How Privacy Affects Your Family and Mom Blogging Business - dummies

How Privacy Affects Your Family and Mom Blogging Business

By Wendy Piersall, Heather B. Armstrong

Blogging is a balancing act between finding ways to share personal stories while setting boundaries about the things you refuse to share publicly. Even the bloggers who seem to bare it all have certain topics they won’t discuss.

The permanence of blogging puts a different perspective on cute and funny stories about children as they go through stages such as breastfeeding, potty training, and social struggles with their peers.

There’s no way of knowing what children will think of these writings when they’re 16 years old and in the midst of teenage angst. Or how a spouse will feel about what you wrote about an argument you had. Or how your own parents will feel about how you could blog about a childhood experience that you never had the courage to share with them.

There are also safety issues to consider when you start living your life publicly online. It’s next to impossible to conceal your home address and home phone number thanks to public records and online phone books.

Additionally, newer cameras are equipped with sophisticated geo-tagging technology that can embed detailed location information in photographs you make public. To date, there have not been any incidents in which bloggers or their families have been harmed due to the findability of personal information. But unfortunately, such harm is still in the realm of possibility.

Ironically, the simple solution to this problem — being and remaining anonymous — isn’t a solution that really works for bloggers. Blog readers typically want to know the person behind the words. They care about not only what the blog says, but who says it.

Additionally, it’s these very personal stories that seem to resonate most with our readers. In fact, writing about taboo subjects (carefully, of course) can be helpful and healing to both the author and the reader.

For example, several mom bloggers have shared their personal struggles with anxiety and depression. While this may be a topic that’s difficult for their families to discuss, more good than harm has come from shedding light on this condition that affects many women. And the communities that have been created because of these blogs have become an invaluable support system for thousands of women.

Here are some of the questions to ask yourself to help weigh the value of sharing versus the potential consequences:

  • Is this information self-serving, or will my blog visitors get something out of reading this post? Sometimes you’ll need to rewrite sections to change venting into a sharing of lessons learned instead.

  • Does this blog post say anything that I wouldn’t say directly to the persons involved? If not, then either choose to speak to that person first, or omit the information from your blog post.

  • Does this material violate the privacy of the persons I’ve written about? If you would be afraid to have them find the post, then the answer to this question is probably yes.

  • Is there a way I can get my message across effectively without sharing personal details? If so, it’s probably in your best interests to do so.

  • How would my children feel about this post if they were reading it as adults? The best way to answer this question is to imagine that your own parents wrote this blog entry about you. If that leaves you with hesitation or uneasiness, there’s probably room for revision.

  • Can anything in this post get taken out of context in a way that I hadn’t intended? And could that misinterpretation cause harm to me or my family? If so, be sure to edit your words or add more information. You don’t want to risk being misrepresented in a way that creates problems that aren’t there in the first place.

Sometimes you just don’t know the answers to these questions. Trust your intuition when that little voice says, “don’t hit Publish just yet.” When that happens, walk away from the content for a few hours or days until you can see the situation objectively. Sometimes you don’t know you’ve crossed the line until the line is already crossed.