On Privacy

I got the below question in my ask box, and I thought it was an interesting one to answer:

Hi, I want to ask something I haven’t really seen any blogger address. When you first started blogging were you shy about it? Did you hide it from your friends? Or were you enthusiastic for them to know about it? How did you make the decision to make the blog not just about your weight loss, but to also include fairly personal details about your life? I’m curious to know if you had any people in your life who were weirded out by yoru blog? 

I’m still relatively shy about it. Not because I’m ashamed by it, but I’m just a relatively modest person, so it’s not my style to go around and tell people about my blog. Sometimes if a friend is telling someone about my blog, I still blush.

I’m definitely, in some ways, more comfortable expressing myself in writing than in person, so I told my friends by linking to it on my Facebook and then letting them ask questions. (This was relatively early in the weight-loss journey, so telling everyone about it was my way of keeping myself accountable.) I think I shared it on Facebook probably within a few weeks of starting it.

The decision to include more personal details was a gradual one. Early on, I just posted pics of my food and a few sentences. (Here’s an early post!) I definitely eased myself into blogging. But, the more blogs I read, the more I really enjoyed learning about other people’s lives, and I really liked when they shared personal tidbits about their lives. And usually I found that if I was struggling with something, there was at least one other person out there also struggling, and don’t we all want to feel we’re not alone? Also, I’ve gotten all kind of great advice when I’ve talked about things I’ve struggled with.

The decision to include more personal details also includes a decision to draw the line somewhere. I keep a lot about family and friends private, just because it feels safer to me. It’s also out of respect to them. And I can tell some people just wouldn’t be comfortable with having pictures of them on the Internet. I’m a little WASP-y, so I don’t talk much about sex, money or politics because I try to keep things polite 😉 I won’t talk about dating, either, because that’s just another thing that makes me more comfortable keeping it private. (I promise I won’t randomly announce one day that I’m engaged, though. Once there is someone serious in my life, I am sure I will start mentioning him, but until then, I’m not going to mention every guy I date.)

That, and things that are on the Internet never really go away, so I would never want something I wrote to preclude me from getting a job or to embarrass me. When I spoke to a New York Times reporter the other day, I didn’t have to worry that she’d find something in my blog that would embarrass me if she did end up writing about me. Maybe in some ways I play it too safe, but it’s what’s comfortable to me.

And, I don’t think any of my friends are weirded out by my blog. I think there’s probably people who don’t understand it, and definitely people who think the fact that I’ve met people from the Internet is weird, though. (I think it’s awesome.)

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