Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Blog

I've been thinking a lot lately about blogging. I started blogging originally back when Xanga was cool. Does anyone remember Xanga? I know Vidalia people do because it was HUGE there. But, anytime I mention it to DeLand people, they have never heard of it. I still go back and look at my old Xanga from time to time just for the memories. I started that one around the time that we began the process to adopt from Russia and before Dan became the pastor of FBC, Vidalia.

Blogging was very sporadic back then. No one really blogged every day. That would have seemed obsessive. And, no one really uploaded many pictures. It was more about your thoughts and things you had to say. Oh, and awful forwards copied and pasted into blog posts. That is what most teenagers did. They found as many email forwards as they could find just to copy into a blog post. I avoided reading those just as I do most forwards. Granted, I will read a forward if it comes from someone who hardly ever forwards anything. But, pretty much, if it has FW in the subject line, it goes directly to trash. Dan is worse than me about that. He blocks the sender of forwards after a few to many. Anyway, back to blogging...

Through the Russian adoption process, I met a wonderful lady named Karin who had met her son in Russia but had not brought him home. Karin blogged about everything. I was intrigued. Here was this lady that I didn't even know but I cared about the tiniest details of her life. I knew her favorite color, favorite movies, what she had for dinner and where her family lived. Then, when she traveled to Russia to bring her baby boy to his forever home, I was mesmerized with every detail.

As time passed and I eventually was surprised to discover I was pregnant, I decided to switch from Xanga that I used maybe weekly to this new format called Blogger. You know, because that is what Karin used. She helped me with details and I got the blog set up and ready for my new baby boy. I had this really cute name called "All About Jonah" and planned to debut the new blog right before he was born. Looking back, the very first post on the blog was from Dan. That makes me laugh. The original plan was that we would blog together. You can obviously tell that didn't go very far.

We didn't initially tell many people about the blog. It was intentionally developed for one sole purpose: GRANDPARENTS! When God called us into the ministry, we never thought far enough down the road to realize that we would probably never live near any of our parents or family therefore our children would grow up knowing them from a distance. All of the sudden, this whole idea of blogging became the way we could share the life of our child (through words and pictures) with people who loved him but couldn't be near him.

As I look back on the early days of ALL ABOUT JONAH which has now been merged into THE GLENN GANG, I find it very funny that I didn't even blog about or post any pictures of Jonah's birth and hospital stay. I did tell the birth story but it was very brief and didn't include any hospital pics. Micah will definitely be able to say he one upped Jonah on that one. :-)

If you were around back when Jonah was a newborn, you might remember how easy those days were for us. He was so laid back and minus a little recovery time from the birth, I had ZERO issues being a new mom. It came so natural to me and was so very easy. So, I had time to take pictures, immediately upload them and then come up with some creative way to talk about them on the blog. Some of you early readers might remember the first year of Jonah's life was done completely from his perspective. Whew! That took creativity! But, it was fun! I had time and enjoyed it.

Dan loved the blog from the beginning. It gave him a way to feel like he had not missed so much of Jonah's day because of being at work. When the craziness of life with a baby started to take over, he came up with the idea of giving me time at night to blog by him doing the bedtime routine with Jonah. That gave him a chance to spend time with his son while I had some uninterrupted time to upload pictures and write.

By this time, the blog had grown in popularity. It was being read by people who saw Jonah most every day but still wanted to see pictures and read stories. Then, friends from college and high school heard about it and people from previous churches and before I knew it, we were having 50-60 hits per day of people reading about our little boy.

Many people blog because they don't want to scrapbook. This is an easy way to keep a record of your child's life without all the product that scrapbooking requires. I choose to still scrapbook but I'm way behind. I usually stay pretty current with the blog (within a week or so) but I know I can always use this as a reference for catching up on scrapbooks.

There were times over the last 4 years of blogging that I considered stopping. I felt like the blog allowed some family a chance to see Jonah every day (online) therefore took away the desire for them to make an effort to see him in real life. I understand that even better now because of my friend Amanda. She has blogged about her little boy Eli since his birth. I left Vidalia when he was 10 months old. I didn't see him again until last month when I visited. He was 22 months old then but I didn't feel like I had missed any part of his life or him growing up because of seeing pictures and videos of him on his blog. I know it isn't intentional on their part now. When you see a child so often online, you don't realize how much of their life you are missing because you never really notice the changes. They are gradual day by day.

Even though this blog gets around 125 hits a day from people all over this country, I now blog for me, for us, for Jonah and soon to be Micah. No one enjoys his blog more than Jonah. He loves to sit in my lap and tell me to "show more pictures and tell me the story." We did that today for almost an hour. He grins at himself and laughs out loud at his videos. He really does love the journal that has been created here.

Just recently, I've really toyed with the idea and gone back and forth about making this blog private. The thing is, when you go private, you limit your number of readers and those readers have to be invited by me personally. There are several pros to this and several cons. My biggest pro comes from a hurt that I recently experienced that I can't just shake. I was informed (by more than one person) about someone close (as in VERY CLOSE) to our family who "makes fun" of our blog. If I told you the relationship between them and us, you would be appalled just as I am. To my face they brag on how much they love the blog but behind my back, they make fun of it. It really is hurtful! I don't plan to stop blogging because like I said earlier, it has become a journal and documentation of Jonah's life. But, I do wonder if I put too much out there? Then again, if it were too much for people to care about, then why would they even click on it?

My initial impression is that those people should not read if they think that? I mean, no one is forcing them to click on my blog or read what I have to write. They could just as easily remove us from their favorites and never even peek at what is going on in our world. I rarely link a blog post to my Facebook so it isn't like I inundate people with having to click. According to my analytics tool, 90% of the people that come to our blog, come from a direct entry into their toolbar. Not from a link from Facebook or email or twitter. They come because they choose too come.

There are blogs that I used to read or follow that have taken turns that make me no longer want to read them, so I don't. I unfollow them through Google then I remove them from my updated list on my blog. I don't feel obligated if the content isn't something I care about. So, my feelings aren't hurt if my blog isn't read by someone. There are so many different types of bloggers out there right now and I have been and probably always will be a mommy blogger. My goal is to share the life of my children with people who care about them. I'm amazed on a weekly basis at the people who tell me they read about Jonah or saw something on the blog that made the smile or laugh out loud. It gives church members a way to know our family on a more personal level. It gives former church members and old friends a way to stay in touch when we don't always get to talk on the phone. It gives family a chance to see their grandson, nephew, cousin, etc. grow up and find his place in this big world. But, apparently, it also gives people a chance to criticize and be mean and that hurts me most.

So, for now, I haven't decided what to do. The one drawback of going private is the extra steps people have to take to log in. I'm not sure most would. I've quit reading some of the blogs I know who are private because I forget about them since they don't show up in my updated blog list. But, one pro to going private is that I have to allow you to be a reader and that would certainly allow me to weed out the hateful people who seem to find joy in making fun of something as simple as a blog about a four year old little boy. In some small way, knowing they couldn't read might make me feel better?!? I don't want to be mean but at the same time, I don't want to be hurt by their meanness.

I've got a couple of weeks to decide because I want to make this switch before Micah arrives. I've already begun the switch on Facebook. Several weeks ago, I started deleting "friends" who don't use Facebook. You know, those who sign up, request you as a friend but never add a picture, write on a wall, comment on pictures, etc. That creates the whole stalker mindset for me and I just wasn't comfortable with it. As of now, I've deleted over 50 people. Not that they would know because they don't really use Facebook. But, it makes me feel better about using Facebook for the purpose it was created...keeping in touch with people.

Let me know your thoughts. You know, if you are still reading and all! This was quite long but I'm pregnant, wide awake and seeming to dwell on the meanness of a few people rather than the thoughts of all. I'm leaving anonymous comments open for this just in case you'd rather not sign your name. I'm curious what people think. Do I put too much out there for the average person? Are you sick of pictures of Jonah? Would you read if I went private? Do you really not even care at all but just wish I would finish this post so you can get on with something else?

My comment moderation IS turned on so I can read all the comments before they make it to the blog.

**EDIT** I fully realize the two people this post is about might not even realize it was about them because they would never dream this would get back to us. But, after reading so many sweet comments that I published and some that I didn't (due to their request) I don't plan to go private. But, I do plan to remind myself that some people are just mean by nature all the while being so 'appreciative' and excited about the blog to my face. This is my way of documenting the lives of my children and family and honestly, their negativity is their issue...not ours. :-)


danielle pepper said...

we want to keep reading about jonah. some people are just heartless. please don't let this get to you. i wish i had done this for olivia since day one and actually stuck with it. put whatever you want. it's YOUR blog. there are so many sweet things that children do each day that there is no way you would ever remember them all unless you wrote about it. this is such a gift to jonah. we will keep reading even if you go private. do what's best for you. we love you and think of you often.

Malinda said...

You know I've dealt with, and continue to deal with this too, as we've discussed. I wish I could help you as you try to decide, but I don't have the answer. I will say, I don't want you to go private. By doing that, you would miss opportunities to meet new people through blogging. And I know you enjoy meeting new people. Those people who are mean are just jealous and are going to find ugly things to say regardless. Continue to focus on the positive things and people in your life. You have far more positive than negative in your life, and that is what matters. We love y'all and Jonah and will read either way.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah...count me in. If you go private, I'll be looking for an invitation with instructions! I am ALWAYS disappointed when I check this spot and find that you haven't had time/energy for a new installment! You know that this is the lifeline to my little Florida family...Love, love, love and thank you for taking the time, energy, and using your multiple skills to provide such a sweet account of the 'goings-on'. Debbie

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah...count me in. If you go private, I'll be looking for an invitation with instructions! I am ALWAYS disappointed when I check this spot and find that you haven't had time/energy for a new installment! You know that this is the lifeline to my little Florida family...Love, love, love and thank you for taking the time, energy, and using your multiple skills to provide such a sweet account of the 'goings-on'. Debbie

Audra Laney said...

Nicki, I can understand where you'd want to weed those people out to not give them an opportunity to make fun of you/your blogging. But remember...the problem is theirs, not yours. They have issues of jealousy, self confidence, and gossip. If it makes you feel better to go private, do it. But only if you WANT to. Don't do it for their sake if you are feeling "iffy" about it. Don't give them that satisfaction. The problem is not yours, it's theirs.

And for the record, I don't think you share too much on your blog! I love it! How else would I feel like I know a family I've never even met?! Love it! Most of us have more free time on our hands than we probably admit. The rest of us just spend it on facebook, watching tv, or wasting it otherwise! You use your time wisely to record your child's life's events. I admire you for that!

Anonymous said...

I have never meet you, Dan, Max, or sweet Jonah. I do enjoy reading about Jonah, he is a sweet and caring little boy. Do not be discouraged by mean and hatefullness. You have a lot of joy in your life to share. I take the same opinion as you do, if they do not like to read your blog, then why do they take the extra effort to read? I will still read private or not.

Barb said...

I haven't dealt with the meanness factor on my blog, but I can see how that would get to you. I agree with Malinda, though, that I would hate for you to go private. There have been a few times that I have pointed friends to your blog for various reasons, usually to see a cute photo or read one of the funny stories you post. I love reading about Jonah, and look forward to all that you have to post with Micah's arrival too.

Jenn said...

Nicki, I have been reading your blog for quite some time, and I look forward to reading about Jonah, some days it really brightens my day up. I would have never known you knew our Associate Paster, Joshua Roberts, had I not read your blog and saw pictures. People are so mean and hateful, and there is no reason for them to be that way. Like you said they don't have to come to your blog and read it. I would be heart broken if I couldn't read about Jonah, but will understand if you choose to go private, especially if it in the best interest of you and your family. Thanks for sharing Jonah with so many others.

God Bless You Nicki

Amber said...

Are you KIDDING me?!? I can't believen an adult, much less a friend would say such a thing! :( I DO care about what yall are doing and I have never met you personally but feel like I know you, like you all are a part of my family! I went private for awhile, but everyone complained it was too hard to log in to read. I know it must have hurt you ~ Don't mess with Mother bear's cubs! ;) I too am in BIG need of a friend clean up on FB! I love you all and can't wait to see/read all about Micah! :)

Anonymous said...

Some people are mean spirited and selfish, but like you said, they don't have to read the blog! I say continue for those of us that look so forward to it and love y'all! If you do decide to make it private, I'll be there anyway...after all, I have to know Micah too!!!

winstead family said...

seriously? your blog is one of my favorites! i am always inspired to be a better mother, to take more pictures, to get excited over the details in my children's lives, rather than just the happy birthdays, seasons that come and go, and other random things. even though i haven't found time to blog about them, i still love reading about this little boy named jonah who i've only met once! i even showed my husband his picture last night with his new classes and he kept talking about how cute he was! keep on...and i'm with the last commenter...if you decide to go private, i will definitely make the extra effort to log in and read. :)

Anonymous said...

I check your blog every day and will keep checking if you go private!
I'm like you.....if they think your blog is "too much" why are they reading and looking? Just for the purpose of making fun.....that's just mean and a little immature.
I tried starting a blog but just couldn't keep up with it like I wanted. If I had, it would have been private-but there are circumstances around Matthew's adoption that would have been the reason.
I will say this in favor of going private......you do have personal info on there about where you live, your friends, Jonah's school, and your daily activities. If there was someone you didn't know reading your blog, then it would make it pretty easy to get access to you and your family.
Please put me on the invite list if you decide to change.
Amy Hayes

Ethan said...

I love your blog, even though I'm not a regular commenter. Since I have a son so close in age to Jonah, it's neat to see the similarities and the things we both are going through. My thoughts would be to go private. People that really want to see your blog would take the steps to read it. Can't wait to see pics of the new addition! -Lauren Horton

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog. My thoughts are if you feel like you are reading too much- you are the one who clicked on it.

I love feeling like I can still keep up with you guys since we no longer live in the same state! But I could see where going private would be a good thing seeing how some people do not need access into everyone's personal life.

Carrie said...

I don't think I have ever commented before, but I think you do a GREAT job of updating your blog with cute pictures/stories that are interesting to read, even to people who have never met you. It never seems like too much because, after all, that IS the point of a blog. I can understand why you would be hurt and tempted to go private, but just know that the people who enjoy your blog WAY outnumber the ones who don't :)

Vickie said...

I read your blog almost everyday. I enjoy reading about your everyday adventures with your family. It is comforting to know that others go or have gone through some of the same things as we are/have. As for people being mean and talking bad about your blog, well I agree with you, no one is forcing them to read. I would definately read your blog if you go private. I need my expert on Disney to keep me updated!! ;-)

Penny said...

Like you and some of the others commenting, I wonder why they are reading it. Don't focus on them and record whatever, however and whenever you want. I can't believe a real friend would be laughing at your blog.
You and I have only met once, at Emily's wedding, and only have a few mutual friends. However, I introduced myself because I felt like I already knew you through your blog. My teenager started reading it when Jonah was born, showing me pictures you posted, and soon I was reading it often myself~ long before I started my own blog.
You never know who you are encouraging by your blog being public, but the decision is yours. If you are more comfortable going private, do it. I would still love to read it. :)

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that some people are so unhappy with their lives that is is affecting yours. :( I am a SBC member and I enjoy reading the blog. This is going to be really special for Jonah one day! -Renee

destinmimi said...

Nicki, I check your blog everyday.. sometimes more than once if there isn't a new post when I check the first time! I LOVE reading about your family and seeing all the pictures. I would still read if you went private.. but I hope you don't! Do NOT let these few people, who have nothing better to do than make fun of somebody, win...just ignore them!!!

mamamagnolia said...

Found your blog by way of a post, my friend at Dowdy's Doings did about a post I recently made about cleaning up on Facebook. I am sometimes concerned w/the number of people that read my blog, but never post. I know some are talking, but my question- why do they read it? Evidently they are curious. I enjoyed this post and hope to check in again very soon. Best of luck w/your delivery.

Lori said...

Hey sweet friend. You don't need to publish my comment, it is up to you. I have been blogging for a long time also and I have to tell you I have been "hurt" so many different ways. By family, by strangers and everything in-between.

When I first met Dan he asked me about "Laurel Wreath." I had several reasons for using a pen name, one I had a sister over seas serving and Kasbeer is not that common of a name. But also I did not tell my family for a long while. When I finally did it, I was teased at first, but then it settled down. Still things pop up here and there.

I finally decided to go with my real name after I was published in Pearl Girls, because it become to complicated.

I still don't use my boys real names on my blog and facebook (or at least I try not to). I am a bit more relaxed than I was before.

It is your decision, I am sorry you were hurt. Unfortunately making the blog private will not prevent Satan from attacking in other ways. I believe it was just a way he knew to get to you.

I totally understand if you decide to go private. But it will mean more work for you in adding people.


Marianne said...

I don't know you personally but this grandmother and church secretary from a little Texas town has enjoyed reading about your precious Jonah, the soon-to-be-here Micah, and your pastor life for a while now. I don't blog myself but I wish that it would have been possible when my kids were young! You are creating treasures for yourself and your family by blogging things that would otherwise be forgotten (believe me, I know all too well about forgetting things I never, ever thought I would forget). Please don't let your judgment be clouded by a few old soreheads. your blog. If there is something on any blog (or in a book, or on TV or whatever) that I don't care for, then I just skip over it and I feel that anyone else should do the same. It is YOUR blog and YOUR family and I feel blessed that you have shared them with me. I will understand if you decide to go private. But follow your heart and do what is right for you and yours, not for anyone else. Just know that not everyone shares the opinion of your "friend".

Marilyn Dedeaux said...

I love so much reading about your family and your life in the ministry. If you go private, please invite me to read. My daughters don't blog and I miss so much about their boys.

Victoria said...

I love to hear about your little boy and your life (even the tiny details) I Loved Dan and you when you were In Crystal Springs and I Love knowing you care enough to blog and allow me to read. I am sorry there are "those People" out there in the world but know that Most of us look forward to reading your blog every day and looking at your pics and hearing about Johna


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