The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Blog Roundup

The Tyra Banks Show is airing today. Thank you, Jen, for finding that! Yikes...set my VCR for noon today.

On Monday, I broke off my inner rear view mirror. It took me three days to fix it. The lesson of the week: it is far easier to drive with a rear view mirror than without one.

Still working my way through my blogiquette questions.

This is actually a two-part question, but in the interest of clarity, I'll keep the second part about known readers for next week.

Unless you have an invite-only blog, you have no clue who is reading your blog. And in reality, even with an invite-only blog, someone could open the post at someone else's house and let them read it (for instance, if your mother had an invite, but not your siblings, they may still end up reading it because your mother opened the blog at their house). But with a public blog, you truly have no idea who specifically is reading your blog unless they've commented or told you.

And I ask this question as a very guilty lurker--there are times when I include someone in the roundup and they say, "I had no idea you were reading." And there are plenty of times when someone I know face-to-face mentions that she reads my blog and when I ask her how she found it, she tells some long story about putting two-and-two together when she realized she knew the author (me) based on people and places mentioned. Gulp.

The question then is how much does not knowing who is reading influence what you write? Are there things you're not writing about simply because you don't know who will find your blog or you're scared certain people may find it one day? Are you more circumspect because anyone from your best friend to your RE could find your blog? Is not knowing a freeing position--you can write anything you wish because you don't have to picture a specific person reading it? Or does this fact hold absolutely no sway over your mind or blog? How do you feel when someone you didn't know was reading tells you that they are reading your blog?

Inquiring...Enquiring...minds want to know...

I am going to yank together all of the ideas from that TTP post and make a big list of new abbreviations that people can pick and choose. I think Bea's point was really interesting--the terms you use does reveal a lot about your personal philosophy: "TTC vs TTP involves a state of mind as much as a path to follow." On a related note, IntegraMed, which owns many fertility clinics in America, came up with a list of abbreviations this week on their website (hmmm...the timing...). Though TTP did not make their cut, they did have a bunch of ones I missed on my list. I just liked that it was called the Infertility Dictionary so that blogging/bulletin board abbreviations given the same weight as a common reproductive endocrinology reference book.

And now, the blogs...

Chicklet at Blurb This! has an excellent post about considering the roads not taken before a no-going-back point. She asks: "And while I understand there'll definitely be MOMENTS where I want to undo it, and there'll even be DAYS I want to undo it - cuz that SCREAMING BABY will be MY screaming baby - but what if it's MORE than just moments? What if it's not all sunshine and roses and it not being sunshine and roses is just TOO MUCH to take? What if I wanna go BACK and STOP us from doing IVF#2? But I can't?" There are no good answers because it's such a personal choice. But I thought there was a lot of bravery and thoughtfulness in asking these questions.

Io at Who Shot My Stork? ties in her Valentine's Day performance of the Vagina Monologues to her own monologue about her own...vagina as well as our big, collective vagina and all of our other lady bits. "I guess my own vagina confession would be that the poor thing gets no play. In the monologue I talk about cold duck lips and I thought of all my IF gals: How so many of you have dildocams and speculums and catheters for IUI. How so many of you have to put suppositories there. How hard you work to bleed or not bleed each month. How some of you plan when to have sex." Head on over and tell her your own vagina's monologue from this week.

The Other Shoe has a post I love about waiting to cycle. She writes: "For the first time in a long time I am not going to cycle (re-cycle? hmmm) at my soonest opportunity. I'm going to wait one cycle. The reasons for this are grim, good, and optimistic." It's a simple post of reasons, but I love watching the thoughts unfold. It's just well written and thoughtful and it's the sort of post you look back on years from now and say, "I remember that day."

Lastly, Dooneybug Days has a meme that is so much fun that I tried it myself below. But before you read mine, click over and see how she does it the correct way because I botched mine up by forgetting how many truths and lies were supposed to be there in the first place. Dooneybug has the correct answers in her current top post but don't click up there until you've had a chance to try your luck at guessing her two lies.

The roundup for the roundup...return to the blogiquette questions and leave your thoughts. And keep scrolling down to the next post because I try my own hand with 4 truths and 2 lies. Can you guess which ones are false?


MLO said...

Ha! It's because so many physicians are now trying to figure out what on earth their patients are saying. How many times do we - without thinking about it - use the internal language of our community(ies)?

If I start referring to "mundanes" how many people outside of the SF / F Fandom community are going to know what I'm talking about without a dictionary?

Language defines community, and the REs don't want to be left out of our community per se. Most of them want to get us pregnant, so, they know they have to communicate with us in our own language.

DD said...

With my first blog, I shared it with family. When some took offense, I had to start a new one and didn't tell them.

Finding out a co-worker was reading my second blog forced me to start a pwp blog for my more private posts.

In some ways, I'd rather not know who is reading b/c I do find myself stepping more lightly in areas I may not have before, whether it's adoption, racial issues, sexuality, etc.

One blogger doesn't like long posts, so I keep that in mind. Another blogger I know hates the cutesy phrases and acronyms like "embies", "DH", "baby dance", "TTC", etc, so I do not use them.

I even keep in mind that bloggers like you are reading, gleaning the blog world of shareable ideas.

On the other hand, knowing that I have an intelligent and open group of friends through blogging makes me step up my game.

Searching said...

Not knowing who reads my blog completely influences my writing. I will never reveal my true name, that of any of my friends/family/babies (I go back and "save to draft" many of my baby stories after a week or two), and I never mention exactly where it is I live. It is only when I feel invisible that I feel I can be 100% me.

seattlegal said...

Ever since I found out my friends had found my blog, I've written differently. I just don't write about certain things that they do that bother me.

chicklet said...

Thx for the mention my friend:-)

Re other people looking at my blog, I actually think I write better when it IS strangers. Knowing my family's reading edits me down a little. So far I've only let my husband, my best friend, and my sister in on it. Nobody else IRL knows so I can write what I want. However, I do edit a little I guess on the family/friends who dont' know about it, because I think if they ever find it, or if I ever open it up to them, I don't want them to find something hurtful that was said in the throes of my own issues.

Strangers - no problem. Family/friends - bit of problem.

luna said...

a few (fertile) people I know somehow learned I have a blog but haven't seen it. one (with a newborn) asked my hub for the address and he told her it's private and I use a pseudonym. the thought of these people discovering me is disturbing and would probably affect my writing, but mostly in terms of not revealing much about my identity, as opposed to other content. if I thought certain people would find me I suppose I'd feel badly if they figured out I might be writing about them... I don't think I'd stop though.

with my supportive friends who've suffered from infertility/loss it's different. several of them read my blog. now a few of them are pregnant. I've gone to great lengths to tell them when a certain post isn't directed at them. but I've recently found I'm unwilling to vent as much because they may take it personally. so I haven't posted the "everyone is pregnant but me and I'm tired of hearing about it" vent even though that's how I feel right now... there, I said it. thanks mel.

Rachel said...

Since I know my husband reads, I never post anything that is frustrating me about him.

Other than that, I use initials or nicknames for people and only vaguly refer to places. Someone could know who I am by pictures, but other than that my blog is somewhat anonymous.

I try never to post something that would embarass me if someone I know reads it, same as I do in real life when talking to people.

I also recently discovered a way to track where your readers are coming from, I have way more people reading my blog than commenting. There have been times when I thought, why bother writing today if the only person reading is my husband? Then I found out lots of people do check it daily and so I write for them. I may quit posting pictures if I start getting readers from my hometown though.

xavier2001 said...

Darn, Tyra was on at 9 a.m. here and I missed dvr'ing it. I'm curious to what was actually aired, maybe someone will have a bootleg copy!

As far as the blogetiqutte (man I butchered that spelling), there are things that I don't put in my blog b/c I know all of my family reads it, I paint a very rosy picture with lots of good news and baby pictures but don't really speak to how hard it is to raise twins (as I really don't want to sound ungrateful for what I have). I have been considering for quite some time starting a second blog to talk about the day to day challenges, but haven't gotten to it yet.

Io said...

Hey, thank for the shout-out Mel! (We have dress rehearsal tonight so I am trying to throw the video together. if it doesn't suck, I'll post it.)
The first time you mentioned me in the round up, I was like "Me? Io? Little 'ol me? Mel of Stirrup Queen fame is reading my blog?" Then I fainted dead away, happy as a clam.
OK. I didn't faint, but I was all star-struck.
I didn't tell anyone IRL about my blog other than my best friend David who far, far removed from anything to do with children. He occasionally reads to check in, but I don't have to censor myself with him at all.
My husband, on the other hand, now knows about my blog because he used my computer and *claims* I had left it up. I looked at the history and the last entry he had read was one in which I talked about resenting him and wanting to use a sperm donor. (Yikes.) We never really talked about what I had written, but I have censored myself a bit in regards to what I say about him since then.
In terms of everyone else, I don't really censor myself. I try not be be insensitive to fellow IFers. I try not to mention anything too crazy specific, but if somebody really wanted to, they could figure out who I am. I'm a pretty open person in general though and don't hold back about what I think IRL, so if anyone who knows me found it, I doubt they would be surprised. I would prefer my real life friends didn't read it though.
What I *really* wish was that all my blog friends lived near me. (Of course, they might not like the real me.)

luna said...

I totally forgot to write about my husband. he subscribes to my blog so I can't really vent about him there. damn. I tend to do that more in my comments on other blogs, which he doesn't read. also, sometimes as I'm writing I wonder how he'll perceive something, or wonder if it's weird that sometimes he learns about what I'm thinking through a blog post written late at night rather than a conversation... truth is, I express myself better in writing most of the time. ~luna

Hekateris said...

There are a couple of areas that I would like to write about, and have touched upon but lightly due to...well, they're pretty sensitive topics. While I think the majority of my readers would 'get it', there are those few (I know who they are and as far as I'm aware, rarely read unless I make posts on these particular topics, and then they come out of the woodwork) who view what I say with an agenda.

So. In order to talk about those subjects, I would begin a completely new blog unconnected with Birch and Maple or TLU. Right now, while I have the interest, I don't have the time. And yet...there's also the understanding that my position in these matters in one not a lot of people are willing to give any credence to. In some ways, it's very similar to being bisexual - if you're not with 'us', you're agin 'us', of you know what I mean?

I'm not particularly worried about friends or family reading my blog, because I've already told them there are going to be things they're not going to like. At all. So it'll be their choice as to whether they really want to open that Pandora's box or not. Besides, I don't write about them all that often anyway, and I don't restrict my writing for fear they'll Find Something Out. (although Mr Oro's old boss, who'd also gone through IVF, told him I should take it easy on him, and I shudder to think of which blog post he might of read, or indeed, how he knew the URL)

loribeth said...

A couple of people in our pg loss support group mentioned they blogged. I was curious, & it took me no time at all to find their blogs -- which made me a little nervous about starting my own. I believe the only "real-life" person who knows I blog is dh, & I'd like to keep it that way if I can. I have told some of the women from my childless living boards that I blog. I try not to name names or get too specific about locations & other details, for general privacy/safety, if no other reason.

There are days when I need to vent about dh but I don't feel like I can do it on my blog because I know he reads it. He once found some venting posts I had written on a (private) board (like io's dh, he claimed I had left it up on the screen... hmmm...) & was not too impressed.

Jess said...

OH MY GOSH, IntegraMed has "assvice" on there!!!! And "dead baby thoughts." I LOVE IT! It's like they really mean it for real people!!

I'll admit, there's a lot there that I hadn't ever heard. Kudos, IntegraMed. I always knew I loved you.

As for the blogging, I'm private, so I know who reads...though this is more for the protection of OTHER people in my life (the kids, Ava's birthfamily) than for my own privacy. ALTHOUGH I do feel I can share more with people who aren't IRL friends and family. Therefore the three blogs...One specifically for Ava's birthfamily (that's mostly because they woudln't be as interested in all the other crap), one for me (in which I can share everything but not many IRL people have access to), and a famiy safe one, where I often use posts from my real blog but edit out a lot of the...ahem...feeling, if you will. More of an update.

Hey, say what you want, but our grandparents and preacher don't want to hear the nitty gritty if you know what I mean.

Kami said...

I know some of my friends read my blog and my clinic knows about it but I don't think they read it. I am careful about what I say. I don't edit much, but if I think it will hurt someone's feelings I will think twice about it. At the same time, it is most important to me that it is an honest reflection of what I am experiencing.

calliope said...

Thanks for letting me know about the Tyra show- just set it to record. Will be curious to see how the edit it...

I have real life friends that read my blog and so I can't really vent about some thing that I wish I could. For example I have a really, really good friend that has not been so helpful with the fertility hand holding. She being one of those super helpful peeps with advice like, "Maybe you just aren't meant to be a parent."

There are also friends that have had successes when I have not and I know that if I write 100% honestly it will only result in ugly & messy feelings.

I won't ever say the name or location of my clinic either. The last thing I need to worry about is some lab tech stumbling across my comparing her to Mimi from The Drew Carey Show.

Lisa said...

You don't know me, but I have been a regular lurker of SQ&SPJ for the better part of a year. I think you are amazing and I thank you for being a floatation device for the thousands (millions?) of people "TTP" (especially me). You really have a great knack for putting our collective feelings & thoughts into those words and phrases that sometimes just don't come to us mere mortals. You've helped me to sort out and define why I was so angry at certain things, helped me to explain our IF situation to other people as well as helped me do my injections.

As far as people reading other people's blogs, my opinion is that if one is going to read what is essentially someone else's diary, then they had better keep an open mind and an open heart.

Michell said...

I have wondered about people I know reading my blog. I would rather people from work not read because I sometimes talk about people I work with but have occasionally still given my blog address out or yours Mel as a link to IF blogging and a source of support. If someone hit your blog and went through your list of other blogs, they could eventually find mine. This hasn't though really affected what I say. I have tried to google and or search using my name etc and have not been able to find my blog. I also would rather not have my family (mom and sister) find my blog but if they did, not the end of the world. I have not said anything untrue about them nor really siad anything in a mean way and if the truth hurts, maybe they should look at how they treat others. I do use my name and state my location but I also do not use friends name, just first initials. Many of my friends though I wouldn't mind if they read my blog as it would leave me not having to explain every little thing.

Kathy V said...

This post got me thinking. There are a few things that I wouldn't necessarily want family members to stumble across but for the most part it wouldn't be a problem. The things I have mentioned are mostly things that they do not know because they do not want to acknowledge IF. However if they stumbled across it, then I wouldn't have to tell them cause they could read about it. Most things I have said about them are things I would mention to them though if they did ever stumble across it. But I try not to generally say mean things about people in my blog because it is public. Even though there isn't anything too mean about any of them, I may consider changing my blog if I knew my family members had stumbled across it. I write to get my feelings out about all this stuff.

I am okay with strangers reading it. None of my friends IRL have the address. The only ones who know I blog are my husband and my sister. My sister doesn't know the urland I don't know that she would take the time to try to randomly search for it. I let my husband read posts when he wants to but most of the time he doesn't seem interested. He figures it is a whole bunch of woman talking about womanly issues so he doesn't stop by that often.

I have the name of my city listed and I refer to things in the city. I do not refer to hospital names or doctor offices by name though.

I also have pictures on there so if people really wanted to confirm it was me, they could.

So I guess I am slightly cautious but only in the way that it corresponds to my actual health records and just trying not to be mean in general.

calliope said...

watching the Tyra show now and HATING IT.

What a fricken joke Ryan & Trista are as an "infertile couple". They tried 6 months, then started checking her ovulation and then she had an HSG and the next month she was knocked up. THEN she says to Tyra- well a lot of months we couldn't try because of Ryan's schedule.

Shaking my head...

Anonymous said...

I feel utterly free to write about whatever I want because I have very few readers. I have mentioned to some friends that I have a blog, and even sent the link to a small group of them, but as far as I know, none of them reads it regularly. I guess I feel the same way about it as I do about the idea of my phone being tapped or people Googling me -- I just can't imagine that anyone would care enough to do it, and even if they did, I have very little (if anything) to hide. I just mentally went through a list of the people in my life, and I couldn't think of anyone I wouldn't allow to read it, if he or she wanted to. I guess my life really is an open book.

That having been said, there are certainly some topics about which I would not write, but I'm not sure I'd write about them in a paper journal that I hid under my mattress any sooner than I'd write about them on a public blog.

The Dunn Family said...

I'm actually considering starting a new blog. My current one is a place that all my friends and family know about. A place to update about the kids, and basically keep my family in the loop with new pictures. But I've been wanting to write a lot more stuff, personal stuff, and I just don't feel like it is the correct place to do it. I wouldn't feel comfortable putting it all out there like that. It's something that I probably will start up very soon.

Rebecca said...

Wow…lots to ponder in this one Mel! For me, I don’t think it is the not knowing…it is the known readers that make me feel I need to censor myself the most. But, since this is the unknown readers question, I’ll stick to that. Given that I don’t have a huge reader base, the main thing I find myself doing simply because I don’t know who is reading my blog is not using names…of doctors, friends, and sometimes relatives. I do use my real first name, my husband’s real first name, and my stepson’s real first name…but have never and will never use our last name on my blog. But that’s just out of respecting my doctor’s and friends’ privacy. There are certain situations I don’t blog about…one in particular comes to mind because it has to do with my sister. It’s not because I’m in any way ashamed or judgmental about the situation…it’s simply not my place to tell about that particular facet of her life. Again, the privacy issue. Most of the time I’m open, up front and brutally honest on my blog, so for me I guess the not knowing really is freeing. I don’t care one way or the other who is reading or not reading my blog…my blog is my corner of the universe to write about whatever is floating around in my head on any particular day and time. I know there are certain things that people don’t agree with on my blog, in particular my proliferate use of profanity…but I use that only when I feel it’s appropriate or fitting to the situation. And I agree with msmiranda…I really don’t think I’d care if someone I didn’t know told me they read my blog, and I really don’t know anyone that would go to great lengths to find mine anyway. Long way to say…sometimes I think about it, but most of the time the unknown readership really doesn’t cross my mind. Known readers, however…that’s another story.

soul-quest said...

This is me:

On the one hand, I only give my Blog address to a select few, I choose to decide who reads my Blog of the people I know.

On the other hand I have no problem with complete strangers reading it.

There are some things that I censor, mainly my language. Also the gooey icky stuff I try to downplay. And lastly any husband issues, (which really are quite trivial). Nonetheless, of the people I know that read my Blog, some would not appreciate my foul mouth, ie my mother. Some would really not hear about discharge etc. ie my brother, husband, and other of the male gender. And I prefer to play the 'perfect relationship' game most of the time. That is just me.

Julia said...

I haven't had anyone from RL I don't know was reading come out yet. And I am pretty happy with everything that is up on the blog. I stand by pretty much everything I ever wrote, so I wouldn't mind if anyone at all found it. Except, of course, that whole pg thing-- there is plenty of people IRL I don't yet want to know.

Rachel said...

I had a semi-private blog, with no google-bots, and fake names for my kids so they couldn't be found. But my mom found it anyway.

Yeah. BIG fight.

Now it's in my sig line and most of the family reads at least one blog (my dad only recipes & books). I edit myself and end up venting mostly to friends on the phone. I try to be more upbeat in the blog.

My health stuff is different from infertility, but it comes into play constantly - I forget that not everyone is on a first name basis with their pharmacist, and not everyone knows the abbreviations I know...
A Gaggle of Girls

Barb said...

I try to write my anonymous blog as if I were talking to my best friend. It serves as a catharsis and healing tool for me, so I need to use it that way. And since I'm writing as if to my best friend, I am more honest about my feelings and more open and raw. However, I am also a bit careful about giving too much of myself away and about the privacy of my hubby.

Ahuva Batya said...

I actually don't think about who is reading my blog much at all. The only censoring I do is that I don't share details of my husband or our personal relationship, and I don't talk about work too much. I have thoughts about my future at work that I wouldn't want to get back to co-workers somehow.

m said...

I don't mention my clinic or my exact location. During the actual egg donation piece of things, I was 100% anonymous because of this fear that my clinic or donor would find it and somehow revoke our membership in the anonymous donor program. Now that we have a few embies on ice, I am a little more revealing, but I still don't mention hubby's name.

A few weeks ago I finally shared the URL with my MIL simply because it was easier to tell her to go and read instead of constantly updating her. But now, I'm kind of regretting it. I find myself self-censoring a lot more. I know I have some real life friends that read, but they know I have a potty mouth so no censoring needed there.

Julia Schuck said...

If you don't know who's reading - how can you write "for" them? I stay as true to myself as possible. There is also nothing wrong with writing something, saving to draft and letting it sit a bit before actually posting it - to see if you really do want to post it. People who know me and read probably aren't going to find any real surprises. Blogs are pretty self-serving by nature anyway, since I am the one writing it I kind of take a read at your own risk stance. I do have two blogs though - one that is more extended family and friends centric and the other that touches more on my fertility and loss experiences. Really - that second one was more for myself.

Pamela Jeanne said...

I have an expectation that one day everyone I know will find my blog. That doesn't change how I write. Without getting too self-righteous, I lay myself naked out there because I hope, as just once voice in the IF community, that I can make a difference in getting the rest of the world to accept that infertility cuts deeply and that societal understanding is essential in allowing us to heal.

Bea said...

As far as blogiquette goes, I think writing a public blog is a little like talking about people behind their backs (unless you know for a fact they're reading, which is like talking about them in front of their faces).

Now, talking about someone anonymously behind their backs - "This friend I know who you don't know is in this situation..." - is different from talking about a mutual friend behind their backs - "Let me tell you what's happening to so-and-so..." - but the rules that apply in the first situation should apply to blogging as well. Because you never know who'll hear it and make the connection.


Bea said...

P.S. I would die if eg my Dad ever stumbled across some of my more intimate posts, though... I doubt he'd tell me. It's the risk I take and it's my own risk. But it's when I mention other people that I think it's important to keep in mind the blog is public.


B said...

my friends know I blog but i refuse to give them the name and I trust that they won't go looking..... a bit too trusting?

My husband doesn't like to read it. It makes him sad.

I prefer to be anon ....... it's like a journal with comments from wise people.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ said...

For the fertility stuff, I finally started a blog... I really really want to keep it anon. No one knows I have it (other mentioning to my husband that I have a secret blog).

I love the freedom to let my thoughts pour out - and somehow the thought that someone might be reading is very comforting (versus a paper journal). I use google analytics to try to have a sense of where people are reading from. I try hard to omit any identifying information. I like that people can contact me, but not know me. I am really open when talking face-to-face to people in my life, so I wouldn't be devestated if people I know in 'real' life find my blog in terms of them having that info - I would just be sad to have given up my secret, safe spot I had created for myself.