Monday 20 February 2012

To Reveal or not to reveal? Things to think through... (New Bloggers Fortnight)

We have a rather lovely lady on the blog today,  I have always found Lou to be very approachable and real and we shared a few late night al fresco drinks after the MAD blog awards last year, so I know first hand she rocks. Lou writes at Bloggomy.

I am a Stay at Home Mum of 4 children. My children are 19, 12, 10 and the smallest is 14 months. My blog started as an online diary of my smallest child's life and has grown organically from there.  I was a runner up in the MAD Blog Awards Best Baby Category after blogging for just 6 months.  I am enjoying being a mature mum to my youngest son. Experience is a gift not a hindrance

New to blogging or thinking of starting one? I have been blogging for 14 months now and I have learned quite a bit in that time. Here are a few things to think through about what you reveal on your blog and possible reasons why...

* Names and information about yourself, family or children..

With the web being a world wide stretching resource everything you write is there for the world to read. Once you hit publish its there for all intents the world to see and search. If like me, you have children with unusual names for instance, then just by searching a name in a search engine will list any content on your blog. If you don't want to use actual names then perhaps a nickname is an option? If you don't mind sharing and are happy then share, share, share but if you are a little apprehensive then perhaps think about what you want people to be able to search.

* Are you happy for your friends and neighbours (and strangers) to know everything about you?

For mainly the same reasons as above, mentioning school names, places and the contents of your underwear drawer will mean it is accessible in a search and although most people are just looking perhaps for advice it is also 'out there' for those not so innocent. Again think what YOU want people to know about you and if you don't want quite as much openness then you can blog anonymously. You don't have to put your name on your blog, Twitter or anywhere else unless YOU want to.

* Photos

Like the written word photos and images are also included in search engine searches, for instance Google Images. These will link back to the website or blog they are displayed on. If you include photos of yourself and children then these could be recognised even if you don't name them. There are a few, more diverse shall we say, people that search the internet so again you may want to think what photos you are happy for people to see. Again if you are apprehensive take photos that do not show faces or places but if you are happy with it all then hit that share button!

* Its there in black and white!

Well of course it is - its a blog you may think. Ever read a text message and thought you understood what the person meant but then when you spoke to them you had read it completely differently? This is the same for your blog posts. Remember that many readers to your blog have no history with you and do not know you in real life. No matter what we may like to think or how exact we think we are being, we all can take and read things differently to the way the writer had written them. What you thought was helpfully sharing tips on life based on your experience could be seen by others as preaching or you are trying to be superior in some way. You just share some helpful tips for getting a baby to sleep but others may read it that you are implying you are a guru or authority. Everyone is different and that's what makes the world so full of diversity!

* Having children from two relationships..

I chose not to share information on my previous marriage. Firstly I don't want to share something that then comes up in a search (see above points) and secondly my children can also find (and read) information I have written. Yes you may think your ex is a no good so and so and tell the world about how they did this or that when you were married but is that something you want your children to know? Still want to share the information? Cool go ahead or again chose the option to blog anonymously but make sure you are not sharing something that could only be from you!

* Linking your blog to your Facebook account...

Remember by sharing your blog on your personal Facebook account it is available for everybody on your friends list, and possibly even those outside of it. Check your Facebook security or account settings for just who can see what you put. There is an option for 'friends of friends' or 'public' to see your shared details and if you're happy post away or if not change the settings in your account to what you are happy for people to see. Perhaps separate your friends list into those you want to share with and those you'd rather not then when sharing a blog post just share with the selected list of people. You can also keep the two separate and not link your blog to Facebook at all if that's what you'd prefer.

* Blogging for therapy.

Sometimes putting thoughts into words can be extremely therapeutic. It can also give you a place to look back to and see how far along the path you have come since you wrote it. It can also support others in a similar situation.

Although many of the above points may seem negative points to blogging they are not. It is about you having a choice and control over your blog contents. As you get further along the line with your blog you may choose to review these points again and change anything you don't feel happy with but at the end of the day blogging is your space, your words and your rules so enjoy!

Thank you Lou, super stuff.  I think the big message here peeps is to think through what you are going to share.  I never did that, I just started a blog and then thought it through afterwards.  Originally my kids names were on here and once I went public I had to go through and change them all to the nicknames I now use.  I also recall the first time I published a school picture of JJ, so proud he was now a big boy and then someone pointed out to me that from the badge on his top I had just told the world where he was schooled - eek!  The my favourite boob though, was when I was a finalist last year in the MAD blog awards, I duly sent a press release to the local paper as advised and only once it was published did I think through that everyone who actually knows me locally could now link me to my blog.  Think first and press that publish key second.

Well, it is the penultimate post tomorrow and I have to be honest I sneaked in an established blogger.  I would call her one of the old bloggers but I know she hates the new/ old divide.  The lovely Nickie of Typecast fame will be here and shh don't tell anyone, she really is lovely. I know she likes her reputation as a bit of a scary one but it is all front. She is one of the most knowledgeable and giving bloggers that I know. Tomorrow she'll point you in the direction of some great tutorials to add a few bits and pieces to your blog.

Then on Wednesday I'll wind up the week with a few wise blogging words (ha, ha yes don't hold your breath for those) and a round-up of all the super posts we have had in the last couple of weeks.

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