CommunityPam's House Blend

The Blend is featured in an MTV.com article

I did an interview with MTV Online a while ago ago, and the article is now up, Diary to the Masses: Blogging Teens Learn the Pros & Cons of Publishing to the Web.

It’s a good article on the issues teens face when choosing to blog, given what you say is broadcast all over the Web. This was certainly something that played out in the case of Zach, the young man that came out to his fundamentalist parents, who then placed him in a Love In Action “ex-gay” facility. He blogged about it and clearly had no idea of the impact his journal would have as word spread about the events going on in his life (I posted quite a bit on it). A snippet:

Young people have been using the Internet as a safe mode of communication for years. But the standard format has evolved from connecting through private chat room to letting the world in through blogs, the latest incarnation of the Doogie Howser-style electronic diary.

…But bloggers do face potential unintended consequences when they decide to type out their lives in cyberspace. The New York Times and dozens of other worldwide news outlets were able to use Zach’s words – because he put them in the public sphere. In his most recent entry, Zach said he “feels annoyed towards a lot of things.”

…But with so many eyes on your writing, there is always a risk that your message can be used in ways you cannot control, said blogger Pamela Spaulding, who established Pam’s House Blend last summer to focus on LGBT issues in the months leading up to the presidential election.

“There’s certainly a risk, because it’s public,” Spaulding said. “You’re not writing in a personal journal that you can tuck back in your dresser drawer. You can share with people that you don’t know, because you feel that you like them. But you’re also sharing with everybody else.”

Pam’s House Blend has taken off in popularity and has received over 200,000 hits since its inception [It’s up to 362,981 visits as of this AM, 15,197 this week]. BlogActive.com, listed as the most popular LGBT-focused progressive blog by the New Politics Institute, receives more than 13,000 weekly hits.

Nonetheless, Spaulding, Bowman and Lamont agree that the benefits of blogging far outweigh the risks – and the chances that personal entries will attract the kind of attention that Zach’s did are slim.

“I think that it can help bolster the confidence of the person involved,” Spaulding said. “If you’re sharing stories about coming out to your parents, people who have already gone through that can give you advice, maybe even predict the possible reaction of your parents. I think it’s more helpful than not.”

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