Welcome to Day 7, the final day, of Good Etiquette for the Modern Blogger revisited!
I hope you've enjoyed the week and found something of value in it.
Today I thought I would share some of my thoughts on what I do & don't share on my blog & why... I'm not going to cover really much on Etiquette because I feel it's already been said. Instead I thought I'd more focus sharing some insights with you into my decision making process of personal content and any"security" around my blog.
Because it's no secret if you've been here a few times that I like to keep my blog very "real". For a crafty/creative themed blog I can get deeply personal at times and I do share a lot of info and photos of my family life and children as well as just my creations.
I did originally start this blog purely as a record of my hobby, but overtime I discovered that I wanted it to be more than that. Hence the name change after a while to "Diary of a Flutter.Kat"...
Yet while this is my online "diary," it is still is a censored version. A whole lot of factors affect what I do and don't post information about.
So here are those factors, should you want to explore any of them for yourself also.
Factors affecting my content:
1. Husband's opinion.
A major factor in considering what personal information I share about our family is my husbands opinion. We are a close partnership and his opinion and boundaries are paramount.
For example, if he didn't want me to name the children or show their faces in photos like some of my friends husbands do then I wouldn't.
But he doesn't mind.
Often, if I've written a very personal post then I email him a copy for approval before I make it public.
That's just the way we roll and if you have a partner I would also implore you to factor their opinions into what personal content you share too.
There have been a few instances where he's asked me to change minor details - mostly regarding his work - but for the most part I'm lucky and he's been cool with what I plan to post on here.
2. Professionally it's not that important.
Neither mine nor my husbands work/careers are really very affected by sharing information about our family and private life so openly on the internet.
Yes I run a small business, but I like to think that it can be an asset to show that I'm a real person with real life issues when running that. It won't be for everyone that I share so openly, and perhaps it might do me out of some sponsors in the future(?) but that's ok by me. It might also resulting in me getting other opportunities ?. You can never please everyone and if I've learned one thing this whole time while blogging it's that I'm most successful and happy when I'm just being me and not striving to follow someone else. So I will continue to show the "real" whether that be good or flaws and all.
However - and this is a big one - I accept that not everyone has that luxury! Sometimes it definitely pays to be cautious about what you share because of your occupation.
For example if we turned the clock back 5 years to our lives pre-children - and we were still in the same careers we were back then, then I would definitely be less inclined to share so openly. I worked in businesses where image was everything and I definitely don't think I would have been afforded the same luxury to share so openly as I do now.
Luckily I never plan on going back to that industry or working in corporate again, so I no longer view that as an issue for us.
Other examples of occupations that might not want to share as much information might be public service roles, teachers, nurses, doctors etc.. etc... So take your own position(s) into account when deciding on content.
3. Our location:
Were we live now also affects my decisions about what content I put up about us, particularly namely naming our city etc that we live in.
For example we currently live in a big city of heading towards 2 million people. It is not just big in population but more so very big geographically... So I feel (whether justified or not) that I can be a little more relaxed with information I put up than I would be when I lived back in New Zealand in a little town of under 35,000 and where everyone knows everyone. The 4km radius and the 100km radius just do not compare.
For example recently I posted a photo of Hannah in her school uniform. That may have shocked many people until you realise that large amounts of schools in Perth use that same uniform and you can buy them at Target and most of the big chain stores they're that standard. I made sure that there was no emblem or school name visible so it didn't actually tell as much as people might think. However, while I've seen other big bloggers do it, I doubt I would have ever personally done that if I lived back in NZ where there may have only been 10 primary schools in our town for example. It would have then been too easy to pinpoint which school Hannah was at and I don't think I'd feel comfortable with that.
Another example is naming landmarks that I live close by to. For example I've told you before that I live close by the beach and a lake... well that only narrows it down to about 100km stretch plus then the inland few kms. Perth is built along the coast and there are small lakes either manmade or natural in just about every housing estate I've been to. But I might again feel differently saying that I lived right near a big landmark in a small place where it would be obvious with a quick google search in what street I lived in etc..!.
4. We are unlisted:
Another factor that I consider when sharing information (especially about my children) is how accessible we would be for someone to find. And the answer (I think) is not extremely easily.
For example we don't have a land line phone so therefore we are not listed in the phone directory
We aren't on the electoral roll or anything because neither of us are eligible to vote in Australia. I don't even know if that would make your personal information available publically over here like it does back home but anyway whatever the case, we're not on it.
We don't get mail delivered to our home address... We keep a PO Box and get all our mail delivered there. Now by saying this I am in no way advocating everyone rush out and get a PO Box - We originally got it because we rent and moved so regularly that quite frankly I could no longer be bothered changing our address all the time! So it's establishment wasn't related to my blogging at all. But I must admit that we've since decided to keep it going partly because I do keep such a lot of information about us online. It only costs $90 per year and it doesn't break the bank but it does mean that not even my closest online friends actually know where I live.
So if giving out your address online is of concern to you then perhaps that might be an option to also consider?
All that being said about all the security stuff above - even with the precautions I do take, there are still lots of ways we could still be found if they were really that keen to find us. So yes, it's still possible for someone to hunt us down, but I don't flatter myself that we are that interesting. ;)
5. Content "stealing"...
I am not concerned about people using photos of my work and putting them on their own blogs if they credit them back to me. Some people ask permission of me first, which is nice of them, but in my opinion as long as they're linking back and crediting to me then I don't actually mind if they don't ask permission first. I respect that not everyone else feels like this, just saying I do.
On the other hand if they did not credit the work to me or where claiming it as their own then I would have something to say to them! Also people stealing photos for other purposes is really icky but possible - I've read about people having photos of their family stolen off their blog (some even with watermarks) and having someone write a whole blog using all their information. That totally creeps me out and I don't even understand why anybody would want to do that! But I put all the content out there on the internet in the first place which means I have to prepare myself for the (very remote) possibility that icky things like that might happen.
6. I enjoy to...
Really the biggest one too... If you take all the boring security stuff out of the way and really get to the nuts and bolts of why I blog so openly then it all stems down to one reason - I enjoy to. I get a lot from being honest on here. I wouldn't do it otherwise.
It has allowed me to form deep, real friendships with other bloggers that I wouldn't have been able to form if I'd have kept something back. Those friendships will now go with me wherever we go. And there are potential big moves in our future, so it is such an asset to my life knowing that wherever I go, as long as there is an internet connection then you friends will come with me :)
It also allows me to look back and see how far I've grown. And how far the kids have grown. Because those are easy to forget in day to day life. I find it far easier to write on the computer than I do on paper. And I'm far more efficient at it also due to being able to type and format so fast. So I'm more likely to make it regular.
It is also part of my "giving back/pay it forward philosophy". Because it has helped me reading other peoples "real" in the past. So perhaps I can pay that forward by helping other people when they read my "real". Whether pretty or not it is my truth. I am a real, honest, imperfect person.
7. But what about my children's choice...?!
Some could say (and probably many do) that I'm taking the choice away from my children by posting so much information about them online and what right do I have to choose for them. There are some valid points in that but I personally am still going to brush them off.
I like to think that I'm responsible with what I post about my children. I make sure that I never post anything detrimental, negative or exploitive about them and would never ever do that. I have written about my struggles with parenting on occasion in the past but that is less a reflection of them than it is of me.
I hope instead that my blog is a positive gift and inheritance to my children. A gift of what a joy they are to my life and how rich they make me. I hope it will give them fond memories as they look and read over all the things we did together and the creations that they were part of.
Because my children are a massive part of my creations. Hannah is always my helper in the craft room. She loves the quilting process and I just adore watching her creative talent bloom as we spend time in there together. She has been part of nearly every quilt I've made, so if I did not write that part of the story I would not be telling the whole part!
She also loves playing to the camera and making me show her the photos after. I wouldn't put it past her to be a model or actress of her own choosing because boy that kid likes to show off and entertain.
So there you go, there are my thoughts and factors that I weigh in what content I put on my blog and some of the ways (whether naive or not) that I try and keep us safe online.
Hopefully they are of some help or interest (?) because that was actually quite a lot harder to write than I thought it was.
You can also read my (very long) original spiel from last February here... too if you like. That is the more etiquette focussed one.
Thanks for reading along with us this week!
I have enjoyed opening up this discussion, but I must admit I'm really looking forward to taking a break from the serious next week and sharing all my recent (and exciting!) creations with you again.
Lots of big reveals coming this week so watch this space!