Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A blog is not a journal...

While at first glace - a blog may seem to be a journal and maybe people use blogs as journals. A blog is not a journal. A blog is public, it can be seen and read by anyone, searched by search engines and even if deleted - it's content may be saved already by someone else - somewhere else. Who knows but what things we post online now - might be found by our children down the road?

I have seen people in online communities whose blog entries are used against them in court in custody battles. I've seen situations online where CPS has been called on people based on blog enteries or posts to message boards. I've read about cases where online threats or the "I really want to hurt so and so" are taken seriously by authorities. When in a personal journal nothing would have come of it.

The interent is a a wonderful way for us to keep in touch with friends and family who are far away. But with that - one loses the annonymity - the ability to vent about those same people. To my extended family and friends at a distance - Don't panic! I don't have specific gripes with any of you right now!! But it would be dis-honest to pretend that at times I haven't wanted to do a vent blog entry or two....but frankly it wouldn't be wortth the emotional fall out of actually putting those thoughts out there.

Also off-limits - workplace commentary. Employees blogging about company business online - a BIG no no! But even beyond that with Google - all we would have to do is mention the company name and our blog might turn up in a google search by a customer or potential customer. This had to be explained to me by Allan as as hurried to edit an entry where I had unthinkingly and quite innocently typed in the name the company he works for.

Then of course there is my relationship with Allan. I've had several really, really good ideas for funny blog posts on married life but I know that Allan would well - not find it so funny. So those have to stay in my head. Not embarrassing ones spouse or one's children (increasingly important as they get older) is another content restriction

I have to admit at times I envy those who put it all out there online - ranting about employers, family members and so forth. But in today's wired and wireless world - that is a luxery many of us don't have. Even those who do these things are living dangerously - even if they are doing so under a different user name on a site they think no one knows them. Because you really just never know and people have had to learn the hard way that blogging is public, people can take the info in your blog and use it against you.

In the end the best policy is to "keep your shit off the web" as one saying goes or to only post online what you don't mind anyone reading and don't throw out your paper journal yet...


Gail said...

David told me recently that before he met me he read every one of my blog entries all the way back to the beginning. I wrote somewhere in my blog that I never wrote about my personal life, but he scoured the entries looking for clues -- whether I was seeing anyone or interested in anyone.

I don't envy anyone who chooses a nondiscretionary attitude towards blogging, because sooner or later their words will come back to haunt them. Telecom is cheap these days, best to stick to a phone call.

Chris said...

Well said.

Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it useful." I'm not sure I really want my personal life organized and made useful, though. ;)