When Do Personal Blogs Get too Personal?

Geek!This is Thomas Ward’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

I love to read other people’s blogs. Not because I like to pry into the personal affairs of others, but because I like to know how people of other cultures live their respective lives. I have found blogs to be very enlightening, especially when you come across a firsthand journal of a different land’s customs and social trends. In some cases, it can even be an educational experience. In most cases, however, I have found blog posts to be a great way to let others know your opinions on the issues that matter to you, as evidenced by the blog posts of Senator Barack Obama and John McCain.

During my online travels, however, I have begun to notice a rather unsettling trend. It seems that almost every personal blog is required to have at least one post in which the writer airs some sort of personal drama that they’re going through. Whether it is a bad breakup, a friendship gone awry, or some sort of problem with their significant other, you can guarantee that it will end up on the Internet somewhere.

How did this trend start? Considering that most people would rather remain anonymous on the Internet, it seems that people are more willing to open up about their personal lives online than in previous years (no facts or figures, just an observation). Not only that, people have continued this trend, knowing that anything they post in their blog can, and most possibly will, be used against them in some way.

Posts, written in graphic detail, recount the fact, figures, and, sometimes, even names of the people involved. Last week, I even saw a blog post from a lady in which she even asked people to write her boyfriend and tell him that he’s a jerk! In some cases, I have even seen pre-pubescent boys (who, otherwise, shouldn’t have their own Web site, much less a blog) write horrible things about their parents.

Now, not all of the stuff I’ve seen online has been bad. Numerous times, I have seen people (both male and female) reach out for advice through their blogs. Usually, posts like these involve someone going through a hard time in their life, such as a death in the family, a recent breakup, or a small argument they’ve had with their best friend. These posts, while still personal in nature, are usually a little more vague than the kinds I mentioned before. It is these types of posts that I actually enjoy reading and, in many cases, responding to. As a matter of fact, many online friendships have actually stemmed from this sort of contact.

I don’t know how this trend got started, but I honestly think that it needs to stop. If you want to air your personal business or get something off of your chest, do like most people and go see a psychologist. There are a lot of things that belong on the Internet, but your personal business is not one of them. And, if you are going to post something about your personal life, at least be sure to be vague in your storytelling. After all, you never know who your blog posts could hurt, or what repercussions it could reap.