The sometimes seedy underbelly of blogging

This article is full of all sorts of reasons a person should think before he or she blogs.

About a spouse. A dog. A hangnail.

About anything.

Having a presence on the Internet can be a scary proposition. The worst part is that “scary” happens in large part because of choices we make.

The Internet, and blogging, definitely has its place. And I don’t plan to stop blogging, commenting and surfing. But this article really made me think.

So take a look at the article. And tell me what YOU think. I’m curious.

Just don’t overshare. 😉

9 thoughts on “The sometimes seedy underbelly of blogging

  1. bits & pieces

    Thank you so much for sharing the article with us.

    I read through it and feel pretty similar. My blog is nowhere on the scale hers was, but it’s grown enough that I’ve had enough. I’ve really cut back, especially on the personal stuff. I’ve even created a blog just for my family and friends where I don’t have to worry about being too personal.

    Very interesting, thanks again!

    Reply
  2. Wendy

    I tend to write things that I wouldn’t mind being overheard in, say, a restaurant, if I were telling it to a friend over supper. Mostly my blog is a place to share pictures with family who don’t live nearby. It’s not nearly as personal as Emily’s!

    Thanks for sharing the article.

    Reply
  3. lceel

    There are several things that come to mind. First of all, we all and every one have secrets. And that’s the way it should be. Second, an admonition I read somewhere – the bible, I think – “Judge not lest ye be judged.” More people need to remember that one. But just because there are judgmental idiots out there, I’m not going to stop blogging. Just as there are people out there who should never be allowed to drive a car, because they are dangerous to others when they do, their presence out there is not going to stop me from driving.

    I will blog as I have always blogged – and comment as I have always commented. YOU know what that means – more than anyone out here – you know what that means.

    You’ve got to think about WHY you blog, not WHAT you blog. For many, blogging truly does come from the heart. It’s a release. It’s a feeling of community. It’s a necessary part of everyday life. But, that said, self-censorship is necessary, if for no other reason, to keep secret those things which really should be kept secret.

    I have rambled a bit here, I know. There are a thousand things running through my mind and I’m picking off things as I can – my fingers can’t keep up with my mind.

    Reply
  4. Sarah

    It’s REALLY easy to get in hot water by blogging even with the best of intentions. And, more importantly, even in blogs that aren’t very personal. Two true stories and one hypothetical situation:

    Once a guy (I’ll call him Joe) was blogging about a problem he was having with his brother (both are adults). He provided very few details. Joe basically said something frustrating was happening with his brother and that he didn’t want to talk about it because it was a private matter. He just wanted everyone to know why he wasn’t blogging much and was slow to answer comments.

    No problem, right?

    Big problem.

    An extremely astute reader found Joe’s brother’s blog from searching just ONE detail of the story. Joe did not know his brother had a blog. He never knew his brother’s online handle. It turns out the brother was saying horrible and very personal things on his blog about Joe, his family, everyone.

    The astute reader in his/her comment to Joe’s original blog entry posted the brother’s blog address. Although that comment was taken down, the damage was done. Regular readers of Joe’s blog (which he’s published since 2005) were enraged about the attacks on their beloved Joe. And, yes, they commented on Joe’s brother’s blog effectively outing Joe’s blog to the brother.

    It was a mess.

    Joe still blogs. But, never about his family.

    Joe had no idea that would happen. Because remember, Joe only said he was frustrated. He never talked ugly about his brother. He never said anything that he would mind being overheard in a restaurant.

    I was reading his blog when all this occurred. I really thought the commenter who found the brother’s blog was especially good at searching until I tried the search and realized that ONE small detail resulted in the brother’s blog being pulled up as the THIRD result on a Google search. In other words, it was scarily easy to find, and in Joe’s situation I would NEVER have thought that could happen.

    I guess what that taught me is that information can be used in ways that the blogger never intended. I don’t agree that it’s mostly about WHY you blog. A GREAT deal of thought must first go into WHAT you blog, especially when blogging about friends and family.

    The commenter was out of line. But, heck. Who would ever think someone would do that?

    Well, someone did.

    Another true story. Be careful what you name your photos. Seriously. I found out the hard way by someone finding an embarrassing photo of my sister while looking for images of my niece’s school.

    The same method used for that could work this way:

    You blog mainly for your friends and family. One day you post your kid’s photo taken at school. You name it kid’s firstname_TisdaleElem, or similar. A classmate of your child at a later date does a Google image search for “Tisdale Elem.” Your kid’s photo pops up, which leads to your blog. The one where five years ago you blogged your three-year-old child doing something adorable that is now considered horribly embarrassing to the eight-year-old that she is now.

    The next thing you know that photo is posted on your child’s classmate’s blog who is making fun of your child.

    In the case of my sister and niece, we were lucky. Another teacher alerted us to the problem before one of my sister’s students found the photo. The photo wasn’t bad in any way. It was just of a photo of her and I looking goofy on Christmas day one year. However, it would have been embarrassing for a student to post it, especially out of context. I’m fairly certain that could have easily happened.

    So, yeah. Follow your heart. Blogging is a GOOD thing. But, learn from Emily and Joe and me. Protect those you blog about. That’s first. You’re feelings and NEED to blog are secondary. (BTW, I happen to know that Reba is very good about blogging about her real life family and friends because I’m one of them. This isn’t pointed at her at all.)

    Reply
  5. Al_Pal

    Wow, intense article!
    I’m fairly private on this blog, because of my BiL’s occupation, but I have other blogs where I share much more personal stuff, but they are all friends-only.
    Some use my real name, some do not. (and oversharing is reserved for a very select filter of approved friends!)

    And good call by Sarah on checking what your photos are labeled!

    Reply
  6. Andie

    Wow – this was my education for the day. I am naturally rather cautious about blogging and photos – I don’t have any personal photos up (thanks for the tip on naming them, by the way – I’d never thought of that) – and I don’t discuss too much about personal details. As one commentor noted though, sometimes a tiny detail is enough.

    I tend to put more stuff about recipes and “ideas” in my blog – thinks I’d love to hash out with friends staying up half the night – but that isn’t what my life is like right now, so blogging gives me a virtual outlet.

    Thank you so much for posting this article – it has really made an impact on me.

    Reply
  7. Maggie

    Funny we did both blog about the same article last week 🙂 Some things I will share all the way to the core of my being, while others are totally off limits. For example, I will discuss what it’s like to grieve or the process of forgiving myself in a haiku where I don’t have to give details of the situation (since that’s not the point of it), but I will not discuss even in general people at work or share Tom’s picture (unless he changes his mind because I think he’s a cutie). Anything I put out there is public forever and could be seen by anyone at any time – friends, family, current or future employers (past, too), people I haven’t yet met who will already know much about me before we do meet. And as Sarah mentioned above, people have the power of Google. I try to be very conscious of anything I put out there, but it’s still sometimes a conversation I have with myself about how much is too much. Glad you saw this and also found it interesting 🙂

    Reply
  8. MoxieMamaKC

    Wow. The whole issue of “To blog or not to blog about this” is one that I’ve struggled with.

    For me, blogging is a release of whatever tidbits/bigger things are going in my mind. I have a blog that my friends/family read and then Moxie’s my anonymous alter ego.

    I found there were SO many things that I wanted to blog about that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with my husband/friends/family/co-workers reading, so I started MoxieMama and no one, not even my husband knows.

    He’s an actor and in one of my posts, I casually mentioned the name of a theatre we went to. It ended up getting a hit because of a google keyword search. I freaked and yanked the name out of the post. But it was a good lesson.

    I’m more careful now, but by being careful, I censor myself once again so that identities are kept as secret as possible.

    Sigh, keep on blogging!

    Reply
  9. Lis Garrett

    Eeks! I try to keep my blog about things I wouldn’t have problems saying to someone in real life, but even so, I can get a little personal. For example, my post about “When Husbands Say Stupid Things” would most likely be something I tell a girlfriend over the phone, as opposed to the Internet world. And yet, I posted it anyway, because I knew my friends would rally behind me. I needed that support today.

    I fluctuate between wanting to be totally incognito and wishing I could voice ALL my opinions.

    BTW – Your photos look GREAT!

    Reply

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