I love blogs. Blogs about parenting, crafting, cooking, pets, interior decorating, blogs about blogging. Yes, I will admit, I even love (some) gossip blogs.
Not too long ago, I ran across one that was on a topic I have a passing interest in. I started reading it and I found that most of the posters were quite funny and very passionate about the topic. I even chimed in more times than I care to admit. I wasn't completely comfortable there, but I really didn't see the harm of participating.
Something happened though this past weekend. A new comer joined the blog and proceeded to tell everyone she was an insider on this particular topic. The blog owner did her due diligence to make sure this person was who she said she was. Immediately though, I began to feel uncomfortable with her posts. It wasn't so much what she was saying, most of it was pretty innocuous stuff. No, what bothered me was the mere fact that she was saying it.
To me, it felt like a huge betrayal of the subjects trust that the person would come on and give their opinions on various things. Even if what they were saying wasn't harmful, it just doesn't feel right to me to discuss things said/done in private with the blogosphere.
Now, if my kids want to jump on here and tell you the truth about how I don't make my bed even though I make them make theirs, that's their right. After all, it's their lives they are discussing, too. I may not like them spilling my secrets, but they have a personal stake in what is going on. However, I would be really upset if a friend of mine came on here and said the same thing. Why? Because, in my mind, it's a matter of boundaries. My "friend" wouldn't be directly involved in the situation. Rather she would just be repeating things she saw/heard and adding in her own personal bias about the situation. In a court room, it's called hearsay. In the blogosphere, we call it gossip.
I started to wonder about how the person who was the focus of the gossip would feel if he/she knew a "friend" was talking about them with strangers. How sad it must be to feel that you can't take anyone in to your confidence out of fear that they might choose to sell you out either for cash or their shot at 15 minutes. How hard would it be to always be on guard? How sad to never be able to be "real" with the people around you. How would you second guess yourself regarding your choice of friends knowing that they didn't have the personal integrity to not trade information on your life for their personal gain?
I caught some flack for speaking up. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, after all I WAS reading a gossip blog, no matter how nicely dressed up it was. But in the end, I can only do what feels right for me. I'm going cold turkey from the site, it's the only way to break the habit. I feel sad that I will be missing out on some really witty people, but I have to follow my conscience on this one.
While I'm working this through, I'll continue to tell you stories about my life. My kids are free to come and give you their versions, too. I'll also be happy to read stories about YOUR lives. Please, please, please keep telling me about how your laundry pile is threatening to take over your bedroom. Just don't tell me about how your neighbor hides the dirty socks under the couch when visitors stop at the door and how disgusting you think that is. If they wanted me to know, they'd tell me themselves.