Since the arrival of my son, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about privacy and the internet, especially as it relates to blogging and social networking. How much is too much? What sort of information is safe to share? What isn’t?
When I started blogging, it was a way to keep in contact with friends back home while I was away at bible college. It was a way to keep in contact with friends who had moved away. I’d write about things that were going on, rant about things pissing me off, and pretty much write whatever I wanted. As time has gone on, it has remained pretty much the same. I write about what’s going on, how things are going, and bitch about shit that pisses me off. Standard personal blog fare right?
So now that I’m a little older, a little wiser, a little more paranoid? I wonder how much is too much. I’ve never taken care to disguise names of myself, or family or friends. I’ve never worried about writing about where I’m living, where I’m working etc… I even post pictures of family and friends and my house. Maybe that’s too much?
I’m thinking it might be. At least the mix of real names and pictures, along with the finer details of places and such that aren’t really required in the grand scheme of things. Especially to readers of a blog. It’s nice to know that I’m on leave to be a stay-at-home-dad and used to be an IT guy. It doesn’t really matter where I worked. My wife is a Chiropractor and works in a small town practice. Does it matter exactly where that is? I have a son that’s almost 6 weeks old, and a beautiful wife. Does it matter what their real names are? For the most part, the little things don’t matter. People like stories, experiences, pictures. The finer details aren’t required. Those are best kept to things like emails and personal messages. If someone was wondering where my wife works because they are interested in going to see her, send me an email and I’d be happy to tell you.
We live in an age of over-sharing. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we just need to keep in mind that not everyone is interested in your latest recipies, or that little Isaac just learned to walk. They are rooting through your archives and looking for names, addresses, places of employment, and so on.
Identity theft is still a growing problem. It was huge news a few years back, but it seems to have quieted down in the news, and it isn’t because it is any less prevalent. So just becareful what you post.
Now I have a lot of stuff online. I have stuff on facebook, linkedin, myspace, 3 seperate blogs, an old blog, a flickr and picasa account and more. But I figure it isn’t too late to go through and make some changes. I’m going to go the route of changing names and removing extraneous details that aren’t really required. I’m not sure how I’m going to do all that, but I think it is important. People that have been reading for a while will still know who I’m talking about, and new folks won’t care.
I’m also going to start an offline journal. I am delving into the world of wordpress and am going to install it on my local computer. I’ve been journaling off and on for the past 8 years (since receiving my first journal from my wife, then girlfriend), though after I started my blog I wrote in it less, and online more. I miss having a record of things though. The personal stuff that I don’t write online and don’t get around to writing on paper. I figure WordPress is a nice universal product so I won’t have everything I write locked into some weird program that I’ll never be able to access when it goes extinct, as the purpose of my journal is to keep track of things so I can go back to it.
Now to come up with some fun names to use for folks. And me. 😀