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Do You Blog About Your Dates?


Sure, dating has the potential to give you lots of fodder for your blog. But should you reveal all online, just for the sake of a good story?

By Susan Johnston

t’s one thing to do a Web search on the name of a prospective date and find a few embarrassing photos or a mention or two in the local newspaper. It’s quite another to find the person’s blog. In fact, on our third date, upon hearing that I had a blog, my current boyfriend asked nervously, “So, uh, are you going to blog about me?”

Aside from the occasional vague reference to him and his willingness to help me pick out new computer gear, I haven’t. And he’s fine with that. My blog doesn’t cover dating or relationships, but plenty of others do. With more than 150,000
"My readership has gone down... but my life has become much less dramatic."
new blogs created every day, according to Technorati, the odds are good that even if you aren’t a blogger yourself, you might be dating one.

While it provides an outlet for sharing experiences and connecting with a community of like-minded people around the world, blogging also raises questions of privacy. How much of your personal life are you willing to share with readers? How much should you share? And how does that impact the people you date?

The Downside to Dating Blogs
Says Rachel Hurley, a Memphis-based blogger who writes Rachel and the City, “The more personal my blog was, the more readers I attracted, but the more I wrote about people in my life, the more friends and potential boyfriends came to resent me for it.”

As a result, she removed several posts after the subject requested she take them down and eventually stopped blogging about her personal life altogether. “I now use a Tumblr site that pulls feeds from my Twitter feed and work-related projects,” Hurley explains. “My readership has gone down tremendously, but my life has become much less dramatic.”

That solution works well for Hurley because it gives her a creative outlet without creating tension in her personal life. If you’re concerned about upsetting other people, this could be a good compromise.

The Benefits of Blogging
However, for some, blogging can improve (rather than impinge on) their dating life. “Since my habit is often to peruse a lot of profiles without actually writing messages, it became an accountability issue,” says Karin,* who writes the Single in the City blog in Boston. “If I told my readership that I was going to message a certain number of guys or update my profile, I knew that I would actually have to buckle down and do it.”

She’s also found that blogging helps her think about her “thought process between dates, my impressions of the dates or even my rants when my dates have broken things off. Writing, for me, sorts out the emotions.”

Tim Goggin, one of the bloggers behind Wonderful Nightmare, a dating blog set in San Diego, says the site serves as an outlet where he can “write about out-of-the-ordinary experiences that need to be discussed.” (A recent post covers the pitfalls of spending too much time on the phone before setting up an actual date.)

Avoiding TMI
Goggin and Karin use code names for their dates, a popular strategy that not only protects other people’s privacy but it can also
How much of your personal life are you willing to share with readers?
help protect the blogger from a potential lawsuit. Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., a licensed psychotherapist who writes the Dr. Romance blog, recommends that bloggers “disguise [their] dates’ names and details… you don’t want to be sued for defamation.” She suggests that bloggers also consider writing under a pen name. But this can backfire if the blogger relies too much on a secret persona, reveals a few too many juicy details and later gets outed. Using your real name (even just your first name) keeps you accountable.

Whether or not you’re blogging under a nom de plume, it’s important to think about what you post and whether it might be hurtful to other people.

“Often, even though I thought that I was being very straightforward and objective when relaying a story about something that happened to me,” says Hurley, “I would be totally surprised when I included someone in the story who would come back to me and see the situation completely differently.”

Karin is open with her dates about the fact that she writes a dating blog, even mentioning it in her profile so dates know what they’re getting into. “I then will ask if they mind me blogging about them — and as long as I keep it anonymous, they are usually game,” she says. “[One date] was encouraged that I explored my dating life and related matters in that fashion.”

Another one of her dates, however, went MIA after reading some of her posts and assuming she wasn’t ready for a relationship with him. She says they later “became Facebook friends, since I don’t believe in holding grudges,” and he suggested they get together again after she explained her reasons for blogging.

According to Goggin, his blog is a nonissue because he hasn’t been seeing anyone seriously. “I go on a lot of first dates,” he says. “Most of the time, whether because of a lack of chemistry or just matching interest, most just stay first dates. I think when I meet someone I’d want to see on a more regular basis, I would definitely mention the blog.”

You’ve Been Blogged!
So, what should you do if someone (a date or an ex, perhaps) writes an unfavorable blog post about you?

“You can demand that the writer take down the blog [post] if you’re identifiable in it,” says Tessina. “If you’re not identified — you just recognize the event — there’s not much you can do. Just stop reading the blog and torturing yourself.”

Whatever you do, don’t leave an angry comment on the blog, because that could escalate the situation. Instead, communicate with the blogger directly — just like you would with other interpersonal issues.

*Last name has been withheld by request.


Susan Johnston has written for AOL’s Lemondrop, Boston Globe Magazine and Nerve.com, among others. She blogs (not about her boyfriend) at UrbanMuseWriter.com.
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