The other night I was chatting with my friends and I mentioned that I was wearing my ‘filter’—that magical device that prevents me from blurting out rude comments at inappropriate moments [this came up in conversation as I was explaining why I didn’t ask a particular friend about their sex life]. My filter keeps me from using four-letter expletives outside of my home and keeps me from publicly burping, farting, inappropriately scratching, etc. It also prevents me from saying what I really think on some occasions. For example, I would rarely tell a friend if I thought their outfit was unflattering or if I thought they might be pregnant because their belly seemed a bit poochier than usual.

In the blogworld I use different filters for different audiences. Generally on Mormon sites I refrain from saying anything terribly heretical (unless it’s buried deep in the comments). When I’m in academic venues I filter out my colloquial speech and speak in ‘academese.’ In church settings wearing my filter generally means that I am silent when I disagree with doctrines or ideas that are presented in lessons–out of kindness for the teacher and their carefully crafted presentations. At times in Mormon settings my filter has led me to tell someone what I think they want to hear rather than speaking from my heart.

My question to each of you: Do you feel like you wear a filter? What does it prevent you from saying and/or doing? Do you have venues where you don’t wear a filter?


Jana is a university administrator and teaches History. Her soloblog is

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  1. Tatiana says:

    I think I don’t have much in the way of filters, which is probably why I’m shunned in polite society. =P

  2. matt thurston says:

    I’ve got a pretty fine-tuned “filter.” As such, I’m something of a “Zelig,” as comfortable in the presence of the most vulgar sailor on shore leave as I am in the presence of a pious Relief Society President. I adapt to my surroundings, be it populated by TBM’s or Apostates. I don’t feel disingenuous, just accomodating. I carefully reveal and/or hide the different aspects of my personality based on the situation.

    I don’t feel inauthentic because I’m always being “me.”

    That said, if comfortable, I’m pretty argumentative by nature and will often adopt an argumentative or contrary position for no other reason than for sport and/or balance.

    But, like you, on the bloggernacle, especially if I’m blogging or commenting under my real name, my “filter” is always firmly attached.

    What does that say about me?… the bloggernacle?… Mormon culture?…

  3. Caroline says:

    i’ve definitely got a filter. In every aspect of my life. I say a lot to my husband, but not everything. I certainly don’t tell my mom and brother a lot of what I’m thinking about. Even with my friends I filter what I say, because I don’t want to say anything that they might find hurtful. I’m not a very confrontational person when it comes down to it.

    My church filter is enormous. I pretty much am just silent those three hours, unless I find friends to talk to in the hall.

  4. Dora says:

    I have a pretty strong filter.

    I’ve learned from past experience that I tend to be very reactionary. I tend to read a lot into what others are saying … which is sometimes appropriate, and sometimes not. I find that when I act hastily, I often regret it. So I filter. I hold back my initial responses until I’ve had time to process.

    At times I worry that this makes me a less contributory member of the blogging community, since I revel in the juicy details that others are so willing to share. Is it enough to state that other bloggers inspire me to probe my own life for meaning and answers?

  5. Brooke says:

    I definitely have a filter. And I’m okay with it. I used to be compulsivly honest, but finally realized that there’s an appropriate time and place to say things, and sometimes that means never saying it. I don’t think that I ever go without a filter. Even in my personal journal, because there’s always that potential audience. I probably filter the very least around my husband, who is my parenting partner, my therapist, my lover, my biggest fan, and my best friend.

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