The Baggage That Comes Along With It

Adrianna: “When I didn't mind writing about my personal life, there were concerns raised that it couldn't possibly real — it's too dramatic, too arthouse-movie-like, too fictitious. Looking back, if I wasn't living it I wouldn't have believed most of it, too. Looking at the present: I'm living it again and I don't want to believe it either, so that's one more reason it shouldn't be made public. [...] That's not to say there's anything wrong with personal blogs on the web — if it's well-written, and in good taste, I will be a fan. It's just that I've come to see I can't handle the baggage which comes along with it, if I were to do so myself.”

Adriana writes about expectations her friends and her readers (not necessarily the same thing) have for her weblog, and how she either wants to keep some things private (for her or others' sake) or just doesn't have the time to write about her personal life. I was concerned about that at one point for the very personal aspect of the writings on my weblog, and much of the writing is back to private out of laziness, regret, or both. Many months ago, I wrote my rules for writing a personal weblog, basically saying there were none. (Except #8.)

Since making this website a more official online presence, putting a photo of me in the about page, and linking to it from my "official" sites (including my resume), the risk is always that people who didn't know whatever side of me this weblog portrays existed will learn about it pretty quickly. I'm fine with that: I have control over everything I write and over the spaces in which I write—other people's comment sections, which I regularly and unproblematically use as a personal blogging space—and I appreciate more the feeling that comes with accountability. Enabling comments was another step in that direction, as was letting go when people linked here with my full name making this site second only to my resume site in searches for it. I know people who complain that their readers see their weblog and make assumptions about them based on it. It's not as unfair as they claim, since everybody judges others, and if they want those people to judge them based on the whole person, then they have to present their whole selves, which is impossible. I can only control (some of) what I present of myself, and not how people judge me. I do not have an obligation to anybody to write about my so-called personal life, and neither does anybody else.


It's Adrianna.. Well, I live in a punishingly tiny city which thrives on needing to know what one's neighbour's boyfriend's sister's girlfriend (who happens to be your classmate from school) is doing at the moment or will be; and I guess it carries over onto the web as well. Oh well.

Change made. Now I'll never forget the spelling. I keep forgetting how big Vancouver is, and how really inconsequential anything I write is to people outside the small circle of bloggers here. That said, I don't write about what happened on the (few) dates I go on or about the (few) girls that I like because a) I feel no obligation to and b) if I did, I own most of the results for my name in the major search engines, so I'm pretty easy to track down if people know the correct spelling of my family name. My ex-girlfriend, for one found me pretty easily. (We weren't so much on bad terms as on no terms at all, so it was a little surprising to hear from her again.) This city is pretty gossip free, other possibly than the LiveJournal crowd, which I don't know a lot about anyway.

I'm adding this post to my list of ones contributing to my Northern Voice talk on privacy. It's been interesting as I've consciously pondered this concept of public versus private. Some say that there is no privacy any more. Lots of talk of privacy for sale, at cheap prices. But I think that it is crucial for us to feel that we have choice in what we reveal about ourselves. For example, there's a difference between Big Brother putting a camera in your house and installing the webcam yourself. Your post emphasizes this choice. I also like your description of accountability. Thanks.