name them in real life. I just don't see the difference.

Issas Crazy World | 3:37 PM

Ok that was supposed to say about your husband...and renaming our children.

Kelly | 3:53 PM

My rule is that if I'm not willing to talk about what I've written in real life, I don't write it.

Unfortunately or fortunately for my family and friends, however, I am a very frank person.:) I try to be sensitive of other's feelings, but I have discovered that when that's all I think about, my writing goes to garbage. Also I’ve discovered that no matter how careful I think I’m being, for some people seeing themselves through some else’s eyes is offensive, no matter what is written.

However, I can't be a good writer unless I’m honest about what I think or feel. I think that's the way for most people.

Amanda | 4:03 PM

I censor my blog. It's private you have to be invited to read it. I work for Child Protective Services. I take away peoples kids, I make them go to rehab and sometimes I call them bad names (but only to myself). My blog is private because I want to share with my close friends & family but I don't want any angry clients coming after me & taking away or hurting MY child in retaliation. That being said, I wish it didn't have to be private for safety. I would love everyone to read what I write because sometimes I think I'm funny & smart.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 4:05 PM

Keri! Sorry about that. I'll def forward your comment to the Momversation producers. Don't want you to miss out or feel excluded at all!

As for everyone else, thank you so much for sharing! I hope it helps some of the newcomers to the blogging world to see what works for everyone in this regard.

Oh! And re: Chicken Soup for Teen Soul and Teen Love Series Books... I wrote mainly under Becca Woolf... Also under Zoe Graye, Jennifer Fox and Derek Whittier. Please don't judge me for my bad love poetry.

Mirinda | 4:44 PM

@Issas- I should have elaborated! I chose to not use my blog as the place to work out issues in my marriage and friendships. I would much rather work it out with the person. It's not about me witholding it, I just think I should be DEALING with it instead of griping to the internet.

There have been points made about divorce, crazy in-laws, etc which I had not considered. But at the same time I wonder, why have a blog if it can cause serious problems for you if it's found? Is it because we are so desperate for connections or our voice to be heard? I am 100% sure if I had serious concerns about people finding my blog I would not have one at all!

CookFamily | 6:04 PM

I have friends who have made the big move to "private" but I remain "out there." I relish the fact that ex boyfriends have found me and family members and friends worldwide can see how fantastic my little one is. Yes, comments from strangers in other countries have come, but, I am not concerned for our safety. I blog to bridge the distance between family who would otherwise miss my baby growing up.

Prasti | 6:07 PM

i'm thankful that no one has accused me of "exploiting" my children (yet) by writing about them on my blog. it's not really exploitation anyway.

i do try to be discreet about my exact locale, and avoid using the family last name. i also don't talk bad (even if i want to sometimes) about my husband's or my own employer. but i'm sure if some crazy person really wanted to figure out precisely where i live, they probably could figure it out with enough time. for me, my blog serves as a type of journal. though i don't share EVERYTHING on it, i enjoy the ability to share my personal experiences, emotions, etc. when i want to.

Ali | 6:41 PM

things i don't write about: things my husband wouldn't want me to, i.e., about our sex life, about our finances, about religion AND my job


things i do write about: my children - and i use their real names - and my family. and i don't feel badly writing about my kids. after all, they are a part of ME. and it's my story. and right now they like the idea of me writing about them. if at some point, they have problem with it, i will respect their wishes, for sure.

kittenpie | 6:47 PM

Me, I don't use real names and mostly don't post pics, though I have some baby ones up because babies, well, they just look like babies, right? It's the creep factor that stops me, and the fact that while if someone who knew me read the blog, they would probably recognize me, but I don't want someone to google and find me and read about stuff that I wouldnt' tell them in our first three conversations, you know? I work with the public, I don't need people to know everything about me.

As to content, I do feel that you don't post in high emotion. If I am angry or upset when I write a post, I will sit on it for a few days to make sure I really want to put it out there as it is, or maybe amend it a bit, because you can't really take back what you've said.

bluejeanamy | 7:04 PM

i, too, would prefer to write a whole lotta t.m.i. details -- and if it were only the internets reading i probably would.

i just get caught in the type-delete-type-delete cycle when i consider my family/husband. i've got all sorts of delicious stories re: my crazy texan in-laws and just can't go there. it blows.

p.s. you are a genius with eye makeup.

Kimberly | 7:31 PM

I write a blog about life with my daughter. As a safety precaution I only use her middle name. Other than that, everything goes.

Ali | 7:35 PM

I don't censor my blog, but i also don't write a lot of stuff that could potentially get me in trouble. Plus i think there's maybe two people who read it, so who cares right? I save all my complainy, personal, could have people turn around and hate me stuff for my livejournal with friends only settings so i can choose who can read what, even then I had issues with that in highschool so i dunno...
I suppose it all depends on the person and their circumstances

e.darcy | 8:41 PM

Such a great topic! I've never censored anything but my writing-something I am trying to seriously put a stop to.
I mean, censoring the topic/discussion based on the simple fact that I don't want to hear the phone ringing - wondering why I took this photo, why I was ranting about this and that - am I okay? - please come home. etc...etc... (trying to stop caring and slowly shock them, so they can decide if they want to keep reading or not)
Living abroad means that your entire clan, and their friends-want to read about your little life that is like a fairy tale to theirs-only-I've gotten comments from these losers telling me to stop talking this nonsense about whatever it is (generally my poetry or creative writing) and start talking tourist crap for them.

ALSO! uuuh. hmm. I know why mothers feel that they can't show pictures of their kids-whatever...and this whole thing of not showing their kid in the tub? uhm... okay-but there is NOTHING wrong with that if you choose to do so. There's a person working in the shoe department because he has a foot fetish-does that mean that you'll stop shopping for shoes because you're afraid you'll turn this man on?
meh. as a photographer the nature of nudity obviously is tasteful-no simple snap shots of something that could be seen anything less than art..

okay.. i'll step off of my soap box now. and wrap this up.
but-like you, I don't protect the innocent with made up names, I can't just lie about my experience-I don't even feel like writing if I can't say it all.. Why bother making up shit? Why have a website at all if you are just using a false identity?

courtney | 9:25 PM

I censor relatively heavily. I don't use fake names and I do blog about my kid and husband, but if it's going to put him in a negative light (my husband) then I won't type it. I generally don't blog about my family because, well, I don't know if they read it.

Tia | 12:19 AM

i've been thinking about this very thing a lot lately.

someone called me out on my blog for being "anonymous", saying that the reason i dish about my marriage must be because i don't fear retribution from my family or friends.

in fact, that's not the case at all. i use my real first name, and although i don't post pictures of myself or my husband, and use code names for many others, MOST of my "real life" people know about my blog and read it daily.

i blog semi-anonymously to protect myself from the people i DON'T know. that said, i think my commenter proved MY point by judging me when they obviously don't know anything about me.

however, i DO want to get published someday, so i will have to come out of the blogging closet eventually. and when i have kids? i'm not sure. i know i'll want to share their cuteness with the world, but i guess i'll cross that bridge when i come to it.

i think that whichever way you go, blogging is still very exposing. it's still your thoughts and feelings out there for the world to see, and although everyone might not know the face behind the words, it's a very naked feeling at times.

but it's worth it.

Jennifer | 2:40 AM

I just started to blog and I can honestly say that I will not be using my family members' and friends' real names. My real name, I use, but that's because there're a million Jennifer's out there.

The number one reason I won't be using real names is because I want to protect my son against who-the-heck-knows-what (yes, slightly paranoid). A mommy website that I belong to posted about random people taking pictures of other peoples' babies and presenting them as their own child. Now, the probability of that happening to me is small, but hey, it's still creepy and I'd like to keep away from creeps.

The second reason is I want to be as open and candid as I can about my life without the fear of someone close to me reading it and wanting to kill me for 'airing out the dirty laundry', so to speak.

That's it in a nutshell.

Anyway, I'm new to your blog, but gotta say I really enjoy what I've gotten a chance to read. Great job!:-)

pandorican | 5:31 AM

I think I'm with many others here. I used to use real names, and have since deleted that blog and taken out my kids names. It's not for any other reason that this: I have two older kids that don't live with me, and I occasionally get into bits about the nasty crap their father did/does. And they have somewhat unique names, so I did this to prevent them from googling their own names and coming up with crap they don't need to see at ages 8 & 9.
Having said that, It's pretty obvious who I am, I use pictures, and anyone from my real life just has to google my email address to find my blog. And, my family and friends mostly already have. I'm ok with that. I've blogged about crazy poo tests. I don't have a lot left to hide.

Vodka Mom | 1:35 PM

I"m pretty honest on my blog. I don't use the kids names, but I'm sure at some point I'll fuck up and it will be out there. Right now, I don't really worry about that.

Melissa | 2:14 PM

I don't care what strangers read about me because, well, they're strangers. But I don't like the idea of people I know reading my essays. Even though I'm a pretty open person, I kind of edit and control what my friends and family know about me.

Like you said, I write to remember what has happened in my life. I guess I'm just a bit twisted inside. I want to share but control at the same time.

Karen | 11:32 PM

O man. You've touched a nerve for me. My issue is with readers who know me, rather than readers who don't know me.

This very "problem" has at times driven me to hate my own blog. I censor constantly and keep it to pictures and updates about the cute and annoying things my kid does so that far-off friends and family feel like we're in touch.

Sometimes, I write about what's on my mind but in a pretty clinical way. It's too easy for people to misinterpret and/or take offence.

For example, for the first post after my son was born (which took me 4 tries over 4 days and many frustrating hours to compose due to technical difficulties), I had a handful of pictures of the kid, one with my father and brother, and one with my husbands' parents. I had captioned the one with my inlaws "visitors," which I thought was cute because everyone who reads my blog is family and bloody well knows everyone in the pictures. Never mind that I hadn't included photos of any other visitors, I got a terse email (not comment!) from my MIL:

"I prefer not to be called a visitor. We are grandparents, are we not?" It took all my self-restraint to bite my tongue about her insensitivity to me and over-sensitivity about herself. I wish I could have blogged about her email.

Even better: I get serious guilt-trips from the inlaws whenever I take a break from blogging. I want to scream, "You come to my house 5 times a week. If you want pictures of the grandkid, bring a camera!"

Generation gaps and language gaps (many ESL family members) preclude interesting prose. If I want to write anything cleverly, it needs to come with lengthy explanations and disclaimers. That totally kills the joy of putting any effort into writing with any kind of flair. My inlaws's reading is my greatest inhibition to fulfilling blogging.

As to strangers reading my blog: I'm totally google-able, so I don't post information that I wouldn't tell a stranger (address, date of birth). I do worry a little about identity theft or similar problems. Although... it now occurs to me now that the interwebs have my son's full name and DOB. Sorry, kid. Don't hate me.

I don't promote my blog nor particularly care to have more readers. So, I make a point of never linking to it. I feel a little badly because I know that people prefer non-anonymous comments. I've seen other people be accused of be cowardly for anonymous, provocative comments but luckily, I have avoided this criticism from the blogosphere. I guess my comments are too bland.

Tammi | 1:20 PM

I censor a bit. There have been posts that I had my husband read before they are posted to make sure there was nothing that he wouldn't be comfortable it being out there. I don't blog about anything I wouldn't be comfortable talking with a group of strangers.

Our last name is not linked to my blog in any way. My husband is a police officer so we have to be a little more cautious about what is put out there just to keep our family safe. Beyond that, I blog about what is on my mind.

The idea that blogging about your children is exploitive is ridiculous. I agree about being careful, especially with information, but calling someone a monster for it? Someone needs to chillax.

Jennifer | 6:04 PM

Umm, I haven't ever mentioned the exact location of where we live, or the company I work for. I don't use our last name, and you can't find me on google or yahoo, or the blog, even if you do have our last name. I don't use extended family names, either. But my family knows I have a blog, my boss knows I have a blog. In my job I actually have signed a confidentiality clause and am bound by state and federal laws about what I can and cannot talk about, so no worries there...not even hubby knows some things and he's okay by it. And yes-not everyone is happy I have a blog. I don't care about it. I don't blog for them, or even for the general public. I blog for me.

goodfather | 9:18 PM

I censor my blog. My older kids are the product of my failed marriage with their Mother. When they are both 18, I'm going to drop my self-imposed censorship.

Anonymous | 9:26 AM

I used to have a blog - it was read by a lot of people & published in conjunction with a gold-standard professional journal. It almost got me into a LOT of trouble. I'll never write one again.

I love GGC, but sometimes it does make me uncomfortable that one day Archer Sage's school friends (or even bullies) are going to google him and find out personal things about him. Children are cruel & sometimes, you leave Archer open to future ridicule from his peers. I think you write beautifully, I really do, but like I said, children are cruel, they'll put a spin on it.

The things you share about your marriage are raw & honest & again, I love your writing, which is why i've been reading your blogs for years & will continue... but again, co-workers of Hal's knowing about his marriage issues, I don't know. I think it says a lot that you are both happy to give away that privacy. I would be mortified if someone knew the things about my marriage that I know about yours, but perhaps that says more about me than you.

But just because I feel uncomfortable with the things you write about your children sometimes, does not make me a 'mofo' - it just means I have an opinion.

Daisy Duke | 12:23 PM

As an attorney, I have to censor things so I don't show up one day to court & have a potential juror dismissed because they read my blog. It just wouldn't be good- and of course, I never blog about clients or cases, but I would never want a judge demanding they get to look at my blog "just in case". So out of respect for my profession, I keep it anonymous.

carrie | 3:05 PM

OK, first I'm cracking up because for Kathy Lee Gifford to tell Heather that what she does "makes her uncomfortable" is a joke! KLG wrote books way back when (shocking, I know!) and guess what? In those books she wrote about a lot of things, including...

wait for it...

HER CHILDREN!!!!

She joked about her kids. So whatever KLG, you can't have your cake and eat it too!

And now, how I feel? I have always written honestly and not behind a veil. Like many of you, I feel that I am telling my stories. I just happen to be a mom, so yes - most of them revolve around mothering. Motherhood is my muse and I got a little skeeved out because my daughter's pic was showing up on searches for Bret Michael's kids, etc. But really, what is going to come of that? I have the ip of every visitor...much more information than I have on people who see my kids in the grocery store, right? So, the way I see it - everyone has their own personal line and you need to know what that is. Establish your own level of comfortableness in what you share and don't let anyone else determine that for you!

End rant.

Thank you.

Anonymous | 7:22 PM

Fable more literally is defined as a fictitious narrative; a story not grounded in truth; a falsehood. but, it has good connotations too!

tapthatmom | 9:10 PM

I dont cencor to much. I know that there are people in my family who would rather I not talk about them. So I dont. Plain as that. My sister however loves when I blog about her! She's a freak, what can I say?
As for my kids. THEY'RE MY KIDS AND ILL WRITE ABOUT THEM IF I WANT TO!!! I have nothin to be ashamed of and neither should thay.
It's life, we all live it. So why not talk about it?

domesticblister | 4:46 PM

I use nicknames, but I don't censor much of the content, especially when it comes to my filthy mouth, smart-assed opinions, and the things that happen in my life and in my family.
I do however, try to avoid general axe grinding, especially where family is concerned. I don't talk shit about my husband or my in-laws or my parents because I know they all read it and I would never want to hurt them.
I've also noticed that just knowing that I write a blog has made some people a little nervous around me...like they are more cautious about what they say and do around me, lest they find themselves splashed all over the internet the next day. But then again, I hang around some very paranoid people.
Lately I've questioned writing about my kids' teachers... but I've come to the conclusion that it is a huge part of my life, and my family's story, and it raises some very real issues that I can't gloss over or ignore.
Honesty and fearlessness are what my readers appreciate most, and it's certainly what I enjoy most about GGC.

www.domesticblister.wordpress.com

Mel @ A Box of Chocolates | 1:30 PM

Nope, no censoring on my blog. We are who I say we are. I am careful about writing about relationships because I don't want to hurt people, the other side doesn't get to share their story, and I would right in the heat of the moment and then probably regret what I wrote later. I prefer the blogs that keep everything real because I feel like I get to know the author and building that community is what I think blogging is all about anyways.

Siera | 9:53 AM

Good Question - How much info is too much info? This really depends to the individual blogger.

When I first started to blog I knew my friends read it. Then I realized that I couldn't use my blog as an outlet to my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes those friends would be the cause of a post, and not wanting to hurt anyone directly I created a new blog. My blog is about me, my feelings and my life. I use pseudonyms for myself, my son and my fiancé. I don't need my MIL or FIL stumbling across my blog because they may not like what they read. And I do not want to censor what's on my mind. I have some pretty strong views on things. Nor do I need to an ex googling me and cyber stalking me. Has anyone ever googled an ex's name? It shouldn't surprise you with a click of a mouse you can find your ex's family blog and for those that are curious their life is an open book to all. I prefer my anonymity.

Again censorship is up to the individual. It really depends what the intent of your blog is and who you want to protect. So far, my blog is a little of everything. I try to keep things light and humorous if possible.

Nell @ Casual Friday Everyday | 7:54 PM

I blog my kids real names. Hello, they're just too cool not to blog (2 of them are anyway. Zane and Dash).

On a serious note though I don't blog about anything that could get my husband in trouble at work. I don't want my ramblings to leak back to his boss.

And I don't share naked pictures of my babies cute bum or use curse words (even though I use them in real life) and things of that nature.

Over all I try not to censor myself too much because my blog is a place to be me. Sometimes I do wish I could be more of the real me than I am...dare I say I'm not that brave ;)

:--) Nell
CasualFridayEveryday.com
Twitter.com/casualeveryday