Friday, 21 August 2015

How Much Do You Share Online?

A friend asked me the other day what a blog was. I figured the easy way to explain was to show her mine. This friend has internet at home and several devices but she does not participate in any social network sites. She mostly looks things up and shops, but even then, she doesn't buy things online, she just chooses what she wants then goes to the shop and buys it. So I guess she is a little untrustworthy of the internet.

When she saw my blog she was shocked,
"why do you put all this personal stuff online for everyone to see?"

This is from someone that knows me quite well and can quite plainly see that I don't put everything in my blog. In fact I keep lots out. However, she still thought I shared too much. Photos of my kids, telling people of places where we'd been and things we'd done.

My eldest kids (who I don't really mention on my blog) are also very private when it comes the internet. They never use their real names, or photos despite being members of many groups and playing many online games. No-one knows anything about their real lives. They have asked me specifically not to include them here and I even had to remove my birth stories about them. (Shame because they were really interesting and some may have found them helpful, and I didn't include names or photos) 

I rarely mention my partner, or our relationship. I don't mention our jobs or other family members. I never mention our finances, or talk about the area where we live. 

I use nicknames for my kids, although these days the nicknames are used nearly as much in real life as they are on the blog, particularly Boo, who was so named long before she was actually born!

I don't name their school or any of their friends. If I use photos of other children I get permission off their parents. Sometimes other kids get in the photos at parties and days out, it can't be helped. 

I share more personal stuff on my Facebook page but then I keep my facebook friends tight, they are all people I've spoken with for many years, or I have met in real life, or family. I still don't share everything, I'm just not the type of person who runs to facebook after a row with the other half or similar.

In my opinion I don't think I share too much. There is so much more I would like to share, so much more I'd like to get off my chest and tell the world about. But I don't, I'm just a little too private to share it all. I think the most personal I got was when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I used my blog (not this one) to pour out all my emotions and it really helped me to get through those few weeks she had left. I knew my friends were reading because they were sending me personal messages. I didn't have the strength to reply but I carried on writing and answering on my blog. Then before mom was buried I had to deal with finding my brother after he committed suicide. Yes, it was a tough time, and my blog helped me, but I don't really share all that now, well, not the emotional side anyway.

I do like to read blogs that share personal stuff. It's not that I'm nosey, it's just that it helps you relate to people, you find out that they are human too. I think sharing is good and I wish I could share more.

Can you share too much though?

Why do people steer clear of sharing?

I know why I do, I don't want to upset people close to me. If your sharing effects someone else then they need to be aware of what you are sharing and agree to it. 

Maybe people think that if others know too much about you they can use it against you? This can be true, especially in the world of the internet when people are more likely to attack from their keyboards when they wouldn't say anything to your face. Some people can be cruel.

Then there are the trolls, they are everywhere and you never know when they are going to strike. They can be hell to deal with, especially if you are vulnerable, and they tend to pick  on the vulnerable.

I do worry about putting my kids in the firing line. When they are young it's not so bad, but as they get older there is always the chance that someone at school can find stuff out about them and they can end up being teased or even bullied. I run another blog about Star's disabilities, I started it because I found it so hard to find information when she was first poorly and I wanted to put something out there for others who may find themselves in the same position. Then I realised that it may come back on her at a later date so I went through and deleted all recognisable photos of her. Hopefully, if any of her peers do come across it, they won't know it's her.

I've already made the decision that my kids will feature less on my blog as they get older. If I keep blogging I may have to take a different direction with it.

So what do you think? Do we share too much online? 



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23 comments:

  1. Oooh, great minds think alike - I have a half written post similar to this just waiting for back to school so I can finish it!! I have been rethinking the sharing thing of late, but agree with you that a bit of sharing is what makes the stories more readable. I never was one for cloak and dagger sort of stuff! My main concern is also around my girls and what could be linked back to/used against them. Food for thought xx

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    1. It's was my friends comments that got me thinking, but it's always in the back of my mind. Now if it was just all about me then I would share the lot. x

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  2. It's a hard one, I don't write in my blog anything that I wouldn't tell someone at the bus stop if that makes sense. I worry about the kids and like you as they get older they will feature less

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    1. Yes, that makes sense, it's a good way of putting it. Although, when my daughter was in her halo we found people at the bus stop very nosey! On the other hand, in situations like that I'd rather people ask than just stare or whisper. (the halo is a surgical brace which is screwed into the skull and attached to the body by a big plastic vest)

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  3. I think I'm quite like you in the level I share online and I feel comfortable with that level. Other people share more or less, but I think it's a very personal thing. I like Gemma's comment about sharing what you would share at the bus stop - that seems about right.

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  4. I don't share everything and my teen has asked to not feature now so I don't. I used names from the start and it seems silly to stop using them now. I do worry but do search the kids full names on Google from time to time and nothing is linked to my blog.

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  5. A very good post and it does provoke food for thought.
    I've always been a chatter box and don't tend to ads anything to my blog which I wouldn't tell others I'm person.
    I do regret using the kids names from the start but too late now really

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  6. A very good post and it does provoke food for thought.
    I've always been a chatter box and don't tend to ads anything to my blog which I wouldn't tell others I'm person.
    I do regret using the kids names from the start but too late now really

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  7. We all have to decide what we are comfortable with. I wouldn't put anything on the blog that I would be worried about someone overhearing in public and I refer to my children as 'my son' and 'my daughter' in writing on the blog as I didn't want to create their digital footprint too soon. My mum is like your friend - she can't understand why anyone would want to broadcast their lives, but she doesn't realise that I don't give away the very personal stuff - that is just for us.

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  8. It sounds like you're taking a sensible approach and doing what is right for you.

    I've learned to be very careful, after having a boss who found out about my blog my blog and did not approve. It made me realise that things may not come across as you expect.

    As a rule of thumb, I don't say anything on my blog or facebook that I wouldn't want people to find via Google. I'm also conscious that people can copy and paste, or capture screen shots, and take things out of context.

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  9. This is why I use the boys pseudonyms and have also cut back what I share. My boys are getting older and do not want as much of their day to day lives online

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  10. I don't have any photos of my children's faces online anywhere and I don't mention their real names either. It's my blog and work so I don't think I should invade their privacy.

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  11. Anything I say on social media or my blog is always something i would bring up in conversation etc so there is nothing there to offend

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  12. I share what I am comfortable with really x

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  13. I share what I am comfortable with, and like you, there is so much that I don't write about. I do find myself already writing more about the baby than the four year old as he gets ready for school, but I have friends who share far more on facebook than I do on my blog

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  14. It is such a difficult one- as, like your birth story, I think a lot of it is about reasurrance- on so many levels. I discovered blogging because I was googling something about one of my boys as a newborn and found blogs which were reassuring, and I still think blogs have a wonderful role to play, censoring yourself is definitely the best way of remaining in control, I started over and no longer use the children's names, but have no doubt if anyone wanted to look hard enough it would be easy to find them.

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  15. What we share or don't share is such a personal decision and I struggle sometimes to know what's for the best and if I'm lining my children up for a fall. It will be interesting to read the fall out from the first generation of babies that have had their lives mapped out in black and white for all to see

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  16. That's a really sensible approach - I massively overshare and always forget to keep changing my privacy settings on Facebook. Stephen :o)

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  17. My Dad told me recently that he read my blog. This is the first time a family member has ever mentioned it, taken an interest in it, and definitely admitted to reading it! To be fair, he was very compimentary about it, which was nice, but it does make me think of this fact every time I write something now! Which is a good thing, I think. I believe it's a good idea to picture different sections of people reading what you write before you publish it!

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  18. My 7&8 year old love my blog and help write pieces for it. I do use their real names but I'm conscious that when this is older things might change.

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  19. I think you can definitely share too much if you aren't careful. x

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  20. I share quite a lot but I am careful not to share things like exactly where we live (I give more of a generalised area) and stuff like that. There will be no pictures of Jack in his uniform unless I can edit out the badge etc x

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