When I first started this blog I had no idea I’d be writing for so long. I just thought it might be a nice way to keep in touch with those who are close to me during my planned one semester abroad in Kyoto. But here I am four years later, still writing (almost) as much as ever.
I kind of like it. In addition to helping me to learn/upkeep my web programming skills, I can always use it to go back and catch a glimpse into how I’ve changed as a person, how my perspectives have shifted, or simply to relive an enjoyable little experience that might otherwise have been forgotten. Just the other day a friend e-mailed me to reminisce about how ironic our meeting was in Kyoto, four years ago. It was cool to be able to send him an article I wrote on that very day.
Yet ever since I started, there have been those who’ve warned me. “Be careful what you write – because you’re really putting yourself out there for all the world to see.” And it’s true. I have no idea how many people know my face, know who I’ve dated and who my friends are, know how I may feel about one thing or another. So from the start, I’ve tried to be as careful and tactful as possible about what I write, while still being true to my observations. When I see something, I like to represent the whole picture as I see it – with both the good and the bad. But sometimes when the balance is tipped to on the negative side, it can be misinterpreted or even insulting to readers.
In the last few months this type of problem finally started to catch up with me. I had four separate instances in which my writing “got me in trouble.” So I decided it was time to go back and clean things up a bit.
This included removing everywhere I’ve written anyone’s full name (there were way more last names scattered about than I expected), disabling search engine caching (in case someone ever requests I remove or modify post, I can get to it quickly), and taking down the music player from the main page (I realized that freely posting mp3s would probably be a copyright infringement of some sort). I also re-did quite a bit of the underlying security that I pieced together from a combination of tags, categories, and pre-existing WordPress plugins. It’s designed much more cleanly now, which provided the added bonus of making it easier to add new “country” categories or access levels while keeping the two concepts distinct.
So my question to all of you is: what do you think? In your honest opinion, am I putting myself in a bad position by writing candidly about, for example, my frustrations with making my way through Egypt? Or about a week of wild partying in Brazil during Carnaval? My intent is always to represent as completely as possible my experiences and impressions – which may or may not represent anyone else’s – but if my writing is unconsciously creating a negative public image of Justin, well that’s not something I really want to be doing.
I really really request that you’re honest here, since I’m the one doing the writing, I don’t really know how it comes across to others. All I can do is ask** 🙂