When I started my blog in 2007, I didn’t think about privacy. I used our real names, posted photos, talked about Tasmania and what we had been up to.
What I didn’t do, was let the Internet know where I would be on any given day, or when I would be out and about.
Four years later and I still use our real names, and talk about Tasmania and rarely tell the Internet when I’m planning on leaving the house. Only a handful of friends know the suburb I live in and I’ve been really careful to keep which school Amy attends offline.
These are the things that I do as a matter of fact now.
Tasmania is only very small. The suburb I live in is even smaller, totalling around six houses. Not big at all.
When I first started blogging, I didn’t expect that I would get readers. I hoped I might, but didn’t expect it. And because at that stage, the Australian blogosphere was so small, all of my readers were in the US anyway and having a giant great ocean between here and there helped.
With the huge influx of bloggers and specifically mummybloggers, I think that privacy is something that we should all be thinking about, when our blog is brand new, or not even begun yet.
Work out how much you are comfortable sharing, before you share it.
Do you really want to have to remove a post because your husband got angry? Or your MIL found it? Or you got weird searches relating to an unfortunate combination of keywords? I’ve had to take down a few posts after I’ve pressed publish, mostly because people I thought weren’t reading started reading.
It’s the Internet, I can guarantee that the one person you DON’T want to find your blog, will. Eventually.
Do you want to use your real name? What about your kids real names?
Think about this before you start. I considered changing to pseudonyms for the kids in 2009. I only decided against it because I didn’t want to change two years worth of posts.
Also, for the record, it has been shown that readers are more likely to read and get involved with your life if they have “real” names to put to your children. It doesn’t have to be your child’s real name, but maybe calling a child “Emily” as a pseudonym is going to work better than “Princess Smooshypants”.
Do you live somewhere small?
Keep this in mind when adding your suburb to things that might show where you live. Most of my profiles have Hobart (ish) as the suburb and if asked, the most specific I get in the public space is “Southern Midlands” or “About an hour north of Hobart”. Friends have my actual home address, but in the beginning I used a PO box for everything. I still do sometimes, if I get a weird feeling about a PR company and aren’t sure if they’re legit.
At the end of the day, it is your blog and you are the one who writes on it.
What works for me isn’t always going to work for you and vice versa.
I tend to think that as long as I am constantly thinking about and reassessing my online privacy and what I share, then I’m in the best possible position, for me.
What about you? How do you manage online privacy?