How Much Privacy do You Maintain Online?
How private are you online? Blogging is very personal. When I started blogging, it was 1) to write for the love of writing and 2) to keep a memory book of my children growing up. I never even took privacy into consideration.
I never knew that there was an entire community of readers out there. I just assumed I was writing, on my computer, and that was where it was staying like writing in my diary, but without the paper.
I took the online pseudonym @TruthfulMommy because I knew I wanted to be honest and by operating under a pseudonym, I could do that with a bit more ease.
I wasn’t really too concerned about what I was going to write as much as I was concerned about who might find me by using my birth name; high school friends, people who hate me, people I know in real life who don’t know me as well as they might if they read my blog. People who were in Junior League with me, or on the school board or some of the mom’s groups I was involved in at the time.
I didn’t really want to hand them my diary.
I wanted the freedom to express myself honestly. I didn’t want to be censored, because censoring your journals is lying to yourself. Besides, doesn’t old age muddle the truth enough as it is; sundowners is a bitch and I know I won’t remember everything exactly as it happened when I’m 87.
I didn’t want my children to one day read a lie. I wanted to be able one day to give them access to my blog and let them know that we have all been there. I wasn’t thinking of privacy.
I write honestly, irreverently and occasionally in a very raw manner. I find that, to this day still, I only want people that I don’t know in real life at all or that I know in real life but VERY well to read my blog. All the acquaintances and people I know from school, church, the local moms groups…I don’t want them to ever find me online. Ever. Yet, I started using my legal name professionally.
I still write uncensored. I have to. This is my mission. My blog is called The TRUTH about Motherhood not I’m going to blow sunshine and unicorns up your ass about Motherhood. Not everyone will agree with me, nor do I expect or want them to. But when you expose yourself so openly online, you have to be aware that there can be backlash.
For example, do you use your children’s photos in online? I used to have the pages of my blog and Facebook filled with my girls’ photos. Then I realized that when people don’t like what you say, they will take shots to hurt you wherever that might be. I can’t take that chance. So, there are seldom ever any recent photos of my girls on line these days. It had to become, at least a little bit, about privacy. I had to protect my children.
I used to use names of people that I knew. I don’t do that anymore. I’ve never use my husband’s name, nor talk about the places we work. I don’t talk about where I live. You’ll never catch me on Foursquare because I don’t want to give people a road map to come stab me.
I’m just wondering, what do you do to maintain your privacy online? It feels so personal that sometimes you forget that you are talking to the entire world and you never really know who’s listening. It could be someone who will give you the next greatest opportunity of your life or it could be the next Ted Bundy.
We really never know who is sitting behind the screen talking to us because we are all anonymous online. Next time you tweet, update your status on FB or write a blog post, just remember that your boss could be reading it. Your mortal enemy could be reading it. Your best friend. The mean mom from yoga class. The guy whose heart you broke in 9th grade. Your priest could be reading it.
How much of yourself are you willing to give away online? Where do you draw the line in what you publish online?
Photo Source: Alan Cleaver