I think the phrase we’re supposed to use to describe what happens when a blogger publicly reveals the most intimate details of her personal life is: “full disclosure.” But how do you describe the urge that prompted the revelation?
A few days ago, readers of the popular mommy blog at Dooce.com learned that blogger Heather Armstrong and her husband (previously described on the blog as being “out of breath, sweating, clutching my hand” while undergoing a vasectomy) had separated. Armstrong described the intimate moment when her daughter asked her about the breakup:
“Why does Dad not sleep here anymore?”
In response, Armstrong swallowed (she wrote). She hoped her voice didn’t shake (she wrote).
Then came her answer: “Dad and I are taking a break.”
After the conversation, Armstrong wrote, “my emotions sit at the bottom of my eyes,” and she confided that she is “sad and devastated.” She added, “I’m not sure I’ve ever been more stable than I am now.”
In response, at least 456 of the more than 100,000 readers estimated to visit the site daily have posted comments. This is a lot of comments, and a lot of readers, which explains why Armstrong’s site brings in an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 a month or more.
It’s a living, as my mother would say.
It is in fact a very nice living. The genre of the breathless confessional is enjoying a heyday online. It is the Internet equivalent of watching the Kardashian sisters complain about each other on TV. Bloggers, in the cause of “full transparency,” confess all kinds of things that people used to save for “Dear Diary”: the night they thought about committing suicide; the time they kissed their husband’s best friend in a bar, and their reasons for tattooing green-inked snakes on parts of their body that I, for one, would have preferred not to imagine.
But is full disclosure always a good idea? If I were Heather Armstrong’s daughter, I wonder how I would feel (after growing up and one day stumbling across the archives) about my mother’s decision to publish her version of the most painful parts of my life.
Did your mother ever publicly discuss a family matter that embarrassed you? Did she do it online? Would you?
(image via RealSimple.com)