40. Thoughts on Blogging


I started blogging way back in 2004 simply cause it was new cool thing and I needed an outlet and escape from the stress of grad school. The mid-2000s were the wild west for blogging and it felt like everyone got into the game and had a story to tell. By the end of the decade I was reading a ton of personal blogs and really enjoying them, along with continuing my own blog.

And then a few years later, I looked up and everyone just…stopped writing. At least the people that I read. And the few folks that were still writing were getting really big, and posting less, and more sponsored content. Now in 2019, the personal blog/essay landscape looks totally different than what it once was. I was reminded of this time period when I read “The 4 Personal Blogs I Still Keep Up With In 2019” on Man Repeller,.

When I started writing again, I enjoyed having a place to share my story. But over the course of the year I’ve become more and more wary. There are so many bloggers who share their lives online for clicks and retweets and sponsored content contracts, and it ends up as fodder for GOMI and r/blogsnark. Even innocuous things become things that people speculate on, or outright rip you to shreds over. There are a lot of bloggers/influencers who are out here pimping out their lives/kids/etc to make a buck but there are others who shared an organic story that others connected with on some level. This Buzzfeed piece highlights a lot of what I’ve been thinking about how much I share of myself, not only here, but on other websites where I’ve written for pay. I’m nowhere as famous as the people mentioned in that piece, or those gossiped about on r/blogsnark, but I am a person who’s shared some personal stuff with The Internets. Overall I’ve pulled back on how much I share in general - my IG has been a wasteland over the past few months with sporadic posts and zero stories. I share when I feel like, and right now, I’m not really interested in sharing much with folks. I’m definitely not interested in fame or fortune.

So who knows what will become of this space. Maybe it will just hold link roundups and the occasional thought I need to get out into the world.

Things I Read This Week:

Deadspin advocates for a shorter workweek and I really can’t disagree with their assessment

Apparently the BBC won’t allow you to say Trump is racist on air…interesting…

A designer has launched a new effort to make architecture schools less white

Who’s your emergency contact? Emergency services professionals have some suggestions for helping you choose the right person

I legit do not understand this story that’s basically the plot for The Orphan

What happens when DNA genealogy websites start sharing their databases with law enforcement?

Who else is a fan of DaBaby? He’s having a GREAT year

Gigi Hadid was NOT here for this runway crasher!

I love this story about burning a bridge when quitting a job - we need more of these!

White people have got to be stopped from doing white people things

Jemele Hill thinks Black athletes are finally starting to understand the power they hold

I listen(ed) to almost all the podcasts on this list of influential nonfiction podcasts, and they remind me why i got into the podcast genre

Poor poor kale, the saddest leafy green

I like and appreciate this marriage advice from divorced women

Gucci Mane serving as the brand ambassador for Gucci’s Cruise 2020 collection is the most 2019 ever (and long overdue!)

Other Stuff:

It’s getting cold! Fall is in full swing here in Minnesota which means it’s time for a trip to the corn maze and the pumpkin patch! Hopefully we can carve out some time to do that soon.

I think I’m going to need new winter boots this year - any recommendations? Given my “delicate condition” (lol) I need something that I can slip on, since the odds of me being able to bend over and get my boots on and off will be slim to none by the end of winter.

Guess who has finished exactly ONE winter hat so far? I gotta do better.

And finally, RIP to a true icon and legend, Diahann Carroll. Your examples of class, poise, and shadiness live on.


Is It Time To Let Go Of My Pseudo-Anonymity?

anonymous blogger Back in the Internet Dark Ages, aka 2004, I started my first blog. Back then, Facebook was just a thing for Harvard students, Twitter was a long way off, and even Myspace was still just for musicians. AOL and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) were a big deal, and if you did any interacting with anyone online, it was probably on a message board. Blogging was just becoming a thing, and lots of people were doing it just for fun - the idea that you could blog as a career hadn't been conceived yet. It was in this environment that on a whim, I went to Blogger and set up a blog. It took like 2 seconds, and there I had my own little corner of the Internet, which I called Confessions of a Grad School Slave. During setup, I had to choose a name, and I decided to go with Jubilance, which is my line name (and now a nickname, since I've used it so long). In a split second, I decided to be anonymous on the Internet, or at least as anonymous as I could be. I figured it would be a good idea to keep my online presence separate from my offline life.

Years of Blogging Anonymously

Honestly, I don't even remember what really motivated me to start blogging in the first place. I've never been a "diary" or "journal" kind of girl. Growing up I was addicted to young adult serials like The Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley Twins, and Sweet Valley High. Every book, movie and magazine geared to tweet and teen girls all mandated that you must have a diary. Where else were you going to confess your love for the football star or lament how much your parents didn't understand you? As much as I tried, I just couldn't get the diary bug to stick - it just didn't appeal to me. But blogging somehow felt different. Perhaps it was the public nature - the idea that anyone could find it and read it. It wasn't just for me, it was for everyone, a public experience. But by using a pseudonym, was able to keep my blogging separate from my everyday life. It was an "extra", a thing I did on the side, when I felt like I had something to share.

I could never keep a diary, but the blogging bug has stuck with me over almost 12 years now. For most of those years, I wrote when I felt like it, mostly when I was struggling in some way and needed an outlet. Blogging was always an outlet for me, and never something I took seriously until a few years ago. I always looked at it as a fun outlet and not a practical career move. With the encouragement of friends, I'm finally taking my writing seriously.

Time To Let Go Of the Pseudonym

I realized the other day that while I started blogging with the goal of anonymity, I've done a really bad job of it. Anyone who knows how to use Google can figure out my real name, find my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter and other identifying information about me. As the 2016 writing fellow for A Practical Wedding, I'm publishing content regularly, under my real name. My goal has been to gain experience and build my portfolio, and hiding my identity here doesn't fit with that. At the same time, I love the Jubilance nickname and it will still be in use - on Twitter, my Disqus account, etc. But I don't feel the need to keep my online life separate from my real world life anymore. In the beginning, I felt that I needed to keep them separate for my corporate career, but now I see that writing IS my career, and I should embrace it.

Moving forward, I'm making changes to Black Girl Unlost, including updating the About Me page to reflect my true identity. It feels a bit daunting to put my name here, but also encouraged. Stripping the anonymity from BGU is step 1 as I move towards a freelance writing career and building my brand.