Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Don’t Look At Me! ..... DON’T LOOK AT ME!

I got an email from a reporter for one of the local papers a few days ago. Apparently her editor found my blog and he suggested she contact me for an interview. I was flattered, of course. She had mentioned “my web site” in the email, but I wasn’t sure if she meant my blog or the original web site for The Petch House.

The original web site is very static. Even when I was updating it, I didn’t do it very often. I don’t really tell anyone locally about my blog, and if it weren’t for the crazed mayoral candidate that was stalking me last year, I doubt anyone would know about it. I emailed her back and said I might be interested, and I asked her which web site she was referring to in her email.

Eventually we spoke on the phone and it turns out she was talking about the blog – This Blog. I could go on endlessly about my house, and anyone who reads this blog probably thinks I do. The truth is, though, I don’t really talk about it a lot to people around town. More often than not, when the topic does come up, I find myself simply having to explain the basic difference between a restoration and a remodel. I’ve found it’s much easier to just keep my mouth shut rather than trying to explain things to people.

The other local daily paper in town did a short piece on me and the work I’m doing on the house 2 years ago. It was a lot of fun, but I didn’t mention the blog in that one. In that instance, it was part of an insert that specifically deals with local architecture and restoration. It’s a captive audience, so to speak, so I assume the people who read it already have an idea of what I’m going through.

It seemed from my brief conversation with the reporter this week that the focus of the story would be the blog, which is of course, about the house. I’m just not too keen on that. As many of you know, I often digress from the basic facts of restoration. As I told her over the phone, I don’t care if someone in Atlanta reads what I have to say, but I’m not sure if I want my next door neighbor to read it. Not to mention all of the pictures and the level of detail I go in to some time. Then of course, there are all of the typos and the occasional {cough} poor sentence structure. It would kill me to have someone critique my writing right in front of me. This assumes, of course, that anybody really cares in the first place.

The odd thing is, a few weeks ago I was interviewed for a story that is coming out in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 21 (I think). We do get the Chronicle daily here in town and it is widely available. It’s not like you need to go to some obscure newsstand or bookstore some place to get it. It didn’t bother me so much to be interviewed for that story. The Chronicle is not really a local paper and I don’t think it is as widely read as the two dailies printed here in town. Also, although the focus of the story is about House Blogs, I got the feeling it was mainly about Bay Area House Blogs. It wouldn’t surprise me if I got little more than a passing mention at the bottom.

“Oh yea, and there’s some goof-ball up in Eureka that writes a bunch of nonsense about some house he’s working on. I forget the URL, but you know, check it out if you want.”

So, I’m not sure if I’ll do it. I told here when we first spoke that I couldn’t do anything until later this month because I have family coming and I’m trying to make real progress on the bathroom AND get the place cleaned up a bit. I emailed her back today and said I would let her know after the 20th. We’ll see what happens.

Perhaps I'm being too neurotic about it, or maybe the whole Mayor Droz thing left me a bit uneasy about advertising the blog locally.


Midwest Bicycle Company said...

Search for "Petch Eureka California" on Google.

For instance...

Also of interest is the fact that the #1 search result for that is your "Almost Outed!" entry which, of course, deals with local people discovering your blog.

I'd do the interview and not worry about it. But then, I pay no attention to fools so it wouldn't bother me what people in my town think or say. I'm a misanthrope like that... lol

Poppy said...

I think I know how you feel a little about the don't look at me thing.

Yes, I have a blog. No, my blog is not made private. Yes, I know there are strangers out there reading my blog (waves to both of them) BUT I am not aware of anyone in my family who knows of my blog and only one good friend that I've shared it with. I would not want anyone in my family reading my blog...especially the part of my family that I bitch the most about!

So there's no way in heck I'd ever let a reporter do a story about me that included mentioning my blog. Not that I'll ever have to worry about a reporter wanting to do a story about me...but you know what I mean.

I totally understand if you choose to take a pass on the story, especially if the story can't/won't be done without mentioning your blog.

Greg said...

Both good points.

That’s funny about the “Almost Outed” search. Also, I need to find out how to update that "After" shot on the Kiplinger site. I knew nothing about that!

Poppy, I think you should start your own web ring for blogs by people who complain about their families. Something tells me it would be very popular. ;-)

jm@houseinprogress said...

We were outed within a year and a half. Then, when a neighbor mentioned our blog at the yearly block party? Eh. Oh well. Earlier this year, when we were out of town, the sister of the previous owner called to say that she would be in the neighborhood and asked if she could stop by. And she mentioned that she really enjoyed the blog (grin) Whatcha gonna do?

StuccoHouse said...

I so hear you one this one. I'm a really private person in real life and it is a weird feeling that your neighbor could be reading about you...and you don't know. One of the local papers did an article on mine a few years ago...and his initial idea was a photo of my in front of my house with my full name. I think my heart had a mini-siezure when he threw that idea out. None of my friends know that I even have a blog except those that have managed to discover it on their own...and then it's this strange secret where they don't mention it, but I know they know. I did tell my parents, but I regret it.

Di said...

I can definitely understand how you feel. My family and friends know about my blog, but sometimes I wish they didn't. I would probably write a lot more about personal things if they didn't. I started my blog as a way to show them my progress, though, since they live out of town... I'm with you on not caring if people I will almost certainly never run into in real life read about me and my house, but I'd like to keep it private from the locals. I'd definitely not want my full name or a picture of me published...

Anonymous said...

If friends & acquaintances have already found you through a search engine, they are probably working under the "Don't ask, don't tell" rules. If you "come out" you are inviting people to talk about it to you. My vote is no.

I really love your blog. I love the way you write and love that you share so much with us. I would hate to have that change.

Jocelyn said...

I have found that having my blog outed when it was in the Chicago Tribune put a little damper on it in a way. Now, I know my employer can look it up and read what I did on the weekend. I certainly can't call in "sick" and then post about all the work I got done.

And as far as my neighbors now knowing about it- that doesn't bother me as much, but it's kind of weird to think of people knowing so much about me and I don't know who knows or doesn't.

I agree it's different when there is a bit more space from the people who read.

And then recently something icky happened with my blog. A very troubled ex-boyfriend from over 10 years ago (I met him in AA) found me and started putting his weird comments on my blog! That definitely takes away from my enjoyment thinking this person I want nothing to do with is parasitically reading about my life. I'm not sure how he found me, but now I can do nothing about it. I just delete his comments when they appear.

What a depressing comment I am writing here! I guess having the blog outed makes me feel a bit more vulnerable and self-conscious so I am in favor of a bit more privacy. Every situation is different though...

Greg said...

Boy, that's a bummer. Yea, it is a touchy situation. I stopped blogging about the crazy mayor candidate because I wanted to get back to HouseBlogging, but the real life situation continued for a while. Nasty notes shoved in my mail box. My truck was vandalized. I was getting several threatening and profane comments to my blog on a daily basis – all anonymous, of course. I never felt I was in any real danger, but I did end up calling the police and Mr. Droz was warned by the police department that if he step foot on my property for any reason he would be arrested.

Yes, I think the fewer people locally that know about the blog, the better. The editor of the paper and I exchanged a few emails and I decided that I would be happy to do the interview on the condition that the blog is not mentioned.

Anonymous said...

We did a story for the local paper. I'm a pretty private person overall. The reason I originally agreed to the article is that I knew it'd be good advertising for Teague's contracting business. It was WEIRD, and I was nervous about it, but it ended up being worthwhile.

The article ended up on the front page of our major paper here (slow day for news, I guess) including a pic of us. Everyone I worked with suddenly found out about the house and the blog, which was embarrassing at first. Much like you, I hadn't gone around giving the link to all my coworkers and neighbors. I felt sort of like I had a secret (albeit easily Googled) double life.But people responded really well to the blog (not all "wow, you're so self-important writing about your house like that" - as I'd imagined) and now a lot of them follow our site regularly. It also helped us make connections to folks locally who are house obsessed like us.

So, I guess I'm in the "go for it" camp. ;)

slateberry said...

I wish I could remember where I read it, but there was an interesting article about how the modern concept of privacy is just that--a modern anomaly, and that with the internet, we are returning to the status quo that existed for thousands of years. To wit, in your cave, village, or neighborhood, people knew so much about you. You were not anonymous when you walked down the street. With the growth of cities and shifting of rural populations to major cities of course this changed, but with the internet it has come full circle. We are in that odd transitional space where we are used to anonymity and have to get over the loss of some of it. In time, and with increased exposure for everybody (think facebook--not an endorsement), people are getting over the loss of anonymity quickly. It's funny, there are great literary examples expressing the disconnectedness people feel when they are part of an anonymous mass in a city--it's practically a genre. Now that we are ebbing back in the other direction, perhaps there will be a new genre of dealing with being connected again.