Once upon a time a girl had a blog. In fact it was one of those MSN Spaces – remember them?
At first she didn’t really understand what blogging was all about but she was a student and anything that provided a distraction from the serious business of getting a MSc was welcomed.
She didn’t know what to blog about so it was just about random things. So random that she can’t really remember what it was all about. But she made some bloggy friends and discovered a rather marvellous feeling known as “Comment Glow”. She would log on and see that someone had commented and it was good.
But MSN Spaces was not very private and the girl was not very smart and internet savvy. She made the mistake of mentioning the name of the place she worked in a post one day. What the girl didn’t know is that one of her bosses had a gadgety gizmo piece of internet wizardry which highlighted things on the internet that mentioned the company’s name and he found the girl’s blog. But rather than tell her that he’d found the blog, he would creepily read it and then casually mention things that were in the blog in conversation with the girl. It took her a while to cotton on but when she did she felt a little queasy.
So she made it private. But that was rubbish. She quite liked her musings being open to the world but not if people actually knew they were her musings.
Blog number one – closed down.
Then she found somewhere else and started blogging again.
Anything and everything went in there – posts about cats, annoyances about work (being careful to leave out company name references), general musings about life. She had learned her lesson though and it was anonymous. No names, no faces, just that she was a girl and was from Hull. But no-one ever really read it and sometimes she wondered why on earth she was bothering.
The girl’s boyfriend asked if he could read the blog. “Of course” she said “but I should warn you that sometimes I’ll put stuff up on there about us.” Nothing terrible, but if he’d annoyed her a little rant might appear from time to time. “That’s fine” said the boyfriend.
But then she kind of regretted her decision. Because once she knew he was reading it, it automatically altered the way she wrote and the things she wanted to write about. Even though it was anonymous and no-one would know who she was talking about, she just felt a little uncomfortable.
And then the comments started.
They’d only appear on comments that concerned the boyfriend and they were ‘anonymous’ but I was pretty sure who was behind them.
Not the boyfriend, but the woman who wanted him.
He had ‘shared’ my blog with this person and they didn’t have the guts to put their name on their comments.
And in the end, the other woman won.
So the girl used the blog to talk about the breakup. It was the first time she had had her heart broken and her friends weren’t as great as they could have been. Being the only single girl in a group of very coupley couples was tough. She needed an outlet.
So the pain and the hurt came out.
But the comments continued.
And then the e-mails came from the now ex-boyfriend saying that the girl was publicly humiliating him.
a) She wasn’t, she was recounting how he broke her heart,
b) how many times do you have to explain what ‘anonymous’ means, he was the only one who knew it was him, and,
c) why on earth were they sat together reading the blog of his ex-girlfriend?
It made the girl feel horrible inside. The thought that they were sitting there, reading about her life. She didn’t want them to know anything about her life.
Blog number two – closed down.
But the girl missed blogging. She was too lazy to write a real-life diary for a start, typing was much easier. But more than that she missed the idea of writing something which was then ‘out there’ in the blogosphere. Any maybe, one day, someone might read it and think “I know what she’s talking about.”
And she had a fairly momentous occasion coming up. She was moving in with a boy for the first time. If ever there was a time when someone needed an outlet of some description, this was it.
She told her new boyfriend she was starting a blog and said that she wanted to keep it private from him and she explained why and asked him if he minded.
And he didn’t because he was marvellous and wonderful and understanding (and had lovely eyes. But that might be irrelevant.).
So she started blogging about living with a boy. Except sometimes there wasn’t that much to blog about living with a boy because it actually went far smoother than she could ever have imagined. So it started being about other things. Like cats. And trees.
And at the beginning she wondered why she was bothering again. No-one ever came and visited.
And then one person did.
And then the girl realised she’d been doing it all wrong. Sometimes she can be a little selfish (she blames this on being the youngest child and sort of an only child because her siblings were much older than her, it’s probably not the best of combinations) and she was also an idiot. You can’t just expect people to read your blog can you? You have to invest, you have to put the time in (perhaps a little too much time) and start looking about for other peoples’ blogs and commenting on them and introducing yourself. You can’t just stand in the corner of a party and expect everyone to come over and talk to you.
Very slowly the girl found more bloggy friends and would get very excited if she ever got a ‘follower’ and would tell the boyfriend “ARGH! Someone likes me!” And the boyfriend would smile and say “That’s brilliant honey.” Probably thinking inside, “This girlfriend of mine has mental problems.”
She soon found herself immersed in the lives of total strangers and wanting to share more of her life with people she had never met. And sometimes she would tell the boyfriend what she was writing about and sometimes she would even show him certain posts (usually those concerning the visitors), but would be very careful to keep everything about the blog hidden so he couldn’t find it.
And it’s not because she doesn’t trust him. It’s because she likes having something that’s all her own.
Also if she wants to blog about how it annoys her that he doesn’t clean properly, she doesn’t want him to read it and take it heart because he’s nice like that and it’s only for fun. To be honest if he really wanted to find it I'm sure he could and if he does then that's fine, I just don't need to know that he knows about it.
Sometimes she thinks she should reveal herself and whack a photo up there. After all, her bloggy friends still wouldn’t know who she was, she’d just be a face instead of a picture of a sunrise.
But she’s still a little bit afraid. Maybe in time she’ll grow in confidence and have more courage to put a face to the words.
But for now let’s hope that the third blog’s a charm.
(And to those of you that read my wafflings, thank you so much. Thank you for being interested in my life and allowing me to hear about yours. I still get the “Comment Glow” whenever I check my e-mails and see that one of you has responded to a post of mine, and you do all feel like friends, although I feel a little silly saying that.)