I have heard many a blogger say that blogging fills a need.
While blogging provides a humanizing effect on news and journaling, it also opens a window into personal lives. The details shared in blogs were once only available to a select group of friends, and while blogging has become common place, it has risks that should not be ignored.
Cyberstalking is a new phenomenon that allows anonymous online stalkers to prowl for victims. Online bloggers traditionally provide personal details about their lives. As a result, many women that blog are becoming victims.
Most people are concerned about children on the Internet and set up rigorous posting guidelines for children, adolescents, and teenagers, but few adults heed the warnings and often do not consider that they too can be targeted.
Females, in particular, should be cautious when circumnavigating the blogosphere. If you are a blogger or contemplating an online journal, consider these tips to protecting your identity:
Do not have an online profile.
Most blogging services allow bloggers to create an online profile. While it might be fun to post information about likes and dislikes, it is best to refrain from posting any personal details. Often, personal details inadvertently provide insight into physical location or habits. The aggregate information in a personal profile can also assist someone interested in pursuing an individual.
Manage your blog anonymously or adopt an alias for all online posting. This will help protect you in the event that you draw unwanted attention.
Avoid personal or identifying details.
Avoid any personal or identifying details when posting in your blog. Do not post in advance about locations that you will be or about areas that you live near.
Refrain from posting a picture. Photos can invite trouble or unwanted attention.
Avoid inappropriate dialogue.
Be careful not to engage in dialogue that could be interpreted in a way that it was not intended. Sometimes humorous threads can get out of hand. If the dialogue degrades to an area that makes you uncomfortable, disengage from the dialogue and refrain from further posting.
Also when making decisions about individuals online, consider their past posting behavior and attempt to consider their true intentions.
Always remember that just because you do not have a dialogue with someone does not mean that they are not reading everything that you write. Many people merely lurk on line and don't engage in comment posting, but do read what is written. Your audience could be much larger than you realize.
Internet content is timeless, and keep in mind that even if you remove content, it might be archived or syndicated. If you do not want something read, do not post it to the Internet. High Schools, colleges, and employers all search the Internet to discern an individual's history. Sordid details about a late night will not help land a coveted job.
The Internet is a haven for all types of predators. Always remember that just because someone says something is true, does not mean that it is. Predators adopt personas of who they think you want them to be. Just as we provide guidelines to young children, adults should be wary and take precautions when posting online as well.
While blogging can be a great outlet and channel, and in someway immortalizing thoughts, it is important that safety is considered and that good blogging practices are followed at all times.
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll, software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds, and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage, a wireless text messaging software company.© 2006 Sharon Housley
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