Dear Harriette: When my wife gets mad at me, she writes on her Web site what I did wrong that day. We are in counseling, but sometimes my words will be twisted around on the site. She tells me not to go to the site, but I know one of our neighbors does and I want to know what is being said about me on a public Web site. Any advice? — Tom, Texas
Tom: Is nothing sacred anymore? Like you, I would be outraged if my spouse revealed details of our life together — conflicts or triumphs — in a public forum without my blessing. Have you discussed this with your therapist? This is a topic that may best be addressed with the support of a neutral, professional party.
My advice is that the two of you make the effort to talk directly to one another about your disagree3ments. You and your wife may also want to keep individual journals in which you write candidly about your feelings.
What works about personal journals is that they are private. Posting thoughts and feelings about your spouse on a Web site is unkind and destructive. Such an action dismantles any bond of intimacy that the two of you may have, especially since the postings reveal challenges in your marriage.
Ask your wife to stop immediately. By all means, check her Web site to see if she complies. If she does not, you have a much bigger issue on your hands. The level of trust and respect in your relationship is at an all-time low. In order to salvage your bond, the two of you must come to terms with what is confidential and what is not. Again, I strongly recommend therapy as a tool to help you find your way.
I am of two minds of this. To me I think this is acceptable behavior, so long as it is done with an alias: When you post under an alias, you can essentially be creating a fiction, or you feasibly can be. As long as all work is done with aliases, I see no problems with posting whatever you want.
Whenever aliases are not used, then the posts are mean spirited. Flat out. I tend to use aliases in almost everything, except in rare cases.
Also, it is important that the site isn’t marketed to direct friends or family. If you use all aliases in your site, but then tell all your friends about it, then you are just as guilty of divulging secrets as if there were no aliases. When I had my original online diary, my friends knew nothing of its existence for over a year.
In my opinion, it’s impossible to hide the existence of an online diary forever, especially if it is updated on any kind of a regular basis. That’s why it’s best to keep in character, so to speak, and to obfuscate things in a language that still communicates the message but would make it difficult for those directly involved with the situation to immediately identify with what was going on in the story.
Fortunately (and unfortunately) for me, rizzn.com doesn’t fall into this category anymore. Everyone in my life I know reads this site — including my bosses, my parents, my ex-girlfriends, their friends, my business associates, and all my close friends. This means that I can’t really talk about my personal life with the magnifying glass I would like to, since it puts it out to everyone I know (and don’t know, but know who I’m talking about). This also means I have a soapbox to get onto everytime I want to broadcast a message to two or three concentric circles of friends. As with most things, a double edged sword. ]