Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Chewing on a blogger's privacy

Quick Quiz
- Have you ever regretted how personal you made your food blog*?
- And how many months/years have you been blogging?

*Beyond the power of the almighty edit- have you regretted how "out" you've been on your blog? Do you regret not being more anonymous?


This Post was written by McAuliflower from Brownie Points


Ilva said...

no never but then I only blog about myself, never about people close to me. I actually feel that being more private has given/brought me a lot of friends and far more in contact with my readers. I have been blogging for 2,5 years by now.

Rachael said...

I try to keep my personal life and personal info pretty vauge, though I guess if someone were determined to find out more it wouldn't be too hard.

That said, I have a family member who blogs (and is quite popular) and not only uses their full name (and its a unique name for sure) but links to their business website and can pretty much be found by anyone at any time (including a home number) which I have to say COMPLELTELY freaks me out. My relative, on the other hand, has no trouble with it and thinks Im being silly (which, admittedly, I tend to be.) and a bit paranoid. (Fancy that.)

My friends who I mention on my blog (as I've said before) like that I don't use their names or anything identifying, and have said that they would be upset if I did make them less anonymous.

The only thing I guess I sometimes regret is that my parents read the site and think I may drink too much. LOL. Thankfully, that isn't really a problem.

I hope nothing negative happened to you because of your site!

Oh, and I have been blogging for four years.

Kitt said...

Interesting question!

I've been blogging for two years, and I'm pretty careful not to put a lot of private info out there. I don't talk about my workplace, the boyfriend gets passing mentions at most, and I rarely post pictures of or mention friends by name.

I have a lot going on in my life that never gets mentioned, because that's not public business. The most private thing I've ever posted about was needing physical therapy for my shoulder.

If someone really wanted to find me, they could probably figure out where I live, but someone that determined is going to do so anyway.

Hope they don't!

Snapshot said...

3 years.
Yes and No. The key is a balance of personal and not so personal. I call it blogging smart. No "too private" info. But open enough to help folks know who I am.
I blog one one blog as a professional portrait photographer (my real business) and also on my newer blog as a food photographer, recipe developer and writer (my up and coming additional business).

sketchy said...

I've been blogging for six months. I try to keep personal stuff out of the blog - names and such. But I cook with my son (2 1/2), and there are pic's of him on the site. It gets tedious editing my posts to keep his name out of them. I think I have dropped my wife's name a few times, but she has a public blog of her own, so I don't think it's a problem.

FJK said...

I was very cautious about revealing personal info and feel I've actually erred too much on the side of being anonymous, esp. in the beg. (10/05)

I used initials as my user name and only identified my location by state in the beginning. I'm begun to reveal more and while still cautious I'm fairly comfortable. A determined stalker could probably find me but I'm happier that I've started to reveal more since it gives my writing more personality. I should say I am still very conservative about it, though.

Also, I can be fairly self-censoring on anything that could affect others since I am not totally anonymous and don't want to attract the "wrong" kind of attention.

McAuliflower said...

thanks everyone for the feedback
- the recent twittering has caused this question to resurface. Twitter makes me more personal detail driven and spontaneous than my blog entries are. Considering that and the voice I use on my blog.

- so far I haven't regretted personal details I have on the blog (blogging since Nov 04) but I tend to be not so revealing (I think?).

nicisme said...

I've been blogging for almost a year and am quite careful with what I post.
BUT, I have noticed a few foodie blogs that have plenty of information about their families, home and work.

Sam said...

I have never regretted anything but I am careful. People might think they know the whole me but there are aspects of my private life I'd never reveal, especially where they concern someone else. I don't lie, but I don't feel the need to reveal everything.

In the beginning I was far more private, not revealing my identity and referring to friends with initials. Very quickly I found they didn't like that and I had several requests from friends to have their full first names used instead.

So I obliged.

Elise said...

Great question McCauliflower.

I often find myself wanting to blog more personal details but my control-freak, protect family instincts take over and there is very little that I let on. I do blog about my parents quite a bit. I try to do it in a way that is gently kidding them. But I am careful not to write anything that would give them cause for embarrassment. The result of this is that I think I give the impression that we are this perfect happy little polite family, and the truth of it is that we yell, swear, tease each other brutally. It's sort of like being in the middle of your own sitcom. They are somewhere like a cross between the honeymooners and Gracie Allen/George Burns. There is a lot of love, but only a small fraction of who we are I think gets expressed on the blog.

I started blogging almost exactly 5 years ago. For me it was a lifesaver. I was surrounded by death and illness and consumed with grief. Sometimes on my personal blog (not the food blog) I feel tempted to reveal more about what has been going on, but the truth of it is that I think when you write things down and make them public, it gives them power and makes them more real. 5 years ago I decided to blog about things I loved, things that would have a positive impact on me and others, rather than to dwell on the incredibly sad, difficult things, over which I had no power to change.

Trig said...

The food blog I publish today started life 20 months ago as an on-line CV for work experience and I actually put my full address and phone number on it. That was a mistake I quickly rectified - it's now edited. In a recent post that showed a photo of a letter arriving at my flat in Barcelona, I deliberately obscured the address. You must protect against the malicious and fraudsters.

Otherwise I'm pretty open about personal matters so long as they are relevant to specific posts or harmless ways of engaging with readers. I celebrate my birthday on-line, for example. But writing about cooking for a girlfriend just before splitting up wasn't a smart move.

Elise has summed up the family situation perfectly, so I'll say no more on that. Luckily, as a professional chef I don't have a vast amount of purely personal life to hide away, so it's not really a problem for me.

Erika W. said...

I've been blogging for three years now, and never regretted anything I blogged about, nor how personal it's gotten at times. My family doesn't mind me blogging about them, and I enjoy the personal connection with my readers.

That being said...I've developed a local readership, so now I'm just a touch more cautious. For example, last week DH was out of town for a few days. I had originally planned to use that time to do a few articles about cooking for one and really having a good time with it. Except that it ocurred to me that advertising that I was home alone with two children wasn't a good idea. So in that way I've become more cautious.

Loulou said...

When I first started blogging over 2 years ago I didn't tell any of my friends or family, only my husband. I wanted to be free to write what I wanted without upsetting anyone. After a few months I found that it wasn't necessary, so I became more open and told everyone and it has been fine.
When my friends and I have our monthly "world food" dinners where we all cook together, at least one of them looks for my write-up about it the next day or two on my blog and asks me why it isn't there if I'm tardy with my post!

Chuck said...

I've been food blogging for 9 months and I have other blogs over 2 years old. No regrets so far, but I've also been cautious about sharing too much personal info. I only use first names and only share personal info/stories as it relates to food.

I am also reigned in by Hungry Bear who is a very private person, whereas I'm an open book. I definitely respect her privacy on the blog, otherwise I would be in the dog house.

Rev. Biggles said...

I've been blogging for nearly 5 years ... yeah. EEEk, next month is Meathenge's birthday !!!

For me, if I kept my identity, myself and me anonymous, there'd be nothing there. Meathenge is me and vice versa. Confluxly, if I run actross a blog where there's bio, contact info or soul, I rarely return. I can find technique and ingredients in books and at the markets. I'm here because of you.


Mimi said...

Because my job is a very public one in a small community, I use my nickname and try to disguise details as best I can. Only a few local people know about the blog, and they are fellow foodies. I don't think my personal details would be very interesting to anyone anyway.

zoe / puku said...

very interesting question Mcauliflower! it's interesting to see how people approach it differently. for my part, my foodblog (1 yr old) was a sort of offshoot of the personal blog my partner and I have (5 yrs old), which we started when we moved a gazillion kms away from everyone, to keep in touch with family and friends and as a record of our experience.

privacy wasn't really a consideration at the time we started out, and so we've always had full names, friends names etc, even my partner's ph.d info and cv on the site.. so it would be very easy for people to find us indeed! that blog does get pretty good traffic, far outside just our F+F, but surprisingly we've had really no harassers or gremlin commenters.

subsequently, I've not made any attempt to protect privacy much on my foodblog, although I don't use my full name, I do talk about my life, friends, family and suburb etc. I can't say I regret it, as in 5+ years blogging, we've had no probs..

and in the end, I agree with the honourable rev. Biggles, in that I tend to like to see some real/true personality of the blogger, so I try to have that element in my blog, and not worry too much about keeping my life private/seperate.

Judith Klinger said...

You've certainly touched a vein here.
I try to keep it general, but if you are totally anonymous, I think you lose some validity. I want to know something about the person whose opinion I'm reading. How much does the blogger really know about the subject at hand..that sort of thing.
You can find me if you want...that's a decision that I made when I started blogging (3 years ago) and I'm still ok with that.
I did go back and delete a post that I wrote while I was really angry...but that's another story.

Karina said...

Interesting question. I've been at it since late 2005.

On the food blog I try to balance the urge to reveal true snippets of my "real life" with a less specific upbeat public persona. I reveal far more on my personal blog (that garners way fewer hits). Between the two blogs there's truth in the details- but it's still not the whole picture.

I've been thinking a lot about this issue lately, because the writers I most admire speak the truth. I don't mean in a confessional excruciatingly detailed way- the opposite, actually. They write the pithy, brave, funny, sad, and scary truth about themselves. That kind of writing inspires me.

Twittering has been good for me- it has loosened me up a little, I think. And it gives me an outlet for the odd and quirky aspects of my life. Hopefully my readers will enjoy that small glimpse.

I admit, I've gone back and edited out some details on my food blog. Small bits I may have revealed in a particularly expansive mood.

I suppose each of us needs to find our particular comfort level of disclosure. I'm looser now than I was at first.

And Elise? I'm relieved your family is complicated and not the idealized Ozzie and Harriet. ;)

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