It is quite simple, most of the bloggers write about their lives, activities, emotions, their loved ones. And it is not easy to take criticism on any of those counts. But the deal is simple, owning a public blog simply means, anyone in the world can read every word of what we publish. And we need to remember that with every post we publish. From my personal experience I can say, as we spend more time blogging, we lose more and more of our inhibitions about opening up. As we put forth more and more of our self on the blog, the more vulnerable we get to attacks.
I have been very fortunate, to not have been picked on by people on my blog, or maybe I am way too boring for people to criticise, or maybe I have limited readership, and the few who comment out of them are friends, whatever the reason, I have not faced the real brunt of it. But what if I wrote a post on how the BB is an amazing child, and someone left a comment saying something rude on that post. It would indeed hurt, I know. And what would I do then? Being in the objective position that I am in at this point, I think I would need to remind myself that indeed anyone can read and have their say on any of my posts. And if I cannot deal with someone reacting negatively, maybe I should not have displayed to the entire world, a part of myself that is vulnerable to hurt and pain. But then, what would my blog contain, just some abstract thoughts, or philosophical ideas that have nothing to do with my personal life? Could be, if I enjoyed that kind of blogging, but I don't. My blog is about more than just my ideas, it is about my life, the incidents that occur in it, my emotions and more. My blog is anonymous, which means, I don't share it with most people I know in real life. I shifted to a new blog a couple of months back, and among all other reasons, was also the reason that I wanted to lose some
When writing posts about personal issues, topics that are close to our hearts or sensitive issues, we need to forever remember that when putting it on a blog, it is equivalent to shouting the thing out on a crowded railway platform. Anybody, simply anybody could read it. How calmly would we discuss such topics with people we don't really trust in person. Some things, we do not share, even with our closest friends is it not? And yet we put it on our blog. A big thing which lets me do it, is my anonymity. Personally I could never blog as freely as I do now, if I did it with my name up front. The veil of anonymity makes it easier to share, write, tell. But even if anonymous, I need to remember, that not everyone reading this blog is a person who would agree with me, and at anytime, can come up with a cruel remark or comment. And it would not hurt less because the commentator, does not know my real name.
Another issue that crops up with blogging is that readers assume a familiarity, we may not be comfortable with. It is a bit like being a celebrity. If I spot Tom Cruise on the street, I get the feeling of seeing someone I know, not just because I have seen his movies, but also because there is a lot I know about him, his family, his kids, wives, even marital woes and more. And that would give me a false sense of familiarity, and being a fan, I may try to express it. Tom Cruise on the other hand would simply flee, because he does not know I exist on this planet. Happens with bloggers too. If you read someone's blog long enough, a feeling of familiarity creeps up, which is not felt by the blogger herself, and when the reader communicates with the blogger, it is with that illusion of familiarity, which the blogger herself does not feel, and that can get uncomfortable. So if I am talking about my insecurities about my in-laws on my blog, a reader I don't know, can easily comment on that in a way which comes naturally to them through their feeling of familiarity, from reading my blog long enough, but it totally blows me off. And somehow neither seem to be doing the wrong thing in this case.
Bloggers are judged by the readers. Always and but always. There is no escaping that. Again its a follow-on of the pseudo celebrity-like familiarity. Everyone has an opinion on Amitabh Bachhan. Some good, and some not so much. Similarly for every blog, it is natural to expect that not everyone reading it would have a good opinion about it. And as the posts get personal, the judgment shifts onto the blogger from just the blog. Be prepared blogger, because the world is not made of just roses, but comes with its share of thorns too.
All of these are simple trappings of having a public blog, just as there are trappings of being a celebrity. A recent conversation with a blogger friend, who was upset with condescending comments on her blog, led me onto tell her the exact same things. It happens. There was a fiasco in the blog world a while back, and pretty much everyone had an opinion, me included. While discussing the issue with someone, she asked me, "What is the need for people who are not involved to have opinions?" It is simple enough, when there is a fight between SRK and Salman Khan, don't most of us have our opinions on it?
Addendum - Do read the latest post by Monika, who blogs with her own name, and was recognised by strangers in a mall. Indeed how would I react to some stranger coming up to me on the street and saying, Ah! yes, I know the BB loves wearing your necklaces. It would definitely freak me out. What about you? A danger of putting up too many personal things on a public space?