Sarah Ford from the University of Massachusetts is doing a paper/thesis called Public & Private in the Blogosphere and I have agreed to participate in her study. Below are the questions given to me, which I’ve answered and she will follow up with an interview via IM later. Enjoy!
1. Tell me about the history of your blog. When and why did you start it? Why have you continued to maintain it?
I started bloggerdygook on 1 January 2006. Back then it was not called bloggerdygook. Took me a while to find a name that I’d stick with. It’s a weird-sounding one, but it fits for some reason. I have maintained this blog thus far because I like interacting with my readers and at the same time it’s very cathartic to talk about my life.
2. Why did you choose WordPress for your blogging software? What features attracted you to it?
I chose WordPress.com solely for the name. Really! It helps, of course, that it’s one of the best blogging platforms around for novices like me. I don’t want to care about the technical details, and this place help me do just that.
3. Have you ever changed blogging software? Why or why not?
Never will. For the kind of platform I’m looking for this is the best, so why bother trying out others when it’ll just probably disappoint me?
4. In terms of writing style, topics, etc., do you find that your blogging has changed over time?
Definitely. I used to be a more prolific blogger, if I could label myself that. Right now I don’t really like what I blog about, even though the subject has always been about myself!
5. Do you emphasize or de-emphasize any particular aspect of your identity / life in the blog? Why or why not? How much, if at all, has this changed over time?
This blog is about what I want to write, nothing more than that. I try to write according to what I think my readers want to read but at the end of the day it boils down to what I feel like writing.
6. What techniques do you use to protect your personal information in your blog? What about other people’s personal information?
I don’t give out personal information publicly, but if you knew me in real life you might be able to deduce from the things I talk about. When I talk about people in my life I give pseudonyms, change the sex, the time of events… most of the people who read my blog are either very close to me in real life or just online, so there isn’t much to divulge from the things I bitch about here!
7. Have you ever changed how much information you protect, or the ways in which you protect it?
As mentioned in previous answer. When I find it difficult to disguise the details of an event, I put it up in a protected post to allow people I trust in.
8. How much do you think about your audience? Do you often tailor posts to them, do you write with them in mind?
I appreciate my readers. They are one of the reasons I still blog today. I used to try writing with them in mind, but now I just write whatever I want because now that I’ve started working (from 2006 to 2008 I was in college) it’s hard to make an effort when you don’t have much time!
9. What do you think of readers who don’t comment? What about commenters who don’t blog? Do you consider those groups differently? Why?
I don’t know readers who don’t comment so to me it’s like they don’t exist. I won’t be surprised though if there are people who know me in real life are reading my blog secretly. I don’t know how to relate to these group of people so it’s easier to think they don’t exist, sorry to say that.
10. Your blog includes at least one protected post. How do you decide what material goes in a protected post, and who has access to that post? How do you decide whether or not to grant someone access to that post, and why are you so open about its existence?
What goes in a protected post are things which are very personal to me and I would not allow to be viewed publicly. This is not because I do not want random strangers to read my innermost secrets, but rather I’m afraid I might reveal my identity by doing so! So if someone which I’m pretty sure does not know me in real life were to ask to view these protected posts, chances are I’d probably allow him or her to do so.
11. How has your perception of public/private changed over the course of your blogging “career”?
Blogging is actually quite a private activity done on public domain. So it’s difficult to draw the line between private and public, other than personal details. What about personal thoughts, how private do they remain once you make them public? Basically, once you make something personal public, then it’s no longer private anymore and people can read and disseminate it.
12. Some people have suggested that blogging is an exhibitionist activity, and that reading blogs is a voyeuristic activity. What do you think of that?
In a way, yes, but that depends on what is the content of the blog in question. For bloggerdygook, I liken my reading as letters to a friend. I write about my thoughts in the way I would have liked to talk about them with a friend. And if you happen to have a response to what I’ve written, well then, I welcome what you have to say, friend. 🙂
13. Did you find that participating in this study had any impact on your blogging activities, or on how you think about public and private in relation to your blogging activities?
I believe I used up some brain cells for this questionnaire! 😆 I think I’ve thought about this issue in some way or other before, when my writing quality was much better than it is now, so not much of an impact there in that sense.