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Keeping my blogging to myself

If you’re a blogger, do your friends and family know you write? Do they follow your site and show their support, maybe even leaving a like or comment occasionally? Or do you prefer not to tell them, making your blog something only for yourself and a side of your life they’re not a part of?

This was the subject of conversation in a channel on The Support Role Discord server recently after someone suggested connecting on LinkedIn. Another member responded by explaining how they keep their online persona and real-life very separate: although they’re happy to share what’s going on in the real world, they prefer to leave out details which could be used to easily make the link. Several others then echoed the same sentiment and revealed they keep their blogging and real selves apart.

Locked In A Room, Parallax, team, Bristol, Kim, Pete, Phil, Ethan, Tim, Jake

At first I was quite surprised by this. Blogging is usually a very social activity and many writers are extremely proud of their sites, so it makes sense they’d want to share their work with those close to them. I’ve published posts and where other bloggers have commented before their sibling has joined in with the conversation too; and when my other-half and I completed our 24-hour stream last month, one even tuned in with their mother (who ended up making a very kind donation herself!).

But then I realised: I keep my blog and personal life separate so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that others do too. In fact, of the nine people who responded to that comment about LinkedIn on the Discord server, all of them said they do the same. Explanations ranged from being wary about work colleagues finding out about hobbies, to professional responsibilities or conflicts of interest, to parents disapproving of gaming habits. So what are my own reasons?

Let’s start with family first. Although my brother and sister-in-law recently stumbled across the Later Levels Instagram, no other relatives on my side of the family know about the site. Although my parents don’t have a problem with video games, I’ve never made the move to tell them because I don’t want the blog to be used as some kind of ‘bragging right’. My dad has a tendency to stay into overly-proud-father territory and with that can come a lot of pressure when he tells people about his kids’ achievements.

Most of my real-life friends nowadays are people I’ve met through blogging and they tend to have similar hobbies. But those I’ve grown to know through other channels have no interest in video games whatsoever and they view the fact I play as a ‘quirk’. I’ve therefore never had any incentive to tell them about Later Levels and I’m not entirely sure what they’d make of it if I did; maybe they’d be surprised but I doubt they’d want to know more. It seems a bit pointless starting the conversation so I don’t think it’s one I’m ever likely to have.

And now we come to colleagues. Prior to switching jobs last July, I worked for a manager who was disdainful of video games. It was safer never to never mention the blog because if I did, he would have immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was using company resources to maintain it. My current team is more open to gaming and actually include me in conversations; but again, I’ve never told them about what I do. It just feels weird bringing it up at work and I’d rather keep it as something only for my personal life.

Naithin from Time to Loot recently published a post on a similar subject, and he summed it up perfectly: “I’ve just never felt comfortable talking about it in the professional environment. Perhaps an acknowledgement of the shared interest with another known gamer. But never would I reveal this whole ‘other’ part of me — this guy who has an internet blog and prefers the collection of hobbies surrounding gaming more than any other hobby.”

I really can’t see myself announcing Later Levels to these groups any time soon. The thought of having family, friends and work colleagues read the posts I’ve published makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, although I struggle to find the words to explain why. Perhaps it’s because these people are ‘too close’ and it’s easier to respond to comments on a blog page rather than in person? I’m not entirely sure, but what I do know is that the site will be a secret for as long as I decide to continue blogging.

So what about you? Do those around you know you blog or is it something you keep to yourself?

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

76 thoughts on “Keeping my blogging to myself Leave a comment

  1. I can’t blame anyone for wanting to keep blogging and real life separate. In my case, it would be cool if people believed there was something in my life worth hiding! Heh

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  2. Another great perspective 👍🏻 So I currently run two separate pages, a travel writing page which i do post and share on my personal FB and Twitter page frequently, which I know my US family have read looking at location data as it ‘seems’ more appropriate and ‘of my age’

    My gaming site, nope. My folks are aware of it but have made certain, less than flattering comments about gaming as a hobby in the past. Equally at work bar one guy whose a gamer, working in banking a big element is to present this ‘professional facade’ as such not something I can really express myself in.

    So for now, despite publishing over 150 articles and change to date, not a side of me those in my profession or immediate family get to see. The handful of travel pieces I’ve done, far more respectful 🤷🏼‍♂️

    Liked by 3 people

    • I guess this goes back to our other conversation on the view that we’re too old for blogging. Travel is a suitable pastime for someone our age while gaming… god forbid!

      How do you think your work colleagues would react if they found out?

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🤔ostensibly, I guess it comes down to the projection of authority and professionalism in management. ‘Geek me’ is a world away from where I wear my manager hat. I’ve mentioned a couple of times having a weekend off to go to a convention for instance which was met with very sceptical looks. Part of that, entirely around age and ‘appropriate past times’ I would safely guess.

        The pinnacle was when I visited the Pokemon store last year, had booked a day off as guessed (rightly) there would be massive queues. When I came in the next day and was asked what I did got promptly told what a waste of time and energy.

        Sometimes it’s a lose/lose for people with that sort of mindset or for a hobby that is often misconstrued or at the very least makes headlines for the wrong reasons

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        • So, out of curiosity then, these people who told you your Pokémon store visit was a waste of time: what are their own hobbies? Do they even have any?

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s a valid chain of thought. And does open up a larger debate around societal expectations of past times by age groups and demographics, is gaming an appropriate use of time by others standards and expectations. Would it have been met by the same disdain if I had gone to a cheese and wine tasting seminar 🤷🏼‍♂️

            Though I am partial to a good cheese🤔

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  3. At first I kept it to myself as I was unsure of what friends and family would think. However, I’m proud of my blog and soon realised it didn’t matter what they thought. My friends are very supportive and regularly read my content.

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    • Oh that’s lovely to hear! Do you think you’ll ever be able to convince any of them to do a little contribution for your blog? 🙂

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  4. I don’t keep any of my blogging activity secret from friends and family but neither has any of them ever showed much interest in it. It’s a bit of a non-issue that way.

    At work it’s much the same. Most people know of my interest in games, something many of them share. One of my managers is an avid gamer with a particular interest in PvP, there’s a growing interest in tabletop roleplaying and board games. Several people know I blog about games and I know a couple of people at work have blogs of their own about other interests but no-one seems very interested in reading anyone else’s stuff.

    It’s not so much that I keep the thing secret, it’s a lot more that most people are a lot more interested in their own interests than reading about other people’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now you come to mention it… I wonder if anyone else at my own workplace runs a blog. None have ever mentioned doing so but I could see some of them possibly being bloggers; maybe they keep it quiet for the same reasons I do. 🤔

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  5. I tried sharing the blog will a few close friends but all I
    ever get is a hollow “Cool. I’ll check it out.” but they never do type of response. I think I prefer keeping a line between blogging and offline lives anyway. That way I have the freedom to vent about anything I want to online without anyone ever knowing who I am. 😎

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    • Ditto! I’ve written a few posts about how certain colleagues at work perceive gaming and, while I’ve not said anything too bad, I’m kind of glad they’ve never stumbled across them. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All my friends and family know about my blog, but they don’t really care (at least none of them read it). I don’t actively tell everyone about it, but I certainly don’t hide it. Even at work I “openly” talk about it (then again, it’s my place, so I don’t have a disapproving superiour).

    On the other hand, I have almost no internet presence as a private person. The few pictures you posted might very well be the only ones on the internet. I think the problem is that, while blogging is a very social experience, as you say, we still are pretty much a bunch of strangers to each other. Therefore I can understand that people are unwilling to share personal info with people who they don’t really know.

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    • That makes complete sense. In this day and age, we’re told to be very careful about what we share online and that makes all of us cautious. I’m pleased to say that my stepson’s school holds classes on internet safety and it’s good to see him take that knowledge in.

      (I didn’t realise about the photo – please let me know if you’d like these removed and I’ll do so straight away!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, no, you can keep those online. It’s not like I’m against internet presence, but it never “happened” for me. And it’s always kind of funny when I meet people I met over the internet. More often than not I know what they look like before we meet from some pictures online, and two days before we meet, they realise they have no clue who to look for xD

        I’m always happy to meet new people and make new friends. I just don’t give away my address and say “whoever wants to be friends, come here” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I used to be very careful about keeping my real life and “gaming life” separate but these days I’m less fussed – people generally just don’t care. And I get it, long-form blogging is nerdy, playing MMORPGs is nerdy, blogging about MMORPGs is like nerdiness squared. If I ever run into someone from one sphere of my life who is interested in getting to know more about the other the doors are open, but I get that it’s just not interesting to most people so I mostly try to stay “on topic” in either environment and generally keep them apart.

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    • I like this measured approach! I’m more than happy to talk gaming with non-blogging friends and work colleagues, but it’s not usually a subject I bring up first because I know they’re mostly not interested in video games.

      But nerdiness-squared people with whom I can discuss them – now they’re my favourite kind of people. 😉

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  8. This is really interesting. I guess everyone probably plays it slightly differently depending on their circumstances and the kinds of relationships they have with friends and family.

    When I first started blogging I was still using my personal Facebook page and I put a link up on it. A few of my friends started reading my stuff and a couple asked me about collaborating (although that has so far not happened). My brother and sister also found out about it that way and they both still engage with it from time to time. I told my parents casually and they reacted quite neutrally. I think my dad read one article once because I told him to but they don’t follow the blog or see updates.

    In terms of work, if I get to know someone and they ask about hobbies I tell them, but I’m not really fussed if people know or not. I’ve never had a bad reaction from anyone – I think it is just kinda how I am though – I’m really matter of fact about liking games and people just accept it. They may then of course go away and judge me, but I’ve never had anyone actually say anything to me.

    I totally get the idea of not feeling comfortable with those close to you reading your stuff though. I don’t normally find it a problem, but when I publish a piece for something like The Games That Define Us, I felt incredibly uncomfortable knowing my siblings and best friend and partner would read it because it was all about struggles with mental health that they didn’t necessarily know had happened. It is kind of weird how I feel much more comfortable baring my soul to people I don’t know that well than to people I’ve known my whole life.

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    • I guess it’s the fear of the possibility that the people closest to you, those you love, could judge you for how you’re feeling. It’s scary to think they may think less or differently of you after they hear what’s really going on inside your head.

      Sometimes I find that there’s stuff I can’t put into words verbally, and it usually ends up coming out in a blog post. And once those words are out there I find it easier to have the conversations in real life.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My family does know about my blog but they do not read it. Surprisingly, 95% of my followers and readers come from Europe. I do know their are not many people that game on Linux. So that makes my blog more of a niche blog. However, I started blogging to blog for myself anyway. It has been an interesting and fun journey.

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    • I think it’s really important to blog for yourself: that makes it more enjoyable, and if you’re enjoying doing it then others will too! I’ve met some lovely people with similar tastes in genres and experiences with gaming, and it’s great to now be able to call them friends in real life. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My friends are aware of my site and I share my content with them. But I don’t know why, I haven’t discussed about my blog with my parents. May be because, they would not understand the concept of blogging.

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  11. My friends and family know that I blog and are all supportive of it. I was apprehensive are telling my friends about it at first but they’ve been really supportive so I was worrying over nothing.

    I talk about my life to a point on my blog and Twitter. I don’t share everything about my personal life on Twitter only things that are funny or could impact my blog in anyway.

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    • Yeah, I think it’s important to keep that bit of distance. Not only because it’s not good to share all personal information online, but because you need to keep back a little of yourself that’s just for you. 🙂

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  12. I do exactly the same — none of my family or “real life” friends know about my blog, or if they do they’ve never said anything about it. While friends already mostly know about the extent of my interests, a lot of my family doesn’t, and they would give me shit for it. And once you’ve told one person about your site, as you know, it can easily spread to everyone else. Considering some of the subjects I write about (like my latest post, along with a few of the h/borderline-h-games I’ve written on) I would really rather not people know I maintain it.

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    • Sometimes it’s just easier not to let people know, isn’t it? There were a few times I wanted to question my old boss about his views on gaming after he’d made a derogatory comment – but it’s just not worth getting into the conversation. He never would have accepted a different point of view and I would have had a lot of explaining to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. For me its the other way around. People in “real life” know I game and know I blog (I guess at this point I should say “blogged” since it’s been months since I posted), but I try to keep a filter between people who know me online and my real life self. Mostly that’s due to fear of pissing off the wrong person and winding up “doxxed” or something.

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    • We hear so many stories about this nowadays that I’m not surprised! It’s sad though. When did we come to believe it’s ok to react that excessively when someone has a different opinion to our own?

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  14. I don’t keep my blog a secret, but I also don’t tell friends/family unless I think it’s something they’d be interesting in checking out. But everyone who knows me well enough to call me a close friend knows I love video games.

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    • Speaking to a few people after writing this post made me realise that it’s a similar situation for a lot of people. They don’t necessarily hide their blog, it’s just something they don’t feel the need to constantly share. That’s good – it shows the friends and family around them would be supportive but they have something that’s just for them. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve been blogging and podcasting since 2007 in one form or another. I made decision quite early on to use my own real name, because I felt that using a gaming handle was not appropriate for how I wanted to project and frame my work. But I fully understand why other writers do compartmentalize there life and keep their game blogging and online activities away from work colleagues and employers. In did this as well while I was IT contracting.And because of my age and nationality (I’m British), I never been one for over sharing anyway. I like my privacy. Work is for work. You make small talk to keep things cordial but there’s no need to give everyone a dossier on your private life.

    My family know that I write but that’s where it ends. They have no interest in what I write about and I concur with this sentiment. I only promote my work in social circles that share my interests. As I no longer work in the traditional sense (I now care for my elderly parents) I don’t have to worry quite so much about compartmentalizing my activities. However, if someone asks me what I do, I refer to myself as a writer. I no longer work in IT and haven’t for 5 years. But I have been paid to write in recent years so that’s how I see myself. When my caring obligations end, I shall seek out work as a writer and not in IT.

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    • I’m still working in IT, so you obviously understand the environment and why I made the decision to keep certain information to myself. 🙂

      If you don’t mind me asking, was it difficult making the transition from IT person to writer in your head? My work environment and blogging life are quite different so it seems like it could be a possibly challenging change. 🤔

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      • I worked in IT from 1994 to 2016. From 2006 to 2011 I did contract work and during that time I started blogging. Writing has always been a major passion of mine and I find it very useful in marshalling my thoughts. Although my written output has slowed down now, back then I was producing content daily. From 2011 to 2015 I stopped contracting and set up my own consultancy business. I had a half a dozen private clients, that were mainly small businesses. This afforded me a great deal of freedom with my working hours, allowing me to spend as much time writing as I would at a clients site or dealing with their needs remotely. I managed to get a few paying gigs at this time so in many respects, the writing became a second job, although because I was writing content that I enjoyed about gaming and movies, it certainly didn’t seem that way.

        So the transition from one to the other when I left IT and became my parent’s carer’s was both smooth and logical. I am currently have a long term project to overhaul my website and unify branding across my podcast because once my caring duties end, I want to ramp up the writing and make that my work focus. I don’t really want to have to return to IT and would much prefer to write from home with all the time and logistical benefits which that brings.

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        • Ah, so it’s been a gradual shift from one area to the other. It sounds as though you were destined for writing rather than IT! Good luck with the overhaul – looking forward to seeing the final product. 😀

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  16. Fascinating subject this all around and hearing the different views on who gets told what and why. 🙂
    For family, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a secret. My siblings know, my brother is occasionally even interested (as a gamer himself). My sister less interested as it doesn’t enter her sphere of interests. My mother wouldn’t really get it (in a technical sense, not in an unsupportive sense) — in fact she would want to be supportive. And I imagine she might end up treating it like a Facebook wall (since I don’t really use Facebook all that much, hah).
    In terms of wife and kids — they know. But to them it’s just a surrounding aspect of my gaming hobby; well tolerated provided it stays within acceptable bounds of time and committments elsewhere are not being neglected. 😉

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    • I’m pretty lucky. Both my husband and stepson are gamers themselves and, while they’ve never expressed an interest in helping with the blog (which I’m kind of pleased about because it’s then ‘mine’), they’re right there next to me when it comes to attending expos and running charity streams. I told Pete about my blogging on our first date so it was a bit of a conversation starter! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’ve told a couple of friends (who are also gamers) about it, but in passing, not like “here’s my blog, please read it”.

    The main reason is that I made the conscious decision to blog in English when I started, although it’s not my native language. The same goes for my friends and relatives, obviously, and I don’t feel like pushing something not written in the language they feel the most comfortable with onto them. Even my GF only rarely reads my stuff, and I’m ok with that as it’s just too taxing for her after a hard work day.

    I’ll freely admit that I’d be happy if more people I know read it, but it’s fine the way it is. At least I don’t feel any pressure to satisfy anyone but myself with my writings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting: you’re one of the very few people who have said they’d like more friends and family to read their content. Is that because you’d like to be able to share your hobbies with them?

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    • This describes my situation to a “T”. Friends often seem to be a bit reluctant when it comes to taking part in their friends’ hobbies. Maybe they fear that they wouldn’t like it and don’t want to either lie or disappoint you.
      Maybe they’re a bit envious and know that you’ll always have a “headstart” (okay, that probably does not relate to blogging, but in a lot of other hobbies it might).
      Perhaps it doesn’t “count” as much when a friend does it since they get to see more of the inner workings and everything is a bit “demystified”.
      Or they’re not as interested in the hobby as you are.
      Maybe they fear to drag you down (again, not really related to blogging) or they don’t want to feel inadequate at something and they fear it would change your view of them.

      All in all, I think most of the time why friends don’t share our hobbies more often it boils down to fear of changing either their opinion of us or vice versa. One thing I’ve noticed is that really confident people tend to be far more ready to participate in “your” stuff. For example, my dad would 100 % read my blog, if he was interested in video games at all. On the other hand, he too is interested in alcoholic drinks, so he isn’t shy when it comes to my bar, and we taste, learn and talk a lot about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. No one in my family, save for my wife know of my blog or anything about my “online self”. I’ve always been the type of person that generally prefers to keep people at arm’s length from me. Being one of those people that had no problems making friends despite being shy, most friendships would often end with me feeling like the friendly doormat due the combination of them not respecting boundaries as well as my own inability to speak up for myself. I could easily interchange friends and family in this example.

    Everyone that knows me in person certainly knows I love video games as I have never tried to hide that, but don’t go out of my way to talk to them about it either.

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    • It sounds as though there are quite a lot of us who do this. Similarly, I’m happy to talk about gaming with anyone who brings up the subject but I’m very unlikely to bring it up myself. Maybe that’s why so many of us here in the community get on so well: we’re with ‘our kind of people’.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Hmmm This was a great post that got me thinking about the same thing! I do not repost my blog on my personal facebook. My twitter I converted it to my blog twitter, so all I have left is facebook. But I am going to start posting my stuff on there.

    What am I afraid of? People know I play video-games and I have no shame saying that I am a geek or gamer, even though I am a teacher and in my 30s!

    Thanks for the inspiration, I am going to make the switch. I don’t care if people think its weird or whatever…

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    • Aah this is lovely to hear! If everyone’s comments are anything to go by, it sounds as though most friends and family members are very supportive. I wish you all the best! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I guess it’s like a few people have said above: friends and family members are only interested if you blog about something they enjoy. It doesn’t mean they’re not supportive though. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Like a lot of people have said, I don’t actively hide my blogging from friends or family but I don’t go out of my way to talk about what I do either. Some of my friends are into gaming so I might let them know if I write something that hits on their specific interests (or to brag if it’s had attention from a developer they like ;)) I don’t think my family would really ‘get’ it though – they’re not into gaming and it just wouldn’t be relevant to them. My uncle’s really into golf – it’d be like me reading his blog about that if he had one, heheh (no offence to any golfers).

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  21. I keep my blogging separate from my regular life. Very few people know I have a blog. I want to get more followers and grow it on my own. I don’t want friends and family following me because they think they “need” to. And it is personal in a way. But that’s just me. ☺

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree. I feel more comfortable writing openly and honestly without worrying about what family/friends/colleagues think about the content. I’ve only just restarted blogging but I remember how appreciative I felt when someone I didn’t know took the time to comment on/like what I’d written. The impartiality of their critique helps me grow and develop as a blogger/writer.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. My family and friends probably know that I have a blog, but if they follow it, it’s not an active, engaged following. It’s just a look at my blog once in awhile… as far as I know anyway.

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  23. This was a really good post. I started blogging at the beginning of the year and haven’t told anyone other than my wife because of a lot of what you mentioned in this post.

    I do have a question. How do you attract readers without putting it on social media? I get maybe 30 views a month and I’m not even sure how I get those.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Thanks for this post. I can relate to so many of the points you mentioned and your readers have already commented on. Additionally, from my perspective, I enjoy blogging secretly because I then view any comments as constructive criticism which I can use to improve my blogging skills. I think if I blogged under my real name, I’d always wonder if the criticism was personal which may make me feel defensive even if that wasn’t the intent.

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    • That’s a factor I hadn’t considered before and it’s an interesting point. I’ve always blogged under my real name rather than a pseudonym but I prefer not to give out too many personal details, so I guess that’s a similar shield. Being able to learn from constructive criticism without feeling pressure to do so is always a good thing. 🙂

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