A popular subject among bloggers is the whole "privacy setting" discussion. Should I or shouldn't I go private, seems to be a big thing with some bloggers. And I can see why.
I love the new friends I have made through my blog and through other blogs the past few years. I would not find it as pleasant to blog if my blog was an "invited reader's only" blog. The camaraderie among bloggers is a fun friendship to enjoy. But, I can see why some people only blog for "invited readers only". When I hear about bloggers with the privacy setting enabled, they all have a reoccurring theme that made them choose to go private: readers that either stalked, made nasty comments or interrogated them in some way or another.
I got to thinking about it in context of my own blogging.
A blogger writes what they feel; not always what you want to hear.
A blogger writes on their blog; not yours.
A blogger writes personal things and can be brutally honest; you are the one reading it.
A blogger writes based on their own conscience; not yours.
A blogger writes freely, you read it freely -- a blogger doesn't force you to read their blog.
A blogger writes what they believe without asking for your permission.
A blogger writes on their own blog BUT the website is opening in your home; if you don't like what you're reading on their blog, close the page and move on to something you do like.
A lot of readers seem to have a mentality that is inappropriately based: since my blog is coming into your home and I am willingly baring my heart for you to see it, that doesn't mean that I deserve speculation or interrogation or accusations or nasty comments just because I am vulnerable. I am not asking you to critique my work just because I make it available for you to read. And it's not that I feel a need to "trust" you with my secrets; a blog does not have secrets when it's public. I only trust you to read what I write and not come back and tell me what I should've wrote or hear how you disagree because you think you know me better and what I said is inconsistent with my life. (I say "I" and "you" in a general sense and in a way that speaks for all bloggers and readers.)
If you don't like the contents of a blog you are reading, or disagree, or have concerns with a topic or phrase, the blog author is not responsible for coming into your home and giving you a bad feeling about the blog you are reading. You made the move to enter that premises.
A blogger enjoys writing freely; if they have to think about a reader's preferences, or a reader's criticism, or a reader's inability to understand a situation, or knows a reader will strongly disagree with something the author says, that blog becomes the reader's blog; not the blogger's blog.
For safety reasons when your blog contains personal information that may pertain to you alone and/or your family, it is good to get a site meter and check it frequently. Check the referrals to see where your readers are coming from and also figure out direct hits (through IP addresses) from consistent readers: you want to know you are blogging among friends, even if the friends are people you have never met in person.
If some readers are on your blog more than you are, that's a good time to make a reference of the pages they load and the posts they're reading. That is usually a positive thing to have an interested reader but it can also be negative depending on the situation. You can see what is piquing their curiosity and what topics they seem attracted to; thus making their reading experience more inviting to them. But, there could be other reasons... are they checking for consistency in your life and/or getting information for ulterior motives and/or are they just getting to know you better?
I know I've posted this before but it's worth the read again. My friend Hannah says this:
I want my blog to be a place where I write what I’m passionate about -thoughts & people alike. What makes me laugh or cry, what grabs my soul and makes me think. A place where I share from real life, not just another collection of well-meaning spiritual rhetoric and lofty quotes of inspiration. Sometimes that can be hard to do. But I’m convinced that God’s touch is found in everything from answered prayers to eating ice cream, and much like a singer singing a song they don’t really care about, if it doesn’t mean anything to me, I certainly can’t help it mean much to anyone else.
I couldn't agree more.