Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I plead the 5th on the grounds that it might incriminate myself....

I didn't realize the power of these little blogs that we all write, sharing a glimpse into our lives, desires, dreams, and escapades. Until yesterday I was living in a naive world that the words I write her are like a secret being shared with friends over a bottle of wine or a pitcher of margiritas. No longer. There are people out there in cyberspace who are sharing in this adoption journey with me who may chose to use what I write here against me. After I have kindly invited them to come and be part of my life. What a violation. I cannot believe that there are malicious people out there who might be inclined to be petty enough to take what I write here and tattle on me. Really folks, do not judge lest thee be judged.

How seriously can we take what we read on this little snippets of someone's life experiences? You certainly cannot tell if someone is fit to raise a child from reading about an event, their philosophies, etc. More importantly it really isn't anyone else's place to read what I write here and judge me. So what does this mean in the blog world. Should I have to censor myself because someone might decide to use what I say against me? Do I shirk away from raw honesty because it could tarnish someone's view of me. These are questions that I really don't have the answer to at this point. As a teacher, English major, etc...I spit in the face of censorship, even self-inflicited. I mean, if I can't vent about life and explore my life defining moments here without being fearful that someone will report me to the higher athorities and punish me in some way for something that is taken out of the context of my life? I am angry, and feel sad for the person to whom this happened. I wish there was something I could do, but know that there isn't. I am sorry that there are people who do not understand what a blog is and that it is a personal choice some people make about what to post and how to post it. We cannot stop living our lives because of how someone might view the choices we make, nor should we make life changing decisions about someone's life based on a paragraph or two they posted on their blog. There are real people attached to these words. Real people with love, compassion, and a strong desire to be the best parents they can be. Please don't use these words against me. There is more to me than what you might read here.


Fizzle said...

Thanks for writing this Dawn. I'm heartsick at the idea that our blogs are potentially a part of the agency's adoption process. I am struggling with the issues you wrote about myself.

I mean, are blogs really journalistic anyway? Sometimes, depending on the writer, but sometimes they become fictional. Or people take on personas. Or we convey certain pieces and not others. These sort of snapshots of life can all certainly be taken out of context, but that should be the grounding force, understanding that blogs are NOT a window in to someone's soul.

Personally, there's several things that have lead me to being more censored online. Posts live on, even years after you may have written it. Even as you individually go through a maturation process, change the way you think, write, feel, someone searching Google on your name can easily find a time when you felt different. And whether right or wrong judge you on it. I guess we're learning that if your blog has any "character" (false, implied or otherwise) implications, then your own words become a tool against you for things like job candidacy, community roles or apparently adoption.

This whole era of MySpaceism, where you can seek out anything about a person is actually pretty scary.

I know you're talking fairness, while I'm saying "be careful". But I agree with both. You're right, no one should have to self-censor because of Big Brother. We should write and say what we think and talk in the voice we use. However, I counsel carefulness in the sharing of private information, too. On a blog, in my private life, on video, in person. It's just a general good practice to build your trust networks and go from there.

This is a hard lesson, and my heart goes out to others who have been affected by online writing.

Dawn said...

fizzle you are absoultely right. I totally self-censor when I write. I don't want my "whole" outlook on life out there. I think that is important as we really don't know who is reading and that is a little scary if you really sit and think about it.

It saddens me that people take these more seriously than they really are. Blogging is a creative outlet for many and just a way for others to share in the regular plain old events in life.

There are things I type for their cathartic energy but then delete and replace with something more appropriate to share with the vast group of "strangers" that read my words. I didn't even think about the whole job thing.

I have some blog revanping to do. I need an alter personality. Who will I be????

MP2 said...

Dawn, I love your honesty and totally respect your point of view. I'm so sorry that something crummy has happened. I hope nothing has been jeopordized in your process. Please e-mail me if you are comfortable with that - I'm here for you.

As for me, of course, I don't think I am really Mary Poppins. Thats where fun, a bit of irony, expression, and daydreaming come in. I hope no one has actually taken me literally (if so, they'd have to be a complete dodo). I'm just a gal making her way like everyone else.

Hugs from MP

ps - And I can't believe that anyone could live in such a bubble so as to not see at least a piece of themselves in your writings. Mothers are MADE, people GROW, life HAPPENS. GRRRRR!

Anonymous said...

Could somebody fill me in?! I totally love these blogs and message boards. They have been so helpful in so many ways. All kinds of information that is helpful as well as humor and struggle with the process. I have posted on the message boards and am now pretty nervous. It sounds like you are saying that somebody got in some kind of trouble with their agency over something they wrote in their blog. Could you tell me what kind of thing they wrote about that got the agency involved? I mean, don't go into detail if you are not comfortable, but just what was the subject that got the agency in it? I just want to be sure I DO censure myself, but I want to know what to cesure myself for! I read all these blogs and I don't see anything other than awesome people who would be great parents. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Okay. I know the story. I can NOT believe it. I wanted to post on the message boards to warn people to be very very careful about what they post, but now I am afraid to even do that. Who knows what might be taken out of context and used against you. I feel sick about this. I feel sick for the family and sick for the child that now may not be adopted. What a huge and pointless loss.

Fizzle said...

Anonymous - don't be afraid to post! We all write on the appropriate tip...most of the time ;-) Learning from each other is so invaluable, which is why I'm ever so glad Dawn brought this topic up.

If you learn something, it's about boundaries. Don't do anything online that you wouldn't do in your day to day life. And, you know, are we adopters going to have to learn that blogging can be considered part of the homestudy process? God, hopefully not. I would pick a serious fucking battle over that.

Dawn - an online identity! Ohhh, that should be fun to create! You could make yourself a rocket scientist supermodel from Nigeria....

Or a mommy in St. Louis. Both equally exciting!

Jenni said...

i had every intention of making a similar post on my own blog, but you and fizzle have already expressed every idea and every emotion i've had in the past 24 hours. thanks for pointing out the unfairness and the absurdity of using someone's blog as complete and valid grounds for judegement, and thanks for perpetuating the warning that the internet is a dangerous tool.

i considered erasing everything from my blog that could be incriminating. then i actually read through it all and realized that, depending on the reader, everything could be used as a basis for negative judgement.

i fear that it's something we're going to be battling forever. perhaps i've lost all faith in humanity, but i'm starting to believe that there will never come a time when such self-righteous judgement is a thing of the past.

in the meantime, i hope we can offer a glimmer of hope and strength in our unconditional support for any and all of those who are being judged by a single sliver of their lives.

Dawn said...

I found myself at a loss for words after hearing what happened. The blog in question was one of my favorites and I identified with the owner as a kindred spirit.

I have seen mean-spiritedness on the boards for some time, but I rationalized my continued participation as a way to learn and to help others. Now I find I really don't have much to say.

While saddened by what happened I hope the end result works out favorably for my fellow blogger. What a world we live in. Peace.

Serendipity said...

On blogs, there is not expectation of privacy. So whatever is written could be part of the evaluation process.

It sucks, but there you have it.