Today, my mom reminded me that it’s been thirteen years since I started my blog on Angelfire. I was ten then and I am twenty-three now, and while blog may have changed URLs and platforms over the years, I never really stopped putting my life on the Internet for all sorts of normal and creepy people to read. The fact that I started my blog when most people didn’t know what the Internet is and kept my blog for this long makes me the “first Filipino blogger”. Flattering as that might be, I’m going to be honest here – I still don’t see why people make such a big deal out of it. I feel awkward whenever people introduce me as such because the title carries so much weight and makes me seem more important than I really am.
The truth is that I haven’t done a single thing to shape blogging into the way it is today. I never encouraged other people to start their own blogs, nor did I help foster the sense of community now present in the local blogosphere. In fact, I resisted my mom’s early attempts to introduce me to local bloggers when Abe and Jayvee started organizing meet-ups in 2007, not to mention I viewed the increasing use of blogs as an advertising platform with the disdain and disappointment of my youthful idealism. This blog isn’t even particularly relevant – just the collected apolitical ramblings and interests of a Filipino girl in the age of the Internet. You know those teenage girls on Tumblr who post all these pretty but useless nothings? That was me, thirteen years ago, and still me to some extent.
I was an ugly child at 10
Part of the reason why I very rarely ever write in here anymore is that too many people know who I am and know where to find this blog. As I mentioned earlier, I started keeping a personal blog when hardly anyone in the Philippines knew what the Internet was. My blog used to be my haven from our conservative, family-oriented society during the height of my teenage angst. Thirteen years later, everyone and their mother is on the Internet, which means I can’t be as open about who I am anymore. While I still don’t give a shit about what people think of me, I do care about what people think of my mom, and I don’t want her critics to use my unusual interests as ammunition against her.
I suppose that’s the most important lesson I learned after keeping a blog for so long: don’t get too personal. Keeping an impersonal personal blog seems to defeat the purpose of personal blogging, but unless you can manage to keep yourself truly anonymous, be your own censor. If you’re a fiery person with not so “normal” interests, keep your blog PG, because there are people out there who will use your blog to hurt you or someone you love.
So yeah, I learned a bunch of other things too!
If you can’t be nice, don’t say anything.
This is the second most important lesson I learned from personal blogging. My blog kept me sane all throughout high school because it was the only place where I could rant about all the people I didn’t like, and I thought I could keep using my blog for that purpose in college. Boy, was I so wrong. During my freshman year, I shared a dorm room with three random girls, two of whom I didn’t like because of their plebeian tastes in music. I wrote a cranky entry complaining about it one evening and forgot about it. Somehow, they managed to discover the blog, and I spent the next nine or so months living uncomfortably in a tiny room with two other people who hated my guts. That was the last time I ever wrote nasty things about someone out of irritation, and the last time I will ever room with strangers.
Sometimes, blogging makes great passive-aggressive revenge
The only exception to the be nice rule is when you can’t get any justice otherwise, and I don’t mean using your blog to complain about shitty service at a restaurant. Two years ago, I blogged about a sexual harassment experience at my former workplace because the Human Resources department refused to do anything about it. I still don’t know the people behind it, but I did receive an email from a random person saying that my entry made him change his mind about hiring the services of iWebmasters. Justice has been served.
I’m not saying that you should use your blog to complain about your workplace; I’m just saying that you can. I’m also saying that doing so may get you fired or possibly unemployed forever if your future employers do a Google search and find said entry about your former workplace.
Blogging is a great way to meet new friends.
I am a very shy and socially awkward person. It takes me a very long time to warm up to people, and my personality doesn’t shine when I keep to myself in a room full of strangers. With a personal blog, it’s easy let your self show, assuming that your self is PG-13 as earlier indicated. Blogging also makes it easier to find and attract people with similar interests and tastes – obviously, your readers wouldn’t keep on coming back to your blog if both of you didn’t have things in common (stalkers included, see below). Pretty much all of my post-college friends are people I met through the now-defunct Man Blog forums, and I only found out much later that some of them used to read my blog as far back as my college days. I was also able to befriend and travel several people I met through those blogger parties my mom used to forcibly dragged me to. So socialize, leave comments on blogs you like, attend blogger parties if you receive invitations. On the Internet, you get to meet a lot of interesting people you wouldn’t have otherwise encountered.
Be prepared to encounter stalkers.
This is one the biggest downsides of having a personal blog. Displaying yourself and your life in such an intimate manner gives your readers the illusion of friendship or closeness; even I feel this way when I read about the personal lives of strangers. Normal people eventually shake this feeling off as soon as they click the X button, but others who aren’t quite normal in the head actually believe in this fantasy and attempt to realize it in not-so-normal ways. There’s nothing cool about having stalkers. They are annoying and creepy, even if they give you presents. I don’t know if male bloggers get any stalkers but if you’re a girl, I am telling you that you will get at least one real stalker while your blog is alive. Protect yourself by not putting any contact information on your blog beyond your e-mail address. Reject YM requests from people you don’t know, unless they introduce themselves properly. And try not to let an e-mail or a call from your stalker ruin your day.
You can date guys you meet through your blog, but it may not work out.
Perks of having such a high Google index – two of my ex-boyfriends found me through my blog. After making sure they were cute and relatively normal, I met up with them in person and dated both of them for a while (not at the same time though). So yes, it’s possible to meet guys and eventually get into IRL or long-distance relationships with them, all thanks to your blog. I wouldn’t count on it though, and I wouldn’t make dating the sole purpose of starting a personal blog either. That’s just desperate and sad.
For heaven’s sake, it’s just a blog. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
I get annoyed at bloggers who walk about with an air of self-importance just because they have x number of readers or earn x amount of money from their blog. It’s nice to get recognized and it’s nice to be admired, but it’s silly to let your blog define who you are. Stop taking your blog so seriously.
Here’s to thirteen years of blogging, and here’s to everyone’s blogs! May we all keep blogging and stay safe while doing so. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta dry my hair and head out for a Left 4 Dead double date.Google+