Saturday, October 04, 2008

adios amigos

Something kinda weird happened recently: a colleage of mine go dooced. He was busted writing a blog about work. In an effort not to get dooced myself, I won't give any details about the circumstances, I'll just say that I was eventually asked to read a print-out of a significant portion of the blog and scrutinize it for breaches of confidentiality and other wrong-doings.

It was awkward to say the least and it made me think long and hard about the nature of blogging and my own experience as a blogger. This poor guy -- who definitely made mistakes, huge errors of judgment, major ethical lapses -- took at least minor pains to disguise his subject matter and I am sure it never in a million years occurred to him that a day would come when several of his colleagues (including bosses and human resources staff) would be sitting down to read copies of what is, essentially, his journal.

Obviously he posted it online and opened himself up to the possibility that other people, including people he knows, might see it. And obviously he got reckless, he didn't work hard enough to disguise people and situations. I'm not saying he's blameless. And less obvious to those who didn't read it, he definitely crossed the line in terms of breaching client *and* staff confidentiality, and he implicated himself regarding certain somewhat inappropriate relationships. He did slimy things....

But I couldn't help but feel embarassed for him as I read through all 34 humiliating pages. I also immediately felt embarassed for myself. He whined in his blog, he was self-important, he was obnoxious, he was petty, he exposed his most pathetic moments, his jealousies, his false hopes and inexplicable expectations. I wondered if my blog had been just as silly and self-involved, just as navel-gazingly awful.

Plenty of people have waxed philosophical on the subject of blogs and blogging, I don't feel compelled or even qualified to try to add anything new to that collection of opinion. I just want to say that I'm quitting for awhile. I've been on my way out for a long time, feeling less and less compelled to write or even pick up the computer. Over the few years I've been doing this, I've seen several bloggers go through the phase of quitting, the end-phase. I like to think I'll come out of it eventually and re-emerge with a tighter focus and more purpose. And I may not stop completely, I may continue to blog occasionally at Swell. At least Swell is *about* something and leaves slightly less room for shallow narcissism.

I have made many wonderful blog friends along the way and I want to thank all of you for reading and commenting and being so funny and interesting and inspiring on your own sites -- I won't name names in case I forget important people, but I'm sure you know who you are (Roro and Joolie, you both get props for being around longest, and of course SK, but you're hardly just a "blog friend" -- sorry to everyone else, I couldn't resist a nod to the old school).

It's funny. It was there from the very beginning, speaking of readers. Early on I started getting nasty comments from a reader-gone-bad named Rufus. He read for a few months then suddenly starting leaving me scathing comments about how shallow and asinine the blog was. I'd always get so ridiculously hurt by those comments, probably because I recognized them to be true. I defended the self-absorbed nature of the blog, I defended the value inherent in sharing our most personal experiences so we can all know each other as humans, fragile and fallible. But it takes a great deal of skill to maintain that openness and integrity in writing, and it is much easier to be lazy and let the blog become a place to vent and whine and, worst of all, write lots and lots of mediocre crap which doesn't really add anything of value to the world.

I guess I'd prefer to take a break until I can guarantee I'm at least trying to do it right.