As I've gotten back into blogging, I have to admit that I've been thinking of all kinds of things - and wishing I had a a great blog mentor or several. I imagine I'm probably not the first blogger to ever think this. I occupy a small little corner of internet, but I love to write and most of all, to share ideas with people, and stepping out online seems to raise all kinds of questions that I wouldn't have thought of beforehand.
One thing I've struggled with, quite frankly, is trying to figure out how much to share online. Obviously, I wouldn't post my home address and all my contact info online for anyone to see. And I try to be mindful about sharing stories that aren't entirely my own unless I have the permission of the other person involved. However, I don't want to go too far in the opposite direction and let nothing of myself show through in my writing. I've seen many different approaches online, but I'm still trying to figure out which would work best, and I could certainly use guidance with that.
Related to that is the issue of how to deal with commenters. Keeping down spam is relatively easy. I can't stand verification boxes or captchas, so I don't use them. I just set up comment moderation and check it a couple times a day. As a general rule, unless something is either spam or a personal attack, I go on and approve the comment. I don't mind debating issues because, done respectfully, I think we can bring out the best in each other and sharpen our skills and understanding.
However, I do wonder about how to deal with some of the more hostile folks out there. I hadn't realized it until it was brought to my attention in a recent email from a friend, but apparently there are groups online that pretty much exist for the purpose of mocking and sometimes even attacking Christian bloggers. I looked into what I was told and most of it looks harmless (though very rude), but knowing that there are some folks out there who hate various Christian bloggers enough that they would go digging through blogs and researching us online so that they could post private information, report bloggers to the authorities for various things, hound them to the point that they have to take their blogs private, etc... made me feel a little nervous. And perhaps a bit exposed and vulnerable. And, I'll admit, I'm not quite sure how to handle that sort of thing.
While I've used Facebook in the past, and I'm feeling my way around Twitter and now Pinterest, interaction with people that I don't know offline, but whom I have come to enjoy reading and whose wisdom I respect is very new to me. I feel comfortable with the basics of online etiquette (don't update your Facebook status 50 times a day, don't plagiarize other blogs, be responsive to commenters, etc...) but navigating the maze of relationship building online can be tricky. And as an introvert by nature, I sometimes still get that tongue-tied middle schooler feeling.
With all of that, it's hard not to wish for a relationship with a more experienced blogger/teacher. Am I the only one? Or have some of you been looking for that, too? If you've found good teachers, please share that in the comments, too! I feel like I am still exploring my way around the internet, finding new sites and checking to see what their teachings are like, so I may very well have missed a resource.