Blogging pointers for newbie bloggers

Posted by on January 25, 2007 in general thoughts | 0 comments

The more observant amongst you may notice that I have taken down one of the sites I look after. This is at the request of its owner, for reasons I will not be posting on here. Please email me if you need to get in touch with the site owner, do not post comments on here either about the site, or related to its owner in any way.

This leads me onwards to an issue I’ve written about in the past… the good n bad of blogging!

Visibility – Blogging is a great way to unload your head, kinda like writing a diary… that your friends can read – the danger of this is that unless you make everything private you must remember that anyone can read what you write… and no matter how unlikely or removed you are from the writing, it is quite possible your relatives, friends, colleagues or enemies could find your ramblings!

Comments – In my opinion, if you censor comments, you’re missing the point. Allow people the freedom to agree/disagree with what you write, an engaged audience makes the blog more readable and human. Another site I look after posted an entry about a decision they had to make, I left them an honest comment explaining why I felt it was a bad idea… partly because I felt I knew the person better than any of the other people who had commented and agreed with their idea… my comment was deleted, I’ve since learnt that others posted the same advice but it was removed – what is the point in that? The only person they were truly tricking was themselves. The only time I’ve edited/removed comments is when the commenter was easily identifiable and making remarks about a situation I was involved in, where their comments could have created problems for themselves.

Identity – I write this blog and by doing so, I’m saying that it’s ok to write about me on here. I would always advise that anyone avoid writing about a real life person/situation without changing key facts to protect their identity – those people (like ‘em or hate ‘em) who you want to write about, have a right to privacy that should be respected.

Security – Create as much of a separation as possible between the online world and your offline life. Never post your address, phone number or other traceable details online, unless you’re happy for the world to know it. I read a blog last week that talked about their mother’s maiden name and their town of birth… the personal profile contained their date of birth and home address… I could of stolen their identity without any effort at all!! If someone can read your blog online, they can send you an email, so don’t post any other contact methods online. (maybe IM or skype… but you get the point)

Legality – Hmmm, this is a tricky one… without rambling for ages about the legal does n don’ts of journalism (which I’ve learnt thanks to working in radio and having to sign a contract every 6 months that lays it all out for me!) some points to consider…

– Journalism basics – respect people’s privacy, don’t post privileged knowledge (I.E. stock information, without declaring you are a stock holder) or prejudicial information (I.E. something that could influence a case being heard in court) online, unless you have a good lawyer.
– Copyright – fair use for review is acceptable, ripping off pages n pages or hours n hours of content is not!
– Employment – if you blog about your job, remember that fellow workers can, and will, find your blog.
– Ownership – you’d have to be damn clever to blog completely anonymously. If you own a domain name, you are traceable, every time you use the internet from home your usage is recorded by your ISP… tiny references here n there to the real world, add up to make you identifiable.

Stay safe peeps and if you have any good links/comments or further advice to add, please do so.


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