The day Liz Jones killed a succesful blogger's will to blog
Blogging about her personal life story, in which she falls in love with a fellow blogger and breaks up with "Mr Frog", the father of her daughter (whom she calls "Tadpole"), "the Bridget Jones of Paris" attracted thousands of followers worldwide. According to the Guardian article, "at one point her site was getting 4,000 hits a day".
Yesterday, I happend to buy a copy of The Daily Telegraph and saw an article saying Sanderson, now 37, had written what appeared to be her last posting. In it, she admits she had been losing her inclination to blog for some time.
What struck me, however, was the fact that what made her take the final decision was reading an article in The Observer about...Liz Jones, whom she describes as "a newspaper columnist who has made a living out of sharing every aspect of her personal life, showing little or no regard for the feelings or right to privacy of the partners/lovers/neighbours that she uses for material."
"It left a nasty taste in my mouth. Personal blogging was something I felt the need to do during a short, pivotal period of my life but, as I hope I demonstrated in my memoir, I realised,with hindsight, that particular path was strewn with landmines."
Sanderson knows about landmines. When the British accountacy firm she worked for as a secretray discovered her Internet diaries, she was promptly sacked. She later sued the company for unfair dismissal and won the case, as reported in The Telegraph in March 2007. The Penguin book deal came two months after losing her job, so a case of one door closes, another door opens?
The tone of her last blog, "Over and Out?", seems to be one of relief.
"As far as personal blogging is concerned, I've turned the page. And it feels good."
Reading Sanderson's personal explanation of her decision in The Telegraph, I can see why a no-holds barred personal blogging style could have exposed her daughter and new husband to bullying and/or ridicule, and the more she restricted private life off her blogs, the less material she found to write about.
The conclusion might be that unless you have Miss Jones' boldness (or should it thick skin?), and can ignore bullet holes in your postbox and daily hate mail at your doorstep, taking up confessional writing as a means of living may always entail walking a thin line between fame and success and utter personal tragedy.
Here is Ms Petite Anglaise on BBC Breakfast talking about her blog:
- Are blogging and privacy incompatible? - My previous post. Liz Jones is, of course, mentioned.
- Catherine Sanderson can be followed on Twitter as...petiteanglaise.