February 17, 2016

My Friend's Upset About My Blog

Hey, Bonita…

Oh my GOD. My friend is driving me crazy. Long story short: We lived a very hippie lifestyle together over 10 years ago, and we had a ton of conflict during that time, but we managed to make amends and are still friends to this day. I am no longer a hippie; she still is.

I used to have an online blog during that time that no one in our hippie circle read. I basically maintained it because I love to journal out my thoughts, and after moving away from my home state, I knew this was a great tool for keeping my friends and family up to date on my life. During our hippie years, things got very difficult between us, with tons of conflict and drama, but it wasn't all bad. There was also plenty of sex, drugs, nature walks, road trips and dance parties.

She recently found out about my blog from some other hippie that read it years ago. She excitedly asked me for the blog details, and I gave it to her readily—it was 10 years ago, so what?—but I reminded her of our past conflict and let her know that, because no one in our circle knew about it, I was extremely honest about my struggles and didn't change any names.

Well, of course she's really pissed off now, and she sent me an amazingly rude email demanding that I go through all of my content, removing a photo of her and changing her name. WTF? This bitch is crazy, and I'm too through. How do I deal with her? I'm definitely NOT going to edit a 10-year-old blog that no one reads just because she can't let things go.

Right now she's reeling from the shock of knowing that her business is on the Internet for everyone to see—hence her strong response. It's probably been a few weeks now, so I'm wondering if her attitude about the situation has cooled off. Hopefully she's thought about the fact that all this conflict is in the past and that you've made amends over it, but her initial reaction is honestly very understandable and sort of appropriate, though also a bit unreasonable. This was over a decade ago, and finding a detailed account of the crappy things that happened to her—and that she perpetrated against others—is definitely embarrassing and shocking. Also, I imagine I'd react similarly if I found a chronicle of my shitty 24-year-old ways on the Internet, complete with my name and photos I'd never known were shared with others.

The politics of social media is still maturing as we continue to use these mediums and make them part of our everyday lives. The Internet of the mid-aughts had a Wild West feel, if I may be so bold; we didn't police it the way we do now. I remember finding Photobuckets that were nothing but stolen nude pictures of teenage girls posted by the pedophiles who stalked them. Nowadays those creeps gotta go to the dark web to pull stunts like that, you know? What people didn't notice or care about on the Internet in the ‘90s and the aughts is now being turned into legislation, the finest example being the 26 states where revenge porn (posting intimate photos without a person's consent) is illegal.

Obviously your friend was a hippie who didn't follow the Internet back then but does now, and she understands how things can come back to haunt you online. Still, it's your journal, and it's your decision as to whether or not you'll edit it. Sounds to me like you related to this journal much like a diary, and it contains more than just tales of your conflicts with people. I don't think you should edit those entries—not only because it would be tedious, but mostly because it's a decade-old issue for which you two have forgiven each other. Leaving it in the past is best. Do apologize to your friend and explain that to her, and if it's possible to lock the journal from public view with a password or account-only access, do that.

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