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Should your blog 'tell all'?!
11 years ago, August 20th 2008 No: 1 Msg: #46167  
Everytime I meet a fellow blogger I ask this question. How do you convey the full experience of a particular place or location, without selling your soul (especially if your mum's your biggest fan)?! Some bloggers keep it very impersonal, some are very open. Do you, don't you? Reply to this

11 years ago, August 20th 2008 No: 2 Msg: #46190  
LOL

I dont tell it all even if it is not personal stuff. I just pick a few points of interest(well interesting to me) and write about them.

Mel Reply to this

11 years ago, August 21st 2008 No: 3 Msg: #46232  
B Posts: 5,186
Tough question 😊

I guess there are a few angles to take on this:

1) Personal Privacy - how much should be divulged from your personal life? Do you want the world to know when you've broken up in a relationship? - but then if the blog is too impersonal is it as interesting? - continually write "we did this" and never actually mentioning who the other person in the "we" was seems really strange.

2) Illegal / Idiotic / Adventurous Activity - If I write that I took part in an illegal act in my blog (completely hypothetically of course!) - can I get in trouble? - does it constitute a confession? - will my Mum ever get over the disillusionment? - will it stop me getting that dream job in a boring corporate when back in the real world?

3) Stalkers - they exist - they are real - they are out to get you. I've actually met enough people that have had bunny boiling moments to keep this in mind.


I actually keep my blog a lot less personal now than I did during the first few years... I had the experience of droning on about how wonderful a new girlfriend was only to break up unexpectedly - I didn't write about the break up - just stopped blogging and picked up again an entire continent away. If I don't write about these things I don't have that embarrassing dilemma...

A lot of what Ralf wrote in the blog post touches on this as well - All that glitters is not gold...

disclosure - I met up with Ellen in La Paz, Bolivia - we had a similar discussion over a few beers Reply to this

11 years ago, August 21st 2008 No: 4 Msg: #46242  
The thing is, it's often 1) and 2) that make a story interesting ... possibly 3) as well ... but??!!

Things I have grappled with in the past include not just the end of a relationship (happens to the best of us Ralf!), but terrible traveling companions, hostel freaks, romances on the road, stupid things I've done and trouble I've got myself into ... These things are often the stuff of legend - the stories that have people on the edge of their seat back in the real world at dinner parties! If you think of all the good non fiction travel books you've ever read - often the best ones are those with humerous or heartbreaking accounts of people's experiences that fit into the above categories!

I also think that the fun you have and the enjoyment of a country or destination is highly affected by the people you're with, the experiences you have, your headset and emotions at the time. So sometimes when someone asks why a particular destination was so great, special or horrible - further explanation is necessary?

Reply to this

11 years ago, August 21st 2008 No: 5 Msg: #46258  
This brings me to another thought I have about privacy.

There are people on TravelBlog and other sites who get involved with NGOs and political issues. They blog about them along with their real name and a photo of themselves. This is perfecty safe while you are in a safe country. However, there are some countries where you can actually be an object of suspicion and even be arrested for having an opinion or getting involved with certain groups.

When I was in Iran I met and heard of foreigners who were arrested for not much. One Australian guy I met had been arrested for taking photos of a political demonstration against the US and Israel. One French couple I heard about spent a week in prison in Iran without being allowed to contact their consulate. All they had done was unknowingly camp near a millitary base. These people werent journalists or anything, just an ordinary backpackers. If you do get arrested and some nutcase points out that you have blogs on the internet about subjects these governments dont approve of with your name and personal details....

Governments are not constantly trawling the internet looking for people saying things against them but it is also possible that they sometimes are. You can be denied a visa or worse, just because somebody reports something you put on the internet. These things are not constantly happening but better safe than sorry.....

I think it is OK to blog about exciting/interesting things, as long as you protect your identity and that of those who are involved.

Reply to this

11 years ago, August 21st 2008 No: 6 Msg: #46259  
Mel - Interesting point.

I had this happen in Bosnia. I asked for the family I stayed with's permission to publish a blog about their war experiences, but in the end, they were so scared of being identified and possible repercussions that they asked me to pull it.

I also had to use similar restraint when writing about being interrogated on the Russian/Mongolian border a few years back. Reply to this

11 years ago, August 21st 2008 No: 7 Msg: #46263  
Good question - I guess I tend to be fairly non-specific about detail but try to give a feeling about what the experience was like for me in a particular place. If I'm travelling with someone long enough where it'd be odd if I continually mentioned them as "this person" and I felt it lacked respect to make their name up, then I'll ask them if I can use their name directly - same as if I'm using a picture of them on my blog.

In my first blogs I was a bit paranoid about giving almost any information away - lest some stalker/subject of my blog get irate! With time I've become used to working around that feeling, but I guess it's a case of using common sense/prudence with the information about other peoples' lives that we've been privileged enough to be witness to. It's perhaps a case of giving readers a tantalising snapshot of what your trip has entailed without getting bogged down in the detail.

I'm about to start a blog on my first year in Ireland so will face similar problems - some friends definitely want to be included and others perhaps not - but I guess facing decisions like this are all part and parcel of why we love documenting our voyages!

Happy travels! Reply to this

11 years ago, August 22nd 2008 No: 8 Msg: #46367  
B Posts: 212

Illegal / Idiotic / Adventurous Activity - If I write that I took part in an illegal act in my blog (completely hypothetically of course!) - can I get in trouble? - does it constitute a confession? - will my Mum ever get over the disillusionment?



On one of my blogs I talked about a bad trip I had after eating some hash - I don't think you can get in trouble for this (though if I don't appear on forums for a while, maybe think again...) because I think you can 'confess' to anything, but authorities wouldn't be able to take it further, even if I was to walk into a police station and tell them, because it can't be proved - it could have just been a lie. I think this even applies to cases of murder - someone can confess to committing a crime but they could only be arrested and charged if there was evidence of them having done it. Actually, I should confess that my 'official' information on this comes from an episode of Brookside I remember, where Jimmy had killed someone, but either it had been judged to be accidental or someone else had gone down for it - he was racked with guilt and eventually fronted up at a police station and confessed but they just turned him away, because there was no evidence or proof that he'd done it.

But about your second point on that, I posted the blog, then remembered my dad was on my subscribed list - it was too late, but I just had to bank on the fact he wouldn't read it, as he finds it hard to get his head round the technology of the internet - he's never mentioned it anyway!

I think I've erred on the side of maybe being too open, generally in my blogs, but this was largely because I felt I was writing it more for friends and family, and not many more people would probably read it - and if they did, who cares if they know about my stuff, I'll probably never meet them! Times when stuff happened, I found it therapeutic to write it down and put it out there, even if it was painful. though I can understand the view that because you've divulged one thing, then if it doesn't continue the way you wanted, you have the dilemma of whether to say more about what happened, or whatever. But on the whole, I didn't have a problem with the fact that my blogs are very personal - a lot of my friends said they really enjoyed reading them, and almost felt like they were with me, and were included in my journey, because they were so personal and open.
But I guess it just depends what you feel comfortable with - everyone needs to decide for themselves what they want to reveal and what they don't. Good discussion anyway 😊 Reply to this

11 years ago, August 22nd 2008 No: 9 Msg: #46391  

......they could only be arrested and charged if there was evidence of them having done it.



Well, that is how it is in the more civilized countries.....

But about your second point on that, I posted the blog, then remembered my dad was on my subscribed list - it was too late, but I just had to bank on the fact he wouldn't read it, as he finds it hard to get his head round the technology of the internet - he's never mentioned it anyway!



Or because he was young in the 60s? :D Reply to this

11 years ago, August 22nd 2008 No: 10 Msg: #46400  
B Posts: 212
no he wasn't even that young in the 60s! I think he either didn't read it or just chose to pretend he hadn't - or maybe even that was the least of his worries about me and what might happen to me during my travels... Reply to this

11 years ago, August 26th 2008 No: 11 Msg: #46737  
Hi guys, this is something that I have definitely been having issues with recently, in fact I haven't been able to write the blogs because I don't know how to phase them! I wish I was able to be as open as some people, because the blogs I've read that are full of the nitty gritty are sometimes the most humourous and interesting, but think that it can become inappropriate and somethings are just best left in your personal diary (especially if it's for your parents to read!) The 'dear diary' kind of stories could probably be labelled somewhere under 'human interest' and don't all good blogs have an element of this, without pandering to the people that should be labelled 'nosey'!?

Ellen I think you're right in saying that the places you visit are effected by the people you meet and the experiences that are a result; is it possible to write about a place when your experience there was affected by people or a state of mind without getting personal. I thnk it has to be a balance of the two - facts and figures/main sights and basics as well as personal experiences relating other travellers, random meetings and locals (but getting that balance is always a struggle!) Reply to this

11 years ago, August 26th 2008 No: 12 Msg: #46785  
Hey Alexandra - I'm in exactly the same predicament! Very far behind and trying to decide how much to spill! This is helping ... sort of! Reply to this

10 years ago, September 1st 2008 No: 13 Msg: #47504  
Because this blogging business is, for me at least, as much of a personal record of my adventures as a piece of travel literature for others I tend to write a fair amount about the personal and subjective. I realise that this style of writing is probably more interesting to me as a record of my trip than it is for others as pure entertainment. However, if I were to write entirely objectively, without putting any of myself into the places/events described then it would end up becoming a very dry and boring read - all dull description and a neatly chronologicalised listing of places on a point to point basis. I have read some like this! A better bet would be to try and sprinkle the dry and dusty factual actuality of a place with a few personal anecdotes to better keep the dust down.

How much of oneself to reveal, especially ones baser predilictions, is a much harder question to answer. I tend not to shy away from telling it like it is. I have no problem admitting to bad decisions, embarrassing mistakes, interesting sexual proclivities, use of illicit substances, uncalled for aggression and more when speaking to close friends but mst admit to fealing a little scared when my will to honesty compels me to reveal this stuff on my blog!

When, three months ago, I blogged from Vang Vieng in Laos (those who have been will understand) it presented me with a problem. If I were to have told it like it was I stood the chance of upsetting a few of my readers (I'm thinking parents here) who may not have been happy to read of some of those "adventures". I got around the problem by writing in the third person. I invented a friend who for this blog only, and due to lassitude on my part, would write the blog for me. This both worked as a disclaimer on my part for any insalubrious activities described and, I hope, made for an interesing, different and amusing blog for the casual reader. If anyone is interested the blog was called "Ghost written".

Thanks all!! Reply to this

10 years ago, September 1st 2008 No: 14 Msg: #47518  
Well since I have been mentioned a few times, I feel I should write something about the subject too... I am pretty careful about writing personal blogs, not because of protecting myself, but in this case protecting those others that are involved. In my blog about the break up, I actually sent the draft to my ex-girlfriend first and asked her permission to write about the break up. I also didn't mention any names, there are no pictures of the person involved and the blog was more about the relationship issue as a whole when travelling, rather then being specific about this one break up. I used this break up as an example and I tried to be fair and honest about the emotions involved.

As far as other things are concerned I am lucky to have a very open family so I don't need to worry about upsetting them. They basically know everything that has happened or is happening in my life anyway.

All this aside there are quite a few very personal things I don't write about in my blog, not because I care, but because it always involves somebody else and they might not be as open as me. So how personal my blog is, is not dictated by my openess but by third parties involved. I believe in respecting other peoples rights to privacy, even if I don't respect my own.

So I would add a point 4 to Ali's list, how much does the blog touch on somebody elses private life? And how do you balance that person's right to privacy to your own wish to write about a specific topic? I think the best way is of course to just ask if they mind and send them a draft before actually publishing the blog. Reply to this

10 years ago, September 1st 2008 No: 15 Msg: #47530  

I actually sent the draft to my ex-girlfriend first and asked her permission to write about the break up.



That is exactly how I handle when I want to say anything about my boyfriend either in a blog or on an internet forum. I even do it when I am thinking about discussing anything about him or our relationship with somebody who knows him. I always tell him what I am going to say in case he minds. Usually he doesnt mind because there is only a certain amount that I would tell anyway. Reply to this

10 years ago, September 1st 2008 No: 16 Msg: #47533  
BTW Ralf, I am looking forward to the sequel to All that Glittlers is not Gold. You will be blogging about your rebound romance, wont you? :D Reply to this

10 years ago, September 1st 2008 No: 17 Msg: #47540  
I draw the line at anything I wouldn't want my boss, or potential boss, to read. Many employers these days, at least in North America, Google potential employees (and/or see what they have posted on Facebook) as a way of screening people. In some cases, they don't even bother asking for references anymore. So I don't post anything that I think would have an effect on my professional life. Especially because when I google myself, all of my blogs come up. Reply to this

10 years ago, September 1st 2008 No: 18 Msg: #47541  

Many employers these days, at least in North America, Google potential employees ....



I never put my real name on internet sites or Facebook. Why dont others take that precaution?

I was chatting on another site with one of those American bosses who Googled the name of a potential employee she was interviewing. Even if she does hire him, the stuff he said on Facebook could be used to blackmail. :D
Reply to this

10 years ago, September 1st 2008 No: 19 Msg: #47548  
Uhummm, I am not a rebound kind of guy... For now I think I am going to take it easy on the romance/relationship front... Of course I think I said that to myself before this last relationship too! I always seem to end up in a relationship when I am trying to avoid it!! Maybe that will be the topic of my next blog :-)

Lucky for me I have no boss or potential boss, so I can say what want in that respect... Reply to this

10 years ago, September 1st 2008 No: 20 Msg: #47550  
B Posts: 83

Illegal / Idiotic / Adventurous Activity - If I write that I took part in an illegal act in my blog (completely hypothetically of course!) - can I get in trouble? - does it constitute a confession? - will my Mum ever get over the disillusionment?



I write about everything...in fact, my blog is centered around illegal/idiotic/adventurous activity. as for the problem of people googling you, don't use real names. I refer to myself as "Yours Truly" usually and for all my friends, I have internet handles (nicknames). And if you're really paranoid...there's always private posts...

I find writing about personal experiences in the most open way possible opens up a lot for humor/comedy/interest...it certainly is interesting to be able to live vicariously through someone else.
Reply to this

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