I hate deleting blog posts if that wasn’t clear. This is precisely why I’ve only deleted three blog posts in the history of this blog all with due reasons where I didn’t have a choice, obviously. I deleted one recently. Here’s my take on blog posts, deleting them and a recent lesson.
How It Feels To Delete A Blog Post
It hurts. Trust me when I tell you, it hurts. When I write a post, I often have some 10-15 minutes of this zone where I type and words start to flow, automatically forming sentences. That beautiful zone is unique to each post, achieved ever so slightly differently for each post that is on the blog. When someone asks me to remove a post, they are essentially asking me to remove a part of what I thought, felt and honestly believed in that particular moment, on that particular day. I’ve only had to do it thrice but pressing that Move to Trash link sure puts you in a spot of great pressure. The pressure is mostly due to one single question.
What is more important: my principle or the person/situation?
The answer to the above question varies, obviously. Mostly, my principle is strong enough to stand on its own and I go forward with a straight “No, I won’t delete it”. However, there are times when someone is more important or perhaps, the situation appears to become exponentially better if I delete a post. In that case, I do it.
It has happened thrice. That is all. In nearly 250 posts, only 3 have been deleted.
The first was when my girlfriend then wanted me to remove a post that was about a crush I had in middle school. Classic teenage drama, right? Well, I deleted it then.
The second was when a fellow blogger plagiarised a complete post. In response, I wrote a sarcastic post insulting his copy of my content rather directly. He immediately gave credits and requested me to delete the post. It would’ve stopped his funding. Any bad reputation was suicide for his venture at that point. So, out of humanitarian spirit and realising that he was sorry, I deleted it.
The third and most recent was when I learned a lesson. As this blog and my blogging-style grew, I became more and more open about content. I even wrote a post about it. However, I learned that there are limits to how comfortable people are about their lives and sharing details of them publicly.
I posted something that was about me. However, it was also about two other people – my parents. I didn’t realise that second part until later when I received a text from my brother, who also happens to be the closest thing I’ll ever have to a mentor.
While he could have used better methods to get the point through to me, he spoke correctly. He just asked me a simple question, “Did you ask the person whose life you’re sharing so publicly for permission?”
I was adamant and a little cocky about my self-expression and in trying to keep that up, I argued with him. I had already published the post and that was it. However, in trying to prove my point I had a rather direct conversation with my mother. Through that conversation, I learned that she was obviously never comfortable with sharing some details, not all of them, with the outside world. She also explained how not all people are open about their lives as I am and becoming and while she appreciates the post and the overall sentiment and conclusion, she would rather it didn’t exist.
My brother had said the same thing. I obliged. Reluctantly.
It took me over a week to process what had happened. I was angry at first. Furious over the fact that I had to delete a post. I felt like I was ripped off my right to express. As time settled, life happened and I thought about it. I realised something.
I can be completely open about my life with the world, and that is fine, but in doing that I have to start learning to respect others’ boundaries and become better at identifying them. Any experience that I share should either solely be my own or not sensitive enough for any other person to feel anything about it once it’s out in the open.
Responsibility Is Owning Up To Whatever Happens, Like It Or Not
In fact, taking responsibility for what you put out in the open also involves, removing it if it poses a problem for something bigger than itself and you. In this case, family. My family will always be priority numero uno for me. Even if it isn’t family, it could be my judgement of right or wrong which happened with the blogger who had plagiarised. He apologised with due diligence and gave credit. I felt that was enough. So, I deleted the post.
This does not mean in any way that I am ready to delete whatever rustles anyone. Honestly, until it affects someone personally and they’re important enough for me or being called out directly, I will never delete a post. But, if all or any of those happen and I see it fit, even with my reluctance to click on the Move To Trash link, I will delete the post. That is what I’ve learned now.
Free self-expression comes with a certain responsibility for yourself and others. In fact, free self-expression is a power in itself. Almost all of us know a famous uncle who once said the following about power and responsibility.
With great power comes great responsibility.