Thoughtful Thursday: Public

June 25, 2009

Thoughtful ThursdayOn a related but different topic from last week’s Thoughtful Thursday about my husband’s interest in going ultra-public with our infertility, in which I crowd-sourced to solve a dilemma (still undecided, by the way)…

Oompa loompa doopity doo, I’ve got another puzzle for you. I’ve been thinking a lot about whether and how to make my children’s identities (faces and names) public on the Internet. This is something that varies incredibly widely in the ALI blogosphere, as well as in the rest of the Internet.

At one end are people like Lavender Luz and Lollipop Goldstein. They have both posted photos of themselves and their husbands on their blogs, but have purposely kept their children’s names and faces off. Both of them have written about limiting identifying information to protect the children’s privacy. They also both have discussed setting limits about revealing certain kinds of information about their children, such as stories that the kids might not want having been told when they get older and look back through blog archives. Finally, they draw lines between telling their own stories as mothers and telling things that should be the children’s stories to tell if they so choose. When I met with them in person (Lavender a few months ago and Lollipop just this evening! what a lucky girl I am!), we talked about these issues extensively, and it’s clear that they’ve both given a lot of thought to the issue.

Other people throughout the internet (as well as non-bloggers such as talking heads on TV talk shows) have expressed concern that sickos might misuse the photos of children, for their own sicko purposes or to track down and hurt the children.

I have a friend who writes the equivalent of a blog with weekly stories and photos of his child, but he sends it out as an email to friends and family. His career happens to involve working with sickos, and it’s not at all paranoid to keep his kid safe from the hundreds of sexual predators that know his name and sometimes get mad at him. But what about those of us who don’t spend our days with sickos? Is everyone else being paranoid or sensible?

At the other end of the spectrum are millions of people, including many ALI bloggers, who post information freely. One that always comes to mind is Dooce, who made history by disclosing too much on her blog (and getting fired for it) but now blogs constantly about her daughter (plus the new baby born last week) including photos and real names. She has written, video-blogged, and even talked on the Today Show about her openness with her daughter’s name and likeness — check out the Momversation on this topic; it’s very thought-provoking. It’s clear that Dooce has also given a lot of thought to this issue but has come to a different conclusion from my friends Lavender, Lollipop, and Sicko Guy. She blogs about parenting because she values the messages that parenting can be difficult and that parenting is important. Through blogging she has validated the experiences of others and helped many people (especially through her openness about being hospitalized for depression after her first daughter’s birth). In terms of privacy, she argues that the internet isn’t really any more exposed than taking her daughter out in public, and that someone who is intent on doing harm will find a way. In terms of embarrassing or revealing too much, she has said that she would stop as soon her daughter asked her to stop.

Many other people (most of whom don’t make a living blogging about their kids like Dooce does) seem to post their kids’ photos and names because they are pleased to show them to the world, and because they want to communicate about their children to loved ones and sometimes to the broader world. Most of them don’t think it’s a big deal.

Posting children’s information can take many forms, all with or without real names:

  • blogging regularly about the children, including stories and photos
  • including stories or photos occasionally on a blog that’s mostly about something else
  • blogging stories but omitting photos
  • posting photos on a photo website
  • posting photos on Facebook etc.
  • and so on

I know very few people who post their own photos on Facebook but refuse to post their children’s photos — almost everyone with kids includes kid pictures on Facebook. Many people even have photos of their kids as their Facebook profile photo. No big deal — until your family photo shows up on a billboard in a foreign country.

What’s a not-quite-mommy to do? And what does this have to do with infertility?

For many of the 7 years I dealt with infertility, I made grandiose plans to glorify my children’s likenesses online. For years before I considered blogging, I envisioned fabulous photo essays, interactive timelines, all sorts of cool stuff. Once blogging arrived in my consciousness, I planned elaborate blogs with stories, photos, and videos. The first blog I ever set up was actually a practice blog created during the sleepless nights of a treatment cycle. I wanted to learn the blogging software so that I’d be ready when I got pregnant, because of course the cycle would work. (That was a couple of IUIs and a couple of IVFs before the one that worked.) Because our families are spread far and wide (and nowhere near us), I thought it was important to document my children’s lives in a more systematic way than the bunches of photos every few months that many of my friends send out. Grandparents and other relatives could hear immediately about each milestone, laugh at each anecdote, and watch the kids grow.

Then I started this blog, and I kept not getting closer to becoming a mother, and that blog became a distant memory. Writing here for almost a year has also changed the way I think about blogging — interacting with readers, fostering relationships, combining style and substance.

Now that I am pregnant, after all this time, I’m not sure what to do.

On this blog, I feel like I owe it to all of you to show you the babies when they arrive, at least once. But, I won’t include their names, because they’ll be too Google-able (especially in combination with each other) and would reveal my true identity. And because this is an infertility blog instead of a pregnancy blog or future parenting blog, I don’t plan to keep including photos or anecdotes, unless they pertain directly to infertility (or maybe not at all?).

What about Facebook? Unlike every other person in my generation, I’m not actually on Facebook! Partly because I haven’t wanted to hear constant updates about the pregnancies and children of acquaintances, and partly because I have limited time and energy (and I’d rather focus on the ALI community than the dude who sat next to me in geometry class). Unlike me, my husband is on Facebook, and I’m torn between keeping the photos off my husband’s profile and letting him include some kid photos like everyone else has. Is it even possible to keep their photos off Facebook entirely? One of their aunts posts all of her photos on Facebook, and unless I expressly forbid her (and everyone else who ever meets my kids and takes some snapshots), I guarantee that she’ll post their photos including tags with their names.

As for photos and names on a blog that includes my real identity, I’m torn. I do want to provide our families with photos and information, but I could do that with a password-protected blog. But other people in our lives will want to see photos too — where do I draw the line with the password? Separate passwords for each viewer, or one password that may be given out without my knowledge by proud grandparents?

Then sometimes I think I should create a real-name blog that anyone could access (but most likely, only a few people probably would). Maybe I will make such a contribution to the world of babyblogging that random people will flock to read it. It would not be linked to this blog, because it would include all of our real names and likenesses. It would not be a “mommyblog” — it would be about my children, not about my struggles as a parent. One big argument in favor of a public blog is that it would serve as an electronic baby book, including details about development, photos, and videos. I could even turn the prose and photos into a keepsake book way more detailed (and interesting) than the standard baby books. If the baby blog were private, I know that I would put far less effort into it than if it were public — I don’t want to shortchange my children on recording their early lives, but I also want to keep them safe in every way imaginable. Once again, as with last week, I truly have no idea what to do, and so I turn to you once again for help and perspective.

Do you post your children’s names and photos online (or, if you don’t have children, what have you imagined you would do)? If so, on what internet platforms do you disclose and on what platforms are you secretive? Why? Has your ALI blog made a difference in your decision?

28 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Public”

  1. This is such a complicated and personal situation.

    The good thing about WordPress is that you can password individual posts and therefore only allow bloggers you’ve chosen to see photos or other identifying information without cutting yourself off from the wider ALI community. Saying that, you do not owe anyone anything and it’s completely up to you, what you feel comfortable sharing.

    Facebook is more complicated. Like you’ve said, you won’t reasonably be able to keep photos off without being really proactive and diligent. Within my family (parents, siblings, in laws, aunts, cousins, etc) we all have Facebook profiles that are set to private so only people we add as ‘friends’ can see. From there we can all post pages which can be done like blog posts with photos and comments, as well as videos and stuff like that. It is awesome for sharing photos of birthdays and weddings as well as being able to catch up and hear about each others families without the need for mass email or a family reunion every month.

    As for what I would do, I don’t know yet. I’m about to move to a WordPress blog with passworded posts for identifying information. I have a heap of stuff about doing foster care in there which is honestly probably too identifying even for a passworded blog post. I have it there though because I want a record of what happened and I want to be able to share it with people (not my family though). If we adopt I know I will use Facebook, but I have no idea what I’ll do with my blog.

    Sorry for the novel. I really look forward to seeing what others think about this.

  2. WiseGuy Says:

    I, for one, would not post photos of my children on the net.

    I did post my photographs on my blog for a Show and Tell, but I removed them later(and that was how it was intended to go).

    I am a member of two social networking sites – Orkut and Facebook. Facebook has zero photographs. Orkut has got several, but none of them feature me or my hubby. They are only of locations/sights etc.

    Several of my friends keep on asking for snaps and all, and I e-mail them the snaps rather than loading them on Picasa or any of my blogs or on some networking site, and I intend to strictly keep it that way.

    Recently something happened with my hubby’s colleague. On his account on Orkut, he had put up a photograph of himself with his wife in some wedding.
    He eventually found himself getting invitations and risque messages from random people and remain perplexed, till he discovered the reason. His photograph had been used on a ‘wife-swapper’ community, and he and his wife were shown as one the several ‘willing’ couples!!! Shocked, he removed the photograph, and the rest of us folks learnt the lesson vicariously.

    Frankly, I may share ‘newly born’/ birth photos of my children on my blog, but I ‘may’ not reveal their official names or any other photos of them after that, or atleast not after they start growing up and all.

    I think the disadvantages of not doing so are far lesser than the advantages of opening everything for strangers to ogle.

    Also, maybe my kids would not like being revealed like that, once they start making their choices.

    Has the ALI blogosphere made any difference? Well not. But I think that my choice of blog site will make a difference. In Blogger I cannot individually protect a post…that would make it all the more difficult to control the flow of information. Possibly, other blog sites such as WordPress would have been more conducive.

  3. This Thoughtful Thursday is right up my alley! When I first discovered the internet, I was against posting photos of myself and my children. I was very careful about what I typed into profiles and such. I never used my full name or my location. As I got more comfortable with the internet or the social networking aspect of it, I became more lax with MY personal information. I rarely, if ever, posted pictures of my husband or the kids. If I did, they’re faces were covered.

    I do have a Myspace account, but that has NO pictures of our children. I don’t name them, even their nicknames are not shared on there. Facebook is a little bit different for me. I only have family on my Facebook page, so I did put up a few pictures of the kids on there, nicknames only.

    When I started blogging, I was really apprehensive about their pictures. I still use their nicknames and they aren’t so uncommon that one would automatically say “oh those are Beautiful Mess’ kids”. I have posted a few pictures of them, as well as stories, but only if I think it’s an appropriate story to tell.

    With Nae being 12 and going into 7th grade, I’ve become more strict with her photos and stories. She’s at an age where almost anything could be embarrassing. I don’t want her to hold back anything because she might think I’ll blog about it. I have asked her if I can share a picture of her on my blog. She’s told me no and I didn’t.

    Zilla is almost 6 and he has no embarrassment issues at all! Even still, I wouldn’t write about something that could cause him to feel bad about it or me.

    I think there’s a way for you to do what you feel is comfortable, yet still have an electronic scrapbook of sorts. You can do what both Lollipop and Lavender do and still feel like you’re doing justice to your childrens’ privacy.

    I hope you come to a happy conclusion! Good luck!

  4. Nicole Says:

    What a great thoughtful Thursday! I haven’t even thought that far ahead but now I think I will have to give it some serious consideration. So my answer is ‘I have no idea!’ Yet!

    Thanks for the comment and I’ve been following your journey from afar…so glad to know things are going well!

  5. Heather Says:

    I’ve given a lot of thought to this topic as well, and I’m pretty public. The only thing I haven’t published is our last name. On my blog, all 3 of our children’s names (wow! I have 3 kids now!) are published. DH is the only one I don’t use his real name, and I think that’s because he’s had mixed reaction to me blogging. But then again, he’s made comments to me after the boys were born that I had to post the boys pics after they were born. Our DD is 8-years-old now and I don’t think she realizes I even have a blog where I talk about her. Maybe when she’s older, she won’t be that happy about it. Then again, she might love that I’ve saved all these pics and stories.

  6. loribeth Says:

    Good questions! I’m not on Facebook either. If I ever do go on there, I will probably guard my privacy settings carefully.

    I have posted photos of myself & my dh on a few message boards, but most of them are private/closed membership. I’m on several scrapbooking boards & this is an issue that often comes up. Some people have no problem with posting photos & layouts of their kids. I can identify some of the more “famous” scrapbookers’ kids off a magazine cover because I know their faces so well. Other people won’t post their layouts at all. Or they’ll post ones of their own kids, but blur out the faces of other people’s kids.

    I actually just posted a photo of myself on my blog — one that’s 19 years old & on the dark side. ; ) I also posted a wedding photo of me & dh last year on our anniversary, but it’s in profile from a distance, so our faces are not clear. Every now & then I think I might post something more identifiable — but then I read stories like that one about the billboard in Czechoslovakia (!!) & think, “Hmmm… maybe not…!!”

  7. Julie Says:

    I did not put too much thought into that originally so there are some kid pics on my blog and Facebook. I may throw one of those privacy / can not use w/o permission deals on my blog (not that that’s a total complete fix) Hubby didn’t mind – however there aren’t a lot of “me” pics and once the girls are older, I may post less of them.

    I might start a new blog which will be less “open” for general online readership – my original intent with current blog was so out of town IRL people could keep up with the girls without me having to email 20x times a day. If I go with the new plan of 2 separate blogs, we’ll change it up, and try to keep the IRL blog (that has actual names and such) private.

  8. jill Says:

    I haven’t given this a ton of thought or research but I have day dreamed up some tentative plans.

    I use my real name and my real location on my blog (and even my dog’s real name! hehe) but I don’t plan on giving out any more information than that. No last names and no names of people in my life. I also don’t plan on ever posting identifying pics of myself, or others in my life, on my blog.

    If I ever have a child, I have imagined creating a private blog that will either be password protected or invite-only. On that blog I would post stories and updates about pregnancy and my children, using both real names and identifying pics. This blog would be mainly to keep family in touch but I would post a reference to it on my current blog so blog-friends would be able to read if they wanted as well.

    I’m not really all that concerned about keeping my identity a secret but on a web site that anyone at all could access, I think a little anonymity is a good thing.

    Good luck with your decision!

  9. Photogrl Says:

    I’ve struggled with this myself…I use nicknames for myself, DH, and DD. I have posted pics of all of us at some point over the last year, but usually it’s pics of items/landscapes/things I want to show.

    FB is a whole different thing. BUT my pics are only allowed to be seen by my friends.

    Maybe I’m being naive, but that’s my two cents. πŸ˜‰

  10. Aunt Becky Says:

    I do occasionally put pictures of my kids on my blog, especially the younger ones. They look like…babies. But I’m not sure if I’ll continue doing so. On the one hand, it could become a problem, on the other, I don’t think anyone cares THAT much about me (not in a wah, wah, wah way). But who knows?

    I don’t tend to post about potentially embarrassing things my kids do, especially my eldest, because I would hate for him to find it and be upset with me over it.

  11. Jamie Says:

    I’m going to write about this on my blog and post it tomorrow morning.

    As you know, I’m very open but I’m finding the comments here intriguing.

  12. Carrie Says:

    I post it all, pics of the family, names, except last name. There are definitely some creeps in this world, but I’m not going to live in fear of something I cannot predict. I want my blog to be a reflection of my life, and my kids are a reflection of that. I would love to show my children my blog in the future. If I’m still blogging when the kids hit their preteens I may not post the stories they would hate me for later, but I will still talk about them.

  13. Anonymous For Today Says:

    I think my attitude about this can be summed up by the fact that I am not using my ‘real’ (blog) name on this post, although I normally comment here with my blogname intact.

    I work in IT. I am painfully aware of the fact that (a) all posts to the internet are permanent, even if you delete them later (see (b) there is an ever-increasing number of algorithms that can search and correlate data across the internet (c) companies and the government are happily marching towards a future of Total Information Awareness in which every piece of info about you that is public will be cross-correlated and used to make decisions about you (d) opting out of it is going to be increasingly difficult as we move more and more of our social networking and work and business lives on-line.

    I am extremely reluctant to post personal information on-line. I have a facebook page but with super minimal info on it. I post no pictures on my public blog and am very careful about personally identifiable data there. I do maintain a private blog for my family and friends, it is individually password-protected but many of my friends forgot how to log in and so I have approximately 5 readers. That is still better than having my private life be public. And that is what posting on the internet is – totally, brutally, unprotectedly public.

    I am also very aware that my future kid will be able, for all time, to read everything I put out publically and I am extremely careful what I write about him/her because of that.

    So, no, no posting kid pics/stories, though it is possible I would break down and put some on Facebook.

  14. Kristin Says:

    I post it all…faces, names, etc. However, my kids have been talked to extensively and know not to give info to or talk to a stranger no matter what they seem to know. My kids know I tell stories on my blog and like it. They do know however that I will respect their wishes if they don’t want me to post something.

  15. This is a very interesting issue, and one I’ve been thinking about too, but I haven’t really come up with a final answer yet (although it’s about time, my due date is tomorrow!). Once the baby is born, I will probably put a picture on my blog, for the handful followers that I have. I’m not sure about mentioning the name though – but I don’t have a nickname either (or at least not one that my family doesn’t know and use as well).

    I don’t think I will post anything about my child’s development on my current blog though. Not so much because I’m afraid o creeps roaming the internet, but mainly because I want to keep my current blog as anonymous (and unknown from the majority of my RL contacts) as possible and not mix it with a place where family and friends would go to to read updates about our little one. Have been considering starting a pw-protected blog for that purpose, but not taken any steps yet to actually set one up. In any case it will probably also mean that my current blog becomes kind of dormant until we start thinking about a new round of IVF…

    I do have a Facebook account, but don’t use it that much. Apart from my profile picture, I have never posted pictures on there and don’t think I will, even though my profile can be seen only by invited/approved connections. But we’ll see, if I decide to announce our baby’s birth on FB, I’m sure my FB friends will want to see a picture too!

  16. Ana Says:

    Thoughtful indeed. Don’t have a blog—probably won’t have a blog…but do use facebook, and have posted pics of myself, hubby, dog, etc… there without even thinking about it. Without consciously deciding to, I assumed I would post pics of any future children on FB, as well—since all my friends do, and I LOVE to see them. These are only available for friends to view, and I don’t have too many FB friends (only REAL friends & family get added, and “acquaintances” are starting to get dropped). DH is big into photography and has a Flickr account, too, that is open. I’m sure he’s planning to post baby pics on that venue too, but no identifying info is attached to that, just a nickname username. I think if we every do a “baby blog” it would be to update friends and families during the early years, and perhaps create, as you mentioned, an interesting baby book for our own memories, but would stop it once the kid(s) are in school—i.e. start to be embarrassed by the idea of their pictures being online. I don’t think there is any right way, or any clear line between what is paranoid and what is just plain common sense. Technology today makes it really easy to share everything with everyone, and we really have to think and plan to make sure we select out the “everyone” we want from the nutjobs out there.

  17. Lavender Luz Says:

    Oh, how I would have loved to sit at a table with you and Lolli.

    This is a great discussion, and I’ve tweeted about it.

    I’m still snickering about the dude in your geometry class.

  18. Lavender Luz Says:

    I wanted to come back and tell a little more about how we arrived at our decision not to share faces and names.

    The overarching reason is that once it’s out you can’t go back. The toothpaste will not go back into the tube.

    I am a caretaker of my children’s images/stories until they can responsibly reveal what they want.

    Someday my children will be teenagers. They’ll have friends, non-friends, frenemies, employers. I do not want any of them finding fodder to use against my children on my blog.

    In addition, I am teaching my children what internet privacy is and to honor and respect theirs.

    Toothpaste. I don’t want to wish someday that I hadn’t squeezed the tube.

    Instead, I just won’t squeeze the tube.

  19. rosesdaughter Says:

    In relation to my blog, I doubt I will ever post my child’s real name. maybe the first baby photo. But that’s it. My blog is anonymous for a reason. My IRL friends/family not being aware of my blog. There are only actually 2 people who know about both. Now Facebook is another issue all together. i have friends on there that I rarely see and other friends too. It’s my IRL blog in a way. So, my facebook page will be FULL of my baby and his real name.

  20. Nina Says:

    I would never use my child’s real name, and I don’t think I’d post pics of them, either. Maaaaayybe when he’s born, but probably no more. My sister got outed because she posted pics of herself on her facebook page. I’m just real funny about being “that” open. I’m pretty opinionated, and they wouldn’t be the only thing I talked about, so I think I’ll just leave out the pics.

  21. Cat Says:

    I can see the points on all sides, which certainly doesn’t make the decision any easier. I don’t blog now, but I think I’ll give it a try when the babies arrive to keep the family updated. My DH is pretty private and I’m of the opinion that our lives aren’t the business of the public, so it’ll probably be password protected. As for where to draw the line with friends who want access, I just don’t know. I’ll probably let in anyone who asks, though I won’t post the link on Facebook so as to avoid having to turn down old high school sort-of-friends that I didn’t keep in touch with in the 13 years between high school and Facebook.

    Doesn’t one of the big blog-hosting sites have a “by invitation only” feature? That way you wouldn’t have to worry about proud grandparents sharing the password (which would be a concern for us, too) because everyone would still have to go through you to get access.

    We’ve dealt first-hand with a brother-in-law who doesn’t want any pictures of our nieces online, and frankly, it’s kind of annoying. For the first couple years he didn’t even want the pictures on which is where I print my pictures from. The latest thing to come up is a webcam for the grandparents, which he’s against, because he doesn’t want images of the girls online. I see where he’s coming from, but I also believe that there are safe ways to limit exposure online and also, like Dooce said, it’s not that different than taking the kids out in public, because sickos don’t lurk exclusively on the internet.

    I don’t think I’ll post many pictures to Facebook. As it is, I’m at 26 weeks pregnant and I just this week posted ultrasound pictures for the first time, and only posted 3 of the 40+ that we have. I’ve also only posted real information about my pregnancy twice. I figure if we’re close enough that we’re in contact outside FB, then they’ll know more details from talking to me and if we don’t talk outside FB then we’re not close enough for them to know more than I care to post. I also have my entire FB profile set so that only my “friends” can see and I don’t accept friend requests from anyone I don’t actually want to be friends with (some seem to just collect friends even when they don’t know the people). I know it can be hacked, though, so I’m still cautious about what I post.

    Personally, I hope you do post pictures and a little info when your twins are born. πŸ™‚

  22. Tkeys Says:

    What a great article! I do not use my real name online – I do not mention where I am living, nor do I mention DH’s name. There are no photos of me or DH on our blog. I do, however, post real pictures (for now) of my son and use his real name. I think it would be unlikely to be able to identify him at this point with just his first name and a photo, so I have felt it was “safe” for now. At some point, it does occur to me that I will likely need to stop posting his picture, but I am holding that decision until later. I do have photos posted on Facebook tied to my real name as well – however all of those photos may only be seen by my “friends” so I feel as if I have some control over access.

    I do have a separate, private, unlisted, unsearchable blog for family and friends. On that blog, we do use our real names and post photos. Most of the time, my anonymous blog and my family blog are parallel – I post the same blog posts, but I substitute in the real names and locations in the family blog. My family blog has no references to infertility or anything sex-related (as appears in my anonymous blog). I also do not discuss ttc there. It is not currently password protected, as it is obvious from the limited traffic that only those who are close to us know about the blog. So, my anonymous blog gets fewer pictures but more personal posts.

    Good luck with your decision!


  23. Carrie Says:

    Such a great post! I was thinking of this the other day when I realized my daughter is always referred to only as “A” and I have NEVER posted a photo of her, nor would I. However, I always imagined (God willing, healthy babes) that I would be posting NICU photos of the triplets, hopefully transitioning to home, snuggling in their crib together. When I realized the complete incongruity of this, I thought, I can’t post pictures of them! Can I?

    Anyway, I really don’t know, and obviously am figuring it out, too. I always imagine newborns to be less identifiable, and I don’t think I’d share their names ever. I just think if/when we get through this pregnancy, three baby boys all out in the world, I will be screaming it from the roof tops, and all better judgment might fly out the window.

    I am not sure is my final answer. Can I phone a friend? πŸ˜‰

  24. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    I wanted to add to what Anonymous For Today has written. And this is perhaps not commonly understood by lots of bloggers.

    I am able to read blog posts offline as well because I subscribe to their feeds.

    I was reading a blog online(I had missed it for about a week). So anyways, her latest post mentioned that she had deleted the previous post because she had posted uber-personal info about her family. *mentioned jail time of a close family member*

    She might have deleted the post online. But her ‘previous post’ was intact in my offline feeds! I had the post, even though she wanted to ‘undo’ what she had written on that.

  25. Mrs. Gamgee Says:

    This is such a complicated issue. I have kept my name and my Beloved’s name out of my blog on purpose, but if anyone in my real life were to think really hard they could track me down. I think I would probably post pictures of my future little ones, using pseudonyms. I too avoid fac.ebook for the same reason, but I also think it is far more public than my ALI blog. Who knows… I may change my mind if and when that day comes.


  26. What a great post, darlin. I’ll just put this out there plain: I’m not a big believer in privacy. I just have never seen what purpose it serves and that’s probably why I ended up becoming a journalist, then a radio writer (dealing mostly w/ celebrities), and now a novelist.

    However, that’s me, and I understand that a lot (okay probably most) other people don’t feel that way. My husband and I have a general understanding. I use his nickname on our blog and I don’t go into specifics about what he does or non-fun details of his life and our relationship. For example, I would never say “CH and I had a fight about this” and the like.

    Although, I’ve been referring to my newborn daughter by her first name ever since we found out she was going to be a girl, I haven’t published her full name, which doesn’t match mine, since I kept my maiden name.

    As for stories, I will definitely tell those, since my daily personal column is a reflection of my life, and she is definitely in my life. However, I’ll stick by the same rules as the ones I have for my husband.

    Photos: Well, CH has been featured on the blog once for Loving Day. But he doesn’t care if I post his photo. Betty will definitely be featured at different times. I know there our a few sickos out there, but I can’t let them dictate my content.

    But here’s the thing: the majority of bad things that happen out there — including stalking usually happen to private citizens. As upsetting as it is to think about, there is no full-proof way to keep yourself or your children complete safe from sickos. And I don’t think that talking about them or posting their pictures on the internet necessarily protects them more than keeping them out of the public eye.

    I think a firm education in stranger danger must be imparted to every child. I was a free range kid (walked to and from school and to the store) from the age of 6 b/c I knew not to ever, ever talk or go anywhere with someone who wasn’t in my family.

    Another random point: There’s a new trend on to “out” popular anonymous bloggers. I think this will only get worse with time and keeping a truly anonymous blog will one day become impossible — unless people could care less about who you are. If a person truly wants to remain anonymous, then it’s probably best that you not keep a blog at all. Once it’s out there on the internet, you can’t really control who finds out about what you’ve written — even if it’s password protected.

    Last thing: I’ve actually started a friends and family blog for Betty, which I hope to give her as a gift that she can take over for her 7th birthday. I can only hope that she will stick to the same rules for discussing me that I do for discussing her. Though, I don’t hold out much hope for that, since I can still how angry my mom got at me when I told my entire third grade class that she and my dad got in a huge fight and were thinking about getting a divorce. So karma might be lying in wait for me. πŸ™‚

  27. Mel Says:

    Well, you know where I fall with it πŸ™‚ When they’re older, I’m sure they’ll go online and the ChickieNob asked this week when she gets her own Twitter feed instead of using mine (I set the age at 12…who knows if we’ll stick to that). But then, it’s their own decision and they will know the consequences of setting things out there–either face-to-face or online. I just don’t want to make the decision for them. I agree with Dooce that the danger is probably the same, but my reason is to not choose for them and instead let them choose if they want their life written about. The exception is when the story is more about me and my reaction and I need to mention them in order to tell the story.

  28. […] reading another triplet blog the other day and read this post regarding privacy which refers to another blog with a far more scary post about privacy. And if that didnt scare me enough then this definitely […]

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