There Are Boundaries In Blogging

There Are Boundaries In Blogging.

There are boundaries in blogging but the question of where and how we draw the lines are sometimes blurry.

Earlier today I returned from a weekend trip to Costco and told one of my friends about how the crowds there did a fine job of encouraging me to reconsider the virtues of adopting a misanthropic attitude towards people.

He laughed and said he hoped I wasn’t going to blog about it because he was concerned about what would happen if people didn’t understand it was tongue-in-cheek. I thanked him for his concern and said I was irritated because I was bumped by carts and run over by people racing to obtain a 3 ounce free sample of turkey.

If people choose to believe I was serious about adopting misanthropy, well then I want to speak with them about some choice swampland I am going to sell.

The Men In The Picture

There are two “Wilner men” in that picture and unfortunately only one of them is around to tell stories and talk about blogging. That guy with the cane is my former bodyguard and I am sorry to say he is not taking any meetings in person any more.

I called him “grandpa” and I am sorry to say it has been more than six years since he moved onto wherever it is we go. He was one of my biggest fans or that he was a better storyteller than I am, as was my other grandfather.

But what comes to mind is the time grandpa yelled at me and said I shouldn’t let my temper get me in trouble.  Those few of you who knew grandpa understand that grandpa never yelled at me. I really could do no wrong in his eyes upon the few occasions he offered any sort of criticism I listened.

Sorry dad. We won’t talk about how my children do the same with you, now will we. ;)

What a party.

When I write about the boundaries in blogging I am talking about both business and personal blogs. There are stories we shouldn’t tell and information we shouldn’t share.

Sometimes it is because the stories don’t belong to us and they aren’t ours to tell and sometimes it is because there are consequences and it is simply unfair to force others to share those without receiving their permission in advance.

It is part of why I am cautious about how much personal information I reveal about myself and my family. It is not because I have huge secrets I am hiding from you, but because they deserve some privacy and should be consulted before they are involved in some things.

Context is important too.

The picture of the sleeping boy in the tux isn’t going to harm anyone. No one is going to look at the photo and question the judgment of the boy. It is not going to wreck his school life or impact his career.

But that might not be the case if he were older and it is part of why I pay close attention to what photos people post of me online.

For better or for worse people are building virtual files about us and I don’t want mine to be stuffed with things that make me look foolish.

Sanitized, Sterile and Real

I am not trying to present a sanitized or sterile version of myself either. It is part of why I blog. This corner of cyberspace serves several roles.

It is where I provide a living portfolio of my writing. This is one of the places prospective employers can visit and find samples of my writing and gain more insight into my thoughts, ideas and feelings about work.

It is also where I try to manage my online identity.

What Grandpa Said

The reason my grandfather told me not to let my temper get the best of me was because I was furious about something that happened at my child’s school. I told him what I wanted to say and who I wanted to say it to and he suggested I reconsider.

That was because he was concerned that his great grandchildren would suffer the consequences for my words. I listened to what he said and I held my tongue because while I was willing to accept whatever consequences came with expressing how there is no correlation between a person’s IQ and intelligence there was a chance my kids would take a hit.

I don’t regret it and never have.

Discretion is the better part of valor and sometimes that translates as silence.

There is often as much power if not more in what we don’t say as there is in what we do, but we’ll talk about that later.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Josh

    I try to think about what I would even divulge to a close friend, then realized my close friend would not find out. If a close friend would not be given private information why would we give such information to complete strangers, as anybody on the internet could easily be counted as strangers.

    Some info about a family member that has long gone could be shared, but then again do I really want strangers knowing family secrets. Maybe somethings are okay if it will help someone else, but details would better be left unsaid.

    Unless we are running for political office we really don’t need to be an open book. They need to be or they shouldn’t run.

    I agree with Virginia though, our pets are fair game, tell all…they don’t have to worry about their reputation if we drag their good name through the mud, everybody will laugh and won’t really care! Like is someone going to post bad kitty on Facebook?

    Mary
    Mary Stephenson recently posted..How Creative Are You?My Profile

  2. says

    I agree with you Josh about what we need to be careful sharing about ourselves and others because what goes on the web stays on the web.

    Now I will admit that I do share some personal things about me but I’m not ashamed of them and I have nothing to hide. I never share anything really personal about my family or my friends so I’m still doing good on that respect. There are also certain things I refuse to discuss online or offline for that matter. No need in arguing about it because my mind won’t be changed and I have a feeling neither will the other person.

    Your granddad looked like a great guy. Aren’t most of our granddad’s that way! Full of wisdom, support and plenty of love to go around. I miss mine as well.

    Thanks for this eye opener and one I think some people need a little nudge about.

    Enjoy your week.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..Discover The Mystery Behind Alexa RankingsMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Adrienne,

      I think that personal balance is important and useful. It is what helps build connections with others but it is not unreasonable to be cautious because we don’t always know who is reading our posts.

      I think most people are good and there is nothing to be concerned about, but unfortunately there are some who will take advantage and it is worth taking care.

      Every now and then I see someone post enough info for me to be concerned about Identity theft, anyway, we do what we can.

      Yeah, I do miss my grandparents. They were good people.

      Hope you are having a great week.
      Josh recently posted..How To Become A Better Blogger- Sustain Your EffortMy Profile

  3. says

    Hey Josh

    Over recent weeks I have been including more personal things in my blog posts. For me, that’s very important as it’s what I know! It’s also how people get to know me online.

    I agree that there are stories that shouldn’t be told and I am certainly guarded about how much information I reveal about me and my family. I don’t accept a friend request on Facebook, for example, unless I have met that person offline and I know who they are.

    I always try and relate what I write about me and my family to interesting and fun experiences we have had, rather than about family members directly. I hope no-one ever feels like that is forced sharing!
    Tim Bonner recently posted..Are You Real Or Are You A Fake?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Tim,

      It is a fine line we walk between sharing information that we find to be harmless and that which we consider to be questionable.

      I spent most of my online “career” being quite guarded, but I found that when I started sharing more of myself engagement levels shot up dramatically. I have enjoyed that, but I make a point to pay attention.

      When we write about what we know best it makes it easier to make the content a bit more interesting and there is no doubt that parenting/family life offer numerous opportunities to connect with others.
      Josh recently posted..How To Become A Better Blogger- Sustain Your EffortMy Profile

  4. says

    I have adopted this idea over the last couple of election cycles. I stay out of the political debate, because I know how disgusted I am with half the population. I just want to shake them.

    Still, if I want to sell books, and I really do, I’d rather people not form the same negative impression of me, that I form of those idiots who post stuff about the candidate I like. There are many people I have lost a fair amount of respect for, because of their political posts on FB. In fact, my best friend of the last 25 years, has become such a zealot, that I can’t even stand to talk to him anymore. Just seeing his stuff in my timeline makes my “hide” everything he posts. He even wished my sister happy birthday…I hid it.

    Words have consequences and so one must think carefully about the battles they choose. Still, there are times when one must vent, so I try to choose subjects that will minimize the damage. My go to people are Bieber, Snooki, and Earnest Hemingway. I will mock them all until the cows come one, and then for a little while longer. It is worth it to lose a few Hemingway fans, as readers, and Bieber and Snooki fans, can’t read, so I’ve done little damage there. I digress…

    The point is, I try to be careful. Good post.
    Brian D. Meeks ( recently posted..Expectations Not Met…SighMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Brian

      I haven’t read enough Hemingway to have an opinion, but I do like his quote about writing that goes something like, “All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

      Bieber and Snooki sort of invite a certain amount of attention, now don’t they.

      As for the election, well I hear you. I am ready for it to go away and not because I don’t like politics. I enjoy it and follow it closely but I am tired of rhetoric and listening/reading to posts about how the world should work as opposed to how it does.

      I am even more tired of listening to people talk about how the world will end under the same/new administration. The hyperbole and hysteria is tedious.
      Josh recently posted..How To Become A Better Blogger- Sustain Your EffortMy Profile

  5. says

    I am a fairly new blogger – eight months – and I have written entries, then reconsidered and left out or changed any information that amounted to any thing that amounts to forced sharing. Sometimes seeing it on paper serves as a release and then I can go on and include only what is appropriate.
    Now when it comes to my pets – that’s another story. None of their secrets are sacred!
    great post – thank you

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