LJ lock-downs and speaking up

I speak the truth not so much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I grow older. 
Michel de Montaigne

I’ve been watching with interest the number of people who’ve taken to friends-locking most, if not all, of their Live Journal posts. I’m curious…does this reflect a shift in your personal preferences, or am I witnessing an evolution in the blogosphere overall? Whatever the case, I’m wondering about the ramifications. I can only speak for myself, so I hope you’ll tell me what you think.

I’ve tripped over my tongue countless times in my life, and I know already that I’ll stumble again. More than once, I’ve cut my own throat with a careless stroke of my pen. Fortunately, these painful experiences offered important life lessons. (Do you see me wincing?) For example, lies have a way of catching up with you – so does gossip. I’m circumspect about sharing secrets, yours and mine; also, I’m keenly aware of the benefits and drawbacks to being politically correct. I’ve learned that if I’m not fiercely protective of my personal boundaries, no one else will be, either. These realizations impact my writing, including what I choose to post to my blog.

That said, I believe joy and empowerment comes from a willingness to speak out and speak up. Silence isn’t always golden, and I don’t believe anyone should be “seen and not heard.”  There’s room in the world for all our opinions, and my own life is richer for hearing yours. Over the years, I’ve discovered that putting voice to my thoughts helps me unlock the handcuffs and tear down the fortresses that might otherwise hold me back or pin me down. I am woman, hear me roar; yakkity yak, it feels good to talk back!

I love Live Journal for that very reason: it’s an impromptu podium for self-expression. Also, it’s a platform from which we can reach out to potential employers, agents, editors, family members and friends. Our blogs invite backstage-pass access to all the interesting and expansive events in our little corners of the world – breadcrumbs left behind by real people, on authentic and important journeys.

I think long and hard before locking down an entry; when I limit access, it’s typically because the topic’s irrelevant or uninteresting to blog readers at large. Unless I’ve forgotten to log in, I never leave anonymous comments. Make no mistake: I’ve built a barrier of protection around my personal life. I also know I must cloak certain aspects of my professional life in a veil of secrecy. On the whole, however, I’m fairly open. I’m an imperfect human being; there’s no hiding that fact, and it feels disingenous to even try.

99 Comments

  1. Since I started my LJ less than a year ago, I’ve always F-locked almost everything because I am an extremely paranoid person and like to think I “know” who is listening to me! Yes, this is just me and yes, I probably have some sort of problem and should take the aluminum foil off my head. 🙂

    • I don’t think you have a “problem” at all. It’s okay (to be expected) that each of us looks at this issue a little differently. Thanks for telling me what YOU think.

      And by the way, if you wanna wear tinfoil, so be it. Wear it proudly. 😉

  2. Thanks Melodye for your comments. I locked my comments so they don’t show up on my Amazon Connect site. But I’m thinking I’m just going to post writing news from now on.

    • That’s the cool thing about blogging, isn’t it: it’s your journal, so you can make it into whatever shape you want it to be.

      Thanks for weighing in with your opinion. 🙂

  3. Thanks Melodye for your comments. I locked my comments so they don’t show up on my Amazon Connect site. But I’m thinking I’m just going to post writing news from now on.

  4. An agent recently posted that if you are sending stuff out you should make sure that you don’t post about who you have submitted to, or anything that could possibly f things up. I think that is leading to it.

    • Thanks for the reminder. I saw that, too, and I think that was sage advice. We have to be circumspect about our potential audience(s). My only concern is that it doesn’t get taken out of context — in effect, deadening down a blogger’s personality and leading to self-censorship.

    • Thanks for the reminder. I saw that, too, and I think that was sage advice. We have to be circumspect about our potential audience(s). My only concern is that it doesn’t get taken out of context — in effect, deadening down a blogger’s personality and leading to self-censorship.

  5. I admire your strenght and courage! I also would never post a reply anonymously, but I do friends lock some post, although not many. My reasons to do so mostly have to do with when I post photographs. The internet is a scary place and so many odd creatures roam the cyberspace. Sometimes it is good to protect myself and my family.

    • Thanks for saying that, and thanks for telling me your thoughts on the subject. I agree with you about personal photographs. Like you, I’m hyper-cautious about posting any personal pictures! *hyperventilates, just thinking about it*

    • Thanks for saying that, and thanks for telling me your thoughts on the subject. I agree with you about personal photographs. Like you, I’m hyper-cautious about posting any personal pictures! *hyperventilates, just thinking about it*

  6. Something that I find really special in your posts here and in your responses to others is your open-mindedness. You are very good at expressing your thoughts and feelings authentically without being judgmental.

    • *is humbled*

      Thank you so much for these wonderfully kind words. I dared to hope that my thoughts wouldn’t be compromised by my sometimes-inadequate choice of words.

    • *is humbled*

      Thank you so much for these wonderfully kind words. I dared to hope that my thoughts wouldn’t be compromised by my sometimes-inadequate choice of words.

  7. I never reply anonymously to LJ posts…but you certainly know I f-lock most of my posts 🙂 Part of it is because I post a lot about my agent search, and that’s not for just any eyes. When I vent/rant, I also f-lock because I don’t want to add to negative energy out there. But although I’m very open with my friends, it’s true that I’ve always been a pretty private person…and when our family was ousted from a church family (which had truly been like a family in many ways), I learned perhaps the wrong lessons about privacy and being careful of my words.

    I admire your openness and your ability to say things in just the right way — perhaps, as time goes by, I’ll learn how to do the same 🙂 Until then, I’ll just lock away, he-he.

    • I can so relate to you, Robin. I’ve always appreciated your unfailing, nonjudgmental support of other people, even during times when you are struggling. Thanks for allowing me to share your journey with you.

    • I can so relate to you, Robin. I’ve always appreciated your unfailing, nonjudgmental support of other people, even during times when you are struggling. Thanks for allowing me to share your journey with you.

  8. Same as you, I only post anonymously when I forget to log in. Even then I usually go back and make myself known.

    I try to stay away from “heavy” subjects. Plus, being somewhat less liberal than others, I’m in the minority here. Sometimes I’m uncomfortable with that.

    I do keep in mind what I write here is open to public scrutiny, so I especially lock my most personal rants. 🙂

    • I’m with you being less liberal than others. 🙂 It makes me very careful about what I post.

      OT, I read an ARC of your icon a month or so back. I could not put it down! Congrats on writing such a beautiful, realistic story! I especially loved the dialog, it sounded authentic to the teens I know. (I’m a librarian and I’m always on the look out for good YA fiction to recommend.)

      • I truly enjoy reading posts from people who have different opinions or political leanings. How else can I broaden my perspectives and understanding?

        My son’s working on his Library Information Science Masters Degree. Like most writers and avid readers I know, I *love* librarians. 🙂

      • I truly enjoy reading posts from people who have different opinions or political leanings. How else can I broaden my perspectives and understanding?

        My son’s working on his Library Information Science Masters Degree. Like most writers and avid readers I know, I *love* librarians. 🙂

    • Yeah, I’ve had to go back with the “Anonymous = me” message more times than I care to count.

      I enjoy your rants…dare I say that they make me smile? Even when you’re feeling angsty, you have a wonderful way with words.

      I also enjoy hearing perspectives that challenge my own beliefs, so if you ever feel like posting a provocative entry, I’d love to read it! Thanks, by the way, for weighing in with your opinion on this.

    • Yeah, I’ve had to go back with the “Anonymous = me” message more times than I care to count.

      I enjoy your rants…dare I say that they make me smile? Even when you’re feeling angsty, you have a wonderful way with words.

      I also enjoy hearing perspectives that challenge my own beliefs, so if you ever feel like posting a provocative entry, I’d love to read it! Thanks, by the way, for weighing in with your opinion on this.

    • I’m too conservative for the liberals and too liberal for the conservatives, so I totally hear you about feeling in the minority. The personal censorship there comes before I even write a political entry. I have an offline journal for that. :/

      • Great icon! So apropos.

        I don’t like labeling myself or my political affiliation, mostly because it tends to build a barrier between me and others who may not be like-minded. I hear you on walking that middle ground. I truly love hearing other people’s perspectives on the issues; they inform my own positions, even when I don’t agree. That’s one of the beautiful things about living in a democracy, que no? I recognize and respect, however, that others would disagree with me on this and a whole lot of other things. That doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. 🙂

  9. I friends-lock most posts about my kids for privacy/safety reasons.

    If there’s something I just don’t want certain family members giving me a hard time about, I friends-lock that too. I sometimes just don’t feel like inviting their snarky, negative comments.

    • I’m with you, Kim, in that I don’t like to give open access to just everybody about my private family photos/life.

      Thanks for stopping by to tell me how you make your f-lock decisions. 🙂

  10. Melodye, as you’ve read some of my extra special locked posts, you can probably tell that there are things I want to share with some people but not with all. I have several levels of LJ filters, ranging from everyone, to some, to few, to myself only. I even have an anonymous journal floating around out there! It’s mostly for my own protection. There are people out there who’ll take certain things and run with it, or come back later and attack you with the very thing you wrote, especially if that thing is something hurtful. They’ll start drama and turn all your friends against you. So while I’m pretty open (I have a need to express myself and share), I am very picky about who gets to read what. Mostly because I don’t want to invite that kind of judgement and drama again.

    There are wonderful people in the online world, but there are rotten ones too. When someone trusts me enough with his or her more private entries, I feel honored, because I know not everyone is worth that trust.

    • I agree with you that it’s important to keep close counsel on your most intimate issues. We all have friends and then FRIENDS — layers of people in our inner circle(s) to whom we might allow different levels of access. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey, Roni. I value your trust very much. And I’m so glad you wrote about your f-lock policy here (plus the reasons for it), because we all learn from one another, right?

    • Ha! I so hear you on that — we have to protect ourselves (and others) from some types of information. Thanks for stopping by to tell me how/why you make your f-lock decisions.

  11. I think in the whole time I’ve been on LJ, I’ve only f-locked two posts, and the only reason I locked those is that I was sharing book sale news before all the details were nailed down and I didn’t want to jinx it.

  12. I think in the whole time I’ve been on LJ, I’ve only f-locked two posts, and the only reason I locked those is that I was sharing book sale news before all the details were nailed down and I didn’t want to jinx it.

  13. Most of my entries aren’t interesting to the general public. They’re just me giving little updates on my writing and daily life. I’m only really interested in sharing that stuff with my circle of LJ friends. If and when I want to share more, in a more formalized way, I’ll create an LJ for that purpose. I’ve had bad experiences when I let my less formal blog posts become public. I consider this LJ a conversation among friends.

    • I locked down my entire LJ after I realized most of my entries were about my family, my writing, and other personal topics, too. I have a WordPress blog that I plan to use for public topics, but I haven’t made much progress there!

        • I use a WordPress template as the structure for my public web site, so it’s easier for me to use the WordPress blog tool there. Laziness, really! It’s annoying, though, because those entries are magnets for spam.

        • I use a WordPress template as the structure for my public web site, so it’s easier for me to use the WordPress blog tool there. Laziness, really! It’s annoying, though, because those entries are magnets for spam.

    • Yeah, that’s one of the points I was trying to make (but maybe inadequately)…we all have different reasons for blogging. Naturally, that affects what we choose to share, and with whom.

  14. I don’t lock TOO many, but I suppose I have my fair share. I just looked back to try and figure out the rhyme and reason for doing so, and was partially successful. Sometimes if I’m writing about frustrations with my writing, I will f-lock it because I would rather have my fellow writer friends read that than an agent or editor who may check out my blog when I have something on submission to them.

    I think that, if I ever post snippets, it’s usually f-locked.

    And then there are a few posts that it felt right at the time to f-lock them, although now I can’t remember why. I go with gut instinct.

    Allow me to join the group who doesn’t post anonymously unless LJ hasn’t logged me in, at which point I respond again and make myself known. 🙂

    I think, in terms of f-locked posts, it’s a matter of comfort level. Different people have different boundaries. I try and respect that and, like said, I feel honoured when someone allows me into an inner sanctum.

    • I’m with you, Tori…there are some elements of my writing process that I don’t choose to share with the whole blogosphere. You’ve no doubt read some of those. I always enjoy being part of the group granted the privilege of reading yours!

      Also, I agree that people have differing boundaries, for lots of different reasons. That’s true on Live Journal, and it’s equally true in real life.

    • I’m with you, Tori…there are some elements of my writing process that I don’t choose to share with the whole blogosphere. You’ve no doubt read some of those. I always enjoy being part of the group granted the privilege of reading yours!

      Also, I agree that people have differing boundaries, for lots of different reasons. That’s true on Live Journal, and it’s equally true in real life.

  15. Hmm… as I read everyone’s responses, I realized although I don’t f-lock much (usually only agent search related stuff) but, I guess I kind of do.

    I have a pretty active online life and have met tons of great online friends – **waves** Hi guys! – but none of my in person friends or my family reads my blog.

    They don’t know my pen name.

    In fact, they don’t know I write.

    At all.

    I don’t know why this is. I think it partially comes from growing up in a VERY small town (as a twin and therefore minor celebrity) and have gotten really, really tired of everybody knowing all of my business all the time.

    Of course, that will all have to change sometime. I know this. I am prepared for this. But the thing is, I don’t want my in person people to know until I’m already successful. I know. It’s probably not healthy, but it’s what works for me. I think because I am able to share so much with you guys. You are the major source of support in my writing career which I sincerely hope will soon be my ‘real’ career.

    So after being prepared to comment about how I hardly ever f-lock, in reality, I guess everything I write is sort of f-locked, blog or otherwise.

    • *Waves back*

      I love being a support for you, and I so appreciate how supportive you are of me! I definitely agree that we have to choose our own boundaries and processes, and that we *get* to change as we evolve and grow — if we want to, that is. 🙂

    • I’ve done the exact same thing (not telling friends/family) for the exact same reason (semi-well-known in my community). My LJ blog is by no means my “official writer blog”!

  16. Well said (clap clap)….

    I don’t usually write things that have to be locked. I’m trying hard to stay focused on writing-only posts; posts that are helpful and informative to other writers.

    Besides, I’m not sure f/l posts are really all that secure, as anyone can link over to the author’s blog and sign in to friend them.

    • *takes a bow, says thank you, and throws you kisses*

      I love reading your writing-related posts. It’s a privilege to have you on my LJ friends list!

      I learned a while ago (scary but important realization) that you really don’t have any control over who accesses your blog or copy/pastes them for someone else. That’s probably equally true about emails and personal conversations and…well, just about any form of communication you might have with someone.

  17. You are definitely a braver soul than I. I lock down most things that reflect a pessimistic viewpoint about writing, life, etc. because that’s not what I want to be known for. I want people who read the blog to see the writing journey as positive and upbeat and not as the soul-wrenching downward spiral it can sometimes be (did I just say that out loud?). They’ll discover that soon enough on their own, but in the meantime, who am I to discourage them from following their dreams?
    And I have to give you kudos on always speaking your mind in a classy manner.

    • Oprah and Maya Angelou once said you get more brazen as you get older. I didn’t understand at the time, but I now “get” what they were trying to say. Ahem. I guess that’s revealing more about me than I wanted to. /snerk/

      I really appreciate that you try to maintain an upbeat, encouraging journal. You’re so right that this business can sometimes seem defeating; that’s a key reason I truly appreciate my understanding, supportive LJ friends (including you!!!).

    • Oprah and Maya Angelou once said you get more brazen as you get older. I didn’t understand at the time, but I now “get” what they were trying to say. Ahem. I guess that’s revealing more about me than I wanted to. /snerk/

      I really appreciate that you try to maintain an upbeat, encouraging journal. You’re so right that this business can sometimes seem defeating; that’s a key reason I truly appreciate my understanding, supportive LJ friends (including you!!!).

  18. You are definitely a braver soul than I. I lock down most things that reflect a pessimistic viewpoint about writing, life, etc. because that’s not what I want to be known for. I want people who read the blog to see the writing journey as positive and upbeat and not as the soul-wrenching downward spiral it can sometimes be (did I just say that out loud?). They’ll discover that soon enough on their own, but in the meantime, who am I to discourage them from following their dreams?
    And I have to give you kudos on always speaking your mind in a classy manner.

  19. Well, I lock most all of it nowadays

    I even changed my name so I would have the other posts gone

    I just feel much more comfortable with it that way

    • Each of us has different reasons for posting — and our own, unique reasons for f-locking certain entries. No matter if you f-lock your posts or not, Meg, people always gravitate to you. 🙂

    • Each of us has different reasons for posting — and our own, unique reasons for f-locking certain entries. No matter if you f-lock your posts or not, Meg, people always gravitate to you. 🙂

  20. Well, I lock most all of it nowadays

    I even changed my name so I would have the other posts gone

    I just feel much more comfortable with it that way

  21. I began friends’ locking all my posts a few years ago when a coworker hunted up my journal and began harassing me about it at work. I’d already moved it once, after a close friend found my journal and began obsessing over it and calling me incessantly about things I’d post. Before that, I rarely locked entries, and even now, the biggest reason I don’t leave a great many if not most of my entries “open” is because of those two bad experiences with real life people. I miss that old openness, but I’m far too wary these days to go back to it.

    • Ooh, scary experiences — that icon’s a perfect fit.

      I’m sorry you had to go through those horrible experiences, and I’m sad that you lost your ability to feel open. Thanks for the privilege of getting to read your locked entries. I feel honored that you trust me like that. 🙂

    • Ooh, scary experiences — that icon’s a perfect fit.

      I’m sorry you had to go through those horrible experiences, and I’m sad that you lost your ability to feel open. Thanks for the privilege of getting to read your locked entries. I feel honored that you trust me like that. 🙂

  22. I began friends’ locking all my posts a few years ago when a coworker hunted up my journal and began harassing me about it at work. I’d already moved it once, after a close friend found my journal and began obsessing over it and calling me incessantly about things I’d post. Before that, I rarely locked entries, and even now, the biggest reason I don’t leave a great many if not most of my entries “open” is because of those two bad experiences with real life people. I miss that old openness, but I’m far too wary these days to go back to it.

  23. I so agree that silence is not always golden. I also agree that lies and gossip will always catch up with you. I tend to be open and pretty outspoken about most things though. As I’m sure you know if you’ve read my LJ. lol…

    In all the time I’ve had my LJ, 99% of my posts are open to viewing by anybody. But every once in a while, I’ll post something personal that I’m not comfortable with the public at large seeing. There are things I write sometimes, because I do want to get some of the gunk out of my system and writing helps me with that. That being said, there are some people that I’m not comfortable giving access to that personal side of my life. I’m a very private person and I protect that privacy with everything I have. Some folks that I don’t know or some that I know and know that I cannot trust don’t get access to the private side of my life.

    Interesting post. What brought it on?

    • I cherish the fact that you’re willing to think through — then write about — a variety of topics, many of them controversial. I like seeing how you think, and that holds true even when (rarely) we don’t agree. lol

      I also “get” that some things are better left unsaid, or spoken to a small group of people — for lots of reasons, that’s wise. I’m that way, too. I’m fiercly protective of family and friends. (I probably dropped some hints of that on previous blog entries about trips to Sacramento, ha!) Access to my private life is extremely limited, same with you.

      I was responding to a trend I observed over a relatively short period of time. There are more than a few catalysts for this phenomenon, I know, but I was thinking about one chain reaction, in particular. (See April Henry’s comment, above, plus my response.)

      Thanks for weighing in.

      • Thank you, Melodye. Your kind words really mean a lot to me. I write about somewhat controversial topics because I would love to engage anybody and everybody in an open and honest discussion and debate… I think we can learn much from listening to the viewpoints of others. Even if we’re only learning that we’re solid in our own opinions. Once in a while, through open discussion, I realize that I’m wrong about something I thought or held to be true. And I love that, actually. I love learning. That’s why 99% of my posts are unlocked for the world to see. Because 99% of what I write about has to do with politics and government and it’s an arena I think we need some open and honest discussion and debate. I don’t have all the answers and neither does anybody else. But perhaps together, we can come close to answering more than we can individually.

        There are definitely lots of catalysts for friends locking posts or specially filtering them. There are lots of crazies out there. lol…

        Good topic, good discussion. 🙂

      • Thank you, Melodye. Your kind words really mean a lot to me. I write about somewhat controversial topics because I would love to engage anybody and everybody in an open and honest discussion and debate… I think we can learn much from listening to the viewpoints of others. Even if we’re only learning that we’re solid in our own opinions. Once in a while, through open discussion, I realize that I’m wrong about something I thought or held to be true. And I love that, actually. I love learning. That’s why 99% of my posts are unlocked for the world to see. Because 99% of what I write about has to do with politics and government and it’s an arena I think we need some open and honest discussion and debate. I don’t have all the answers and neither does anybody else. But perhaps together, we can come close to answering more than we can individually.

        There are definitely lots of catalysts for friends locking posts or specially filtering them. There are lots of crazies out there. lol…

        Good topic, good discussion. 🙂

  24. Now that I have two blogs…One is linked to my web page and I never lock anything over there (anymore). It’s an older blog, and I private locked all previous posts. But this blog…is my water cooler, the teacher’s lounge, more of a private place that I just want to share with writing buds…not something open for the whole world. And I f-lock personal photos. So if I don’t want family, friends, editors, or agents stumbling into my angst or navel grazing, then I f-lock it. Also, I have to be careful because of my BTP ties. Anything I say or do can reflect on the company.

    With one book out, I’ve already seen that my privacy is slipping. Even that one lil’ ol’ nothing book makes me more public. And I’m dealing with that.

    • That’s a great idea…I totally understand how you’d want to separate your private life from your now-spotlighted professional life. You’re certainly more Google-able (is that a word?), now that you’re a published author.

  25. Now that I have two blogs…One is linked to my web page and I never lock anything over there (anymore). It’s an older blog, and I private locked all previous posts. But this blog…is my water cooler, the teacher’s lounge, more of a private place that I just want to share with writing buds…not something open for the whole world. And I f-lock personal photos. So if I don’t want family, friends, editors, or agents stumbling into my angst or navel grazing, then I f-lock it. Also, I have to be careful because of my BTP ties. Anything I say or do can reflect on the company.

    With one book out, I’ve already seen that my privacy is slipping. Even that one lil’ ol’ nothing book makes me more public. And I’m dealing with that.

  26. Gosh I didn’t know anything about locking down an entry. I thought one was locked up for breaking and entering. Hehehe. I am kinda like my Dad was. He would say what was on his mind and didn’t care if it made the President mad. The quote you have at the beginning of your post is very true. I know all of the friends here in LJ land probably don’t agree with me on my political views but at least I can have my say and I enjoy all the comments I get back, even if we disagree. That is the second best thing about LJ. The best thing about LJ is the people in here.

    • So, the secret’s out. Hee hee.

      I like your intrepidness, PapaDan. I admire your willingness to state your position, even in the face of (sometimes) opposition. I’m like that, too — I love an intellectual debate. We can all learn from one another, if we’re willing to communicate our ideas and listen with an open mind.

      Thanks for coming by to speak your piece. 🙂

  27. If I don’t want a potential agent, or my adult children, or my husband’s boss’s wife (argh!) reading, I lock the sucker down. I also have a work filter, because, um… I’m not supposed to blog about work.

  28. i only lock if it has something personal (about my family) or something about the book (editor or agent info) before it’s sold. basically, if it’s somewhat general and i don’t mind some random person reading it i don’t lock it, if it’s anything personal LOCK

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