Caveat lector (?)

Ok. Not quite sure how to say this, or who I’m saying it to, but after a brief chat in my appraisal about how someone finds my blog upsetting I thought I should address it. It was suggested I don’t send links to work colleagues. But I don’t think I do – in the sense of, here is a link in an email to my latest depressive ramblings. I might have sent what I thought were relevant posts in the past, but I haven’t even posted that much recently so it’s a bit odd. Perhaps it’s referring to the link at goes on twitter, or if I have posted a link on Facebook. (which is rare again) but in both cases, if you’re following me, it’s your choice to do so, and I certainly don’t force anyone to click my links.

On my blog, twitter, Facebook, I am in my personal capacity and if I want you to read it in any sense it is as a friend. There may be some library related stuff, but I find I haven’t been able to write much in that vein since I last got told off for writing something less than kind about someone. (in an entirely anonymised form but still. I was freer with my self expression in those days and pretty much wrote about everything.) If you know me, you probably know I suffer from depression, I hate my job, and I might just express a wee bit of displeasure at the government.

I write my blog, when I actually write anything in it, primarily for myself as a form of expression I lack elsewhere. I write to get things off my chest, explore my feelings, defuse my darker moments. Remind myself that it’s not always like that. I also write to try and raise awareness. There are a lot of people out there who don’t understand mental illness. Who don’t (think they) know anyone who suffers with mental ill health. Who don’t see how someone can be fine one day and not there the next. The more people who can express their experience the more likely that perception will begin to change. And there are many who are much more ill than I, who cant, or who just don’t feel able to say how they are feeling. So when I can, I do. I’m sorry if it upsets you, but I won’t change what I write. If it upsets you because you don’t want to read it – then don’t click the links, or unfollow or unfriend me if you can’t trust yourself with that control. Sorry to lose you but it’s your choice. If it upsets you because you are upset for me, thanks, come give me a hug or take me out for lunch.

On the plus side, my manager at least just said, oh, if people choose to follow you then it’s their lookout. Which was better than the time HR said maybe I shouldn’t write about my self harm in case it upset my staff. Not quite telling me to wear a long sleeved jumper but bad enough.

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3 thoughts on “Caveat lector (?)

  1. I agree you would have to consciously seek out and read the blog and why would you do that if you found it upsetting, and then to highlight this to others is almost attention seeking? However I do agree that if despite being anonymous someone could work out a post was about them you shouldn’t post it, it’s an issue a lot of medical bloggers deal with especially if the incident has been in the news. http://traumaqueen.net/?s=anon is the only example I can find at the moment. I would ask myself if I found (intentionally or not) something posted where I or others in the situation could work out, despite anonymous elements,who or what the post was about how would I feel? Also a lot of employers have clauses now concerning facebook /etc, however I think this can also get taken to the extreme http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/29/would-you-hand-your-faceb_n_1387538.html It’s a fine line to balance as most people will google clients, and employees this days, and if you have a large online presence or an unusual name are you happy with the information in the public domain.

    Interesting read anyhow!

    1. Yes I learned my lesson at the time – (about 10 years ago, christ, am I that old?!) It wasn’t good. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she’d have had a leg to stand on in terms of had I legally done anything wrong – it was more, it was a bit crass. It wasn’t even something really that would bring work into disrepute as I was very vocal about how much I believed in the work we did. HR did apparently go through the blog with a toothcomb and found nothing in that sense. (I wondered why my stats shot up…) It was just this person wasn’t the greatest of bosses to have (not that they were mine at the time) – and I’d seen too many people cry and be upset by behaviours which I found old fashioned. And I moaned. In one blog. Meh.

      Anyway. I learnt my lesson, but sadly that act of censoring myself meant I stopped being as free with my mind, and so went from a pretty good blogger (and quite an early one) – to one who rarely posted. Habit broken. Useful and theraputic form of self expression almost, if not quite, lost.

      When I was younger, I had a lot of friends who chose to exclude what could have been really valuable stuff from their CVs because they had gained that experience while working for a university LGB society (the T hadn’t been added to the vernacular just then). I made the choice that actually, if someone was going to think badly of me because of my involvement with that group (and by extension because I am Bi), then I was probably better off not working for them. Then there’s the question of whether to declare that I have a mental health problem. I always to my knowledge have tried to be honest – and I’m glad now because it puts you in a much better legal position if you have been open about these things to begin with. Plus – again, as I mentioned in the post, if people aren’t open about it, then others will never be aware just how commonplace and endemic this problem is in our society, and they won’t make the changes to their practices and expectations which might make life better for a lot of people.

      I view social media a bit like that. I am who I am (and who I am, needs no excuses…) – I have a lot to give, a lot of talents and enthusiasm, if an employer chooses to make use of them. If they want to throw them away because I am occasionally sweary, get drunk a reasonable amount in a totally normal english fashion, and am a bit of a raving Guardianista – then more fool them. The cabinet office guidelines on social media usage value integrity and honesty. I understand integrity and honesty to mean that within the legal scope, I must be true to myself and my beliefs, and not compromise any more than I think is reasonable. I don’t blog or tweet in an official capacity – if I did, I would write differently. But every human I believe should have the right to express themselves. Perhaps I feel this strongly because I am not as vocal anywhere else as I feel able to be online. You’ve seen me “IRL”. I can be a bit quiet, shy and awkward. The internet helps me open up. I don’t think people should lose out on that because some employers don’t know the difference between bad press and an opportunity to make good press.

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