Blogging Paranoia: When Avatars Become Real People

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In the real world, I am careful about what I divulge to people, particularly those that I would consider to be acquaintances rather than friends. In the blogging world, I have become far less careful. While I never include names, faces and personal details and I avoid talking about it in my professional life, I have become quite blasé about the content of my posts and frequently forget that the stuff that I send into the online world is actually read by real human beings, instead of an Avatar on a computer screen.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to meet up with a group of WordPress bloggers and Tweeters from all over the country in person. They were a nice bunch of people of different ages and experiences, and I had a really enjoyable time chatting to some of them (time constraints meaning that I had to leave before the end as I’m taking The Bloke out for his birthday so didn’t get to properly speak to them all). I got to know a little about some of them and have been invited to further meet ups in the foreseeable future. We exchanged Twitter handles (I never thought I’d actually be douchey enough to write that, but there you go) and I left to go and meet The Bloke.

As I was on the way out, I suddenly had a realisation: oh sh*t, what if they actually read my blog? Suzie81 Speaks, effectively, has become almost an online journal and offers a far more personal insight into the cloudy muddle that is my mind, dotted intermittently with the occasional cat picture and rant about the British Education System. These people were no longer just Avatars on a computer screen – they were intelligent human beings that had the power to openly judge what I write… to my face. Initially, it was quite a scary concept.

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This is the risk that we take when we blog on a website that is open to the public and it is important that we are accountable for (and indeed, confident in) what we create.

As I always do when I feel nervous about something, I asked myself (and answered) a few questions on the way home.

1. Who do you blog for? Myself – Suzie81 Speaks is the best form of therapy I have ever had.

2. Do you enjoy it? Immensely – I can easily spend all day on it given the opportunity.

3. Are you proud of what you have created? Absolutely! I have a list of posts that I can reflect on and be proud of. Granted, one of my more recent posts was simply a picture of a guinea pig wearing heart-shaped glasses, but who doesn’t like guinea pigs?

4. Are you going to change what and how you write in response to negative comments? No!

Panic over. Suzie81 Speaks may not be suitable for everyone, but it is certainly suitable for me! And who knows – maybe the new bloggers that I have met may discover that they also like guinea pigs in heart shaped glasses!

What about you guys! Have you ever met anyone from the blogging world? Did it make you paranoid about your writing?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog