No, it wasn't just an excuse to link to majcher's cool toy.
November 18, 2003 8:41 AM   Subscribe

In response to the obvious need chronicled by an Onion article, Blogger publishes its Official Stance on "What to do if your Mom discovers your blog," an interesting document that tries to be both ironic and informative at the same time. Anybody ever had to do some last-minute editing in view of new readership? Remember, what you say can come back to haunt you in unexpected ways...
posted by soyjoy (53 comments total)
Weird. Or just tell your mom to deal with the fact you're your own human being?

I guess that won't work if you're 15, though.

You could always bitch slap her. Moms listen to that sort of thing.

mom: I'm only kidding!!! ha ha!
posted by xmutex at 8:48 AM on November 18, 2003

just tell your mom to deal with the fact you're your own human being?

Moms, especially neurotic Catholic moms like mine, aren't good at that.

I remeber during the whole Trent Lott/Strom Thurmond hoo-hah, I was visiting the folks, and my dad said something along the lines of "the story was broken by this buncha websites, I forget what they're called.." and I had a brief flash of panic. I figure they can read my blog if I die or something and look for clues. Come to think of it, I'm amazed that blog of a murder victim hasn't been used as evidence or something yet. That would make a great law & Order.

But on the off chance they do discover it, I'll use the excuse that worked for Eddie Murphy and Shaggy: "It Wasn't Me."
posted by jonmc at 9:02 AM on November 18, 2003

soyjoy: Yes, it was.
posted by anastasiav at 9:04 AM on November 18, 2003

My parents don't do the web, beyond checking their email for pictures of baby nieces and nephews. They definitely don't do google.

If they were to do either of the above, they'd easily find out that their eldest is a bisexual pagan hedonist who has a great affinity for aged single malt Scotch.

None of the above would I ever simply offer up in a letter home.

Come to think of it, maybe it's time to pick a new pseudonym...
posted by pixelbaby at 9:05 AM on November 18, 2003

I posted a blog entry dealing with the President's recent Protection From Pornography Week, wherein I linked to about 30 images culled randomly from my personal newsgroup archives.

At dinner last Thursday with my mom, she mentioned her distaste for the pornography.

"You didn't click on them did you?" asked I, wondering what would posess her to ignore that large red "REAL PORN" warning attached to the article.

"Just one," said she. "That was enough."
posted by ringmaster at 9:10 AM on November 18, 2003

I just hope none of you is MY mom.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:11 AM on November 18, 2003

My parents also apparently don't find amusing at all.

posted by xmutex at 9:14 AM on November 18, 2003

xmutex: *snort*
posted by pixelbaby at 9:26 AM on November 18, 2003

anastasiav - no, reeeally. I swear - saw this on Blogger yesterday evening and thought of posting it then, but I was too busy.
posted by soyjoy at 9:35 AM on November 18, 2003

Yeah, but who isn't a bisexual pagan hedonist with a taste for fine liquor, these days?
posted by ook at 9:35 AM on November 18, 2003

My mother knows about my weblog, but I keep forgetting she reads until the phone rings. My latest anti-cop post did not please her.
posted by thirteen at 9:43 AM on November 18, 2003

I don't have a blog, but if I did I know my mother would never bother reading it, both because she isn't at all computer literate (she never ever goes on the computer at their house) and would see it as a waste of time. There are definite advantages to having a driven mother who's fully occupied with running her own life. But as for my other relatives - well, if I ever do start up a web site I'm using the Orange Swan alias.
posted by orange swan at 9:45 AM on November 18, 2003

My mother may have attempted to get rid of my Cabbage Patch Kids because she thought they had Satanic middle names, and she may have protested at Planned Parenthood centers, and she may have dragged my apathetic ass to church one too many times, but that does not mean that I will bother editing whatever is on my livejournal.

She has it friended, and if she's morally offended by what I'm sayin', well, hell, she can pray for my sins and feel good 'bout herself.

(besides, I got fired for something I wrote in my livejournal. What does it matter what my mom thinks?)
posted by Katemonkey at 9:48 AM on November 18, 2003

Anybody ever had to do some last-minute editing in view of new readership?

There was that time I had to remove every instance of "KILL THE PRESIDENT," but that wasn't because I thought my mom was reading the site.
posted by cobra libre at 9:55 AM on November 18, 2003

But as for my other relatives

Holy shit, I never even thought about my other relatives. I have some computer-savvy ones, too. Oh damn. Damn, damn, damn.
posted by Hildago at 10:08 AM on November 18, 2003

You guys are forgetting something - what about your friends with blogs? I can keep my blog as employer- and parent-safe as I want, but all it takes is one drunk ex with a LiveJournal.

One time I had Suck remove my name from a letter I sent to Polly, which was too bad cuz I was proud (at the time) that I came off as more cynical then Polly's response.
posted by lbergstr at 10:37 AM on November 18, 2003

(besides, I got fired for something I wrote in my livejournal. What does it matter what my mom thinks?)

Legally, katemonkey? Shit.
posted by orange swan at 11:10 AM on November 18, 2003

My mum doesn't read Welsh. Neither does hardly anyone else, of course.
posted by ceiriog at 11:24 AM on November 18, 2003

My mother's response when I asked her if she knows about/reads my weblog:

"I am aware of it. I read it when I think to. Which is never."

Somehow, I doubt her.
posted by brittney at 11:27 AM on November 18, 2003

My parents are fairly computer illiterate, so I doubt they'd know they could search Google for instances of my name and find my blog after a few clicks. My brother has probably found it, but he hasn't mentioned it. Friends of mine might not be so computer illiterate either, but I don't really care. The blog is there, it's not some secret, password-protected site that takes a lot of effort to find or something. It gets traffic, and I'm sure some of the visitors are people who know me but for some reason don't want me to know they're there (and don't think I know, either.)

It's like the phone book: People don't allow their name and number to be listed in the white pages because they want everyone in the whole damn city to call them, they do it so people who want to find them can find them. I'm not some attention whore who wants everyone to OMG CHECK OUT MY NEW SIET!!1! If people want to look for me, I want them to be able to find me.

It's funny to me to look through the web traffic statistics and see who the visitors are and where they're coming from. Since I knew who was the ISP for the company I used to work for, I immediately knew when one of my coworkers dropped in. It only happened once, though (after I left) and they weren't looking for me. The last ex-girlfriend was a frequent visitor (despite telling me she didn't want to have anything to do with me) until I ended the fun by letting her know I was aware of every time she dropped in while at work. I think she thought she was getting away with doing something sneaky.
posted by emelenjr at 11:48 AM on November 18, 2003

ceiriog, back when my Welsh was better than it is now (which is nonexistent), I kept a handwritten journal in that language and handed it once to someone who was make noises about sneaking a look inside. I think the Welsh in combination with my handwriting (which is almost as illegible as Welsh to an Anglophone) convinced them that it would be a fruitless endeavor.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 12:11 PM on November 18, 2003

I don't worry about my mom... I worry about my DAD (queue evil music...) reading my blog...
posted by LoopSouth at 12:20 PM on November 18, 2003

Well, be that as it may, ook, not everyone can appreciate a good whisky...
posted by pixelbaby at 12:23 PM on November 18, 2003

My dad is an interesting paradox in that he a) loves the net but b) can't seem to figure out how it works. He's 65 and had never used a computer in his life before my mother bought one, mostly so that my sister could use it. He still hasn't really used it. (In fairness to him, I should add that he has severe rheumatoid arthritis and it would be very difficult for him to use a mouse or to type, especially when he also never even used a typewriter before.)

What he does is get me or my sister to do the actual surfing while he sits beside us and tells us what he wants to know. Occasionally he asks a technical question such as "How did you know you should click on that?" It's an experience that makes me realize just how self-directed net surfing it - it's intensely boring to look up someone else's interests and proceed at their pace. But it does at least provide me with a guarantee that he won't ever find anything I put up on the Net. I don't know what he'd find most objectionable about Orange Swan - the political opinions, the jokes about sex, or the obscenities. The irritability he knows about:-)
posted by orange swan at 12:44 PM on November 18, 2003

It's just occurred to me, that, as computer literate as *I* am, I've never bothered looking for blogs of my mom, dad, sister, brother, friends, wife, etc. Which is not to say you're safe. But, you probably are reasonably safe unless your loved ones are hyper curious about your life. And if they are, you'd already probably know that.

I think my mom has dropped in on me from time to time. I know my aunt has, she mentioned it once. This was back in the day when I ran a webcam also and she was just astonished that I'd let strangers into my life that way. Like any stranger is going to like watching me lay on the couch and watch tv. The web cam was there for my SO in a far off land to peep in on me.

I guess I don't have anything shocking on my website that my mom might disapprove of with the possible exception of things I might like to at times.
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:49 PM on November 18, 2003

I'm in a weird mintority; my whole family knows about my websites, my online journal (now defunct,) my slash habit, etc.., and none of them particularly care. Or, perhaps they just don't love me....

Yay! Neurosis found, I can sleep poorly again!
posted by headspace at 12:54 PM on November 18, 2003

I like that strategy, Ishmael. Since 14 or 15, I've kept all handwritten journal entries and other notes-to-self in a private language whose vocabulary is borrowed from Latin, German, Dutch, Gaelic, and English, with some made-up words and an invented grammar. For extra-super obscurity, it's written using a 46-character semi-phonetic alphabet. Any amateur cryptographer with an interest in western European languages could crack it, but I doubt anyone will ever want to know what I've said badly enough to try.

My father discovered my webjournal once, and casually mentioned that he'd been reading through the archives. He didn't bring up any of the potentially dangerous topics I'd written about, which I appreciated, but it still startled me. BBSes and later the 'net were once the places I went to detach from my "meatspace" life - the places I could actually be myself. It used to be a clear distinction: in person I am somewhat reserved, and on the 'net I would speak more openly. But times have changed, and words continue to have consequences... If I ever start up another webjournal I will either use a pseudonym or limit myself to general musings.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:17 PM on November 18, 2003

When my mom started reading our blog the readership doubled. Now she says she just visits "to make sure you're still alive". Yeah, I should call more...
posted by normy at 1:29 PM on November 18, 2003

Sheesh. Not only does my mom read my Web site, she complains when I don't post enough pictures of her grand daughter. She tends to gloss over my rants on various subjects, as she's a conservative Christian and I'm not, but I can't imagine worrying about what my mother thinks about what I write. I stopped doing that sometime in high school. Honestly now. If you're an adult, you don't have to excuse yourself.
posted by jscalzi at 1:38 PM on November 18, 2003

My oldest has a blog, on Blogger. I've read it a few times; it's more like a diary than a weblog. I think she'd be better off with LiveJournal, but that's for her to figure out.
posted by tommasz at 1:47 PM on November 18, 2003

I did some playing around with Google and some key phrases a few weeks back just to see if my blog would come up. It did, but you'd have to know what to look for and know me pretty well to find it.

Oddly, this place puts me at the greatest risk for having my cover blown, since a Google search for my name leads here and anyone with basic internet smarts could track it back to my profile and blog address.
posted by Cyrano at 2:29 PM on November 18, 2003

..and if we could track that back to his home address, why, then we'd have him!

Saddle up, boys!
posted by UncleFes at 2:32 PM on November 18, 2003

My parents read my blog. It's all good. Well, except the time I wrote about my mother comparing my father to Spongebob Squarepants. We didn't know he was reading it until then.
posted by fujikosmurf at 2:40 PM on November 18, 2003

My father may possibly connect the fact that I own a domain to a possible website, but if he has, he hasn't mentioned it. He's not computer illiterate in the least--he's a retired programmer.

Frankly, my father has done so much crazy ass shit in the last few years that he's got no leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing what I write about on my website.
posted by eilatan at 2:52 PM on November 18, 2003

My mom was my biggest fan when my blog was receiving 300+ visits a week. This was when my blog was show casing my brother's unit in Iraq. I even let my mom participate as most of the news about my brother was sourced through her which her source even asked if I would like the news sent directly to me. I declined as I told the person: rather let my mom do her part and have something to do during the war. Yet this added to a problem: Son, will you please write about this subject or special requests: people’s b-days, poems, pictures I had no host for & posts already found throughout the net. Posting peoples names was my biggest concern and would have to explain to her: my brother’s name is not mentioned once on my blog yet you want me to give a shout out to folks by name. I was very tempted and even implied it more than once; mom, I love you: "WTF GYOB".

Mom would talk with folks that read my site that was scary and in true honesty think it gave my mom the impression my blog could get me married off. She really wanted me to make it more personal, she just didn't grasp “this site is not all about me”. With the relatives, told them about the site which they just ignored in conversations. Yet when they heard about it from a source other than family, that was when they would tell me they had looked at it, then think it was some great thing.
PS, now that my brother’s unit returned home, my mom never visits: that was my 300+ visitor a week~wink~wink~.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:57 PM on November 18, 2003

My family reads my Livejournal, but initially that's why I made it: so they could keep up with my life. I got really tired of repeating the same story five times over (what did the midwife say, what did the doctor say, etc.). Of course after that it became keeping up with my friends' lives, getting myself back into the habit of writing, and just keeping a log of what's going on with me for myself, too. My grandmother loves to tell me "oh, I read that in your journal"; my mother checks in (read: snoops) on both mine and my brothers' journals.

To my mind, this is overwhelmingly a benefit. Having a little internal censor that goes "oh, yeah, my mom reads this" may make my journal more boring than it could be, but I get to avoid a hell of a lot of potential drama. Because....

....I think the fact that there are some prominent bloggers with large followings of strangers keeping tabs on them skews a lot of peoples' perceptions about who is going to read their blogs. It is very tempting to spill your guts since the nature of the medium makes you feel you're broadcasting into the ether. (Either it's like talking in an empty room to yourself, or you're on something like Livejournal where you're sort of chatting with friends.) This is a false sense of safety.

The most likely people to be reading your thoughts are your family, your friends, your exes, your co-workers, your boss.... people that *know* you. Who is most likely to have the same interests you do? Move in the same circles? Care about what you have to say? Bother to look you up? That's the first pitfall, misjudging your likely audience.

The second is forgetting just how small the gap is becoming between those who know how to navigate and use teh Intarweb and those who don't. You may think your mom couldn't possibly figure out how to find dirt on you, but Google is simple. And you have to assume everything you've put online is forever.

I dunno, I don't think my brothers and I are any less our real selves in our journals just because my mom reads 'em. But we're a little more careful. I'm okay with this since I don't live my life for strangers' entertainment anyway, much as I enjoy feeling connected to The World Out There. I'm all for self-expression but honestly a lot of stuff I see online could benefit from *more* self-censorship, not less. *shrug*
posted by Melinika at 2:59 PM on November 18, 2003

After one family member found my journal, I gave the address to all of them. It's better than worrying about it. If they want to read, read. I just refuse to discuss it.

My life, my words, deal.
posted by SuzySmith at 3:04 PM on November 18, 2003

Actually, "crowded" room makes more sense than "empty", above. Man, I would love to be able to edit my own posts here. =P And a pony.
posted by Melinika at 3:05 PM on November 18, 2003

Life, it gets more transparent every day.

(omg, tcs has a blog?!)
posted by rushmc at 3:43 PM on November 18, 2003

My wife and I have had blogs for a couple of years. We created a fotoblog when our kid was born to keep the family informed but in the end, I don't think they ever really cared enough to check it out often. A couple of months ago, my aunt and also my brother's girlfriend started to e-mail things out of context which enraged my dad (who I had a pretty crappy relationship with anyways). He was furious that I had mentioned he had left our family in 1982 (I guess that explains why he looks ashamed when ever he introduces my wife and I to anyone) but other than that, I had been pretty kind.

Michael Adams wrote in Fire and Ice about the differences that different generations of Canadians have regarding authority and authenticity and I think my dad and I are on opposite sides of that.

I don't think that him reading our blogs were the only issue but in the end, it was the one that broke the camels back.

On the other hand, some friends of ours love their kids blogs. They say that they have learned more in a year of reading their kids blogs than they would in a lifetime of writing letters. Now their whole family blogs.
posted by Coop at 4:11 PM on November 18, 2003

The best example of this is the recent "pseudonymizing" of what is now Sedalina. She yanked the whole thing, changed all the names to close derivatives and got herself a new URL.

She did it after a commenter happened to mention that she was the number one hit on Google for her first name alone. And she talked and still talks about her work regularly but has never named the company, just that they suck big veiny cock from time to time.

My family reads my blog and my mother is cool enough to not stress me on my rants or other childishness (that and the fact I'm in my 30's and live 3500 miles away from her). I censor myself because of my wife occasionally but not often. And I write under a pseudonym for the plausible deniability defense.
posted by fenriq at 4:20 PM on November 18, 2003

Not only does my mom read my LJ, but my in-laws periodically pop over too...I believe I spend a lot of time offending their conservative Christian world-view...but since I gave birth to the first grandson, I've suddenly been cut a lot of slack. ;) I just don't tell them about Dear's probably best that way.
posted by dejah420 at 4:50 PM on November 18, 2003

Hmm, well, writing your blog in another language requires intelligence and cleverness. What about the rest of us?
posted by xmutex at 5:23 PM on November 18, 2003

I could write it in french, but every article would be in the present tense and would be about things I like and do not like.

Wait. Damn.
posted by Hildago at 5:32 PM on November 18, 2003

Le singe est sur la branche.
posted by homunculus at 5:52 PM on November 18, 2003

not everyone can appreciate a good whisky...

... which just brings tears to my eyes. let's help the people, pixelbaby. let's give them a whisky primer. or something.
posted by .kobayashi. at 6:08 PM on November 18, 2003

My mom is pretty computer illiterate, but she used to read my webpage occasionally, like when one of our slightly more internet-junkie relatives told her about it. She's one of the neurotic Catholic moms jon mentioned, so her biggest issue is that people shouldn't write about when they're having problems. Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows...

My dad reads my blog. He alternates between a)telling me why all my viewpoints are wrong [I'm hyper-liberal, he thinks the Civil Rights Act was a step backward] and b)telling me to stop writing and get cracking on joining the working world and starting a family, 'cause, well, that's what a man's gotta do.

I'm twenty-two. They still don't think I'm ready for my own life.

[/protracted teen angst]
posted by nath at 6:32 PM on November 18, 2003

I just had a nasty start when Googling my real name, and my domain's splash page was the first link. I'm not quite sure why, unless someone is linking to me using my real name. It's not TOO terribly secret, but I confess that my blog isn't the first thing I'd like to see when my name's typed into Google.
posted by Vidiot at 6:41 PM on November 18, 2003

I need to learn a new language and start blogging in that.
posted by timyang at 9:56 PM on November 18, 2003

nath: I'm thirty-two, and I don't think I'm ready for my own life. All that's happened is that the words "married" and "mortgage" have been added to the list of things that I don't quite feel I'm ready for, but have anyway. Although I have it on good authority that having kids is what causes you to start cooking a vegetable along with dinner. We'll see.

seriously: the only solution to that problem is to stop caring what they think, because you're sure as hell not going to change it.
posted by ook at 10:18 PM on November 18, 2003

Yeah, you're right, ook. I've long ago stopped caring what my dad thought, that was easy, but it's the part where I tell him to just shut up for a few minutes that hasn't happened yet.

I'm not saying I'm ready for everything life has to offer, either, but I am on the way to figuring out what I want, and their interference is a hindrance.
posted by nath at 12:04 AM on November 19, 2003

speaking of livejournal, anyone have a code that they could give me? Someone at work was supposed to give me one weeks ago, but he has recently gotten the first sex of his life by a fairly attractive member of the opposite sex and I don't want to bug him about it.
posted by andryeevna at 12:59 AM on November 19, 2003

andryeevna: I just sent you an LJ code via email. Feel free to use it, if you don't already have one. Enjoy!
posted by vorfeed at 3:02 PM on November 19, 2003

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