I blogged for years.
I even ran two consecutive blogs for a good long while.
I started a blog for college women, hoping to gather other women on our leadership team to write and discuss. I reviewed books and tried to talk about my faith. But despite teaching the Bible for years, I felt weird and insecure about talking about the God on the internet. I haven’t done anything with that blog since 2011.
The other was a family blog, which grew out of an old Xanga page I started when I got married (XANGA. That is old school blogging, people. Is Xanga still a thing? I would link to my first blog, but I can’t remember what it was called. Or what my password was. Or anything else except that it existed a long time ago. I would probably find it horrifying today.)
Anyway, I wrote on Boys and Joys for years, attempting to keep far flung friends and family updated on our lives. I also counted gifts, and celebrated things I love like Pinterest and Adoption and Instagram filters. I really loved blogging, even though there was nothing much to my blog.
And then early in 2013, I checked facebook as I was stretching out after running at the YMCA. And I got a friend request from my 12 year old, who was not allowed to be on Facebook. Lucky for him, I pretty quickly figured out that it wasn’t actually him (for starters, he’s smart enough to know that if you’re going to have a secret Facebook page, you probably shouldn’t friend your MOM.) But it had his name, pictures of him, and conversations impersonating him (mostly about his favorite football team.) And then I found a fan page (like what a celebrity would have) for my 5 year old, including baby pictures and his birth date. All of these were pictures from my blog, with a smattering of Facebook pictures on which we’d messed up the privacy settings.
I freaked out.
First of all, it felt massively violating, like we were being stalked. Secondly, for all I knew, whomever had started these pages was trying to meet young girls and lure them into…. Who knows what.
** Side note: Those of us with young people MUST be monitoring their social media usage. Every. Single. Day. Not to control them, but as a protection. And we need to be talking more with tweens and teens about internet safety. We have always been open with our kids that there’s no right to privacy as far as the internet is concerned. If they are under 18 and on the internet, we’re going to be right there with them, reading every text, facebook message, status update, tweet, and looking at each Instagram picture. Every app must be approved by us, and include us. And that was true even before someone impersonated my 12 year old on the internet. **
I contacted Facebook. I called the FBI. There’s nothing either of those organizations can do until a crime is committed.
I contacted the owner of the false Facebook page, demanding that the page be taken down.
I got a very kind response apologizing and explaining. I’m not going to share that explanation here, except to say if it was true, it was relatively benign, and all is forgiven. Both pages were immediately taken down.
But I didn’t have the heart for blogging anymore.
In the 2 years since then, I’ve written blog posts in my head. I’ve written a TON in my journal. I’ve read books about writing, and I’ve read books and blog posts about following your dreams. Each time, I’ve thought about my dream of being a writer. And each time I’ve listened to the voices in my head that yell…
What if nobody reads it?
What if there’s nothing new to say?
Who do you think you are, anyway?
A year ago, I bought this domain. For 12 months I’ve been thinking about blogging, talking about blogging, saying I am ready to blog again, writing more blog posts in my head. And not writing any in real life.
But I do love to write. And I believe that the internet can be used for good, and not just for grumpy cat pictures. And I think there’s a big difference between writing privately for only your own eyes, and writing publicly for an audience. Even if a writer never gains an audience, I think just the act of writing for others to read is worth the time.
So I’m going to write. I’m going to write whether anyone reads it or not. I’m going to write whether I have anything new to say or not. Writers write.
I will write about what I’m teaching and what I’m learning and I will join the great conversation going on here on the Interwebs.
But I’m not going to post many pictures of or details about my family. Because I’m still a little creeped out.