Blogging: Honesty Mixed with Discretion

Several months ago I had a short conversation with a friend regarding discretion in blogging. It is a topic that I have thought about a lot and I continue to think about.

In person I am usually parsimonious with words. If you ask me for an opinion on an issue or situation I’ll normally have something to say, though just how much I say will be determined by the setting and other circumstances. I do my best to exercise discretion in what I say. Abraham Lincoln provided some advice that I take to heart, ““Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Very often I don’t speak because I am still processing things or I don’t think I have a full grasp on the situation.

Writing provides me the opportunity to craft words exactly as I want them. I can proofread and fact check. I can deliberate phrasing and content. And I can veto writing so it never is seen by anyone else. Numerous blog entries I have written have been deleted or heavily edited before being posted thanks to my internal editor and censor.

Words posted to the internet are forever.

It makes for an interesting tension. On one hand I want to be very candid on my blog. On the other hand I want to avoid posting anything that will cost me future employment opportunities or cause future problems. For this reason I avoid many subjects.

Some days I feel too honest. Maybe I’m frustrated at something, or I’m taking a big picture look at life, or I’m feeling like a rebel. I ask myself whether or not this “discretion”  I am practicing is really discretion or is it simply cowardice? Those are the days I write a humorous or nonsensical post. It’s a form of self preservation.

Ironically, often the lighter the blog post the more serious the issues swirling about in my mind.



Filed under Thoughts

2 responses to “Blogging: Honesty Mixed with Discretion

  1. Olivia

    good thoughts Ben! I’ve been wanting to be more careful with my words lately. I know Matt sometimes feels dread during a sermon he doesn’t think is going well knowing it will be on the internet forever :)

    • Yes, the thought of words being preserved (via writing or audio recording) is a bit sobering. I think about this a lot before I give presentations regarding my research. It has made me sympathetic to people who get in trouble for controversial or stupid statements they make with innocent intentions that get caught by the media in high pressure situations or situations they think are off the record.

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