Friday, November 7, 2008

Blog Safely


I love blogging, but I try to be smart about it. There is a purpose to my blog—several in fact. I am working on creating a strong web presence for my name because I am an author with my first book being published soon.
There are so many uses for blogging and what I want to talk about today is picking the right one for you.
Blogging can be fun, blogging can be a way of keeping an online journal, blogging can help you keep in contact with friends and family.
You can also use blogging to advertise, to instruct, to promote.
The way you set up your blog should adhere to the purpose of the blog.

If you are doing a blog mainly as a journal and as a way to share information with family/friends it is a good and wise idea to make your blog private. I use blogger and this is extremely easy to do—all you need to do is click a button and your blog becomes private and then you can send out invites to your family/friends. This is a great security option because only those people you invite can view your blog and comment.
So, you might be thinking—what does it really matter? Why would I want to make it private?

There has already been many cases of internet stalking. My local news just did a story on this and you can click here to read the article Blogging Safety

PICTURES—This is probably the main item we need to be careful about in blogging. I love the ability we have to share pictures with each other to stay up to date with family and friends, but what I don’t love is that other people, strange people, including pedophiles can view those photos if your blog is public.

The most important reason you would want to make your blog private is because you need to be especially careful about your children. If you have a blog open to the general public, then that means ANYONE can see your pictures and information!
I know that there is still someone reading this who thinks I’m just being paranoid. So for you, I have statcounter.com. This is a free tool with many different uses which you can attach to your website or blog and it keeps track of who comes to your website and what they're searching for. It will even go so far as to show you what keywords led that person to your blog. Even this is not all-encompassing to show what kind of person is behind the “visitor” so I would still advise being careful.
Don’t give out personal details about where you live. Don’t give out birthdates and personal info about your family members.

At a recent writer’s conference we were instructed on many ways to self-promote using internet marketing. We were warned that there are dangers if you put private information out on the web. A case brought to police attention was a man who had posted detailed info, pictures, addresses, ages, etc about his entire family and his family was subsequently stalked because of it.

I'm really not trying to scare off would-be bloggers because I love blogging. I just hope that people reading this will realize there is no need to be at risk if they use the private option or limit what they post on their blog or website.
If you are still a skeptic, think about your precious children. Do you want a pedophile looking at your children?
I’m sure that we are all at a certain level of risk because it’s pretty easy nowadays to get information. But if you don’t make yourself an easy target, I think you can feel more comfortable about surfing the web.

Let’s all enjoy social networking by blogging safely.
Here is an excellent article with tips on safety called Social networking and user interactive sites: Top tips for parents and carers


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