Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Who Knows That You Blog

I belong to a very large internet group that discusses a specific subject.  Many of the members have websites and most of the members have blogs.  They have blogs to get their names “out there,” to sell their work, and to get commissions.  For the most part, people in THAT type of blog don’t hide who they are.  They usually have a sig line on their emails with their blog and website URLs, where you can find specific contact information.


I’m also familiar with a number of FRIEND AND FAMILY blogs, where people post pictures of their kids or where they went on the weekend, as well as some personal reflections.  They don’t usually have their real names posted, but there may be contact information.


Then there is THIS type of blog, where people post essays and opinions, for the most part, along with some personal doings.  The blogs of THIS type I read have to do with the intersection of faith and life.  Many, but not all, of these are anonymous or semi-anonymous.  Interesting, isn’t it, that we bloggers of this type want our opinions out there, but don’t use a real name. 


Since I’m Lutheran, I did searches for blogs of Lutheran writers.  I found that there are at least two listings, The Lutheran Blog directory and Lutheranism 101, which seems to not be an active blog anymore.  There is a Lutheran Carnival, or perhaps two of them.  There are lots of blogs with Lutheran leanings, but many are not listed on a Lutheran Directory.


So my question is:  Who do you tell that you blog?  Do you tell friends and family?  Church members?  Do you prefer to remain anonymous, just waiting to see who stumbles onto your blog?   Have people you know stumbled onto your blog?  Then what?


Recently I followed a link on a blog and read an entry that reminded me of something that MF said last week.  The blog was well written, so I read some more entries.  There was a reference to a recreational opportunity that was sort of like a place I know.  More reading, then three references in three separate posts that made me realize that this was MF’s blog!  MF knows that I read blogs and knows about my other blog, but we’ve never discussed that we both write blogs about faith and life, even though we often discuss faith and life.  Obviously, we both want to keep our secret.  But this is so strange; it is a bit like seeing someone’s diary.  Yet a blogger does put his writings out for the public to read. 


Is there proper blog etiquette when someone stumbles on a friend’s blog?


  1. When I started blogging just over a year ago I send a mass email to all my contacts using my personal email account and my professional email account. I also published my blog in my church newsletter and bulletin. Today I don't think many of my parishoners read my blog (I know of only a couple that do). I originally set up my blog as a devotional resource for the congregation I serve. The thought was that they would read these posts for devotional purposes. It was a good thought but it never turned out that way.

    After about 9 months I registered with Lutheran Blog Directory and that increased my traffic quite a bit, bringing a new "audience". Because of that my blog changed its focus and it still doesn't bother me if people know who I am.

    I know there are a number of anonymous blogs, but I am not one of them. I respect each person's choice here and never have been turned off by a person's choice to remains anonymous. I enjoy reading blogs whether I know the person's "real" name or not.

    As for blogging etiquette, if someone wants to remain anonymous then that is their right. If you approach your friend I wonder if it will affect how they write knowing they are not completely anonymous. But on the other hand, is that being deceptive? I guess I am not being much help here but I can appreciate your situation. I am not sure what I would do except for blogging about it asking for advice.

  2. I agree with Eric to an extent. There is a part of me that really want sto come out of my semi-anonymous closet. At the same time, because I sometimes post things about my own faith struggles and my theological wrestling, I am not sure I want my parish to be party to that conversation. There are some good reasons to remain anonymous or semi-anonymous.

    I think the bloggers that remain anonymous only to hide while they spew venom are the ones that really turn me off.

    The reality is that I know a fair number of bloggers IRL, and they know the person behind the moniker.

  3. I read blog that is written anonymously, and fairly quickly, I realized that I knew who this person was, so I fessed up. If someone is blogging, the writing is meant for public consumption, and one cannot control who reads it.

    Of course, once your family finds your blog, you can't complain about them anymore! (Not that I ever did!)

  4. lutherpunk - Not being able to be fully open with struggles I am having in my faith and congregation is something I miss. I too don't want my congregation to be privy to that. If I could do it over again would I be anonymous...I am not sure. I thought about setting up another blog where I would be anonymous, but I think one blog is enough to keep track of.

    I guess there is a price to pay for being "out there" and for being anonymous.

  5. Yesterday was the first anniversary for my blog. I set out anonymously, mostly because I didn't want to get a bunch of spam and hate mail. Still, I intended it to be available to anyone who would want to read it. I put a link in my email signatures and sent group emails to all of my friends and family.

    As I got used to blogging and became a little more thick skinned (perhaps even thick headed) I started posting in a more personal way. I still don’t give the name of the congregation I am serving for internship. I don’t believe that my opinions and thoughts always reflect the personality of this congregation, so I won’t saddle them with my baggage.

    So now I really don't mind if people know who I am because what I choose to post is in line with how I feel. I don't hide my feelings so I pretty much don't hide my blog. Besides, my blog, for the most part is somewhat benign when it comes to controversial issues. For now, I feel that my part in such conversation is better held face to face rather than in a written, impersonal forum.

  6. Pastor Eric's experience is very much like mine. I originally thought of making it a site my church folk would want to visit...posting devotionals, etc. But it did not turn out that way. A few of them do read there, at least occasionally, so I also miss the opportunity to use the blog to vent or discuss church and life when it is not positive. I also toyed with the idea of another blog, and tossed it, and now I also wish that my semi anonymous blog was more anonymous! Not a big deal however. My family members know about it, and very few if any, read it, which I find odd, to tell you the truth!

  7. I am not anonymous on my blog posts and I have let my friends and family know that I blog and what my site is. It keeps me accountable but I am still honest and can sometimes make myself a bit more vulnerable than I realise.
    One of my friends keep reminding me that if you put it on the 'net, you're allowing anyone to read it and you take that into consideration.
    In the situation you've mentioned, I'd probably tell MF that I stumbled on to their blog and even ask if they mind. It reminds them that anyone can read it, even people they know. If they do mind, you can always reassure them that you'll try not to visit their blog again.


And what do you think?