Over the past four months as a neophyte blogger, I’ve made a few mistakes, both big and small. I am sure you’re familiar with the term “drunk dialing”. Today I created a term similar to drunk dialing, but sans the alcohol:
The big mistake I made almost cost me a dear friendship. I botch-blogged about a longtime friend who I felt had done me wrong. I made the “no-brainer” mistake of writing and publishing when I was angry, which was exactly when I should have stayed far away from my laptop. While my friend didn’t read my blog, she and I were connected through Facebook. I spaced out on the fact that when I published a blog post, it was posted on Facebook as well. She spotted the post title, read my damning words, and immediately called me to ask why I hadn’t simply spoken with her instead of blogging about her. I am a lot of things, but I’m usually never this dumb.
As I reflected upon what happened, I think I may have subliminally wanted her to read that post so that we could work things out. (You won’t find this post in my archives, by the way; it’s long gone!) Thank God she forgave me and we moved on, and our friendship is actually stronger than before. I learned a very obvious lesson once and for all: to think twice, no, thrice, before posting anything that could hurt someone else.
What I considered to be smaller mistake wasn’t actually a mistake. I simply found that the consequences of my publishing a post made me feel uncomfortable. What happened was this: I wrote a “mini book review”. (This review was non-defamatory; it’s still in my blog archives in case you want to read it! )
I feel that I was honest in my assessment, and the majority of the review was positive. If anyone read the review and had an interest in bipolar memoirs, I think she would want to read the book. However, I included a few criticisms as well. I didn’t use foul language (hurrah!) and I tried my best to be fair.
Months after I wrote the review, I posted on the author’s Facebook page. I wrote that I complimented her book title in my weekly International Bipolar Foundation blog. (To read the entire IBPF post, visit http://www.ibpf.org/blog/i-am-bipolar-i-am-blessed-it-and-get-it-over-itis )
My IBPF comment was, “While Kindle-surfing I discovered a book titled More Than Bipolar – A Memoir of Acceptance and Hope by Lizabeth D. Schuch and I love that title! She has the right idea.”
Silly me, I actually forgot that I had written a detailed book review of More Than Bipolar.
If I had remembered, I wouldn’t have caught the author’s attention on her Facebook page. Since my review contained criticism, I was honestly worried I’d make an enemy.
After reading my Facebook comment on her page, the author located my personal blog and read my complete review of her book. She responded with a detailed comment and fortunately she was incredibly gracious regarding my criticism. I felt grateful that she didn’t lash out at me. (Moreover, I was impressed. I could learn a thing or two from her!) Now that I’m forty-four, I thought my skin would be thicker, but it’s not. I felt bad for criticizing another writer’s work, especially a writer who has bipolar disorder. (When I re-read that last line, it sounds rather codependent, but it’s the truth.)
I guess I should stick to writing teeny, positive book reviews comprised of two sentences each (i.e. most of BP Magazine’s book reviews really are two long sentences each, and the ones I’ve seen aren’t exactly critical!)
I admit that I love reading strikingly honest articles full of juicy details that sometimes commit the “sin” of too much information. There are topics I would LOVE to blog about here, but if I did, I’d lose a friend or family member’s love, and no blog is worth that risk.
I can now truly understand the appeal of blogging anonymously. In writing anonymously, a writer could have so much freedom in revealing the messy aspects of her life. Furthermore she’d receive feedback and support from readers that is so dear to most bloggers. There is something alluring about blogging for an audience of people you mostly don’t know and who you most likely never meet. I’ll wind up by stating that I love writing this blog, and I am so grateful to you for reading it. I wish you all a wonderful day and that you won’t make the same egregious blogging mistakes that I made!