First, I would like to express my appreciation for Pam Pastor's article, "Yes, Blogs Can Ruin Your Life", released last April 1st. I felt that it provided a good summary on those pitfalls that bloggers often fail to expect. In addition, I felt that your corresponding examples of controversial bloggers ("Cautionary Tales") gave some excellent real-world support for Ms. Pastor's explanations.
However, I also felt that the article failed to capture the heart of the matter. I felt that it failed to cover one important point that affects not only bloggers but all people in general. That point is a simple one: Each of us is ultimately accountable for everything that we say or do. It does not matter if we are bloggers, or if we are journalists, or if we are politicians or businessmen or writers or merely pedestrians on the busy streets. Each of us has to realize that we are responsible for what we do, what we say, and how we act towards our fellow human beings.
In short, I felt that Ms. Pastor's title was misleading. Our blogs cannot ruin our lives any more than our books, newspapers, radios and television sets can. It is not the physical means of expression that does it; it's the opinions that we express through these forms of media. What we choose to express to the world at large eventually dictates how the world receives us. If there's anyone who can ultimately ruin our own lives, it's us.
In this way, building a blog is really no different from writing an article for a magazine, or hosting a TV show, or merely having a conversation with our friends. In each situation, we have to be responsible for what we say. We have to realize that our words will always have consequences, regardless of whether we're gossiping about a couple of celebrities' sexual orientations, complaining about the behavior of the people seated next to us on an airline flight, or demanding our money back from a friend who we once trusted. We can communicate those words in any medium we want... but when the controversy boils over and the hate comes pouring in, we must realize that it's us -- not our blogs, not our magazines, not our talk shows and certainly not our idle conversations -- who must be held accountable.