Wednesday, September 7, 2011

on bad news blogging.

via here.
to say it rained yesterday in new york would be an understatement. even with my umbrella i was soaked by the time i got home. it was one of those rainy days where all the new york city dogs are gussied up in their finest rain slickers and rubber boots, and as you walk by you catch their eyes and see the sarcastic look only a new york city dog can muster. the look that says "this idiot knows i'm a dog, right?"
apparently not.
now, my faithful readers know what i do on rainy days. in fact, it's one of my more popular posts. i suppose hanging out in my sweatpants on my couch really fascinates people. so, out came the wine, into the oven went the brownies, and on went the real housewives. for those of you that are above watching such drivel, or don't live in america, the real housewives of beverly hills is having a very different season than most, as one of the cast members committed suicide shortly before the second season premiered. and while we could get into the merits of watching the season, bravo still airing the season, what this means for the ethics of reality tv - the reason i bring it up is because of the connection it has with blogging. at it's core, reality tv is like blogging. it is based on the premise of showing the viewer the life of another person - and whether that person is richer, or poorer, fat or thin - at the end of the day they deal with the same problems, and celebrate the same joys, as any other would. sometimes on a grander scale, and sometimes on a smaller scale, but they are problems and joys that illict relatable emotions all the same.
i think this is also why we're drawn to reading one another's blogs. we love reading about the discovery of a good recipe, the happiness they find with their significant other, the joy they get from being a parent, the job they love going to or the perfect pair of heels they found for half off. we revel in their joys, we enjoy listening to their stories, we love looking at their pictures. for some reason, we like the connection we feel with the person we hardly know. but if we blog long enough, the posts about the great brunch, or the perfect date, or the happy vacations won't always be there. because in sharing our lives with each other, we can't just share the good things. eventually, something will happen. someone will get hurt. a relationship will fall apart. a job may disappear. now, most don't write about something as small as a good conversation they had with a friend, and i'm not talking about writing about a big fight we may have had either. airing your dirty laundry is not what most bloggers are about. but if we blog long enough, if we keep this gig up and running for a while, something significant is bound to happen. we share those everyday joys if only because we know how painful life can also be, and those joys are to be cherished. so the show had me thinking. what exactly does one do when they approach their computer in the morning, knowing that daily readers will be taken aback when they hear about something bad that happened? something a little more tangible than yesterday's delicious french toast. will they stick around to hear you out? or will they go off in search for lighter topics that day, wanting blogs to still be their escape into the simple and light-hearted parts of life.
have you ever thought about how you would approach this? how you would approach a loss or change in lifestyle that you have to address, something that readers would eventually notice?


  1. First, I totally agree with your reasons for why we like reading people's blogs. I just like people and life in general, so naturally I love hearing about other people's lives. I have often wondered the same thing about exposing the dirty/hard/sad... how do you do it without being a total drag on your readers? At what point is an appropriate time to do so?

  2. sherri - exactly. i don't think there's an easy answer, particulary when it's something you *have* to let your audience know.

  3. Great post. And yes, what a rainy day. I think we are suppose to get 10 more of them. I may be coming over for wine and brownies, just sayin'.

    I like your perspective on this topic. For the record, I don't want anything bad to happen to you, say, another shipwreck of sorts, but just know that I'm here. For all of it. You have a bad day and need to vent? I won't go running for the next happy clappy blog post I can find. Nor will I send you a Keep Calm poster. Yuck.

  4. molly - haha, thank you! i never understood the appeal of those posters. this one is much more up my alley:

  5. Now, that is a keeper. I still may show up for brownies just so you know.

  6. this is a great post because recently i came across someone's blog where she did a lifestyle blog and she disclosed that her husband of 18months had cheated on her through their entire marriage...i mean it was devastating but very brave of her to share it with her readers. i think blogging for many people becomes such a safe place for many and bonds can be made via the blog world. i am not sure what i am not willing to share but i know i will be respectful of myself and my spouse in the case.

  7. First of all, what a great comparison of reality tv and blogging! I had never really thought about that before, but they are very similar.

    It's true that we never hesitate to share the good things, but often hide the not-so-good things. Not to mention the terrible or tragic things.

    I dealt with this after the tornado hit my hometown. I wanted to share what was happening to my family, but I didn't want to "bum out" my readers. Sounds silly, right? I did end up writing about it, of course. How could I not?

    Here are the tornado posts:

  8. Life is painful,so to rememder and record happy stories,moments,is important.Love your blog..

    Check out this blog if you have the time :D

  9. First, that dog dressed in plastic is HILARIOUS!

    I often think about this. There are a few things I choose not to disclose on my blog for many reasons. Either it's too trivial too petty or whatever other reason it may be. However, if something major were to happen, good or bad, I think I would feel compelled to share it with my readers. I see nothing wrong with opening yourself up and being honest. But I do think there is a fine line between being honest and being too open with your life. I would tread carefully.

    By the way, as I'm typing this, I just got an email saying you left me a comment. We are so on the same page, lady!


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