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mask

Sometime back I came across this post and I loved it. It expressed some of my sentiments exactly, about why people put up their children’s photos in the blogs. I really felt like applauding Poppins who wrote the post for saying it so well.


When I started my blog, it was simply an aid to cope with grief. I had no idea that many would read—and connect so well. I had no idea that it would launch an alternate career for me in writing as well. (I get regular writing assignments now from various magazines and newspapers too. My articles have started appearing in print—and cheques have started coming in. It feels very fulfilling)

Of late though, I have started getting bothered about some people who regularly read my blog and do not say a word. They arrive on my blog by specifically searching for my blog with my FULL name, that too my maiden name. This means that these people know me well. They know what my kids look like, they know what my husband looks like, they know what I am doing and feeling. (That does not bother me as I am really proud of my husband and my kids) Yet they choose to be silent.(That is what bothers me)


Why? Why are these people not speaking up? It seems a bit eerie to me—to constantly keep reading what I am saying, without saying a word. It feels like I am being stalked. It feels like someone wearing a mask is standing at my window and looking right in. It also means someone is very very interested in my life—but is not speaking up.(If they don’t want to say anything on my blog—they can at least send me a email, right? My email id is there on my profile)


Mostly I connect with almost anybody who leaves a comment. I visit their blog—or if they are non-bloggers, I reply to the comment. But this silent, sneaky, anonymous visitor/s that I have no clue about is bothering me. (Especially because obviously they have been a part of my life at some point of time—or someone close to them has been---else there is no way they would know my maiden name)


It is bothering me so much that yesterday I deleted a couple of photos and a few of my older posts. If it continues I guess I will just have to be very very wary---and make my blog private and allow only the regular readers in.


That is sad because I have connected with SO MANY of you only because of my blog. I have found some great friends in Suma (Of thinking aloud) and Prats (of Emotional Ecology) to name just a couple.(There are many more--YOU know who you are!) I really enjoy interacting with people, reading what they have to say—and knowing what is going on in their lives. If I make my blog private I do lose out on meeting new people.


What is your suggestion? What do you say? What should I do?

*****************************************************

After reading some of the comments--I am hastening to clarify:

What is bothering me is that someone searched for me by my 'maiden name' and 'blog'---(which I used to use in college and that was 15 years back and for my alumni group) This means that person(s) knows me and knows I have a blog.Yet they are choosing to keep quiet.That is REALLY annoying and a bit worrisome too.

And no--i haven't said anything in my blog that I am ashamed of or want to hide--It's just that Mr./Ms. Annonymous friend reading everything and keeping silent that is clawing in the mind.(and yes--I can see everyone who comes,from where they come(location as well as referring URL),what they read,and how long they stay)

Comments

  1. blog stalking is a menance which is growing and is sure irritating. if you know who they are, and if you know them personaly - confront them and ask why they keep watching you. when they knw that you can find out who is visitng ur blog, they may back off. making ur blog private is a very sad thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi PS! More than a suggestion/say, I have a query. How does one decide where to draw a line? I am really not able to put my thoughts into words... but am keen to know the answer. Because as you once told me Iam a total stranger to you. In other words, is a blog really necessary? I dont have one, you know that, but guess you know me through my scraps etc. At a loss of words

    ReplyDelete
  3. xh: i don't know who they are--Thats what is bothering me. I agree that making a blog private defeats its very purpose.

    Dr.Arvind: Of course a blog is COMPLETELY NECESSARY---What a PREPOSTUROUS question!!!!! My whole post was about HOW MUCH blogging helped me and HOW MUCH I gained from it and how it expanded my world--and How much i enjoy it.I decide where I draw the line. I hope this answered your query.And yes--I hardly know you.(If you had a blog I would naturally know more--as a blog reveals the writers personality)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I find myself checking various blogs in the same kind of way that I read the newspaper. As you know, though, sometimes I say hi and sometimes I don't. So I guess that makes me a stalker as well.

    I find it rather eery too, when a friend I hadn't seen in ages recently started talking about things I had done lately -- she already knew everything I was up to because she had read it on my blog. Yet she NEVER said hi at all!

    It just makes me think you need to only write about things that you wouldn't mind if your grandmother read. Because you can't be sure who's out there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gosh Ps, i feel terrible now. coz i do it all the time.

    remember me Nancy, i have your link on my page(u told me i could loooong back) & i click it atleast once a week to c what u have to say. Most of the time i dont leave a comment coz u write such profound stuff that i need to 'think' to write a comment :-p & i postpone it to later and this goes on.

    i promise that i'll say "Hi Ps, i've been here" if i dont know what to comment. is that ok with u?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sue: No--it DOES NOT make you a stalker!!Because I know who you are--and I know your blog too.This person arrived on my blog after searching for me using my maiden name--that is what is creepy as obviously this person is or was my friend at some point.Yes--It is strange that a person you haven't met for ages knows all you have been upto as they read your blog.I guess the least they can do is say hi.You are very very right about writing only what you're sure you wont mind your grand mom readng.(There's noting I am ashamed of in my blog)But still I am uncomfortable when I have no interaction with the person.Thanks for speaking up!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nancy: It wasnt my intention to make you feel guilty--and I do apologise if that happened.What was bothering me is that someone who knows me (as they know my maiden name) is reading without speaking.But yes--thanks for speaking up! And perfectly fine if you say anything--as long as I know who you are!! Cheers and have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  8. good to know u r earning from ur hobby..
    don't be harsh on those wordless admirers of urs...their silent visits still mean they love to read what u write..

    ReplyDelete
  9. Heyyy..guess some people are like that. On the contrary there are so many other blogs that i read and leave a comment and believe me the writer of the blog have not replied back to me:( because of this i visit their blog and dont leave a message & it is because the author doesnt connect. You are one of those few people who reply to all the folks who have left a message.
    Keep it going !! Cheers :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi PS,

    I discovered your blog randomly. So I'm firt time visitor. never stalked you b4. hehe.
    I have a blog as well and I enjoy writing there. It's a lot fun. I feel pleased if people leave sth after reading my blog. But if they don't or choose to be silent forever, I'm not bothered. actully i'm perfectly ok with that.

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  11. just when i discover ur blog ( first time here), I get a post on going private? :)

    No!

    you can find me on http://chandni.wordpress.com

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  12. hey Preeti!

    This is a lil scary indeed! But how do u know tat these ppl come to ur blog after searching ur name? Is there anyway u can keep track of it? Or are u just suddenly paranoid??? I know the feeling. One day I upload all my pics on orkut. And the next day, I pull them all out.

    Then, blogging is a cathartic experience. And I know u surely enjoy it. But mebbe u can confine urself and reveal only those details tat can be read by ALL. Or u may discuss a topic, and stop short of giving away the intricate details. So tat way, u feel safe. U get to connect with ppl, yet the secrets remain with u!

    ReplyDelete
  13. And bout the comments, some ppl are just lazy to comment, some dont have much to say. I comment cuz I enjoy doing it and also have time in my hamds right now. Those who cant afford the luxury, will just rush thru. So thers nothing to worry!

    But if ur still concerned, mebbe u can make it private. But pls let ME in ok Preeti!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for the 'great friend' badge...i echo your sentiments through and through...:)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks and yes, I did find a great friend in you.
    I've gone through this too, so I understand how it can feel....will never know if its good to ignore or just confront the person. But if u can't find the identity, it can be scary.
    Maybe you should just wait it out and see after you've mentioned it here. They might just show up. But going into restrictive readership, will make your thoughts become very restrictive, because you're going to be very wary of each thought process, and thats not what you're out here for....I hope I make sense..

    ReplyDelete
  16. Preeti, I loved your reply to Arvind even more than the post :)

    I understand the discomfort. For various reasons my blog is mostly anonymous but admire people how show their face and use their name. Obviously it's not you that's doing the wrong thing, it's them.
    Perhaps they're those types of lurkers that feel unworthy of your attention. That's my best guess. Well, they ARE unworthy if they don't show their face.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Angie: yes--they can be silent--but what if they know your maiden name which you used 12 years back and now they search you by it?Thanks for the comment!!

    Pointblank: NO--I ahve NOT suddenly become paranoid.I have a software installed that tells me who came(IP address),from where,how long they stayed,what the referring URL was--etc etc.

    Prats:Yes--you are right--will wait and watch.

    Thinking aloud: :-) Same pinch :-)

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  18. Chandu:Noted--thanks!! :-)

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  19. Manoranjini: thanks-- But why are they keeping quiet--esp when i say that my blog is an attempt to reach out--to connect? If they were true friends wouldnt they speak up instead of merely being silent by-standers?

    Chitra:Somehow I always feel its important to respond.I constantly chek to see if I have inadvertently overlooked somebody's comment.And hey--thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Devil Mood: As always you understood EXACTLY what I was trying to say here.And yours is another blog that has opened a whole new world for me.Also its so exciting to connect to a person from another country,culture--We're different yet the same!Blogging is indeed amazing.I guess you are right about them being unworthy of my time or attention--Thanks for that perspective--Hadn't seen it that way.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have been wanting to write about this very thing for sometime now.. you have put it so well.. it happens to me too.. I was once at a party and my husband's colleague told me "I know what goes on in your life every day".. I was like "What the f**" and she reads my blogs. Lately I have been discovering more and more people like this.. who have been silently reading my blogs.
    I never post photos for this very reason.. And like you sometime back I deleted some photos in my older posts.. and since then have never posted pictures of us.
    Its so eerie and crazy this stalking/lurking!! Beats me.. I even opened up Anon comments to help non-bloggers leave comments.. some close friends and family shoot me an email or call me and tell me about it.. but there are others who dont say a word and I find out by accident most times!!

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  22. Preethi: i have no issues with photos as I go by what poppins said.But yes--SILENT readers--esp if they know you and all that takes is a phone all to connect--are very very irritating.And even if you dont post photos they still know what is going on in your life, when they read your blog--right?(Unless you choose only to write about world issues and other things and nothing about yourself)

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  23. don't go private - I love reading your blog. Maybe that person is too shy to say anything. After this discussion, they might not come forward at all:)

    I recently had a party where I invited a lot of people via evite. I could see that some of them were visiting the evite page daily - probably to check who else is coming - but they never bothered to say yay, nay, or maybe - definitely should remove them from my address book :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. PS I hv alot of readers like that too...they tell me that by emails etc. That they read my blog but hv never commented.

    Now some of em may be doing that out of not wanting to be a regular commentor, or cos of short of time maybe, or even not having anything to say. Some feel they r not skilled with words when it comes to expressing. So it's really their wish.

    But I know wut u mean...sometimes I too get that 'stalked' feeling..it's eerie!

    Keshi.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hope you don't go private.

    Perhaps the person does not want to disrupt your transparency and comfort level in the blog. Hence reading your blod without listing their name out. Oh probably, they juz don't want to be known at all.

    I guess i would also feel the uncomfort as well if someone i know personally is reading my blog without my knowledge and not saying anything.

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am six months into blogging and never had many visitors to my blog. Your blog has set me thinking, there can be stalkers too. I happened to land at your site when I was blogging on Himroo shawls, your post was of very general nature. I liked your writing style and got hooked.

    Personally I think sharing too much of personal thoughts on a public platform like this can lead to troubles. It is upto you to what extent you want others to know you. And somebody who knows you by your maiden name peeping into your blogs shouldn't worry you so much. It is the strangers you should be more wary of.

    Some of your recent blogs like miss me or how u handled your children's query or the radiators... are of general nature and I see no harm if a stranger has peeped in or an old buddy.

    For the future my suggestion is if u intend to share more personal thoughts then keep it within your friend's circle.

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  27. hey I am a silent reader most of the time...I enjoy reading your blogs...but there have been times where I've left a comment too...infact just the other day I was discussing with ritu ( who said she actually became friends with u via the blogging network) if its OK to visit some unknown person's blogs...what a coincidence this post comes at this time!

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  28. oh dunt go private! it is eerie when you realize that people you don't know very well but are in the near vicinity of friends are reading you rants and know every itty detail...especially in personal blogs...but i guess thats part and parcel of setting up a blog...with the helpful comments from good people come the stalkers as well...

    i know i read quite a few blogs for the thinking fodder i get and most of the times choose not to comment...sometimes its nice to just listen to what the other person has to say...sort of like an invisible friend...

    ok im rambling...but my point - dunt go private!! :)

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  29. Ps, my first time here, thanks for the link.
    I totally get what you're saying that is part of the reason I'm sort of anon. But here's the thing the person doing this may not be a stalker. Maybe they googled you to find where you were (although googling for maiden name + blog is scary) and landed here.

    Then they felt awkward to admit to the fact that they google you so they kept quiet.

    There are no solutions to this other than the extreme of going private.

    What you can do is water down the blog of private information (which you might already be doing). By private I mean things that only a blof reader would know.

    I've started doing that on my blog now and I feel more relaxed.

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  30. Sunshine: yes M'am!!You are very right in what you said.

    Namita:Yes--its perfectly ok!Ritu and I met in an amazing way.She recognised me from ym blog photo!!

    Indrani: Yes--i have never written anything so deep and personal.Somehow--strangers do not worry me.Everyone stranger can be a potential friend if you are aware of the danger.(Darn that rhymes!):-)

    Keshi: True--it's their wish--may be they are too shy!

    Sweetsticky: welcome back!I hope so too!

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  31. Pink dogwood: Yes I wont--but for different reasons..will write abt it.

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  32. Poppins: yes--you are absolutely right. in fact i discovered who it was too. So now I can brathe easy--and like you said-- I dont put anything so personal here. (never have)

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  33. Sweetsticky: I thought you said somewhere that it was good to be back again on my blog.So I wrote 'welcome back'..Mebbe I my sleep deprived brain is mixing people up!! Anyways--'welcome'!Nice to see you! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Looks like I have some company here ! I've been experiencing the same on my blog too. Anonymous comments by readers who seem to know you very well are highly annoying. I am fine if the person is commenting about the post, but at times, (s)he speaks about facts of my life that are only known to those who have interacted with me a lot.

    I have decided to mostly ignore that person.

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  35. I just wrote a very similar post to this post that you can find here if you'd like that another blogger left a comment on that referred me to your post (did that just make any sense??). Our posts deal with almost the very same thing as I've had a mystery visitor for months now who obviously knew me previously also and refuses to speak up. It is driving me totally crazy wracking my brain to try to figure this one out. I think I might know who it is but I've tried asking him and get no response via email either. I just don't know what to do other than try to quit checking my stats to see if he/she has visited again and yet, how can I not look in my stat counters to see if he/she has been back?

    It is really beginning to bother me and I was hoping that writing a post about it would call the person out but, alas, still no word from "the stalker".

    And on a totally different note - I love the look of your blog!

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  36. u know prats, i do believe that u had addressed this issue earlier...heres my 2 bit...i think its paranoia if one feels that they feel stalked if they dont get comments from the reader...eventough i really do understand the sentiment attached to connecting with the reader, i dont think we shud make comments obligatory...people are by and large nice and most of them are interested in wht is being posted...why they dont comment?...why does it really matter?...its my belief tht a post is like an art piece...majority will look it, admire it or dislike it and then move on...only a few will comment on it and a much lesser number who will buy it...anything created shud hve tht freedom...and any observer shud hve tht freedom...

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Preethi,
    This blog of yours has created a mixed reaction in my mind.Of late I too am a regular visitor to your write-ups, as it's as refreshing as reading a good book,or a nice article!and after almost always reading an article I feel "wow" , what a great way to express oneself!and not always do I post a comment. Sorry!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Ps
    Chandni asked me to look up ur blog initially ..which I did a cpl of days ago . I thought of coming back to take another look as ur posts made interesting reading . And I see here that u r upset with a stalker !
    I hv found a lot of ppl do actually come to the blog and I think very very few actually bother to leave a comment.Since I am very new to blogging I hv yet to face a situation that has caused me concern.
    But since u dont seem too pleased with things ,I do hope u find a way to deal with things soon .
    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Shubd:Problem is solved--see the post above this!!!TRhanks for the concern though.

    Lalitha: :) No--you arent a stalker as I know you!

    Vinaygmurthy: I guess that always works.In my case I now know who this person is.

    Tys: I think you were very drunk when you left the comment--or very overworked
    1.I am NOT prats!!!
    2.I have never said leaving comments is madatory.
    3.If I know the person i have no issues--It is someone from my past obviously which was mentioned twice in the post.
    You just skimmed through and didnt read, right?!!(Please dont feel obliged to answer!!)

    ReplyDelete
  40. I came across your blog few days back and have been enjoying your writing.
    Your posts are so thought provoking that I always want to come back to leave my footprints. But somehow never happened..didn't realise i was stalking..Sorry!

    But I can relate to your worries..If at all you do decide to go private, pls let me read...oh pretty please :)

    And as Shubd says, I do hope you find a way deal with this.

    J

    ReplyDelete
  41. I know that feeling! The ones that read and don't leave a line!:) Sometimes it bugs me to no end when friends discuss my posts on the phone... grrr... and I have to say "I have a forum for that topic guys, its called my blog":) But often, people read and are clueless about the whole commenting business...:) The husband has an art blog with ming boggling number of hits and hand few comments!:)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hey this is my first time here so do not really know much about what is going on. But am wondering, are they really stalking you or just plain lazy to write a comment? Maybe someone just typed in your name in google for fun sake and found that you have a blog and kept coming back?

    ReplyDelete
  43. I do visit ur blogs regularly, and posted comments on certain blogs, certain blogs i have not given my comment, sometimes there is nothing to comment.
    Best way is not to worry about such person, by worrying we are giving undue importance to that person. I have started blogging just three months before, it has opened a new window to me, I am able to read a lot of subjects from different view point, definitely blogging is a new learning experience for me. Just try to concentrate more on the positive side of the blog world and Ignore which is not ok for you.

    ReplyDelete
  44. guilty as charged.....

    sorry :(..

    thats my droop doggy look...

    ReplyDelete
  45. I know exactly what you mean..I do not worry about people 'lurking'.what is more worrying nowadays is the possibility of indentity theft.One should avoid giving too much personal information out...IE Birthdates, full names, adresses..but unfortunately as you observed.this is a public site and open to millions worldwide.

    ReplyDelete
  46. niall , the more i read these comments, the more paranoid iam becoming...cant really imagine that there cud be people out there who cud have nasty intentions...is it being naive? will i pay for it?...jeez..but then wht wud anyone do with my identity anyways? its a pretty lame identity... :)

    nm, see? iam reading everything now and iam sober...i need a star.

    ReplyDelete
  47. niall , the more i read these comments, the more paranoid iam becoming...cant really imagine that there cud be people out there who cud have nasty intentions...is it being naive? will i pay for it?...jeez..but then wht wud anyone do with my identity anyways? its a pretty lame identity... :)

    nm, see? iam reading everything now and iam sober...i need a star.

    ReplyDelete
  48. ps ,by the way nm was meant as joke...i know...i know...tht was pretty lame...

    ReplyDelete
  49. ps ,by the way nm was meant as joke...i know...i know...tht was pretty lame...

    ReplyDelete
  50. ps ,by the way nm was meant as joke...i know...i know...tht was pretty lame...

    ReplyDelete
  51. Sometimes it is scary. I always prefer leaving out pictures of the family. I am glad you mind is at ease now (Based on the next post).

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi, I do read your blogs and have saved your page as fav. I dont comment maybe becos I didnt have anything much to say or plain shy. Yes now I realise I should have at least told you a Hi I love your blogs:D:D .....Better late than never I am doing it now * Smiles* I reached your blog thru a scrap from someone on my sister's orkut. She blogs as Shail. I too have a blog at rediff..am not a writer but just pen a few words once a while. Bye keep blogging and some silent people like me also read and enjoy. I love your writings, the best one being about your Dad.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hi PS,..am priya, just new to ur blog, somehow got to ur blog, and i loved reading it....keep it up

    ReplyDelete
  54. u know ive gone through this exact same thing...but the difference being the anonymous reader used to comment with a nickname...but when i tried asking him who it was, he/she all of a sudden stopped and now dosent comment nemore :(
    i know he/she still reads though...because that person had me in googlereader...
    it was a lil freaky because i clearly felt i knew this person..but then disposed off my feeling everytime thinking it could be a coincidence...until the day he stopped after me saying a particular sumthin...

    could u tell me how u can get to know who visits ur blog and from where..etc etc..
    probably it could give me the peace of mind ive lost in this whole thing :(
    thanks!
    hoping i will get some help...

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hmm, I read this post a few days ago. The comment box refused to open so couldn't comment on this right away. Anyway, yup.. back here I am, read the comments on this post..and I sure agree with Sue. Sometimes reading blogs is like flippin through a newspaper. You read em, and thats it. You even love the post but dont say anythin bout it. For no apparent reason, trust me. Weird it may seem, but sure happens! Its like you're on a checkin-out-random-blogs-and-on-a-reading-spree. thats it. no more.
    I've been here a few times. I've read some, loved em btw. I think your writin exudes warmth and love. :) I've commented on few posts too (looong time ago, i think).
    But i sure promise to let you knw that i've been here from next time round..:) I sure dont want to be a stalker even unintentionally! :)
    cheers :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. To sum up that comment and make it sound a lil less confusin and weird (if..i.e.). tis more like am on a reading spree, I check out the blogrolls of people on my blogroll, and randomly click on blogs that show updated. Read few posts there. Close it.
    Wont happen here anyway..:)

    ReplyDelete
  57. wow...i didnt know u cud do that..get all that info abt whos visiting and all!

    a quick look on ur page and i figured how..sitemeter :-)

    ReplyDelete
  58. woah i'm glad u chose not to make it private or wud never hv read so many good posts on life, love, kids, family n relationships...but it scares me sometimes too...i hv a few followers n feedburner shows the count of readers but nobody ever comments n it is eerie...but since my blog doesn't hv ny personal stuff i don't worry so much n nyways its not a famous blog like urs too so even if i hv personal stuff it doesn't bother me soo much...

    ReplyDelete

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