A couple of weeks ago I did something I rarely do. I Googled my name. And I was amazed to find some of the strange corners of the internet where it appeared. More often than not, the name was attached to a blog posting of mine.
I use Google analytics, or at least it keeps an eye on my blog traffic. There isn't much. But I really thank those that do read it. I can look on a world map and see where my small collection of readers live. Not surprisingly, most live here in the Chicago area. But I have a couple readers as far away as Japan and Australia. For them, domo arigato and well, thanks mate.
I didn't start this blog for any articulable reason. It wasn't to educate. It wasn't to persuade. It sure as hell wasn't for marketing reasons either. I write here to vent mostly about problems I regularly encounter in the local criminal justice system. Other than a single Twitter tweet whenever I publish a new post, I don't advertise this blog in any way. It may be blog rolled or linked in a few places, but that's about it.
Over the last 7 or 8 months, I have slowly opened up more of myself in my writings. I have written about fears and insecurities I have. I have shared the best of my days and the absolute worst of them. Writing about bad days can be cathartic. And for some reason there's never enough people around with which to celebrate wins.
But I am not usually such an open person, especially with strangers. I am very guarded and am slow to let people get close to me. I have trust issues when it comes to other human beings. I typically put more trust in animals, like my dog for instance.
I ask myself why I have written so much about personal feelings here on the internet, an electronic universe with no boundaries. There is little privacy on-line these days. And because of that it's impossible to know who is reading what I write.
Could something I write ever be used against me? Absolutely, and therein lies the danger of blogging.
Have you have ever paid attention to senate confirmation hearings of nominated Supreme Court justices? I find it strange that the nominees are sometimes put in the hot seat over things they wrote as law students. Do we really need to reach back that far? Apparently some think so.
This blogging stuff is still pretty new. But well within the next 10 years, people's blogs are going to haunt them. Just based on my own blog content alone, I will never be appointed to or elected...well...pretty much anything.
Whenever I hit the Publish Post button at the bottom of this text box, I have created a digital fingerprint that will never go away. I own it. I will always own it. The fingerprint could be open to interpretation, but in my case, I doubt it. I want someone reading here to know exactly what I am trying to convey. This is why I write in short sentences with no flowery language.
I never had political aspirations. And I don't want judicial power. If I was afraid that in 10 years something I wrote last December would be used against me, I wouldn't have published it for anyone to read.
How sad would I be to have something I wrote in the past thrown in my face? I guess that depends. I would never want to work for anything or anyone that would go through such measures in the hiring process to begin with.
But if one day when I am in my mid 50's, I feel like running for city council of some Rocky Mountain town, I could be in trouble. I have written strong opinions about firearms and could be classified as a social liberal.
Some blog and just recycle news gathered elsewhere. But some of us write about issues close to us. And some of us even take sides, call a spade a spade, and offer opinions. The reason is that we can. I have no editor. I have no boss. It's my blog. If you don't like it, don't read it. It's quite simple.
I do try to be fair in the telling of my stories (that's really all I do, tell stories). I try not to write in absolutes. I base my opinions on my own observations and not conjecture. And I think I am pretty fair. I am certainly not extreme.
But some could incorrectly conclude I am a criminal loving, gun hating, freer of murderers and rapists. That is all wrong. But if certain paragraphs from a posting were cut and pasted along with paragraphs from other postings, small-minded people might find argument in support of such a wacky assertion.
A danger of blogging is that you're posting potential future ammunition. Words written and published today could be spun around, attached to other words, and used as a sword against their very creator, you.
Why have I opened up? Perhaps because I can't sense or feel rejection. I don't know how many people read what I write here. I feel like I have nothing to lose. If I write something that upsets someone to the point they no longer read me, I won't ever know it. And if everyone stops reading, I will be back to where I started. But the reasons for this blog will still be very much intact, thus I would lose nothing.
Again, I don't care. I am who I am. It's all here, out in the open. No excuses. No apologies.