This week, Kayla set her baby blog to private and then, last night, my sister-in-law, at the urging of her husband, made her family blog private as well.
(Also, I told Kayla a few minutes ago that I was writing a post about private blogs and she said, “Condemning us?” and I assured her I was not. Much as I’m now assuring you).
I certainly understand the private blog concept. I don’t in any way think my desire to read your blog conveniently through Google Reader outweighs your desire to keep your kid safe.
On the other hand, I have a lot of friends with public blogs that have an enormous amount of information about their children on their blogs – full names, birth dates, naked or half-naked pictures, the neighborhood they live in, and the schools they attend.
It’s clearly something some people worry a lot about and some people worry . . .not at all about.
Bart and I have talked at length about what we may or may not do when we have children of our own.
I have no intentions of starting a separate baby blog, for I know myself and I know I would not keep it going. The multiple blog thing simply does not work for me. Also, I am worried I would write a ton about my first! precious! darling! perfect! child and then about two posts for each subsequent child. Which would make me feel guilty.
I also think private blogs can give you a bit of a false sense of security – blogs can be hacked, people can share their passwords around, or someone else can get on their computer where all the passwords are saved. If your blog was once public but goes private, every post that was written while the blog was public is still stored in Google Reader and can be emailed around.
I like that, with a public blog, I am always always aware that absolutely anyone in the world can see it. I know that a prospective employer, my in-laws, my parents and grandparents, every person I go to church with, my children’s friends can all see exactly what I’ve written.
One problem, of course, with a public blog is that as much as you try and keep yourself somewhat anonymous, people can comment with information you are trying to keep private (like your last name or your kids names or the specific suburb you live in). My sister-in-law mentioned to me last night that, despite only using her kids initials, family members almost always refer to them by their names in the comments (including my lovely husband). One of my Internet friends, Angela, has this text above her comment form:
I love comments. I also love feeling safe from creepy internet stalkers. So, “real life” pals – please refrain from using a) our last name and b) our child’s first name. Initials work nicely. Thanks!
I have never once used my last name on this blog, but tons and tons of people who know me from my real life, link to me as “Janssen ______” which means that when you Google my full name? This blog shoots straight to the top. There is no hiding from myself.
For now, I plan to keep up this blog and mention my kids on occasion when I, you know, actually have them. But I don’t intend it to be a journal of their lives or a record of our family. This is my blog about my own interests and reading. I won’t use their names and I certainly won’t have pictures of them naked (even if I was so inclined, Bart would never ever allow it. He is deeply against naked baby pictures of any kind).
And who knows how differently I’ll feel when I actually have kids of my own.
(P.S. I’m paranoid now that suddenly all the blogs of friends I read will start going private after this post. Wouldn’t that serve me right?)