Don’t Write Blogs in Anger

by Sally on November 1, 2010

Chances are, now we’re into November, you’re just starting to think about your family Christmas. There’s presents to consider, what to cook, where to spend Christmas Day, who gets to drive to all the parties – and a hundred other potential reasons for a family row.

Whatever rows may crop up in the coming weeks, I would advise any blogger to think twice before writing about them online. I know from painful experience that blogging a family dispute can cause wounds that can take months, or even years to heal.

Back in April, I was angry with my Mother-in-Law and wrote about my feelings on my blog. Back then my blog was anonymous, or at least I thought it was. I didn’t use my children’s real names, I didn’t use my location and I didn’t use my name or any derivative of it.  So I felt secure and confident in the fact that I could be honest and not worry about upsetting the applecart.

Nothing I wrote was untrue, but with perspective and hindsight it wasn’t very nice either, especially when my Brother in Law printed off the post, took it to my Mother in Law and showed her what I had written.  I have never had the best relationship with my mother in law, but this pretty much put the final nail in the coffin. Six months on, we are still not on speaking terms.

When I wrote the post, my Mother in Law had upset me and I was sad, angry and in tears – not only wrote the post, but also when I posted it. Because of that, I managed to not only upset my in-laws, but I also upset my Husband deeply, and more importantly I feel that I have affected the relationship my children have with their Nana.

So please be careful with your words. If you’re unsure in any way, leave what you’ve written in your draft folder and come back to read it in a couple of days, when you’ve calmed down and have more perspective on the situation. You might lose out on some of that immediate satisfaction, but you won’t find yourself in my boat – although I’ve long since deleted the post, my Mother-in-Law has a printed copy of my words to use against me whenever she feels like it.

I now make a point of re-reading all my posts before I publish and make sure I’m not saying anything about a friend or relation that I wouldn’t be happy to say to their face. What I learned is that the Internet is never just words on a screen. These words carry immense power and you never know who’s looking at them from outside your immediate circle of blogging friends – your real-life friends, your family, perhaps even your employer.

Once you have pressed that post button, you can never ever truly go back and remove it.

[This post was written by Jen, who blogs at The Mad House]

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Livi November 1, 2010 at 8:35 PM

Been there! Very wise words!

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TheMadHouse November 2, 2010 at 1:01 PM

I sometimes forget, but it is worth really thinking about it

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21st Century Mummy November 1, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Very useful words of wisdom. I’m sure plenty of others have been caught out. I’ve been busted saying things on Twitter a few times about the nearest and dearest!

If you’re angry about something/someone and want to vent, you can always do it anonymously via Blognonymous or somethign similar.

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TheMadHouse November 2, 2010 at 1:02 PM

They dont know about twitter (yet). I make it a policy if I couldnt say in on my own blog then it shouldnt be said

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Vic November 2, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Having ‘been there, done that’ I can honestly say you are a wise one! I think we blog for a reason, one of them being our need to be heard. Passwords or requiring registration to read some posts can be useful in these cases (until someone leaks them to those you don’t want to read!) but it can also be worthwhile discussing the issue with the object of your post, even if in a letter.

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TheMadHouse November 2, 2010 at 1:02 PM

I am sure passwords can be changed, but yes they do make sence. I also agree with the letter. It makes more sense to resolve any issues in real life

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zoe November 2, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Wise words, I always take time to re-read my blog entries and think how I would feel if it was about me.

I can understand how this can happen

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Make do mum November 2, 2010 at 10:17 AM

For many people their blog is where they can let off steam and vent their anger (funny how MIL is often the subject!) but there is a lesson to be learned here. Thanks for sharing Jen – I’m now off to delete a blog post where I ranted about a client!

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Pants With Names November 2, 2010 at 10:32 AM

So true Jen, so true. I know that my mother and mother in law read my blog and whilst that does restrict what I write about, it also ensures that I never write anything that I’m not happy them reading about. It is a good censor and I’m pleased that I’ve always had it there. Hope the relationship improves soon, if for the sake of your boys if nothing else. xxx

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Diane November 2, 2010 at 7:26 PM

Same here with my parents. If it’s something that would upset them, I wouldn’t post it. Although my dad has always said he thinks writers should write whatever they want, even it it hurts other people (even him), which I think is amazingly generous. But I’ll keep my slagging off for my book ;)

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Nova November 2, 2010 at 1:22 PM

I always read posts over and over making sure I won’t offend anyone and people do have to remember that those posts can be printed before they are deleted or removed. Scary.

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Diane November 2, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Ooh, sorry you had such a bad experience. With printers and caching, there really is no way to delete what you say. I’ve definitely written things I wish I’d been more circumspect about, and I think that part of blogging is learning where the line is for you (obviously, everyone’s boundaries are different).

But there have also been many times I’ve wanted to blog about something personal and haven’t, just for the sake of not offending someone. There’s some stories I would still love to tell, but I’m going to try to restrain myself, as even if it’s someone you don’t get on with, they’ll feel hurt and that could hurt other people you are close to. And if someone did that to me in reverse, I’m sure I’d be mortified.

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Emma November 11, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Duly noted, maybe I will be wise enough to lean from others mistakes, thank you.

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Deb December 8, 2010 at 11:49 PM

Oh Jen, I’m sorry that you’re still not on speaking terms with your mother-in-law.

The thing is, I always think “would I be happy to read this about myself if x or y had written it” whether it’s a tweet or a blog post. And if the answer is no, then I don’t publish (although my blog is not the sort where I would vent those feelings so probably I’m thinking more about Twitter).

We’ve all done impulsive things and I hope your inlaws can forgive and forget. After all, I’m guessing they’re not perfect hence the reason for the post! Thanks for sharing xx

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