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.
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?