Transparency. How much is too much when it comes to blogging? I was thinking about this yesterday after stopping by to visit little Gideon who has just been diagnosed with Leukemia. His mom, Amanda, has been blogging and I mentioned to her that I was enjoying reading the updates through the blog. In an apologetic tone she said something to the effect that she was too transparent. Like she had given too much information.
I felt just the contrary about her blogging. I was thankful she was so transparent. I really want to know how Gideon is doing and how Tom and Amanda are holding up especially in these initial days of diagnosis.
But even now I look back at my own blogging I worry that at times I was too transparent. Like maybe I lacked an appropriate filter.
But every time I start thinking I’m writing nonsense, I get another email telling me how much I’ve helped someone, how much they enjoy my blog, and I keep writing. And I keep trying to be transparent.
Here’s why I think it’s so important for Amanda to be real with us. A few things I’ve learned along the blogging/cancer journey and how blogging benefits everyone.
1. We want to know. Our heart hurts for Gid right now. He is such a sweet precious boy and we want to know how we can pray, and we desperately want to know how we can help ease the burden they carry right now.
2. It puts life in perspective. It reminds us that life is short and precious. It softens our hearts. It helps us evaluate our priorities and put life in perspective.
3. It’s good for the soul. I’m an extrovert. There’s no denying I like to talk. But even I had difficulty keeping up after diagnosis. There were times I didn’t know what to say in person. But I could be real with the computer screen for some reason. I learned I could let my feelings flow and my friends were reading and responding. We’ve been trained to answer the question “How are you,” with the proverbial answer “good.” In person, for some reason, either I was afraid of seeing their reaction when I told them the truth, or I hit 10 birds with one stone, blogging fit for me, and it made me feel better.
4. You never know who you might be helping by blogging. Next week, somewhere, some mama is going to start her day, and by the end of the day she’s going to find out that her son/daughter has leukemia. Reading blogs helps her know what to expect. I think in some way, feeling like I was helping someone else with their diagnosis helped me get through mine.
So where do you set the filter with “too transparent?”
Here are some of my thoughts on that, because I’m of the generation that thinks “real” is good, and I’ve learned a few lessons along the blogging journey.
1. If it will make you blush later on, you might not want to write it. From experience I have a few of those. But my blog dealt with breasts. I think sometimes I wrote too much when I was on my pain meds.
2. If it will hurt someone, bite your tongue. I think openness is a good thing. But blog about yourself and be very cautious about picking out a person or group if you are angry. Walk away from blogging for a few days if you’re tempted to vomit your disgust. Be careful about writing about a doctor you weren’t happy with. They are real people and they can make mistakes. The best way to get even with a doctor is to simply find another one, not ruin their career by writing about it in open cyber-space.
So here’s the question of the day. What attracts you to blogs? Why do you read specific blogs? Information, transparency, obligation? Any suggestions I missed in this post?