My first entries were pretty much just little things. Funny stuff, (or at least things I thought were funny), and just rambling about anything and everything. I really didn't disclose anything personal about myself because I knew that (on Blogspot, and then later on Word Press), my entries were open to the public, and I really had no desire to put my entire life on the line for the world to read.
By the time I joined up full-time with Live Journal, I'd met several other people, and I'd started writing more things about myself. I still felt though that what I wrote about should be available to anyone, so I wrote only the things that I wouldn't be embarrassed about if they showed up in a Google search down the road. I did discover the filter options pretty much right away though, and figured that it'd be nice to see how they worked. I created a filter and began writing a series of entries about a situation that I was in at one time. I never did finish that series, but it was great to be able to write about it, know exactly who was reading it, and to get feedback on it. Admittedly, I based a lot of my filter criteria on what others wrote about in their LJs. If I was given the opportunity to read something that I felt was of a personal nature, I figured that if I was being trusted, they could be too. For all intents and purposes, this worked out really well.
Since that time I've created several other filters. To me, it's not so much that I'm afraid of offending others with what I say or how I say it, it's just that I want to protect myself. The things I write are important to me. I want and need to know that the things I'm writing about are staying exactly where I put them.
Late last year I felt that my trust had been violated, when some things that I'd said came back to me in a way that was completely unjustified and unfair. This caused me to re-evaluate the way I used LJ in so many ways. Sadly, my entries have most likely reflected this. Where I used to use LJ as a way to keep people updated on my life, in so many ways I feel that I've lost that freedom now. Yes, I still use my filters, and I update when I have something to say, but I don't know if I'll ever feel as free here as I once did.
To me though, LJ is so much more than a web site. It's a place where I've met many awesome and interesting people, and gotten to know people in a way that I just don't think would have happened otherwise. The best thing to come out of LJ though is getting to know masterofmusings. He has become such an integral part of my life in so many ways, and I feel that LJ gave us the opportunity to get to know each other as friends even before we ever talked or met in person. Despite the interesting times, to me, it's all worth it for that alone.
Although the way I journal has changed over the past several years, I've really enjoyed the opportunity to meet all those I've met, and to read all the entries that I've read over the years. I've seen people's happiness and excitement, disappointment and sadness. I feel like I've been a part of the lives of others, and I'm honored that I've been allowed to share all these things. I've been able to share my thoughts and feelings as well, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.