Friday, 13 August 2010

What Can I Say?

As a blogist, and one who reads the output of other blogists, I have wondered about the appropriateness of some material. 

No - you have a mind like a sewer; I wasn't thinking about material like that!

I was contemplating the propriety of some levels of disclosure in a bloggy. This is bound up in the fact that what is written on this 'ere screen could protentially be viewed by anyone daft enough to log on and read it. 

I think I am approaching this from both perspectives that I bring to this: as reader and as writer.

 - Other people's stories: reportage is OK up to a point, but only, I believe, in more general terms. The disclosing of private narrative or events of someone other than the blogger is unacceptable to me, and as a reader I sometimes find myself feeling like I have my 'eye' at a 'keyhole'. There is a danger too that the subject of the blog may recognise themselves and their story, and I can only guess the scale of the hurt that they would experience. As a priest, this is all the more important; partly to protect those in our past, but also to assure those in our present that their accute pastoral need today isn't going to be the blog fodder of tomorrow. We only have a right over our own stories.
 - Our own stories: This speaks to why we choose to maintain a blog that is read by others. Do we have a perspective on the world and want to share it? Are we seeking to self-counsel using the comments of others as our 'shrink'? Speaking entirely for myself, it seems that there is a brand of blog writer who like to expose past pains, to a fault. They are met by a brand of blog reader who feast on that stuff, doing the cottage psychology thing, or simply relishing the chance to do the 'there there' thing. I read blogs and I study not just them but those who comment on them, and there are those readers who only ever emerge to comment when a difficult skelington has just been outed. It makes me a feel a little like a voyeur, so I stop reading. For myself, I think that you are less interested in me than my thoughts. I am in no hurry to tell my story because frankly that is what it is - my story. My wife and my children, my mum and siblings - they are those who are the right audience, not the anonymous reader, no disrespect meant. My past contains great bits, and crappy bits, mistakes and successes - but only by getting to know me in person will you get to that stuff - then you can be utter underwhelmed by it.
- Biting the hands that feed us: there are blogs that seem to have one aim: to offend and wound the organisation that the blogger works in/for. Case in point are those who poke fun at the church as a sole M.O. all the while doing so anonymously. I won't now read a blog if I don't know who writes it, simple as that. It seems that Mother Church is oft concerned about scurrilous blogs - and in truth, I tend to share their concern.

These are, of course, only my views. I'd be interested to know what you all think. Is this a Counsellor's Couch, a stool at the bar with mates, a spittoon, or a canvas for doodling? I am not sure that I know what this thing we called 'blog' is, but I feel strongly that some serve undisclosed purposes and have the potential to leak too readily.


  1. When I started blogging (last year) I decided that even if no-one read it I should think of a blog post like a postcard and assume everyone could read it. With regard to other people's stories - only those already legitimately in the public domain (e.g. the Queen will open Parliament today) unless I've obtained the person's permission about the proposed content. I think as Christian ministers/priests we have to be very vigilant about this - huge hurt could be caused to someone who thinks you've blogged about their pastoral situation - even many years later. As a former social worker in child protection, I'm astonished at the degree of self and family revelation of some blogs I've come across - especially those that detail with photos every step in their children's lives, whereabouts etc. The 'counsellor's couch' type of blog might be useful for some, but may lead to some vulnerable writers becoming victims to all sorts of unsavoury predators. It's a minefield out there, but all the more reason to engage with it. Maybe I should blog about this.

  2. Perhaps the desire/need to blog is an extension
    of verbal communication with all its self or
    socially imposed limitations - a sort of mental
    doodling. An anal-introverts only means of
    getting their current burning issues 'out there'
    in the public domain.
    Incidentally the idea of 'Il Tabarro' with a
    taped-up mouth has enormous appeal!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...