What a difference a year makes

Sometimes I wish I had not shared this blog with my mother, brother, sister, husband, neighbor, book club, friends, and half the city I live in. Sometimes it would be nice to speak the truth, even if it’s ugly, to rant about my mom being a bitch (not YOU, Mom-it’s just an example), or my husband being an asshat (I borrowed that term from Chartroose), or my annoying neighbor who continuously shows up at my doorstep unannounced (I’m not talking about you, I mean the other neighbor, I swear) without fear that said mom or husband or neighbor would read my words.

Sometimes I’d like to show the unvarnished me, not the G rated version.

So I was wondering if those of you with blogs are public- does your real life and your blog world mesh or collide? Are you free to say whatever is on your mind, or are you constantly self-editing? Are you an open book? Does your mommy read your blog? Is your sister looking over your shoulder?

I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot, as I just had my one year Blogiversary on Saturday (with no mention and no fanfare). I’m thinking about what direction I want to take it in – do I want to just keep doing what I’m doing or turn it into something else? I’m not sure. I find it interesting that on the rare occasions when I get a little personal, I get a huge response (views and comments). Anything slightly controversial gets attention.

So here are my one year stats. I never dreamed a year ago that anybody would click over to read my little book reviews and commentary. Seriously, it blows me away. Thanks to all of you who read, lurk, and comment.

Total Views: 62,233

Busiest Day: 783 Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Posts: 263

Comments: 2,967

Book Review with the most hits: The Other Boleyn Girl

Non Book Post with the most hits and comments: I Hate You, Mom

2nd Highest Non-Book Post (hits and comments): The Last Girl on Earth Without a Cell Phone

Post where I offended someone I like and got a bunch of comments: One Divisive Book (and then the debate continued HERE, and HERE, where Elizabeth Gilbert claims to be God).

Weekend Update post (in my pre-Sunday Salon days) with the highest hits: Weekend Update: From a Hormonal Preteen to Pinewood Derby Cars

43 Responses

  1. I’ve been trying to decide whether to tell my family and friends about my blog. I’m still very new to this whole blogging world and it was something I started for myself, not for others. I like the freedom that comes with being just another book girl, with no clear identity aside from what I share about books. I don’t think I am very different in the blogosphere versus my real life, but I love not being tied to who people think I am when I am writing.

  2. I kept mine secret for awhile..then started sharing the link with strangers (lol) but now, after 7 months or so, I have started to share it.

    The only thing that I am very mindful of is real names or exact locations. I try to keep that stuff vague especially when it comes to my friends and family.

    I like your “real-life” posts because it makes me feel as if I am talking to a REAL person..not typing my comments into a comment box. That’s my 2 cents for what it’s worth.

  3. I first started my blog as a way to write and vent and I didn’t expect to share it with friends/amily but as I got more into the book reviews I found people I know asking about them and before long they all knew abut it. That’s when I started my MySpace Blog. I get to vent a little more abut my life because the only person I’m close to that reads it is my best friend and I tell her everything anyway. (Most of the time). I still do reviews there too, but its a different audience and I say what I want and don’t have to worry. I sometimes kick around the idea of starting another blog just for my vents and ramblings but i hardly have the time for my ‘real’ blog as it is with work etc. At times I wish I hadn’t shared my blog, but its too late now!

  4. Lisa, I think it’s interesting that the posts that have generated so many comments are not book-related. They fall more into the ‘mommy blog’ category (though I do hate that blogs always tend to get categorized or labeled as one or the other.) If it were me, I’d be interested to know if the commenters were the same people who comment on your book reviews or if those posts attracted a different audience.

    I write two book reviews per month for our local paper and the URL for my blog is listed with the reviews, so no, my book blog is absolutely not private and while I do get a bit mouthy at times, it’s nothing compared to how sarcastic I am in real life, because yes, I would hate to offend anyone.

    That said, I’ve had a ‘private’ blog since Jan. 1 of 2005 that I started as basically a journal of my kids’ lives that I hope to print and give to them someday. I want them to know the real me, good and bad, and the viewership if very very limited to people who I know will love me despite my ranting and raving.

    I’ve read dooce.com since 2003 but it’s honestly the only non book-related blog I read anymore, except the one my sister-in-law writes.

  5. I’d never have guessed you’ve only been doing this for a year – happy blogiversary!

    When we were asked to classify our blogs for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I called mine “a personal blog with a healthy dose of books.” My book-review posts tend to get the fewest comments. More personal ones definitely get more response, and the posts that combine the personal with something topical seem to get more comments than anything else – for whatever all that’s worth.

    I do find that I’m pretty careful about some of the more personal stuff on my blog, though, since my husband and my sister both read it – and they won’t leave comments, but they’ve both been known to make comments. But I actually want them to read it (most of the time…).

  6. hey.. you bring up a very interesting point.. i started a personal blog once..wrote for a while and realized i wasn’t getting any readers… so i publicized my blog and all the people i wanted to write about started reading it.. and then i had to think about what i wrote and not write many things i wanted to write about.. in the end, it was too much hassle so i got rid of the blog:)

  7. It’s very hard for me to edit what I say when I’m blogging, so I know what you mean. It’s even harder for you, because you’re having to be the “sweet Lisa” instead of the “real Lisa” so as not to offend someone.

    I don’t tell my loved ones about my blog, and I will never let them see it. They don’t seem all that keen on seeing it anyway!

    I think your audience is different (and quite a bit bigger) than mine. You’re like a role model for moms who blog about reading and their domestic lives. I don’t know if this is what you wanted, but it’s what you have. I love reading about your everyday life, because you have a way of connecting to your audience when you talk about the mishaps and happy times you go through on the domestic front. It doesn’t hurt that you’re pretty and seem like the “girl next door.”

    If a blog doesn’t have a certain appeal, I quit reading it. Some I stick with because they’re snarky (like Jill), some I stick with because they’re well-written (like John Self). I stick with you because you’re human. You make me feel comfortable and contented.

    I’m going to have to write about “Blog ambience” now.

  8. My family reads my blog becuase I started it as a way to share the scrapbook pages I made. I like the fact that my family reads my blog – it keeps me and my posts positive. My SIL hasn’t shared her blog with the rest of the family so she uses hers to bitch about people which I am finding very offensive. Life is negative enough that I don’t want to blog about it.

  9. I just started my blog a few months ago and have had similar thoughts so this topic is very interesting to me. I’ve decided not to share my blog with family (except my husband who barely reads it),friends and even my F2Fbook club. I have shared it with my online friends that I discuss books with and other bloggers. For me, I want to keep this seperate from day to day life and to have the freedom not to worry about who is reading it and their judgements. I may change my mind in the future but for now I like how it is. I’m very interested in reading others comments.

    BTW, Congrats on your blog anniversary! How did you get the detailed stats?

  10. My mom, one of my sisters, my best friend, and occasionally, my husband, all read my blog. So, yes, I do censor myself. There are times when I’ve really wanted to vent about my relationship with my mom, but I can’t. I have to do that in real life with my best friend.

  11. Happy Blogiversary! I did share my URL with family and friends, but they don’t look at my blog that often.

  12. Hi everyone, thanks for all the comments.

    Belle, I love the way you expressed it: “I don’t think I am very different in the blogosphere versus my real life, but I love not being tied to who people think I am when I am writing.” I don’t think I’m much different either, but it would be nice not to have to think about it at all.

    Ti, thank you! I actually AM a real person! I also try to be vague about names and places but sometimes I get careless.

    Lisa, I think I’m very much like you in that I feel it’s ‘too late now’ to go back. I do think about starting a super secret blog that my real life peeps know nothing about, but like you, I barely have time for what I’m already doing.

    Shana, I love that you started a private blog as a record for your kids. Great idea. My 9 yr old doesn’t even have a baby book. I guess I could still do that…

    Florinda- I think of my blog that way too- personal with a healthy dose of books. I like that. Thanks for the 1 year congrats.

    Ramya- that’s what I would do!! Throw up my hands and say, forget it!! It’s too much trouble!

    Char, you started this!! Your meme about getting arrested and skinny dipping got me thinking that I’m forever censoring myself. Thanks for the kind comments. Yes, this blog turned out the way I planned (not that I had much of a plan) but I’m feeling restless and hemmed in. I’m glad I make you comfortable (truly) but you’re not helping me get over my plain vanilla angst.

    Melanie, you’re a cheery one! I probably come across that way here as well. The trouble is, frequently I’m not so cheery. But I put on a happy face. Read- fake.

    Bonnie, I wish I’d gone that route, just sharing with online friends so as to keep my real life separate- meaning, I could write about my real life and true feelings about things without fear of judgement from those who know me or fear of offending those I care for. Oh, the stats- WordPress provides all that info on their stat page.

  13. Carrie, we are in the same (virtual) boat. I too am afraid to rock it.

    Bermuda Onion, I don’t really know how often my family and friends read my blog. They don’t comment much online, so I never know if they’re lurking. But it’s often enough that they will mention it in conversation when I least expect it.

  14. Seems as though heart to hearts are good for everybody!


  15. A few of my friends know about my blog, but my family does not. I am constantly afraid of being discovered.

  16. I tell everyone about my book blog but that doesn’t mean any of them have ever visited. Or they’ve stopped by once, told me so (not commented) and have never been back since.

    I have another blog that is not one I advertise but it’s still pretty tame. It’s just a whole ‘nother universe over there… I do feel like I lead 3 lives sometimes (2 blogs and 2 ‘real’!).

  17. I meant 1 real! sorry – it’s the Gemini in me…

  18. It’s funny you wrote this because I was thinking about my blog and the fact that I don’t show much of myself on it at all. I have been debating doing that a bit more, but it’s scary for me and that kind of is my personality anyway, I am a more private person. That being said. I enjoy your blog for both the insightful book reviews and the mommy stuff. I don’t comment much but I do visit every day. Thanks for your openess and your insightful post. You should blog about what makes you happy:) Happy Anniversary!

  19. Lisa, you’re anything but plain vanilla! I’d say your angst is more smoky and mysterious than that. Don’t let dummies like me put you in a box.

  20. Everyone knows about my blog in my “real life.” There are some things that I don’t share in person or on the blog. I have links on my blog to my MySpace page and have become friends with some other bloggers via Facebook where you can see my political views and little things that help make up my interests.
    A blog is great because you can tell whomever you want and then there will always be people you will never know or meet who read and are interested for their own reasons.
    Happy Blog Birthday! I don’t know why I thought yours was older than mine?

  21. Congratulations! Interesting post and all the comments too.

    I kept mine secret (though public) for awhile, then started being brave and sharing.. especially when it seemed more and more people were blogging. However, my family (mom, sisters, etc.) seem to not take much interest in it, and I wish they would sometimes.

    I love the blogs that get a little more personal, so I’ve been trying to add that into my blog, which is supposed to be “all about books”. Oh, well.

    Great stats! I wish I could figure out how to get more hits! I do ALL the suggested stuff and it still seems a little lacking. Oh, well.

  22. All of my family knows about my blog but they could care less and never read it. With the exception of my mother-in-law who reads everything I write. My IRL book club members read my blog as well. I actually wish that more of my family and friends would care enough to click over but they don’t. I tend to not write posts that are not book related in someway. If something happens in my personal life, I’ve committed to tie it into a book.or book list. I just talked about periods and bra sizes in one of my last book reviews, but apologized to my father-in-law whom I’m sure would find about it.

  23. congrats on making the one-year anniversary of your blog. no matter what direction you decide to take it, I am sure it will go well.

  24. I actually started out participating in a family blog, and used the same platform for my book blog, so my family knows all about it. They tell me they read it, but I forget that sometimes because they rarely comment. I try to keep really personal stuff off my book blog though, and not use people’s real names- personal things go on my family blog (which is kept pretty private- only family and friends). I just don’t like them to mix.

    Sometimes I find myself being cautious of how I say things on my book blog because I don’t want to offend family who might read it- but at the same time I want to feel free to talk perfectly frankly about books I read. I didn’t realize just how hard this was until last week my husband and I read the same book. He loved it, I felt iffy about it. I criticized it on my blog, and he felt personally offended! Because in criticizing a book he liked a lot, he felt I was criticizing his taste in books, and thus a part of him, personally. I have to remember to be a bit more tactful, but it’s a difficult balance.

  25. Happy Blogiversary!!

    I’ve tried to get my sister to read my blog, to no avail. I tell my husband what I post, try to start some conversation, you know, but he doesn’t visit. I guess I could rant and rave about him and he’d never know! LOL Too bad I don’t post much personal stuff.

  26. My blog is Private with a capital P. The only person that knows exactly what it is is my husband and that’s only in the past year- and he doesn’t read it.. One or two other people know I have one, but not the name.

    It’s very important to me that the blog be free of distinguishing images of my family. I want to be able to post about my in-laws, my bookclub and not be concerned.

  27. I save all my rants and raves for poems. For some reason, no one sees themselves in my poems….

  28. happy ONE year! πŸ™‚

    as for my blog…it did cause a huge fight between my sister and me back in the spring. i was blogging about what a pain in the ass she was being and she LOST her mind. we didn’t speak for a month and we NEVER mention the blog now.

    my mom reads occassionally, and a few of my real life friends…but not on a regular basis.

  29. one more thing–i don’t use my first and last name on my blog and was relatively anonymous…until recently when i posted 2 pictures of myself.

    for the first 5 months of my blog, only my husband knew i was blogging. then i told a few friends and my mom.

    i work in a high school and have to be reaaaaalllly careful that the students and/or administration don’t find me. i don’t really censor myself, so i have to hide myself.

  30. Most of my family know about my blogs but they don’t visit too often. I tend to self-edit a little bit but not too much. Congrats on your blog-versary!

  31. I self-edit to protect my children from embarrassment. I would never want to hurt them.

    kristen @ http://www.thefamilythatreadstogether.blogspot.com

  32. None of my friends, relatives or acquaintances read my blog. But if I do write a post about someone, I make sure it would be something I would (or could, if I had the courage) say to their face.

    In fact, I was so surprised that a friend read my blog that my reaction made her stop reading it. Oops. I was just so shocked!

  33. Congrats on your 1-year anniversary, Lisa! This is such an interesting post because I just recently started my blog (a couple of months ago) and I felt really bad about not telling my family (or partner) about it right away. Now I see that lots of folks never tell! My blog is not very personal — but it does make a difference knowing that people I know personally are reading my blog.

  34. Happy blogiversary!

    To answer your questions, no, I keep my blog mostly to myself. I’ve have the url at the end of my emails, and a few friends and my sister know about it, but if any of them ever visit, they don’t leave comments.

    One day, I sent an email to a work friend with my new address in it. She forwarded it to THE ENTIRE STAFF complete with my blog url signature at the end! But I really doubt any of them noticed, or if they did, they might think it’s her blog!

  35. Happy anniversary!

    I keep my blog a secret, mostly because I’m shy and would feel embarrassed. (Weird thinking, I know). My husband knows. Well, I thought he did until one I day I mentioned it and he said, “You have a blog?” Thanks for listening, dear. I don’t think he’d find it that interesting anyway.

    Btw, I gave you an award.

  36. My blog started as a personal blog and morphed into a personal blog with a healthy dose of books. I also like to write about my faith which I’m sure is off-putting to some.

    I started blogging as a way to keep in touch, but it seems that people either get blogging or they don’t. Most of my friends didn’t get it, so I started reaching out to the people who already understand what blogging is about.

    Sometimes, there are things I wish I could say, but real life isn’t much like that either.

    Congrats on making it to a year and did you get my email yesterday?

  37. Happy Bloggiversary!

    I wrote a post about how very few of my closest relations actually read my blog, which is at first very limited to myself. I started it to voice my opinions on books I have read. About a year later I have become a more serious book blogger.

    The people at my cafe know about the blog and wish to keep up with my current readings. I have become less inclined to blog about personal issues, and relationship is out of the question. (Although I made that mistake before.)

    Three years after the launch of the blog it has finally built up a readership that I have intended to target, and that is, serious readers and book lovers. I don’t usually volunteer about the blog, but I’ll gladly tell when people ask me about my opinions on books.

  38. my on line life and real world life rarely overlap, although they do. i have not shared the location of my blog with the family, although they know it exists, similarly with colleagues, neighbours and many friends. I getto be more open that way, but there is still a part of me that automatically censors, so maybe it wouldn’t matter if they did know.

  39. For the most part my blog is pretty raw. Although my mother knows about it, she doesn’t read it regularly. My grad school friends know about it, but we’re all the same amount of warped, so I don’t have to self-edit. I usually try to keep my full name and location to a minimum for job purposes.

    Happy blogaversary even if it’s belated!

  40. Happy Bloggiversary! I tend to keep my blog just focused on books. Of course I’m going to share personal stuff but not too much – I have my real journal for that πŸ™‚

    Hope you continue to enjoy your blogging and in whichever direction your blog takes you!

  41. I had to explain what blogs were to Hamburger, and that was back when I first started a blog on Live Journal. He was pretty baffled by the whole concept, so I’ve never bothered to update him on my move to blogger and how much I blog (or even what I blog about).

    Same goes for my mom, and the rest of my family. Which is why I’m comfortable with my blog being about more than just books.

    I do have two close friends who know about my blog, and they leave comments…but they both have blogs. In fact, besides the travel blogs, they’re the only two non-book blogs I have listed on my sidebar. I have one friend from work who is a reader who I finally told about my blog because we have similar taste in books. And she’s one of the few people I know irl that actually reads.

    Occasionally, I try to explain why I blog about books and about the wonderful community of book bloggers, and honestly, most people I know just don’t get it. (Just like they don’t understand my reading habits.) If they don’t get that, than I’m certainly not sharing my blog with them.

  42. CONGRATS on your one-year anniversary and many more!

  43. Sorry I’m late getting to this. My google reader has over 700 posts in it that I’ve missed in the last week or so!

    I first started blogging on MySpace and was soon found by everybody I’ve ever known and had to start censoring what I wrote about (and whom). My blogging seriously decreased after that and later prompted me to start new blogs. I now have my book blog, which is my PG blog that anybody can read and is even connected to my professional website. And then…I have what I call my topsecret blog, which is completely anonymous. It allows me to rant without putting my relationships in jeapordy.

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