May
13
2001

What You Don’t Want Your Momma to Know

Categories: Learning, Writing

I’ve just had my cherry popped.

Practically every online journal writer comes to a point where they have to take a long, hard look at what they’re writing and who’s reading their words.

Sooner or later, you write something overly personal that ends up hurting people close to you.

Why do we always fall into this trap? It’s totally obvious in hindsight. I mean, shit, anything you put online is gonna be visible to a whole freakin’ international audience, right? So why do we invariably post something personal?

Stupid stupid stupid.

Some diarist will password-protect their sites, so that only a select few can read their journals.

Others hide them in obscure URLs.

And yet others just write away, oblivious to who might end up reading their words.

You know what? Disclaimers like, “Warning: Personal Opinions Inside, Enter At Your Own Risk” really don’t mean shit

Diane Patterson wrote in her essay, “Why Web Journals Suck,” that if there’s anything in your journal that you don’t want others to read, then DON’T put it in a public form like the web, password-protected or otherwise. Because there will always be a way for your personal thoughts to get back to the people they’re about.

If you have something personal you want to write down, write it in a paper journal that you can hide under your bed. The web is not the place for personal thoughts like that.

I thought I might be safe from all this. These rambles aren’t quite a daily account of my life. Just random thoughts of mine. I try to write about nonsense, about my crazy theories, or about meaningful incidents in my life.

But every once in a while, I’ll slip and post something really personal. Just like you may have.

Fortunately for me, I haven’t gotten caught in the past. Until now.

Stupid stupid stupid.

Let this horrible guilt that I’m feeling right now be a lesson to you—DON’T write anything in your online journal that could be hurtful to someone. If you post it, anyone could see it and his or her reactions, whether it is hurt, disappointment, or anger, are all valid.

I’m sorry.

. . .

Have you ever published anything overly personal that ended up hurting people close to you?

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