Salted Caramel is asking readers to get personal. Here are her questions:
1. Do you blog under your own name or do you use a pseudonym?
2. Do you share personal details like gender, nationality, race or faith?
3. How much of your personality shows through your writing?
4. Do you share personal experiences to illustrate your writing?
I am not big on telling lots of personal details on my blog because I have a narcissist in my background who still likes to check up on me, and I would really rather that he not find any extra tidbits on how to contact or find me.
So, as a result of that, I do use a pseudonym – my actual first name and my grandmother’s surname. I have never bothered to specifically share my race, gender, or faith, although if you’ve read enough of my stuff, you likely will have figured these things out. To me, these things are incidentals.
I definitely share personal experiences, but I try to remove or alter any features that might definitively identify me, so there’s a smudging of the lines.
My blog is me. I don’t try to blur or change who I am, so yes, I believe my personality is here. But the thought that comes up for me when considering these questions is around how much of ourselves we should be sharing.
The online world is funny that way. It encourages people to share, but then, how much is too much? Many people drop off lots of personal information, far too much, I think. They feel safe in doing so. They feel that there’s nothing about themselves that they should hide or keep private. That there’s no need.
Until it’s too late and they need to keep themselves private for a very private reason. How do you turn that off? Is it even possible to turn that off?
It’s almost expected that we give up our privacy now, for work, for pleasure, for being able to just operate. And privacy is one of those things that’s precious; it’s been fought for and died over, many, many countless times. Shouldn’t we be a little more protective and respectful of this great costly gift that we have?
I know of people who, through WP, have met and become friends. That’s pretty great. People who otherwise would have never met, especially across oceans and continents, become lifelong chums.
But it bothers me when I’m told that I “should” be using such social media as Facebook and Twitter. For starters that would probably unleash the narcissist. And apart from that, I don’t want to. How much updating and tweeting can one person do? How do people find the time? Frankly, I find a lot of it boring.
I know that information is not only power, it’s money. And lots of companies want us to spill our guts so that they can make money from a raw material that costs them nothing but has the potential to be very costly to us.
They want us to use invasive devices such as Siri and Alexa. They get into our homes and cars and are inside our heads, mining for gold.
I don’t want to live in a society that more or less requires us to have one of these in our homes. Ten years from now, here’s the instruction on the side of a box: You will “need” Siri in order to complete the following task …
I don’t care if you want to have lots of Siris and Alexas all over your life. However, I want that to be a choice, not a pseudo-requirement that gradually eases its thin edge into our lives and over time evolves into a necessity.
Because of that, I think that these companies should be regulated. I think that AI should be regulated. And sooner rather than later.
What do you think? How personal are you with your blog? How far do you think technology should be allowed to go?
Salted Caramel has created more questions for her series on blogging insights. Please pop by and take a look at her blog. 🙂
Her questions this time are:
How old is your current blog/website?
Do you ever look back at your site i.e. read through your old posts?
How long ago did you update your about page ?
If you were to start a new blog today, what would you do differently?
These questions got me thinking about the general concept of updating, of keeping things neat and orderly. Updating, going back and cleaning up things, sorting though things is something we all have to do, although some of us are much better at it than others. I think if you’re not much of a cleaning up person, then your blog might be untidy too (or creatively messy 🙂 ).
I’ve moved a fair bit in the last 13 years. There was a lot of upheaval. I was getting a divorce and had purchased another house. It was empty and very new and I started with pretty much a blank slate except for four boxes of papers and things that I needed to sort. Of course, I didn’t sort them. The boxes just followed me around, ignored and helpless hangers-on, but I couldn’t just throw them out either. If I did, especially without looking at them, I would be irrevocably throwing out an older chapter of me. That’s what it felt like, anyway.
So these four boxes moved with me again, and then again, and then again. They are now in a storage locker awaiting final deposition.
A couple of years ago, I started examining these boxes, and eliminated some of the stuff in them. The garbage bags containing some of the discarded stuff are still sitting in the storage locker though. So, all I did was shift the contents from one storage container to another.
I got called away, actually to start this job here in the Northwest Territories, and now when I go to my southern home, I don’t want to spend time in a storage locker sorting through stuff.
But the time is coming. My M may be returning to British Columbia to sell the place that we presently have and to purchase another in a neighbourhood that will be more conducive as we get older and become decrepit. It’s a very walkable location with shops and restaurants and the market close by.
Eventually, and sooner than it feels, I will be finally dealing with those boxes.
So why has it taken me so long? Why does it take anyone so long … to sort through a box? Clean a closet? Write a will? Finish an assignment? Organise a blog site?
Procrastination is usually for a reason, and I’ve certainly been procrastinating. I dug in my heels because I needed to. When I’m ready to clean up, I’ll clean up.
I’m not sure yet why I haven’t completely dealt with these boxes. It’s boring? It’s painful? I’m feeling a need to exert control over when I do it? It’s probably all of these.
What about you? Is your blog (or life) all orderly and up to date?
Can blogging, like anything else, become a chore, a requirement, a source of stress? Can the life be sucked right out of it because we’ve made it be something we have to do?
I first began thinking about this after reading a post from Melanie B. Cee of sparksfromacombustiblemind who reprinted and answered questions from Salted Caramel. You can read Salted Caramel’s original post here.
Here are the questions:
What, in your opinion, is blogger burnout?
Have you ever suffered from blog-related stress?
What steps could you suggest to prevent blogging from becoming a stressful activity?
In my opinion, burnout is extreme mental fatigue caused by stress. This fatigue can manifest in very serious physical concerns as well – insomnia, a lowered immune system, blood pressure issues, heart attacks, strokes, and lots of other health problems.
Can bloggers become burned out? I believe we can. If given the right context, anything can be mentally fatiguing, as most of us know very well.
We have such a period coming up soon; in much of the world, December can produce a lot of stress. There is pressure to produce “perfect” gifts, meals, and happy family events. A lot of this pressure comes from advertisers but there are other avenues of cause, including the pressures we place on ourselves.
If the stressors are continuous and/or intense, there’s going to be a point at which we become exhausted by them and can’t go on or are only firing on one mental cylinder. We have to take a holiday, or a stress leave, or a “mental health” day, or maybe several days. In the aftermath of extremely stressful situations, people can develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
I am in my second year of a very stressful job as a CEO. It’s action-packed and very fluid, no matter how much anyone tries to impose a schedule on it. We have detailed, major inspections that we have to pass. We often deal with unhappy people who might head toward wigging out. I’m not afraid to get tough and I have that card stowed in my pocket. My “office time” when I get caught up on paperwork and emails occurs when most people have long gone home.
In my first year, there were periods when I recognized that I was nearing burnout, and I had to take action on it. I reorganised, I decentralised, and I reassigned duties and tasks. Not only did I have to create space for my employees to relax, I had to create space for me to do the same.
The idea of “productivity” has produced a false economy, in my opinion. We’re supposed to make use of all kinds of tips and tricks for reducing stress while on the job (do you see a contradiction there?) when the real stress reducers are reasonably simple and mostly instinctive: spend some time away from work doing other things and being with the people who love you. Having some time to yourself to do yoga is better than squeezing in some yoga between meetings. If that’s what you have to do, then the yoga just becomes another stressor. Does that make us any more productive? Or do we just become used up and unable to have a life outside of work?
So, do you need to take more vitamin D or do whatever the latest stress-reducing fad is or do you need to draw a boundary around some space for non-work?
Some stress is good for us, of course. It can keep us on our toes, alert and ready to go. But like anything else, too much can really be too much.
Blogging is the same. There has to be a boundary around it so that you don’t burn out or find it stressful. I’ve noted lots of bloggers who step away for a while, or who close comments on their posts or who still read but don’t post any more. I’ve done the same at times. One year, I was away from my blog for four months.
For me, blogging is a stress reliever. It takes me away from work, gives me a change of scene and I get to see what my blogging friends are doing. I like watching basketball for the same reasons (well, I’m not friends with any b-ballers, but you know 🙂 ). I don’t let those things consume me, though. That would take all the life out of them.
I was away from WP for a couple days last week, but not because I wanted to be.
I wasn’t able to log on. 😳
It all started on Saturday when I tried to access my WP app on my phone. A new screen popped up and I was asked for my password. I thought, yeah, okay. Many other sites do this every so often.
So I typed in my password. But … no dice. It was suggested that I change my password, a link was sent to my email, and I thought, yeah, okay. That password is quite old. I should change it.
This photo has nothing to do with technology. It’s just a nice photo of a local waterfall here in the Northwest Territories so that talk of technology issues doesn’t ratchet your blood pressure up too high.
So I changed my password. But … no dice. It was suggested that I change my password, a link was sent to my email, and I thought, yeah, this is getting irritating.
I tried again, and … no dice.
But I was able to access WP on my desktop. So until I got an answer from the WP “happiness” gurus, I went there, because normally I use my phone.
Until I couldn’t access my desktop either.
Somehow, I was signed out. It was suggested that I change my password, but … you know the drill.
Yikes. No access. At all.
So there was lots of emailing with WP, and with turnaround being anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, this took a while to sort.
The upshot is that I sent a screen shot of the password request loop that I was inhabiting; they came back with suggestions for a retrofit, and then everything started to work after I changed passwords once more and then tried logging in again.
The WP people were friendly and helpful.
But the whole thing got me thinking about our dependence on technology and the bugs that can infect it. In my work I rely heavily on technology, but every time I think about going completely paperless, something like this happens to remind me that it’s not a foolproof system and and then I think, yeah, maybe I’ll go paperless … at some nebulous point in the future.
So, there’s paper in my office. Lots of it. (Although a lot less than there used to be.) And I guess that makes me the worst sort of Luddite schmo because really, I’m worried that there’s going to be some sort of tech blow-up and I’m going to need it.
I also work in a part of the world that’s largely off-grid – the Northwest Territories is a massive land area with a relatively small population. Cellphones can quickly become useless up here and aircraft and vehicles need sat-phones (as well as survival kits) for emergency purposes.
Sometimes, we need to be aware of where we are and how quickly technology can abandon us.
What do you think? Have you gone completely paperless? Would you be able to survive without your cell? Do you worry about a technology collapse?