Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dear other bloggers,

To those who are also doing this "letters" challenge:

I've noticed that some of you blogs are quite depressing. I guess you've chosen to use your blog as a method of catharsis and write letters to your absent parents, deadbeat friends, old boyfriends, and others who may or may not have any idea that you have these feelings about them. In fact, some of them might not even know you (i.e. the absent parent). I admit, the prospect is tempting. We all have "unfinished business" with others that we would like resolved, even if the resolution is just to write it down so we can cherish the bitterness all by ourselves. That's great. Just make sure the person to whom you have directed the letter can't read it (unless you want them to, and then that's an awfully passive-aggressive way to get yourself heard, don't you think?). In my online journalism class years ago (see my first post for details on my way cool professor, Andy Dehnart), our first rule and warning was to not write anything online that we didn't want anyone to see. I'm not sure if the professor had experience with this, but he asked us to think about how what we are writing could hurt or influence another person. We were encouraged not to write about or to anyone if we thought there was any potential for hurt.

Take, for example, the case of a long-lost love (or hate, whatever). Say you write your letter to this person on day 22 of NABLOPOMO's "letters" challenge and then move on to the next letter until the month is over and there's a new theme. What if, months later, this person googles you (oh, we can ONLY hope!), stumbles across your blog, and discovers your true feelings (positive or negative). This could throw you into a whirlwind of questions you DON'T want to answer, or make someone who thought you were a pretty nice guy/girl actually hate you with a fiery burning passion because of what you said about him/her/his/her/mother/cousin/brother, etc. There's a fine line between censoring yourself and just watching out...but I suggest that we all pay attention to where that line is and walk it carefully.

The internets are a dangerous place, my fellow bloggers, so be careful out there!


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