o blog or not to blog about my work and the people I know. This is the question. A dangerous one, too.

Chellelandia is not my first blog, but it is the first blog I've gone public with. Public in the sense that my friends and co-workers (and even bosses!) know about this blog.

So each time I make a post, I have this feeling like someone is hovering over my shoulder, reading every word I'm typing. It's really unsettling. I have oftentimes found myself hitting the delete or backspace buttons because, after I've typed a particular post or sentence, I catch myself thinking "What would ____ think of this when he/she reads it?"

I've been expecting this to happen the minute I decided to lift the curtain of anonymity in my blog life. This was the prime reason why I didn't go public with my other blogs. I wanted to be able to write freely. There is beauty in anonymity- you can get away with anything. (Well, ok, almost always). Not that I wrote anything bad about people in my life in my past blogs. But there was a devil-may-care freedom about not giving a dang who is reading what I was writing because I knew that none of the people I know would be reading it, or if they are, they wouldn't know that I was the one behind the words.

When you blog under a pseudonym, it takes away the anxiety over the the possible consequence of the opinions you've expressed online. I don't have to worry about what so and so would think or do about what I wrote about him or her, or about something that involves that person. This blog post hit the nail square on the head. When you blog publicly, you worry about what other people IRL (in real life) will think of you and judge you based on the pictures and words you posted online.

I often find myself in a middle of a tense situation, pissed off and silently stewing, and I'll be thinking "Oh how I wish I can blog about this!" but I can't because I could a) get into trouble or b) find myself dissed on Facebook or Twitter.

Not naming names doesn't help much either. When you live in a city as small as the one I live in, my friends, co-workers and acquaintances can easily put two and two together. Next thing I know, I'll have people dissing me on Facebook. Friends can quickly turn into enemies in a snap of a finger, or in this case, in a stroke of a key.

This is the issue that I'm sort of tiptoeing around right now. Whether I can be as honest I want to be in this blog. This is one of the reasons why I haven't been blogging regularly, actually. It's really not that I have a lot of negative things to say about the people I know. And I'm not an opinionated person. I tend to keep them to myself. But I still can't shake off this feeling of being restricted with my words in this blog because people I know will be reading it.

Bloggers have been known to lose their jobs or found themselves in hot water because of what they posted online. Heather Armstrong comes to mind. She's the wildly successful blogger behind dooce.com (Dooce was initially her nom de guerre). In 2002, she was fired from her job as a web designer and graphic artist after she posted satirical accounts of her experiences at the dot-com company she was working for. Heather eventually coined the word "dooced"or to get fired from one's job because of what one wrote in a weblog.

Then there's ex-flight attendant Ellen Simonetti who was sent packing by Delta Airlines after she blogged pictures of herself in uniform inside a company plane, which Delta deemed "inappropriate."

Or how about Jessica Cutler? She of the Washingtonienne fame (or notoriety?) She was working as a Congressional staff assistant over at Washington, D.C., and anonymously blogging about all the sordid and quite graphic behind-the-scenes details of her job and life. She was outed by another blogger and lost her job.

With the nature of my job, it's easy to go down the road these bloggers have trod. The rumor mill in the local media is just rife with juicy details about local politicians, businessmen, and even fellow journalists.

But then I'm not the type to wash dirty linen - including those that are not mine - on public, anonymous or not.

I think the point of this long-winded post is that personal bloggers must practice responsible self-censorship. You have to pinpoint at what point you want to draw the lines, at what degree of honesty you can be comfortable with.

In my case, I draw the lines at negative stuff about work and people whom I call my friends. I don't want to lose my job and my friends! Aside from those, I won't have second thoughts about holding back on topics such as bad food, or arrogant politicians, or poor customer service and rude drivers.


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