I recently started blogging and have come across some excellent blogsites during this time. One of those sites is DEBRIEFING THE BOYS aka DTB. I really enjoy the look into this bloke’s life; the way he tells us what’s going on without fear of judgment and with full disclosure. The way he shared his coming out was wonderful – his stories full of all the same emotions and problems that we all faced when we were struggling with coming out.
Well, that bloke’s name is Matt and I was lucky enough to speak with him recently about DTB, his ideas and the future of blogging…..
You've been blogging since February of 2006. What was the idea behind DTB?
I didn't really have any big ideas when I started. I had always wanted to start a personal journal, and since I enjoyed reading a few other blogs, I figured I might as well make my journal public and see if others like it. Hence the tagline I had up for a while: "These words are my diary, shouting out loud." I was going through a really interesting time in my life (exploring the possibility I was gay, coming out, and living a newly out life) so it was really important to me to record my thoughts and feelings (to "debrief" the readers as I passed through these phases). And the blog seemed to resonate with a lot of people who were going through or had gone through similar experiences. I found it really helpful to receive comments and advice from readers as I was taking baby steps in my new life. And I quickly found that the most gratifying part about being a blogger was that other young guys were finding direction or inspiration from my story. I have received quite a few heartfelt emails about how my blog gave guys the courage to come out, or to shake off a bad relationship, or make other big changes in their lives. That is what has kept it fun for me.
What do you want the blogging world to think of DTB?
That's a hard question to answer, because I really do think of DTB as being primarily for me, not for the readers. That's definitely not to say I don't appreciate my readers. I love them. What I mean is that I write it because I enjoy it, because the interaction with my readers helps me work through my thoughts, and because it's gratifying that I seem to be helping others. So, I don't think much about what the "blogging world" thinks of me in that I'm not trying to win any awards or improve my numbers. But I would be lying if I said I don't also enjoy the compliments I receive on the quality of my writing and the frank realism of my stories. I never make anything up, and I like to think that makes it more fun to read. So I would like the blogging world to continue to appreciate that about DTB. Ideally, I guess I would just like the blogging world to think DTB is a must-read and a must-link, because the more people that show up, the better a community it becomes, and the more we can help each other navigate this crazy world.
How would you describe what DTB is to someone who has never seen the blog? DTB is the random musings of a newly out guy who is trying to learn the ropes and enjoy life. It's not all about being gay. It's not all about boys. It's just whatever I happen to feel like writing about. Sometimes I talk about totally inane things, and other times it's pretty deep. Either way, a lot of people seem to enjoy commenting, and we get into some good discussions.
What do you have planned for DTB in the immediate future?
In the immediate future, I am planning to feature a really cute actor/singer that I've been in touch with. I'm working with him now. In general, I just plan on continuing to do what I do: talking about whatever strikes my fancy.
What is your idea of the perfect blog site? Does DTB live up to that description for you?
I don't think there's any such thing as a perfect blog. There are so many different types, and I think the best ones really reflect the personalities of the blogger. Personally, I enjoy a blog that has a good mix of personal stories, commentary on current events, random musings, and good photos/art. If it makes me want to be friends with the guy behind it, then I think it's a good blog.
What would you change about DTB (layout, content, direction)?
I wish I had more time to work on it. I would love to be able to do more graphic design, and have more of my own original photography. I would also love to have more time to be up on current events, especially gay rights issues, and be able to say more about that.
I have found myself getting more and more involved with your blog among others because of how much we learn about you and your life including all of its ups and downs. Are there any blogs out there that you find irresistible and must reads? I keep my list of current addictions (daily reads) updated on the blog. As I become enamored of a blog, it goes up on that list. Sometimes when a name falls off the list, it's not because I no longer like the blog, but because I was SO enamored of the author that I became personal friends, and now find out more about him via IM, phone or email than I do on his blog.
One of the things that I like about blogging is the anonymity factor. I can write what Id like to and express my opinions without fear of editing or filtering my thoughts and feelings. Do you find it easy to relay personal information via DTB? I mean, you get pretty in depth about feelings and personal issues on the site. Do you edit what you say or does it just flow? It used to flow a lot more freely. I prefer to say everything that's on my mind and not worry about the repercussions. But, for reasons that are covered in the next few questions, I find that I am being more careful lately.
Do your friends know that you write about them? If so, how do they feel about having their personal laundry posted online?
Some know, others don't. Those that know seem to like it, and are even eager to hear what I've said about them. But as the blog gets more popular, I feel torn. I want to be open about everything that happens in my life, but I realize it's not just my information I'm posting. Naturally, I change small details to hide identities, but sometimes I fear it's not enough. I'm still working out how I want to handle that.
How has your life changed because of DTB? Anyone recognized you or have there been people who now avoid you because they are afraid of appearing in an upcoming post?
My life is much better with DTB. For one thing, I have a great outlet for my thoughts. I've met a lot of great friends, both online and in real-life. I've been invited to some cool events, and I get to call Brent Corrigan a friend! I have the satisfaction to know that I am helping some guys who are having a rough time. It's a lot of fun, and I'm glad I have it.
Have there been any pitfalls because of writing the blog?
It takes a lot of time. There are some people who leave nasty comments that hurt my feelings. I have started to worry about anonymity, which is annoying, since I was just beginning to enjoy not having any big secrets now that I'm out.
Any pearls of wisdom for new bloggers?
It depends what they want out of it. But if they want me to think it's a good blog, they'll be honest, open, and mix it up. Just be yourself, and see what happens.
I really want to thank Matt for his time and for speaking with me and answering my questions. And all of you should check out his blog if you're looking for something with depth and meaning!
Matt's blog has helped many a man with understanding the feelings that they go through as well as an in depth look at one particular journey out of the closet.
DEBRIEFING THE BOYS is one of the best out there!! Check it out!