Last week, I shared a quick little story about Simon from a jumper lesson because my queue of pre-written blog posts (like this post today, ha) had been emptied.  Jen commented that she liked the non-filtered stories about me and my horse, which made me ponder.

How much do I filter on here?

Honestly, the answer is a lot.

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When I originally started SMTT, I wanted to be anonymous.  That lasted maybe a month… tops.  Then about two years later, I decided to skew almost entirely equestrian.  I knew that I didn’t want to be a blogger that bad mouthed people on the internet or took my barn or trainer drama online, but for the most part I pretty much wrote what I felt.

I wrote a lot of lameness history and issues out here.  I wrote about my own self esteem and worries with my weight.  I wrote about Simon’s limitations and my discouragement at times.

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Though I was mostly met with lots of support and good feedback, there were exceptions.  Some people left well meaning comments that deeply hurt my feelings, while others hurt my feelings on purpose.  From that I learned that if I am willing to put something out on the internet that I’m sensitive about than I should be prepared to suffer the consequences of doing so.

The end result is that now some topics are off limits for me in this blog, which is definitely a filter.

Even once I decided to take some issues off the record, I still find myself filtering at times.  Will I offend someone?  Will the person who emailed me a nasty comment with a fake name show their face again?  What will person X say when they read this?

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I know I need to let go of these questions, because this is the internet.  The vocal minority loves the internet.  I mostly choose to concentrate on the 95% positive feedback and good friends I’ve made through equestrian blogging, but I find myself filtering for the 5% still.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.  Filters dull content, it’s true.  You don’t get the biting sarcasm that is actually in my brain, but I keep quiet.  There are also sometimes that you don’t get the full story, because I feel a need to protect myself/my horse/my friend/my trainer/my ex trainer/whoever.

So yes, I filter this blog.  What about you?

 

58 COMMENTS

  1. I absolutely filter. Every aspect of my life, or my horse’s life, does not need to be public knowledge. A blog isn’t (necessarily) a documentary, lol!

  2. I filter a lot. It was actually one of my goals this year to be more open. Some thingsi don’t post about because of local nosey people. Some things I really want to rant about I can’t either because of the same reason.

  3. As a lurker I appreciate what you share. I have all your weight/skill/lack of resources/health. And yet I can’t give up my attempts to ride and achieve some sort of skill. It helps me to have a virtual friend in you. Thank-you for what you do share of yourself.

  4. I think whether or not you ‘filter’ your blog has a lot to do with what you want to get out of it, and is at the heart of WHY you blog. Personally, I don’t do a lot of purposeful filtering. While I’m not going to go airing my dirty laundry on the internet (because that is NOT classy), I generally have absolutely nothing to hide about my riding life. I blog because I enjoy writing, I want to share my riding journey, knowledge, and opinions with others, and people seem to enjoy reading my content. My blog is not a place to start rumors, badmouth people, or speak abusively – my real life is not the place for that, either! I’m not doing this to build a huge online presence, or get a million comments, or stir the pot, or get attention or affirmation from my readers. I blog because I like blogging! And It’s important to me to be authentic and the same online as I am in real life – warts and all. In real life I also have a good reputation and I avoid drama, so there’s really nothing TO filter. I try to live a life treating people with kindness and respect, admitting my mistakes, and being an authentic and genuine human being. If someone takes offense to what I put online – oh well! I have nothing to be ashamed of and I’m happy to have a respectful conversation with a person that I disagree with. If someone gets worked up over what I post, honestly they are probably a nutjob because I’m not a naturally derisive person, and I don’t feel the need to post controversial content or create drama in my life. I don’t feel that the potential reactions of readers should be cause for me to filter my content.

  5. I do filter, but less than some I think. I try to just keep things honest. Plus, I try to focus mainly on my training struggles, and I can be as open as I want there. You can’t hurt my feelings by telling me I could sit my trot better. I already know that. You can’t hurt my feelings by telling me I pick fights with my horse too often. I already know that.

    When it comes to my personal life, and my friends, and our activities, I try not to share anything that would be hurtful or possibly misconstrued. Or I try not to share at all.

    Honestly, the age of the internet is open. You either have to embrace it and present yourself the way you want to be seen, or wear a foil hat. Unfortunately, foil doesn’t go with my outfit.

  6. I was confused about the word filter at the beginning of this post (I am also half awake) but I understand it now by the end. I don’t think I filter. I do think I keep things tidy. I try to be as authentic and genuine as possible while still leave like my address off the internet. But you know sometimes you need to keep things to yourself or offline for protection and I think that’s okay too, its also good to walk away from anything that doesn’t serve you.

  7. I wouldn’t say I filter, but I do change some details to protect the anonymity of the innocent and idiotic. I also don’t usually use real names other than my own. I used my real name as my domain name because I’m not very imaginative and never thought my blog would be very popular anyway. I’m kind of sad that I’ve never gotten any nasty grams, though. I feel like you haven’t really arrived as a horse blogger until you’ve pissed someone off. 😉

  8. I tend to agree with Alli- filtering goes hand in hand with why you blog. Because I blog mostly as a record of our training, lessons, etc and what I learn from my experiences, my content is probably low on ‘offensive’ commentary. Still, there are plenty of times I have held my tongue.

    I would say this, in support of filtering- which is more important, being honest and getting potential backlash that makes you miserable, OR maintaining a blog as an exercise that makes you happy, and therefore not sharing every little detail? Personally I prefer the latter!

    • I prefer the latter as well, hence my filtering. I do think there’s a lot less of a reason to filter a training blog, but that type of content doesn’t appeal to me 100% of the time writing wise and I like to vary it up… which is what you see around here. I admire the training type bloggers, because it takes a lot of diligence and dedication to keep that up!

  9. My filters revolve mostly around keeping my personal life out of it, and respecting the privacy of others as well.

    Sorry that random people feel the need to bully you – they must have very sad lives.

  10. nice topic. like Alli & Britt said – it might depend on what i want my blog to be. for me, it IS a bit of a riding diary and documentary – and is my one place to keep all my horsey thoughts, memories & experiences.

    so far i haven’t purposefully shied away from any specific topics, nor have i received any negative or mean commentary. my blog is relatively new tho – so that could theoretically change in the future

    that said – i do try to keep it positive and my mind open. or, even when i’m not super happy about how things are going, i try to avoid assigning blame elsewhere (except to the weather lol).

  11. Thank you for this post. Very thoughtful and open. It’s made me reflect on my own attitudes and practices in blogging – always a good thing! I’m playing with a post of my own on the topic in response to yours to try and parse out more of what I think and feel.

  12. We’ve talked about this, but I filter my blog. Mostly the reason is that I take thing very personally [even when they aren’t directed that way]. So if I don’t want unsolicited comments on a topic, I won’t write about it.

  13. I make an effort to filter as little as possible. There’s some things I don’t talk about, usually because they’re personal, or unimportant, or because someone in my real life would be unnecessarily upset if they read it. But honestly – I consider that tact, not filtering. I definitely make an effort to be as open and honest as possible, even when it’s possibly going to make me or other people uncomfortable. I don’t mind if people know who I am, and I don’t really care if they want to take what I say and judge me for it, or if they think I’m an idiot. If I had thin skin I never would have started blogging in the first place LOL. I also don’t really care if everyone agrees with me (that’s not possible), or thinks I’m great (also not possible), or wants to be my friend. It makes me feel better, as someone with my weird personality type, to confront issues head-on in a public forum and have a discussion about it rather than just keep quiet.

  14. I hear you girl! There is nothing worse than when I write about something and get blindsided by criticism I didn’t even anticipate. Some days that makes me very cautious and gun-shy, but other days I just say whatever and I write whatever I want…and ignore the comments. It’s hard because I know people like the interaction of comments but sometimes (not so much with my blog, more with writing for Horse Nation) it is too painful to open up and risk the trolls.

  15. I would say most people probably have some sort of filter. It may be just a tiny little bit, but it is there. I can say it is there for me, but like the others have stated, I want to be as honest as possible on my blog.

  16. Im just starting and kind of learning the ropes. I filter through SB, Redheadlins, and HollyBully on group chat. But I also mostly write “diary entries” so I dont have much to filter. I totes have to filter equestrian purchases cause of the one day my mom found my blog lol

  17. Great post (like all your posts). Like Brit, I blog primarily to help me process things I learn and keep a record of our training progress, shows, etc. It’s a way for me to work through struggles and share successes. Therefore, I don’t filter. Comments are greatly appreciated and are very helpful. I don’t get any snarky comments – only people trying to help.

    I also think there’s nothing wrong with filtering, or with saying in a post “please don’t comment XYZ because its sensitive right now” or something. We all have to protect our own feelings as much as possible. I genuinely think the blogger community is an amazing support group, and I hope that if I ever leave a comment that bothers someone that they will tell me so that I can ensure to be more careful in the future.

  18. I’ve been in a variety of positions in and out of the horse industry, so I’m very strict about “my blog my horse” because I think it’s wildly unprofessional to talk about clients etc. I do topical posts occasionally to rouse discussion. I just have a rule that I never post on something I can’t deal with feedback on. Day to day, I’m quite open and have thick skin.

    When I’m dealing with harder things IRL (either horsey or personal) and might be taking things more personally, I rein in potentially upsetting topics. I’m ultimately blogging to make connections with other fun horse people. I keep that in mind when I’m writing.

    That said, my biggest debate is usually how kid-friendly I make my content. Sometimes more. Lately less. Dunno what the right answer is there.

    • You bring up a good point about stuff going on outside the blog that readers don’t necessarily know about. I don’t tend to say ‘hey I’m having relationship troubles right now so I’m super sensitive’ but that is an example of what could make me way more upset by a seemingly innocent comment. The blog only tells a small part of the story due to the nature of its content.

  19. I filter selectively- I’m pretty open about my own baggage, but I try to protect the other people I write about. I signed up for this blogging/sharing with internet people thing. They didn’t. So far I’ve been lucky enough to get immensely supportive and encouraging feedback, but I might start filtering more about myself once I’ve had my first good zinger. Gonna have to wait and see!

  20. I don’t filter much in the sense that I’m scared to put things up there but I do filter because a) I think people will find it boring and b) if I’m upset about something, I try to wait a day or two so it’s not raw and I don’t say something I’m going to regret.

    But, I also don’t have a big of following as you do so I am not met with a lot of nasty or even just “trying to be helpful but really are actually hurtful” comments. So I don’t have to filter as much as you probably do. If I ever got some of the responses that you bigger bloggers do, I might filter more.

  21. I filter. I try to be honest, I try to be real, but I’m not interested in creating much debate on my blog. That’s not to say I won’t possibly chime in with an opinion on someone else’s blog- but you better believe my shared opinion will be respectful and thoughtful. Until the internet can respond in-kind, i’ll be happily filtering. It makes me sad when technology removes all the humanity from some people.

  22. I had to think about if/how much I filter!

    The things I write on my blog are true. I write about things I think are interesting, or helpful, or funny. I try hard to stay positive on my blog, but I am aggressively positive and cheerful in real life, so I don’t feel like it’s a false front.

    That said, I do filter content that I don’t think is applicable to the blog’s focus (like a neat thing I cooked). I also try not to do any blatant name calling (like mentioning the name of the barn whose manager stole my ground pole to repair a fence).

    But at any rate, I think some filtering is good. There’s no sense in putting things out there that are likely to generate feedback that will hurt your feelings or make you feel awful!

  23. In the sense that my blog is basically about my horse and my dog, yes, I filter. But I think of it more as exercising discretion, something I am literally trained and paid to do because of the nature of my job. So, no, you will not be reading about my forays into the Tinder-verse on my blog 😉

  24. I filter SO MUCH. I just disguise how much I filter by distracting people with swear words. But really, if I went off on every topic that I want to, I think I would be kicked out of the horse blogging community.

  25. Everything you wrote completely makes sense. I’d like to say I am an honest individual… But if I want to really bitch about something, I’ll keep it “in the family”. Taking the time to filter and fill the internet pony blog world with positive ideas and comments and support is more important than anything else to me. 🙂

  26. I do less filtering, more of topic selectivity, I feel like? For instance, I don’t write much detail about grad school, in small part because I don’t need that on the internet, but mostly because I think it’s really freaking boring and blogging is my creative escape from doing Pivot tables so hell no, I don’t want to talk about healthcare during my ‘fun time’. I think because I think of mine as a lifestyle blog vs a purely-equestrian blog (it goes through horse phases like a teenage girl), I filter less too. I try to keep my friends’ names to single letters, and I make sure they’re comfortable with being mentioned, but overwhelmingly I’ve found they like being included. Since I blogged throughout college, it’s much more of a social/lifestyle diary that we routinely reminisce on versus a ‘branded business I think so many blogs have become (less so in equestrian land, but huge in lifestyle/fashion blogging). My biggest struggle is balancing A) content (I like blogging about clothes and shoes and makeup and my life, but I don’t fit into any category) and B) sponsorship/compensation activities.
    I have found I do filter a little more when I’m talking about SnowPony vs Lucy (I mean, I don’t even use SP’s real name) because he’s leased and I would absolutely hate to say something to inadvertently offend his owner.

  27. Short answer: Nope. Sure, I choose topics, what real person has time to write about everything? I agree with Ali in the sense that your blog is your blog — why do you write it? In addition, I’m a huge believer in having an authentic, unique voice. That’s what makes good writing.

    My blog has been quiet of late, I confess that at the moment, exhaustion is winning. But I also believe…it’s the internet. No one MAKES anyone read anything. Don’t like it? Don’t read it.

    One of the primary tenets of my blog has always been that I will never hide the ugly parts, the mistakes, the difficulty, & the 400th time I screw up. Because one of the reasons I began writing it was to assure the poor Adult Ammy that You Are Not Alone. Maybe it’s my age & past experiences, I dunno — I know that is hard for some people to do & it does require either the courage or the poetic “I don’t give a shit” of my beloved Grumpy Cat.

    In the end, it IS the interwebz. I have lived & traveled in several countries, including some dominated by people living a subsistence lifestyle. My career is in conservation, making decisions & having to prioritize very real natural resources in very real danger, having to make decisions that sometimes involve whether we let a species go extinct in order to focus on another who has a better chance. So…perspective. Responses to my horsey ramblings? Not even in the same space-time.

  28. Enjoyed reading the comments on this topic! It’s funny that this came up because I got a text from my sister saying “stop showing your address on your blog you nutter.” I guess I don’t think to filter sometimes when I should haha. That said- I really don’t have a problem sharing personal info or using real names of people and horses. This blog is a reminder to be kind and always *try* to look at the positives so I never feel as if I have to disguise real happenings to protect anyone. If there is a personal issue I simply don’t share it. Plus- I operate in such a tiny micro space on the web I’m not sure it even matters. Once I get to one MILLION followers I might be a little more in tune with sensitivities around content 🙂 (I may or may not have put my pinky to my mouth with I said one MILLION- get it? Austin Powers?)

  29. i think most people filter to a degree… some more than others (kind of like fb statuses *groan*). i never think that a blog is a good place to vent and complain about someone or something since anyone can get on here and read about it so like you said, what you put out there, you gotta be prepared to take the crap that might come with it. i use my instructor’s first name and the stable name and even the horse’s name. but to me, i never put anything out that that would seem questionable to me… maybe that’s a bit naive of me. i do love what my instructor does and if people can’t see that i continue to take lessons with her because i actually like her and her style and everything, then maybe they need a real hobby instead of judging others. the one thing i do try to maintain is my own opinion and perspective about everything i write about. i mean blogs are supposed to be full of opinions and biases because they’re written by a specific author!

  30. I always take into account that my students, their parents, or my employer could be reading my blog. With that being said, I am honest, but never felt that blogging was supposed to be a full disclosure event. When I was riding a lot, training was my favorite thing to write about. I don’t think there was much to filter.

  31. I filter plenty. I put nothing on my blog that I wouldn’t be OK with my trainers/friends/barn people/etc reading. It’s kind of too bad but it’s also not, since it keeps the negativity down. I love to bitch about people I don’t like so it’s best to leave that off my blog!

  32. I filter. I’ll admit it. Right now I’m waaaaay more upset about the stupid CWD saddle than I would ever say in my blog. My dad taught me that honey gets you further than vinegar, so I don’t want the sales rep going online seeing I wrote nasty stuff. I hope if I’m persistent and nice, I will get a resolution. (If not, then I’ll write nasty stuff–just kidding. I will write my point of view.) I also filter about some family stuff since I live in a blended family situation. I’ve often thought I should start an anonymous blog about being a stepmom to teens, not having kids of my own except for the horse (which isn’t truly a child). We have our share of drama that is actually pretty ridiculous if I take a step back. I’m all about the filtering.

  33. I really liked reading the comments here. I exercise a lot of tact facebook and don’t post much at all, but blogging I tend to be a bit of an open book. Sometimes too much so. I recently removed a lot of posts about a young horse I’ve been developing because the owner didn’t want me to include anything slightly negative (I expressed the opinion the horses is occasionally spooky) and I’d rather show the entire picture or nothing at all.

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