Outed!

I’ve never blogged anonymously. From the beginning I used my real name and never hesitated to give out information that would make my identity obvious. Despite the fact that I am a very private person, I’ve really done nothing to hide some pretty personal thoughts from the world. Yet it always surprises me when someone I know offline stumbles upon my website. Looking back on it, I probably should be been a bit more careful. It just never occurred to me that anyone would ever, a: care enough to pay attention, or b: actually be interested once they found it.

This reticence to tell anyone isn’t born from any efforts to be secretive, exactly. It’s hardly a secret life when I’ve never made any effort to hide anything. But in a way I guess it kind of became a secret over time by simply not talking about it. Heck, even though my PH was the one who suggested I start, I barely talk about any of it with him. To others, my silence appears odd. Unfortunately, to be otherwise makes me uncomfortable.

Shiva has a secret too: she secretly wishes she was a cat.

After almost three years, talking about blogging with others in public still makes me feel awkward. My experiences at BarkWorld were almost surreal. Before the conference I don’t know how many times I even used the word “blog” out loud. I’ve never thought of myself as a “blogger” either, more just as a person who posts pictures of her dog on the Internet.

However, if there was one thing I learned at the event, it was that pet blogging is not any sillier than any other form of writing. There is nothing ridiculous or dorky about sharing my experiences with animals. Or so they tell me.It’s part of my brain chemistry I think that when it comes to others I have no problem seeing the value in their activities, no matter how different. But there is a disconnect when it comes to how I talk to myself. Other pet bloggers are real and important and insightful. I am just fooling around.

Maybe it’s this self-esteem issue that holds me back, prevents me from sharing my blog with others offline, including my own parents. I don’t know if I worry about being judged or if I just worry my writing will be forced to change in tone once my mom is aware of this space. It’s just easier to keep it to myself.

Do you blog anonymously? Do you tell everyone in your life about your website? How have you handled being “outed”?

55 thoughts on “Outed!

  1. Ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, I was really surprised when I found out that my husband’s two oldest sisters follow the blog. And on Saturday when we went to get our Christmas tree, I was stunned when the guy there who owns the farm said “Oh, we really like your blog!” What?! I don’t use our names on the blog because of my husband’s job. There are…unsavory…people that he deals with or has dealt with in the past that have on occasion made threats against us, so I keep our names off the blog, although many people who read it know my name or who we are. And even though I’ve been writing the blog for almost four years, it STILL surprises me when people recognize us, well the dogs, and talk about it. I’d be happy under the cloak of anonymity forever!

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    • That’s so cool, though! In a freaky sort of way. I’ve never had a complete stranger mention my website to me, just people I actually know who I didn’t know read it. It’s good to know I am not the only one with mixed feelings. A part of me is secretly delighted when people mention they follow along and another is filled with dread and apprehension.

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  2. yeah I share my blog with EVERYONE but most people only show a passing interest!! then I met another blogger on our holiday inNZ and that was pretty cool!

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  3. My family knows about my blog… though rarely if ever actually read it. I definitely don’t advertise it amongst people I know in non-internet-land that awkwardness of ‘hey, yeah… i…um… blog?’ definitely gets to me. A friend was over and my mom brought up my blog once… felt like a deer in the headlights, and could barely handle telling my (very good) friend what the address for it was when she asked about it. it was just like, “no… no, I don’t htink you’d like to read it. In fact, I dont think I’d like for you to read it… nooo….”, because the idea of being judged by the internet at large is much less intimidating than the idea of someone I know purposely going to read my little stories, or my silly adventures-with-dog.

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    • It’s true and it is awkward, isn’t it? I am so not yet ready to introduce myself as a blogger. Maybe because it’s still just too new? The practice of blogging itself is very solo, often done at night. Even though it is very public in many ways it doesn’t feel that way when you are actually writing.

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  4. Other bloggers are… Real? Important? Insightful? Um. I beg to differ, but you ARE a real blogger who is important and insightful.

    I can understand the uncomfortability with people knowing about your blog though. I have shared it with some co-workers, but I still kind of think if my blog as my own personal space. I know people read it, but for some reason it seems otherworldly to me, like my other self. Does that make sense? What is weird is when I go to Sheltie events and people speak with me like they know me. I suppose they do in some respects – they read my blog, but it’s still very weird. I never know how to handle it.

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    • It is personal and yet so public. It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? I don’t know how to handle it either and perhaps that’s why I don’t talk about it. But the longer I keep silent the harder it is and then the more odd others think I am for not talking about it. It’s not a secret and I don’t want people to think I am ashamed or trying to purposely hide it, but… Oh well. It’s good to hear I am not alone!

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  5. I love this post! Generally, I only tell my dog friends about my blog. That way it is being viewed by like-minded folks who probably won’t be too judgmental πŸ™‚ I just never bring it up around the day-to-day people in my life. If they asked, sure I’d mention it, but why would they ever think to ask? Even my significant other (would that be my PH? πŸ™‚ ) doesn’t read it. He is vaguely aware that I have a website, but has never asked to see it. I prefer to be able to post without the feeling that someone is looking over my shoulder, if you know what I mean.
    I have actually met quite a few of my regular readers via the local Cardigan Corgi club as well as the Nat’l club. I even met one reader all the way from California when her daughter turned out to live fairly near me.

    I truly enjoy blogging but definitely don’t broadcast that I have one.

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    • I do know what you mean and I agree. My husband does read it but not all the time. I try to write as if no one is reading that way I can keep up a veneer of authenticity. If I worry too much about what others think I probably would just stop writing completely. I guess it doesn’t matter in the end. It’s just always a little awkward when someone brings it up out of the blue.

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  6. After I read your post, I was going to come by an virtually slap you around about your blogging not being as good as other people’s blogging, but I was interrupted and now I see Mel has already done that. So I’ll just say it’s hard to get over that general feeling of being an imposter, of feeling like “just” a blogger — in my case also in the eyes of writer friends (translation: If you don’t get paid, it’s not real). But I was at a travel writer’s conference last week with editors from hoohah publications like Travel + Leisure, Outside, National Geographic Traveler and I asked how they felt about writers using blog posts as a clip and they all said “fine.” All these magazines have blogs now, and the blog form has become as legitimate as any other form of publication. So while I still sometimes feel weird about the public nature of what I write because it’s always a bit personal — something you can’t always do in formats like magazines — I don’t question its legitimacy any more. Okay, at least no more than twice or three times a week…

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    • Hahahaha. You’ve made many good points. I don’t question the legitimacy of blogging, more just the value or importance of my own blogging activities. It’s not that I don’t think it is worthwhile but it’s more worthwhile to me on a personal level than I think it would be to the world at large. So I feel like I am taking a pretty big risk, I guess, if I announce it to said world. What other people think shouldn’t matter, and it doesn’t. Most of the time. As long as no one knows it exists.

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  7. I know you weren’t fishing for compliments but I must chime in with the others–your posts are always well written and original. I want you to know how much I enjoy and appreciate what you do. And I also agree about the weird feeling of being so “out there”…but it also is nice to feel like we sorta know you! Sometimes when I post a photo I think, will people be looking at that stack of mail on the coffee table in the background or checking to see if the carpet needs vacuuming?

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    • Heh, I definitely worry about that too! I am always noticing all the crap left on my floor after I post a video or a picture and freak out. But in the end I try not to let it get to me. When I watch other people’s videos, I never notice things like that and I can’t be the only person who doesn’t vacuum every day, right? Right??

      Thanks for your kind words, Peggy. I am so glad I have met you, if only online.

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  8. Good grief – no way have I told family or friends about my blog! I’d be pretty mortified if any of them found out. I just consider it my personal hobby – a place where I can “meet up” with other true dog lovers. I almost got found out when Blueberry ended up in the Alphapet book and I was so excited I told a few friends and family members and the one burning question was – how in the world did I get her in a book! So I made up some nonsense about seeing an ad online for them wanting dog photos. It was a really lame cover up, I admit. I just know they’d judge me for it and frankly, while your blog is interesting and insightful, mine is really just for fun. It’s mostly so I can jot down the fun things I do with Blueberry because most people just aren’t that interested in hearing about it in my “real” life.

    Although I know I eventually will be found out because Blueberry, like Shiva, has a pretty distinctive look that someone will recognize and I’ll be called out in public. But until that day comes, I am happy enough living in anonymity!

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    • Hahahaha! I laugh because I know exactly what you went through. I have definitely hedged when it comes to things I’ve won and opportunities I’ve had as a result of the blog. When people have asked about the origins of something I’ve just kind of shrugged and mumbled something about an online contest. It was just easier than getting into the whole thing and feeling like a big dork.

      Unfortunately, anonymity doesn’t last forever and you might already have some friends who read without saying anything to you. So enjoy this time while it lasts!

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      • Gasp! I was totally outed at an adoption event this weekend! Granted, a long time ago when I first signed up to be a part of the rescue I vaguely remember telling them about my blog and don’t clearly remember giving them the site.

        Anyway, it was rather shocking and I didn’t quite know what to say. I think they enjoy my blog and reading about Linus…but still, I admit it was unsettling!

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  9. Ha. Well, first, I see you’ve been roundly instructed regarding your “real” blogger status and worth. I’ve told you before but I’ll say it again, it was your blog more than any other that gave me encouragement and suggestion on what to do with Bella. If you never change another life in this world, know that you changed ours.

    As for the anonymity thing, well, that’s just not a reality for me. I’m the only person of my name in the world (go ahead, google me) and the only blood Olyott left in the US. When I signed up for Twitter several years ago, it was with full understanding that anyone and everyone would be able to identify me. As such, I try to live my public life in such a way as to never embarrass my family name.

    That said, while I am publicly outed to the world, I don’t really talk about the blog with family and friends (except Jan who is becoming more and more a partner of the blog). I think most of my friends know about it but only one or two actually follow it. I do think most people write it off as “Facebook for my dog” so think there’s really nothing of interest there for them.

    To be honest, I kind of think of it that way myself – when someone does find out I have a blog and ask what it’s about, I minimize it by saying “oh it’s just about my dog…” Sadly I don’t think many people outside the animal community really understand how much ‘non-pet’ stuff pet bloggers cover. Or maybe how transcendental animal topics can be.

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  10. I’m right there with ya! I too am a very private person and keep the postings as anonymous as possible. It’s about the dogs, not me. I’ve mentioned it to a couple of people when I first started but nobody really seemed to care about the blog and I am okay with that.

    The pack number is not well known, mainly due to the fact that people don’t get it. Them: “Seven?! You have SEVEN?! IN THE HOUSE?! And some are handicapped??” For some reason that makes them think chaos and destruction. It’s not but I don’t want to be judged. I know that when we move to the country homestead (by summer at the latest) I will relax more since we’ll be even more anonymous on 38 acres. With the blog I don’t feel judged – don’t like the content, don’t read it.

    I agree with the comments about thinking that other blogs are really good, better than mine. Self esteem thing? Sure, quite likely but that is me judging myself, no big deal, I’m not doing this for credit or a gold star on my chart for a job well done.

    My main purpose is to share the lives of a pack of dogs that nobody wanted because they were deemed to be difficult, some are blind, deaf and some were abused. Hopefully I can show how normal they are and how much love they have to give. That’s why I do it. For them.

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  11. I haven’t even told my husband about the blog. I guess I wanted to get is “established” before I told people, but now it feels weird that I didn’t tell anyone about it sooner. It’s easier to just keep it to myself.

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  12. I found your blog by accident – and I didn’t tell you I found it for quite awhile. I guess I thought there was a reason you were keeping things under wraps so to speak. After reading it for a few weeks I had to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your blog – and how proud we are to have such a smart, honest, talented and interesting daughter-in-law – (Note – there is no P attached – because as far as we are concerned you are our daughter – whether you and the PH have that piece of paper or not) – anyways – I love your blog – it keeps me entertained, and it lets me feel I am still a part of your life even though we are so far away from each other.

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  13. I don’t reveal too much of my identity in my blog because I’m known in my town and I have more dogs than the city ordinances…er…suggest.

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  14. I definitely don’t actively tell people about my blog. And I blog semi-anonymously. The problem is… well, my dad. He tells everyone. And forwards the posts he gets in emails, etc. Uncontrollable. But, it’s kinda funny when the people he forwards the emails to aren’t “dog people” but end up “Elli people” (biased). πŸ™‚

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  15. I’m pretty public about my blog, and tell friends and family members about it, though I do generally write with the assumption that only my blog friends will see what I post and it will never come back to haunt me. Case in point, the post in which I described the two golden doodles I groomed, whom Florian made out with in the bathroom, which post the owners of said doodles came upon and read! Fortunately, they enjoyed it:)

    I do write some posts with my mom in mind, and it makes me happy that she is one of my most dedicate readers:)

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  16. Wish I were more like you! Everyone in my life knows that I have not one blog, but TWO lol.
    Gotta tell you….my family and long-time friends (from the outside of the blogging world) are the LEAST supportive. Why? They don’t “get it!”

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  17. I’m a lot like you! My parents and family don’t know about my blog and I’ve only shared it on my facebook page once, which took a lot of convincing for me to do -and for the sake of rescue and pit bulls. I do share it occasionally on my dog rescue site, but that’s about as far as it goes. I don’t talk about it in “real life” or mention it to anyone. And I’m always super embarrassed when someone walks up to me and starts talking about Corbin’s blog. Although, I’ve never received any negative feedback, but I feel like I’d have to change the way I wrote if I talked about it openly and if I knew people that I knew in my every day life were reading it…
    -Corbin’s momma, Jenn

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  18. This was so interesting to hear from so many different people. We are definitely the masters of disguise and we wanted to hide all identifying factors (including our dogs’ real names) mainly because we teach high school and we didn’t want our students to know things about our personal lives. We started the blog on a whim to show my Dad we weren’t crazy for adopting pitbulls, and how much fun we were having, and we were kind of surprised when people we didn’t know actually started reading it. I feel strange talking about having a blog, and most of the people we know in real life don’t know about it (until a weird moment if we’re out with them and the dogs and someone comes up to the dogs and starts referring them to Miss M and Mr B and we have some explaining to do). We have always enjoyed the honesty behind everything you write.

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  19. Howdy, I’ve blogged for about two years and some of my family know and some don’t. My husband and five kids all know and now they even take photos of the dogs for me if they do something entertaining/silly just cause they know I will use it on the blog hehe. I have put some personal things on the blog, ie when my Dad passed away and birthday celebrations but don’t always post personal photos, although I have put my own face (yikes) on the blog. Mine is mainly the adventures of the dogs with a few other things occasionally. I just love blogging and if people find out and think I’m a bit dog obsessed, well, I suppose they are right! No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

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  20. Am I anonymous? What do you think?

    However, everyone around here knows I blog about Georgia and the neighbourhood dogs. They get very thrilled when they see their Larry, Lloyd, Pearl and Tara on it too. My friends? I wish I could force them to read about my dog’s obsession with roadkill, her various amors, and our butt squeezing technique, but alas! It doesn’t seem to interest them as much as it does me. Why is that?

    I’ve actually stopped or cut down reading a lot of serious/pure dogblogs over the last few months. I guess I am no longer frantic for information about how to get Georgia to be a good girl. I much prefer reading about dogs as PART of life now because surely, even a dog person must have a life away from their dogs. Right? And you do that so well! I feel like I know YOU through your posts about Shiva and that’s very cool. Love ya Ms Tonks X

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  21. I find it funny that I (at least I think it was me) outted you. I don’t find your blog silly at all, I am truly impressed with your writing ability and all you have been through with Shiva. You shouldnt be embarrassed at all, it’s amazing all you’ve done and getting to go to that conference too! I am still jealous of that. If you ever find find yourself thinking of our blog as silly remember that my cat has a fb page. Now that is silly or is it just sad? Lol.

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  22. I know exactly how you feel! I love to share mine and Ellie’s escapades on my blog, but I’ve rarely posted blog entries to Facebook (if ever?). It’s almost like two separate lives, even though I don’t post anything to the blog that I’d be embarrassed about and vice versa. Strange, huh! πŸ™‚

    Stacy & Ellie

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  23. I didn’t think about when I first signed up to blogger and used my real name as the address. I never post links to it in my facebook feed and never talk about it. But I don’t hide the blog, and couldn’t even if I wanted because of the http address! Everyone knows I’m dog obsessed so having a blog doesn’t embarrass me, it’s the fact that my words are read.

    I haven’t told anybody about my blog even though I’m pretty active in dog sports and all my friends are in dog sports. Even though I know that if I told people about it the topics would probably interest them, it just feels too weird. I’m very much an introvert and feel both pride and embarrassment when I discover people I know who read it.

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  24. πŸ™‚ I was going to slap you around too – I’m glad that has already been taken care of πŸ™‚ I don’t really talk about my blog – some friends know I have a blog, but I don’t think any of them read it (heck, I don’t think my mom even reads it!) I like being able to write without worrying about what the people that “know” me think. Is that weird? I love your blog and your writing and I think you are the real deal πŸ™‚

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  25. I don’t blog anonymously although, like you, I don’t spill the details of my personal life on my blog. That is mostly because the dog is about my dogs not about what Jessica does with her days. I don’t usually broadcast my blog to just an ol’ one but do mention it if given the chance in writing, social media or pet circles. In those circles I practically brag about my accomplishments. Ok, “brag” is kind of extreme but I am proud of what I do. I have been known to randomly mention it though….mostly because people find the name funny. I admit though that I do not go into details of the blog with these people. Once I mention it I usually talk it down or lay low with it. All of this is through the lens of “I am an extrovert” though. If I was in your position I would probably take the same road.

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  26. I have my name all over my blog (and my facebook page/twitter a/cs are in my name) so I’m certainly not anonymous, but at the same time I don’t really talk to people about my blog, beyond my close friends and immediate family (they all read it, except my mom who has no computer). I know my in-laws read it, although they never ever ever leave a comment. I do talk to folks I meet about my writing in general – but they really only know I write novels; I don’t really mention the blog and they don’t even know to ask about it. I guess I feel like there are only a handful of folks reading it (sometimes i wonder why I keep it alive) so I don’t feel like it’s worth mentioning.

    Anyway, it’s easy to be anonymous when you live in a big city. Although once at our fave dog beach I had a woman who was a complete stranger recognize my dog. I started blogging to keep my family/friends informed about our 3 legged dog’s cancer and a friend of a friend recognized Abby. That was kind of a strange feeling – but nice since she was an Abby “fan.”

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  27. Kristine, I think based on the sheer number of people who engage with you on your blog is proof enough that you are an awesome, legitimate blogger! I hope to one day be as free-speaking as you are with your experiences with Shiva and with life in general.

    Speaking as someone who has just started in this realm of writing, it’s definitely hard for me to get more personal at times. I’ve been so conditioned to write more professionally for work and I find now, it’s sometimes difficult to find my voice as… “Sarah, the blogger”. I’ve never had anyone come up to me about the website, but I don’t mention it I guess as much as I should. I think having blog is great, it’s just about finding a balance between what is truly personal and what is candid enough to share with the internet. And you, my new internet friend, are doing a great job!

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  28. Kristine, you crack me up! Of course your blog is real and important – as much as any of ours is. I don’t talk about the blog a lot to people I know because they generally seem less interested than my “virtual” friends. I think in my entire family (and it’s a BIG family) only one of my sisters follows my posts, and even that’s more of a casual following. It’s kind of strange to me that I invest to much of my time in the blog, and so few of the people who knew me before I started it are even interested enough to read my posts.

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    • It is a strange feeling. And maybe that’s why it has been so difficult for me to merge my two lives? They really do feel completely separate from each other.

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  29. My family and friends know I blog, but I don’t really promote it with them. Part of that is because in addition to Life by Pets, I have my personal finance blog where I share personal finance information. Obviously I don’t mind talking about money, but it seems odd to advertise to my friends and family that that information is out there. Plus, I talk about things on the blog that I have specifically kept off of Facebook (like the fact that we’re adopting) because I don’t want to have to answer questions about it constantly.
    So it really surprised me when looking through my search terms the other day that someone found my website searching using my first and last name (which I don’t mention anywhere on the blogs). It makes me wonder who’s reading, but at the same time, I don’t really want to know.

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    • I know, right? That’s the problem with it all. It’s all out there for anyone to stumble on and there is really nothing you can do about it. I didn’t consider that for the longest time and I still don’t really think about the potential ramifications. So far it’s been okay and the people who have found it have been supportive. But you never know who is reading so you have to be careful in a sense.

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  30. I think a big reason why I started blogging is because I didn’t want to bug the living crap out of my friends and family with stories about my dogs and dog talk in general. So I have definitely not told any of them about it, but my mom read a post I had open on my laptop one day. She said she wanted to read my blog and I hummed and hawed about it until she forgot:)

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    • Heh, nice! Are you sure she forgot or has she just stopped talking to you about it? The thing with the internet is that you never know who is reading….

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      • Ha! That’s true but I doubt it. It’s not like I’ve written anything private on my blog, it’s just an homage to who truly obsessed I am with my dogs;)

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    • Ha. I think my parents know about it, maybe? I haven’t told them myself but my sister reads it and has mentioned it in their company. They seemed completely disinterested. It makes me wonder if they even know what a blog is. Which I am absolutely okay with!

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  31. Hi Kristine, hmmm – most of the time, like 95% of the time, my dad helps me write stuff for my bloggie. Some people in real life know that he writes for me and is Sammy Sam. We both have a quirky sense of humour but that’s okay. Of the people who do know that he’s me, they usually don’t visit the site or stay avid readers for long but that’s okay too because it gives my dad back his anonymity and that’s good. Oh by the way, if you and your PH ever make it out this way for a drink, my dad said that you can wear a mask or he can pretend that he doesn’t know who you are.

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  32. Saying I blog gets me some strange looks. But when I tell them all I learn about all kinds of dogs and the customs in other countries they become more interested. The thing that always changed their mind is when I tell they so of my blogging friends send me pictures of their country. These are places I probably wouldn’t ever get to see πŸ™‚

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  33. I have struggled with this so much! When I first started, I was completely anonymous – didn’t want anything linked up with the blog. I’m not sure why – just paranoid about online privacy, I guess? I was even nervous about going to BlogPaws as it was kind of the first time I’d be peeking out from behind the curtain! I have loosened up about it in the last two years, although I’m still wary at times. Most of my friends and family know, but I don’t really publicize it as “mine” beyond that.

    Funny though, I was at a rescue event and one of the other volunteers asked “do you have a blog?” because he randomly found it and thought he recognized Tavish. Small world…

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