Just so you know

All right. I have ideas. I think about stuff. So here is the spot for stuff I'm thinking about and want to be able to share more broadly and possibly promote. Like I have time for this.

Everything is provisional at this point and subject to change in the future - as far as the blog is concerned. In real life some things will remain unchanged.

Also, our children are not really named Lenny and Linus. We are not that cool.

Feel free to share, rant, disagree, but please remember that I'm an actual person who tries to be respectful. I'd love it if you are and do to.

Friday, March 14, 2014

How to Be a Human Being on the Internet (Does Anyone Know?)

I started this blog about six weeks ago.  I'd been thinking about it for a while.  I'd read a blog and think "I could do something like that."  Or I'd get all fired up about a topic, read good blogs on the issue and want to type up my own response.  But I didn't want my family blog getting much traffic from people we don't actually know.  And that sort of seems like the point of writing about topics and issues, right?  Having people read it?

Well it turns out one can scare up quite a few blog views by posting a few links in other, much more popular, blogger's comments sections.  Then if something you write resonates with another blogger and they share it around?  Also lots of hits.  Pinterest can be helpful too, but I think I'm not doing it right because I haven't gotten as many from that.  Which is sort of the point, right?  Doing it right?  Now there is suddenly a wrong way for me to do the internet?  Or to do blogging?  This started as an interesting experiment.  Suddenly I'm reading Twitter feeds hosted by a website dedicated to helping bloggers "do it better" (read make more money) and wondering if I should be putting ads on my site or trying to join more group boards on Pinterest.

All of that can get a little stressful.  Also it starts to feel a little forced.  Once in a while they mention having good content, or enjoying what you do, but it kind of feels like an afterthought.  I mean "you should enjoy what you do, but don't forget to check out this great site that allows you to edit pictures and create awesome graphics and if you subscribe please follow this link because I will get a commission."  Just paraphrasing.  I'll spare you the link.

But maybe it's because February was brutal and March is shaping up to be exhausting and terrible, but I've been obsessing about stats.  I'm trying not to totally abandon my family, but I feel the need to escape so strongly that I grasp on to the task of finding a few small ways to promote the blog each day as a way to exist - somewhere else.  And I'm still trying to figure out how to balance saying stuff that is meaningful to me with saying stuff people will find interesting while still maintaining healthy boundaries in terms of what I reveal about myself online.  Also, it seems important to treat other people well and I'm not always sure how to do that.

I agonized (a little) over my post about the Proverbs 31 mom because I felt bad about criticizing the woman who wrote the post.  But I also feel that women need to hear that there's more than one way to be a good mom and that the Bible isn't in the business of heaping burdens on us. I posted this piece on not thinking that we're doing something wrong just because times are hard as a kind of balance - just my perspective without needing to contradict someone.  But even then, the people I described in the post are real and could, in theory, read it and recognize themselves.

Because so far I have ended up writing about subjects I feel passionate about and revealing more about myself than I had anticipated when I started this blog.  I've had lots of positive responses, but it makes me kind of nervous.  I can really relate to this post by another blogger who's been blogging about her spiritual journey and feeling anxious about the repercussions. 

I joke about blogging being cheaper than therapy, but I don't want to end up in therapy because I blogged about something sensitive and ended up getting hurt.  I'm thinking about this because I've been following a blogger who recently wrote an article that got a lot of attention about sexual violence at the college she went to.  Later she shared on Twitter that the responses had been very hard for her to handle.  And I've been reading other posts about sexual abuse in religious settings and although I can see how it's so important to get the word out I keep thinking "Is this kind of vulnerability good for people who have been traumatize so much to begin with?"  (For a great summary of some of the stories I've been following check out this post, which also suggests a way we can help prevent these tragedies in the future.)

Thankfully I don't have that kind of "capital T trauma" to write about from personal experience. Although I haven't always had the most conventional life and I have had a few heartbreaks along the way, I have, in many ways, led a charmed and sheltered life.  I mean, when I say that February was brutal and March has been terrible I mean "lots of snow and cold weather and colds we can't shake and not getting enough sleep."  Not "civil war is tearing my country apart and we had to flee the only home my children have ever known in hopes of finding enough food to eat and a place where we won't get bombed" kind of terrible.

But it's my life and they're my struggles and heartbreaks and joys and it's what I know and seem inclined to write about.  I'm just not totally sure how much to share or in what context or..... what.  So may post a few recipes and some attempts to be funny and just give it some more thought.  Or I may seize on some idea or issue or experience I feel passionate about and throw it out there for the world to see.  Time will tell.  I'm still trying to figure out how to be a human being on the internet. 


  1. Blogging exposes you a wild, wonderful world, a world that also has trolls, sociopaths, and people who don't play well with others. Because of the subjects I write about, I attract nasty, arrogant people. I have been savaged, attacked, and brought to mental/emotional despair. Am I too sensitive to be a blogger? Maybe. This is why my counselor and I talk about blogging fairly often. :)

    Six years of blogging has allowed me to develop a core group of readers and commenters, it is nice now when some Fundamentalist goes off on me to have people who will step up and defend me or put the person in their place.

    Keep writing and good things will happen. Remember, it is always about the writing.


    1. Thanks Bruce. So far I have had good support and comments - mostly from people I know IRL or have some person in common with. It is encouraging and comforting. I guess I'll just have to give it time and find out what direction my writing will take in the future. For now it seems like my mottoes are "Over think everything" and "proceed with caution." :-)

  2. Hi Rachel, I'm still trying to figure out how to be human on the internet too. It's nice to share my innermost thoughts and feelings with other people who respond kindly, but at what cost? The way I try to think about it is this: before I post something, do I want to be discussing it 10 years from now in a job interview. If the answer is NO, well then, I probably won't post it. But that's just me. Others are much more open than I am and that is totally fine too.

    1. That's a good way to think about it! I also try to think about how it might effect my kids in the future. The internet has changed so much since my oldest was born 5 years ago. Sometimes it's hard to imagine how things will look for them when they are having job interviews!