Privacy and Blogging

07/22/03, posted by j

Privacy and blogging has come up a lot recently, so I thought maybe I’d say something about it in my space. The privacy issue here deals with identifying people on a blog.

Wendy of Redhead fame talked about it on her blog recently. She, Andrew, and I talked about it while walking home from a blog meeting back in June. Someone who I identified on my blog at one point and who is thinking about blogging asked some good questions about talking about people on a blog.

I think many of the people who hit my blog are total strangers. Based on my blog stats, a lot of people come here to read my story about dying my hair with Kool-Aid. I know most of the people who have signed on as members. (That list is private, so you don’t know who the members are.) The members are a mix of my friends from my pre-blogging life and people I’ve met through the blog group or through blogging.

I try to make some people appear generic enough that no one will really know who they are. My rather general rule on identities is that if someone has a blog out there, like Wendy or Vernica, that I can link to, I’m going to kind of say who they are because they’re already out there. And if someone has posted a comment on my blog and identified himself or herself (I don’t think you can post a comment without saying who you are), I’ll say who that person is, mostly because he or she has already said said so and the comment is there. But I wouldn’t spread anyone’s secret on my blog. If I’m writing about someone in a professional context, I might give a name and some identifying information. If it’s personal, I don’t say too much about them.

If someone objects to me blogging about them and they let me know, I’ll stop putting his/her name on my blog and will remove or alter previous entries if necessary. I have no objections about removing someone from my blog at all.

Plus, I know if I’m going to write something that’s going to get me in trouble with someone, I shouldn’t put it on my blog. In the blog group, we’ve often talked about situations where people are blogging about others in such a way that it might get them in trouble. I keep thinking, “If you think it’s something you’ll get in trouble for, why put it on your blog in the first place?”

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