August 19, 2004

What won't you Blog about?

I wrote a post today that you will never see. I . got all the way through to the end; I even checked it for spelling errors. Then I deleted it; I thought the post was funny, I thought it relevant, I thought it would give a taste of life in Israel. No one had done anything wrong or evil so no one's name would have been besmirched. I hadn't even used anyone's name; I even disguised and altered the information to make discovery difficult or impossible; still, I was afraid that someone might see what was written and guess who the story was about, or guess that it was about them; that they would undo the deceptions and nod their head and go, oh! I know who she is talking about.

I know other bloggers have talked about this before; I am curious: what are the lines you will not cross? Have you ever blogged something and then regreted it? Have you ever erased or deleted an entry? Have you ever read something on someone else's blog and thought they should not have done so because, though well written, it could cause someone else harm? (no naming the blogs please.)

Posted by Rachel Ann at August 19, 2004 01:07 PM

Hey, Rachel, will you email it to some of us upon special request and a promise to neither publish nor forward?

My lines are basically professional. I have to be careful not to disclose client confidences or litigation strategy.

Posted by: RP at August 19, 2004 02:05 PM

I avoid being mean to people I know but that's about it. Common courtesy stuff.

Posted by: Jim at August 19, 2004 02:16 PM

I have no limits or boundaries that won't be crossed!

Posted by: Mudfish Billie at August 19, 2004 04:29 PM

I'm not fond of backlash, so that's where my lines are drawn. If I had it to do all over again, I would be completely anonymous (no one knowing my real name, my husband's name, my son's name, etc.), I would not let any friends know that I had a blog and I would be able to write whatever I want. It's not that I would write anything purposefully hurtful, it's that the online world is open to more interpretation and assumption because of the lack of intonation. I really want to write about some things right now with regard to someone I thought was my friend, but hideously misinterpreted something I wrote as being about her when it wasn't. It all went down hill from there. I can't write that because I know she has little spies visiting my site ready to pounce at one miniscule similarity. If I were completely anonymous I don't think there is anything I wouldn't write about. But, of course, that should be obvious. :)

Posted by: Linda at August 19, 2004 05:41 PM


You said it. I'm sorry about what you are going through with your friend, but you have hit upon one of the problems, and one solution. I wonder sometimes why I want so public with my name.

And it isn't even that I would necessarily disclose embarassing information; but it I were to disclose how happy I was, for example, that one of my friends was pregnant, but had told no one but me and her dh, and someone from my community read my blog...well that isn't necessarily information the other person would want disclosed---even if it were difficult to figure out just who I was speaking about.

I hope your friend has a change of heart and realizes that she misunderstood what and who you were speaking about.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at August 19, 2004 05:59 PM

As you know, Rachel Ann, I wrote something about work without saying the name of where I worked or the name of the person I was writing about and it got reported and I was spoken to by my manager. That was so unfair!! So I deleted the post and vowed never to write anything about work again.
Last week I did write another work post but after a few minutes of posting it I deleted it. People are too petty. why risk it??

Posted by: Robin P at August 19, 2004 10:15 PM

I won't cross any operational security lines - that's firm. And I never identify my family by their names. I've done some things in the service that had to be done, but could make those I love a target.

My only real regret was in comments rather than blogging - I got into a snark contest with someone I considered immature and practically beneath contempt, on their blog. When it got personal one night, I woke up regretting it. Made a public apology on my site. Don't go back there anymore.

Posted by: lex at August 21, 2004 02:43 AM

I chose to blog under a psuedonym because I wasn't sure, when I started, just how personal I might want to make my posts. Of course, my real isn't hard to discover, though.

I draw the line at violating other people's privacy. My friends and family all know that I have a blog, but very few of them ever read it. I guess my rule of thumb is that I wouldn't post anything involving friends and family that I wouldn't say to them openly, around others. If I get into more sensitive areas I'll use crytic nicknames or false initials.

Other than that, I've pretty much decided to be an open book rather than worry if I'm "saying too much". I figure that if I treat my blog like I'm the only who'll ever read then there'll be less of a chance that I'll edit it into an incomplete -- and thus dishonest -- account.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at August 21, 2004 08:11 PM

One of the first things I did when blogging was come up with a fake name. Plenty of my friends and family know about the blog and read it. I've told my religious mother that I won't be censoring it for her anytime soon, and she seems OK with it. I once posted a funny story about my sister that she found embarrasing. I took it down voluntarily shortly afterwards, as not to upset her further.

I also haven't revealed the name of the company I work for. I know of a couple of people who have had trouble at work due to their blogs, so I try to keep my work stories relatively vague, although I do post stories about work and the people there. Hopefully they are all cool enough that there won't be any problems in the future.

Sometimes I wonder if blogs will be cesored by companies not wanting writers to use their names and situations that occur and employees. I seem to remember signing my employment contract that stated that I am a representative of Bob's Hogs at all times, even off the clock.

Posted by: ensie at August 22, 2004 02:55 AM

I often write a post in anger, and then go through it three or four times editing out snarks and unfair personal comments. (Some still slip through, of course). That's probably my main form of self-censorship. Which is why I'm so much meaner in other people's commments than I am on my own blog; in other people's comments, there's no opportunity for second thoughts.

I'm never really tempted to write about my family or my personal life; if I did write about that stuff, I'd probably be constantly self-censoring, or maybe considering starting a new and more anonymous e-identity.

Posted by: Ampersand at August 22, 2004 08:33 AM


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