Public Privacy

I’ve been reading other people’s blogs and my girlfriend has noticed a few times. The other night she finally asked what I was doing. So I explained that I read journals online – other people’s journals. And so it goes:

“Why would you do that?”
“Because it’s interesting.”
“Why would they do that?
“They want people to read them, it’s a way to publish what you write – any drivel at all.”
“Do you write one?” I knew that was coming.
“Uh huh…”
“Let’s see it.” She fires up the browser on her computer.
“Okay, you can if you want.” I give her the address and she types it in.
“Why do you do this?” she asks, scrolling through the page quickly while I try to explain what some of the entries are about.
“Something to do. I like to write, I like other people to read it. I haven’t been writing about you.” This was before these last few entries, I was thinking she might be bugged about it.
“So.” She closes the browser.
“Don’t you want to read it?” I ask.
“No.”
“Why not?” Now I’m disappointed, but maybe a little relieved.
“I just don’t.”

What’s not conveyed here is her reaction to the whole thing – mostly a mixture of bewilderment and distaste. I think she thinks it’s stupid, why would someone want to publicize a private journal? I’d also guess she thinks it’s a complete waste of time… and it can be.

What ensued from there however, was a very cool conversation about the way in which we’ve respected each other’s privacy thus far in our relationship. We don’t snoop, or go through each other’s stuff. We don’t read each other’s mail without asking. I never even go into the room where she keeps most of her stuff. Probably the worst thing we ever do is ‘demand’ to know who’s on the phone when the other one is talking. I do think she’s a little bugged that I know how to check out her online activities. (I once demonstrated this on my father’s computer, I was checking what my teenage brothers were up to.) I’ve assured her that I wouldn’t do that to her and have even showed her how to cover her tracks. “What if I want to look at porn?” I told her to go for it.

6 thoughts on “Public Privacy

  1. I get that reaction from a lot of people. When my dad found out he seemed totally shocked. But now he seems to think it’s a good way to see what I’m up to now that I don’t live at home…

  2. The thing is, it’s kind of voyeuristic to read the blogs and exhibitionistic to write them. And really, we do want people to read them, don’t we? And then we can became famous to 15 people… as opposed to famous for 15 minutes. That’s why I do it (sort of)!

  3. I just blog as sort of a way to try out ideas. I don’t write anything I worry about anyone reading.
    When I was with my Gemini girlfriend, she couldn’t fathom doing a blog. She read one of mine once and I asked if she’d read any of the others. She said no, she didn’t want to pry and hadn’t been invited to read the others. Must be a Gemini thing.

  4. I started mine as a way of keeping up with people – I’m rather socially apathetic, and this was my way of letting my friends know what I was doing and thinking – keeping the lines of communication open.

  5. I have had many different types of reactions when it comes to my blog. I have had people tell me it is stupid to have an online journal, I have had people tell me that it is awesome. But the truth is I donÂ’t do it for them, I do it because itÂ’s a way to express my feelings in a technological way. I also enjoy the aspect that others whom I really donÂ’t know can read it and possibly start communicating with themÂ…. With people who are close to me itÂ’s harder for me to let them know about my journal, just because I am afraid IÂ’ll reveal too much and they will shy awayÂ… but thatÂ’s a risk that I have been willing to take, and I still am.

  6. My girlfriend, who isn’t really into computers at all, was a little mystified at the concept of a blog when she first discovered mine, but then she started reading it regularly. She says it’s neat to see what’s going on in my head, and she sort of gets a kick out of reading about places we went and stuff.

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