This is hard stuff, this regular public blogging! What do I talk about? How long do I make my post? What tone should I take? Oh, the questions, they make my head hurt.
In the interest of full disclosure, there is a twinge of crankiness about the fact that I am starting a remedial blog here in late 2008. (I had a hard time choosing my word there but I think crankiness fits. I axed "resentment" and "bitterness" as being too strong because, come on, it's just a blog. But there's definitely a feeling there, and it's not a great one, so cranky it is.)
The backstory to my crankiness is that I have a blog elsewhere, on another online blogging site, that I started in 2000. And I update it frequently, usually daily. But when Snake Hips came out, I had some local unpleasantness around some posts I'd made on that blog, so I locked it down to where only folks I "friended" could see my posts. At last count I had over 400 people on my friends list, so it's not private-private but it's not public by a long shot, either.
The "friends only" blog is a strange animal. It lulls you into a sense of complacency because you feel like you have an intimacy with your readers -- and you do, to an extent. My friends know my slang, my "cast of characters," my pet peeves and my politics. I can speak my mind and only occasionally will someone storm off in a huff. I feel relatively okay posting family pictures, potty-training anecdotes and stuff that would be too personal for a public blog because who reads it? My friends. But if I look at my friends list in the harsh light of reality, I don't know all four hundred and thirty of my friends as well I tell myself that I do.
So what do you do when your private blog starts to feel not so private? I have friends on that site who have snuck off and made secret blogs under new names with only their nearest and dearest on their friends lists. I started to do that once, but I couldn't bear to pare down my list. A friend is a friend, virtual or otherwise, and even if I've only exchanged a few words with my blog friends, I feel like they're a part of the little party I'm throwing and I can't imagine bouncing them for no reason.
I have other friends who use filters that allow one group of friends to see certain posts, and closer friends to see others, and so on and so forth. I don't have the patience for that and I'd probably screw it up besides.
So my solution, because I do everything backwards, is to start a 100% public blog, open to everyone, no filters, no friends list, no cover. Come on in, everybody. Make yourselves at home. Drinks are over there. Hope you like the music.