Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blog Blunder

We often hear about teens sharing too much on facebook and twitter, writing things which they regret for a lifetime.  Well sometimes adults do that too, sometimes deliberately and sometimes inadvertently.

This week something happened that I thought was rather interesting from the point of view of an author and I blogged about it.    The person saw the post and even though there were no real identifiers that person was livid.  Feeling hurt and betrayed, the person asked, “How could an adult be so irresponsible?”  So I removed that post.

Why?  Even though I didn’t think it was a big deal, it was a big deal to someone else that left them feeling hurt.  I guess I needed the reminder that even though my time spent posting on the internet is limited, what I say is still very important and have an impact on not only myself but on others.   Even something seemingly innocent could have that impact. 

There are some things I learned from this and would like to share with you.   Feel free to add more as you read this post.

 Before you blog, before you tweet, before you post, ask yourself:
1.    If another person posted that article and you read it and knew it was about you, would you be hurt, embarrassed, or proud?
2.    Can any “anonymous” person be identified by another person reading the post?
3.    Is what you are posting true and verifiable by others?  This is especially important if you are posting about information that is readily available and can be back checked. 
4.    If your employer read the post ten years from now would you have to blame it on your youth and claim you’re a different person now?
5.    If any particular group, race, culture, or religion read you post would they be offended?
6.    And finally would people view you in a different light and be turned off after reading your post.               

If you know of any other self checks before posting to any social media, please add it in your comments.


Liane Spicer said...

Ouch. That must have been uncomfortable.

I think I tend to err on the side of caution when posting anything at all online, but I did have to remove a post on my older blog once. Even though I did not identify the friend about whom I posted, he asked about my blog and I knew if he read that post he would recognize himself. It was the truth about his bizarre reaction to my first novel sale, but I wanted to avoid unpleasantness, so I removed it.

G. B. Miller said...

Whenever I post something personal about me, say from work for example, the only person I actually indentify is myself, with everyone else not indentified. On the rare occasion that I choose to write about someone, it's usually someone I know, and even before it makes it to my blog, I pass on a rough draft of the post to the person in question to let them be my editor.

So far, only one post has come back to bite me and although I did remove it (back in 2011), I still haven't forgiven the person for making me remove the post.

Julie Luek said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Blogging is about sharing and building relationships, including your readership. So although we want to be authentic, I agree, being aware that we have an audience is important.

I too removed a post once-- a small rant about an editor I worked with at a magazine. I realized that wasn't a great move for a freelance writer. But it felt good at the time, even though I didn't use names.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Liane, you can say that again. It was uncomfortable but next time I'll hesitate a little before hitting that publish button.

Jewel Amethyst said...

G. B. that's a good practice, however sometimes we are writing about ourselves yet since we interact with others the actions/reactions or words of others sometimes get woven into our tale. As soon as that person reads that post, even though the person is not identified, he/she immediately knows we're referring to him/her.

The kicker is-- sometimes you don't even realize that you are writing about the person because it was only in relation to you or your action.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Julie that must have been sticky.

There is a common advice that people give: if you're angry at someone and you want to vent, write them a letter or email but wait a few days before sending it. I guess the same thing applies for social media posts, not just when I'm angry but for every post.

Once ago (when I had a little more time) I would write my post and leave it for a few days before I go back, edit it and post it. I guess that allowed me to see it with fresh eyes before I posted it.

Unfortunately with time a little bit tighter these days I find myself writing my post a few minutes before its due and posting immediately. That doesn't leave for a cooling off period. If I had done that little practice of letting the post sit, I may have reconsidered posting it and not have to remove it.

Carol Mitchell said...

Another question I ask myself (which I think a LOT more people should ask themselves) is, Am I really knowledgeable enough about this issue to post about this?

That question, and many of the ones that you posted, is the reason that my personal blog is so inactive! I discard half of the things that I would like to post about. I think that I am a bit too sensitive about other people's reactions.