February 29, 2012

on positivity and the internet.

I recently received an email from a reader who commented on how private I am. "You only tell us the good stuff," she wrote. "Aren't you ever going to share the bad?" I knew exactly where she was coming from, but my answer? No. Generally, no. Unless I'm sharing a lesson in hindsight, I'm not going to dive into everyday struggles. And here's why.

For me, the Internet isn't a place to sound off on what's bothering me—it's a place to escape it. For me, the Internet is a place for sharing and gathering information about things that entertain or things that matter most, and quite frankly, I don't think many people care whether or not I missed the bus this morning. I don't consider myself any sort of authority on the subject, but I do spend all day every day creating online content, both as a writer for the PopSugar Network and here on my own blog, and I'm confident that ranting without reason simply isn't the way to go.

Because that's the thing, you know?
Sometimes, there's a reason for negativity. And sometimes, there's not.

I'm a strong, strong believer in sharing personal experience. Not only is self-expression a crucial way to move through struggles, but it's also the key to creating a sense of community—to generating empathy and a sense of understanding. When there's a reason to get personal, be it a lesson or an effort to raise awareness and appreciation, I think the Internet is the perfect platform. But when you're mad at your coworkers or your Mom or your two-faced best friend, is it really necessary to bash them on Twitter? To mention it on your blog? To vaguely address it in your Facebook status?

When I see an angry tweet, I'm always shocked. I've seen people say mean things about their friends, their in-laws, their bosses, other bloggers, random Etsy shop owners, and on and on... I understand that it's a quick way to vent a bit of frustration, but isn't that what friends are for? Isn't that sort of embarrassing? When I'm upset, I don't reach for my computer—I reach for the phone. I talk to my mom, my best friend, Radley, or, okay, whichever coworker is sitting closest to me at the time. Why put all that negative energy out there on the Internet if it isn't necessary?

So here's my official disclaimer: Yes, of course, I have plenty of bad days. I have plenty of challenges, some larger than others, but I only write about them when I'm trying to unravel meaning—to make sense of things. And more often than not, the "making sense" part doesn't come into play until later, until I've allowed a bit of time and distance to provide me with an emotional cushion.

I decided a long time ago that this blog would be a positive, sunny space, but a true one, too—with the occasional melancholy and messiness that truth makes inevitable.

I get it: we're all human. Sometimes it's nice to hear that so-and-so had a rough morning, too. Sometimes it's nice to know that you're not the only person who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. But I feel that there's a time and a place, and 99% of the time, the Internet's not it.

(Photo: My Flickr)

21 comments:

Chicago girl moves on said... [Reply to comment]

Laura,

Thank you for the reminder that we should all try to be a bit more positive and selective about our griping. :) You've got pretty great timing, yet again.

Love,
Rhiannon

ChinkyGirLMeL said... [Reply to comment]

Awww right on! The news already shares a lot of negativity and sad news, there are times when I just want to read about happier things. You own your blog and you can run it anyway you like. I think keeping a positive vibe to your blog is always a good thing. It bothers me when I see friends ranting on their facebook about how awful their boyfriend, friend, or whoever is and then the next minute they are back to being sweet as sugar.

AM said... [Reply to comment]

That's an interesting email maybe some people don't understand that many blogs have a niche, like yours is focused on the positive and finding joy in everyday. That's what makes the blog world so great because every blog offers something unique. I don't mind the people who share the rough stuff or rant because I think there is a lesson to be learned in everything, sometimes those are the ones who need to feel the energetic love of others the most. Having said that I adore your blog because it provides a daily dose of inspiration and the world needs more of it!

Laura Marie said... [Reply to comment]

@AM Agreed! Such a good call... Love your attitude :)

Paula said... [Reply to comment]

I, for one, love knowing that whenever I visit your lovely blog I'll find something beautiful, inspirational or sunny :) & that's the reason I love it so much!
And I agree with AM, every blogger has their niche and that's what makes the blogging world so delightful :)

ag. said... [Reply to comment]

Really great post.

I'm all about people being honest and the blogs that are the most honest seeming are the ones I'm drawn to - but I would never think you're not being honest with your readers because you choose not to share the bad. I really appreciate that your blog is like a ray of sunshine in a world that already has so much negativity. I'm turned off by blogs that act like they have the perfect life and nothing wrong ever happens but I don't get that feeling from you. I feel like you're just a happy girl who has been blessed with many things that make you smile and you come here to this space of yours to share that with us. It's a breathe of fresh air.

Holly said... [Reply to comment]

Yay I love this! Perhaps the reader was having a hard time relating to some of your entries. I know that if I'm going through hard times, it's somewhat comforting to talk to/read about others that are going through the same struggles. It's weird, but it makes me feel like I'm not alone, you know?? I love everything you write about, your 'internet energy' is contagious, we should all make an effort to be a little more sunny :) xoxoxo

Sam | ashore said... [Reply to comment]

Laura,

what an important discussion! I think we should all ask ourselves about the intention we have every time we sit down to our keyboard, and especially every time we hit publish.

What are we seeking to put out in the world? What kind of feelings - what kind of understanding - do we want to give to each person that opens up a URL?

I often remind myself when I'm angry or upset that these feelings belong to me, as one person. But as soon as I put the on twitter or on my blog, each person that reads them takes on those feelings too. Is that what I want to put into the world?

Of course, we all have bad days. Days where we say something cruel to get a laugh from friends, or lash out in a meeting against a coworker.

Those are the times that haunt me when I lay down in bed at night, when I wish that I would have spoke with a better filter or more compassionately. I don't like that person, and I don't want to share her with the world.

I think we should go into everyday trying to be our best self. Sure, that self is sometimes blissful, sometimes sad, sometimes introspective, or lonely. All of those things come through in your blog. But, angry or negative? No. Those things make me into a person I'm not proud of.

The internet - for all it's mediated short comings - has one great benefit over real life : the delete button.

Whit said... [Reply to comment]

I completely agree; I love your blog simply for the fact that it is refreshingly positive and uplifting. I think it's always good to remember that it's the good times that help see us through the bad, and dwelling on hardship won't make it go away.
Thank you for making the internet a sunnier place! (especially when the weather is as dreary and wet where I live!)
Keep up the amazing work,
Whit

KT Mac said... [Reply to comment]

I agree with you. I don't want to later regret something I said or vented about in a moment of anger or frustration online, and I try to keep my online presence generally upbeat. I do incorporate some of the struggles, but in a more broadly painted (vague) fashion so as not to single someone out or to share a story that others may share the lesson I learned. Thanks for making your blog a cheery corner of the internet (but still keeping it real when necessary).

Maria said... [Reply to comment]

I could not agree with you more! I hate seeing so many negative things sometimes. While I may have complained once or twice about things going on, it was always afterwards when the situation had been figured out.

allie margaret said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks so much for defending yourself. I agree with you completely. I understand that in a way a blog is your "journal" (at least thats how i think of mine) but we can't forget that this IS the internet and once something is out there it's hard to take it back. On top of that I think that by keeping things positive it makes it easier for me to look at the rest of my life in a positive light. Sometimes when I'm having a rough day or really struggling with something I like to have my blog and the internet to escape to because I can refocus on all the things that make me happy and make the hard stuff worth it. I think its important to have a positive niche in your life that you can always count on, and I'm glad you keep your blog as one.

allie

Mish Mashh said... [Reply to comment]

All I can say is reading your blog has become part of my daily routine - whatever kind of day i've had i love that i come to your blog knowing that whatever i read will be uplifting and thought provoking in some way. Everybody has problems, but it's the way you handle and choose to perceive the problems that makes the difference. Your blog always reminds me to appreciate the every day little things especially when i've had a bad day...thank you!

PhotoPuddle said... [Reply to comment]

Brilliant post. In fact I could have written this myself about my own blog. I want my blog to to be a bright, happy and fairly inspirational place so I try to write about all the wonderful things in my life. Of course I can't help the odd moan now and again - after all it's my blog and I'll moan if I want to - but in general I want people to leave my blog with a smile on their face.
And as for bitching about people on the internet (facebook, twitter etc) I've never understood that. And even though I blog and use twitter anonymously I always stick to my rule that I would never say anything on the internet that I wouldn't say to someone's face.

nancy said... [Reply to comment]

I could not agree more. our blogs are about what we want them to be about - whether it be a journal with 100% disclosure, or a place to share inspirational tidbits. it's important to remember why we're here - in most cases, not to make money. it's because we want to be.

we don't owe anyone anything.

fizzleh said... [Reply to comment]

To be perfectly honest, this is the reason I love your blog so much. It's always positive and it always makes me smile. : )

Rachelle said... [Reply to comment]

Can't begin to express how perfectly you put my thoughts into words...I received an email from a friend today that said something to the effect of 'how are you doing? i mean, i read your blog, but how are you REALLY doing?'. As if I lead a completely different life than I portray or something of the sort. I'm an optimist and I choose to accentuate the positive. I do have hard times just as much as the next blogger, but I keep private matters private-- unless, as you said, I'm sharing a lesson in hindsight. If someone is hoping to get all the nitty-gritty details of my life, a family bond or tight friendship is how they'll get it. :-)

Kristin said... [Reply to comment]

totally agree. tired of the negative nancies :)

Anna said... [Reply to comment]

Yes. <3 you, friend.

Amanda Julia said... [Reply to comment]

I love that you keep your blog so positive, there is a lot of negativity out there, so its refreshing to see how happy and positive you keep this space. Keep it up!

Sabrina Katherine said... [Reply to comment]

As per usual, I admire your ability to keep your blog positive. I have the hardest time doing that, and whenever I feel like I have nothing nice to say, I take a detour to your blog as a reminder that there are good things. Good things and moments that I miss that are definitely things to take notice of.

Love you, lady.