Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Deleting Posts

I have an idea that I think will re-energize personal blogging for many of us, but could also be controversial with the traditionalists, because the idea goes against the established rules. The concept is called “deleting posts.”

Here is what I visualize. Each of our blogs will consist of two very different types of posts. One is for the public record, linked on Google for all eternity. The other will be published, and then, because of the lesser content, deleted three days, disappearing into the fog.

The idea came to me while watching the royal wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony, but like many weddings, it seemed more emotionally satisfying to the onlookers than the marrying couple. The entire ceremony was precisely planned. Even the famous “kiss” was scheduled in at a specific minute. I don’t find that sexy. I find that a timed sporting event.

As blogging becomes more about ceremony, presenting ourselves as writers and businessmen for our “followers,” our writing becomes planned. We wear our military uniforms and our designer gowns in order to establish our reputations. We are told to write well, because it is our writing that represents us. It has taken me a long time to accept this philosophy. But it makes sense. We are judging each other on our words, not our character. We are writers. You don’t know whether I kick small dogs as a fun hobby. And if I did, I certainly wouldn’t tell you about it on the page, so it doesn’t exist.

The royal wedding was beautiful. The couple was happy. Or at least that is what we saw on TV. It was part of the script.

I want you to like me. I want you to see me as a future King in military uniform. But I don’t want to kiss on schedule. My favorite posts are where I write about feeling lonely or sad or that I got a boner while waiting in line at the bank, stuff that will never enhance my reputation as a writer or as a role model for today’s children. But I’m not sure that, in this current blogging environment, I want that shit on my blog forever, especially now that I’m dealing with trolls and judgemental readers coming out of the woodwork. I’d to share some nonsense, because this is first and foremost, my space, not yours, and then ERASE it from view. Is that so wrong?

I know a few of you will think this is a pussy approach to blogging. And that we should “own our words.” But is owning our words worth it if we have to turn our blog into a dull royal wedding, or use a fake name, hiding behind anonymity? Better to sometimes do a mob killing of an incriminating post, and then dump it into the East River. That’s how we do it in Queens.

I might delete this in three days. Or I might not.

20 Comments

  1. When it started, blogging was about authenticity and creativity, allowing everyone with very basic technical knowledge to find their voice and be heard. But of course big egos, twisted minds and big business had to spoil it all. I think it all boils down to whether you view digital and real life as separate or as one and the same thing. I favour the latter option, and am the same in print and real life. The only caveat is that I have to write anonymously, because of very specific geographical circumstances and a few other factors I won’t bore you with. Your blog, your turf, yours to play with and edit at leisure. Your voice is strong and – from what I can make out – genuine. Please Neil, don’t lose that voice. There aren’t many out there like this anymore.

  2. The internet has an indelible footprint. Just like a bad tweet, someone will have a copy.
    Maybe you should start an anonymous blog?
    Of course though, if you blog about that boner in the bank line we’d all know who you were …

  3. Neil, I’ve been mulling over this more and more over the last year or so myself. I don’t know exactly what the answer is either. Would it feel the same to write the revealing post and mark it private – protected behind a password that most of us are too lazy to try to hack?

  4. Neil, I love it. I’m not sure I’ll do it on my blog, but there are certainly posts I think of as failures and wouldn’t miss. My only hesitation is that some of my least favorite bits seem to be well-liked by some reader or other, and that makes me wonder if it’s value is not mine to judge. Maybe I’ll leave those for the readers.

    However, I can’t see what’s wrong about your approach. I think it’s very fair to play by your own rules and craft your own image. Do it.

  5. hmmmm…interesting idea. I think that just might work for you. And you wouldn’t have to delete your posts permanently–you could exile them to an anonymous blog or one that only you have access to view for as long as you want.

    I don’t always understand your concern in this area, although I have learned through the years to be sparse in what I say or write and gloss over the details. However, I work in a hospital and HIPPA is always looking over my shoulder. Also, I work in a hospital and the images that haunt me aren’t things everyone wants to read about in graphic detail. So, if I’m having a difficult time removing my memory of a gunshot to the head patient I post the poem, “After Reading There Might Be an Infinite Number of Dimensions” by Martha Silano. Sometimes I need my blog to put things into perspective for me. I need someone else’s words to clarify what I’m too in the thick of to put into writing. And, I have to get over it quick and keep moving cause there’s plenty more that needs fixing.

    But you’re a different person and have a different life and a different gift. Maybe a journal–like a pen and paper one where you can write your thoughts…?

    I love your writing and personally I would delete the judgemental trolls, but even reading s*&t can be wearing on a soul. Do what makes you happy, Neilochka. Believe me when I say, life’s too damn short not to be happy.

    So, FU trolls and judgemental readers!
    Iloveya, Neilochka :>)

    PS. Does that make me a troll if I read you and don’t comment often?? Don’t be a hater–I’m in school–I shouldn’t even be reading you. Finance in Healthcare is glaring at me!!

  6. I don’t know. To me it feels like a question of whether I’d want to be known as a brand or known as a person.

    Good writing will draw me to a blog, but the writer’s story is what keeps me there. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of bloggers move away from writing about themselves. I’m starting to lose interest. I don’t feel the connection. Maybe it’s just me.

    • This was very well said. It’s difficult for me to move away from the personal. I bore myself when writing about WordPress plugins or somesuch. But my primary subject entered high school this year; I should give her more privacy. My depression is in remission and no one wants to read a happy blogger. So I just hop around from subject to subject looking for an interesting place to land.

    • I concur. Wholeheartedly.

      I’m so sick of “brands.” I recently went to the blog of an now uber-famous blogger I have never read but heard so much about, and after five minutes on that thing I gave up because there was so much “stuff” that I lost interest. I couldn’t find the core story, what brought her there in the first place.

  7. Absolutely delete every few days if you feel you want to. It would make it more difficult for new readers to read your whole archives but how often does someone do that, on any blog? People talk about these rules of blogging but the community of bloggers is immense and to think that everyone cares about these unwritten rules and abides by them is just incorrect. That are lots of satisfied bloggers doing whatever it is they need to do to enjoy the process. Go ahead and be one!

  8. Neil,
    I delete posts all the time that seem off-point or irrelevant. Not after three days, but maybe after a year or so. It just depends when I take the time to slog through my archives to pull down the dumber posts.

  9. Well- my thought is that ‘owning your words’ means that you can take or leave them as you please. You own your words, the blog doesn’t…I say, feel free to lay them down, take them back, change your mind, tweek, twist or tame them however you see fit.

    Truth be told, the thought of living in a world with “no take-backs” scares the crap out of me.

  10. I hope you don’t. Nobody wants to swim in East river for intellectual fulfillment. Not even a fan like me.
    For the record I can see you wearing red. As long as it is not a designer gown.

  11. It all depends on why youre blogging. I blog for myself, not an audience, and as a writer, I need the practice of free writing.. Anonymity allows me to express myself fully..To be honest, I’m sick of all of the self promotion online. I havent read a truly good and authentic blog in a long while.

  12. Do it. Maybe blog posts, like conversations, should evaporate.

  13. Deven Werthman

    April 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Neil…I would hate to think that you’d change your blog just because readers who fancy themselves as critics mouth off. The reality of the blogger is what I’m after and I really don’t like reading a branded performance. Stay as you started, growing as you grow naturally, we’ll see that and appreciate you sharing your life with us. Best regards.

  14. If it’ s not worth all the hate that comes your way from the posts, then I’d delete it.

    I deleted a post only once, and that’s b/c everyone old hillwitch in the land came down on me about homeschooling.

    So, yeah, didn’t want that negative energy on my site.

    I say, do it.

  15. I rarely delete posts. Once I press publish it is up and running for whomever to see/read. But I am so prolific that it doesn’t take very long for the good to be covered by the bad and the bad to be covered by the good.

    It is a bit harder to write now that I am not completely anonymous but not impossible. I build my community around me. People who like me will continue to and those who don’t can find something sharp and barbed to sit on.

    It would be great if every loved me, but that is not how it works. I can’t tell you why some blogs are popular and some aren’t. It is like high school- there is that something about them.

    But if you love what you are doing than you are ahead of the game.

  16. I delete what I want. People who say you need to stand by what you put out there just like to hear themselves say “You need to stand by what you put out there.” because it makes them feel like they have a bunch of integrity. People like to feel that way. It distracts them from the sadness that informs the bulk of their lives.

  17. I recently wrote a post about a close family member, about something sad, about their health and a diagnosis, and it was a beautiful post that I loved very much. And I love reaching out to my blogging community at times like this, but since it was about a family member, I showed it to that person first, to get their approval to publish or not, and they didn’t want me to hit publish, so it just sits there, unpublished forever.

  18. Not too long ago I thought through this same issue and actually went back through and deleted several posts simply because they bored me, so shouldn’t they bore others? And did I really want the 5-sentence drivel on my blog or all eternity (or until I decide I don’t want to blog personally). Long-term blogging takes spirit, guts, determination and self-forgiveness for crap you can’t believe you actually published.

    Really? In a bank line? And who, may I ask, was standing near?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial