I've been experimenting with having a mostly public journal for a couple of months now. Like a lot of people on HellJae, I started out with a journal that was almost entirely public, and then within the first couple years switched to almost entirely private in response to some very bad, painful experiences with people I "met" or at least were getting/ had gotten to know better on here (as technically both of them were around in other forums or milieux I was in, not just online). At the time I started journaling, it was partly therapeutic in nature because I had a hard time communicating and was looking for a channel or means to express myself more (including possibly angry or "unpopular" viewpoints) and feel safer about so doing. I was also looking more actively for new friends who shared my interests. I ended up "going private" because public posting in what I perceived to be a hostile or uncaring environment, where several of my "new friends" had already proved to be douchebags of some sort, wasn't helping me express myself, even if all I was publicly posting was a funny picture from the I-net.
The last few months I have felt better. A lot of people who formerly popped in and out of my life acting like assholes from time to time seem to have exited stage left, or at least exited whatever stage I am on. (They're probably performing at the theater in the next state over but at least they're not in my face.) I came to grips with at least one troublesome situation, at least to the point where it won't impede me posting public anymore. I also made at least a couple of friends who aren't on LJ and who I would like to be able to look at this blog sometimes. I'm also less averse to the idea of some of my posts being open to people who I may not hate per se but who I can't have on my journal for one reason or another, mostly because the stuff they post annoys the crap out of me.
So voila, largely public journal again. Of course, there are some things, mostly pertaining to my work, my activities, and certain private life areas that I am not going to make public because, well, it's just not a public matter, and that's that. However, these types of posts are in the minority lately.
I've noticed that it's kind of weird having a public-ish EllJay now, because so many people have theirs all locked up. I've looked at some other people's flists and you will see post after post after post by me - it looks like I'm posting up a storm and nobody else is doin' nuttin - but that's because the people who are still active and posting on here make most of it private. I've also had at least one incident of somebody (whose own LJ, I was amused to note, was locked and showed very few personal details except for one that was fairly evident and that I will not repeat, but let's just say it's one that generally causes people to roll eyes and snickerdoodle bigtime) to diss/ make fun of me because of what they can see on my journal. This didn't bother me much because I am used to net dissy stuff, but I did note it down as a potential drawback of a public or mostly public journal.
On the plus side, it feels good and brave to be able to be open about more stuff. It also jives better with my concept of the 'net as a generally public place where anything you say is likely to float up like a light roughagey turd at any time. And, I think to some degree it provides more info about a person upfront and makes misunderstandings less likely. I have had situations where I added someone's locked journal, or they added mine, with some impression of what they would see behind the curtain, and it turned out to be something way different from what was expected. In the best case, this causes a disconnect; in the worst case it caused people to fly off the handle because they were seeing stuff they didn't like. With more public posts, you're not going to see everything up front as some posts will be locked and I firmly believe that you can't judge a person solely on what they put in the journal - some people post like saints and are truly whiny idiots, some post like whiny idiots because their journal is for venting but they're actually Decent People with shitty journals, and so on. But with more public posts, you'll get that many more nuggest of information that point towards a complete picture, or at least a complete picture of "what goes on in X's journal."
Anyway, just some thoughts I wanted to jot down. If anybody else (on my flist - sorry but I still haven't reached the trust level necessary to allow comments from all and sundry, thanks to douchebags feeling a need to come barging into my space here in the past) has thoughts on the public/ locked journal distinction I'd like to hear. If not, that's OK too.