Thursday, November 13, 2008

TFT: Privatizing Blogs

It seems the new thing around Blog-World is privatizing your blog. I think in the past week at least 5 bloggers I read have said they're going private (hmmm... maybe its me? HAHA!). I know some of the reasoning is because of a news story that was about about people stealing/vandalizing family photos and harrassing them.

So, I guess my TFT today is... privatizing blogs... is it all its cracked up to be or is it for the birds? Have you/would you/do you plan to make your blog private/password protected? What are your reasons? If you plan to keep your blog private... what are YOUR reasons?

Also... if a blog is private, can you put it in Google Reader and still read it without having to enter the password EVERY time you want to read a post?

Leave an untainted comment first, and then highlight over the space below to read my thoughts...

I have thought about privatizing my blog quite a few times and the recent hubub about blog stalkers etc did make me think... for a second... about locking mine. But then I thought... look at all these famous people... Heather Armstrong aka Dooce.... Heidi Swapp... Ali Edwards... and I'm sure a zillion more... they put themselves out there (albeit... probably not as much as I do) and they're in the spotlight.

I do take precautions and watermark my photos, although that doesn't protect them from everything. Someone could chop it off in PS, true, true. And I know that if I ever felt that my or my family's safety was at stake I would privatize my blog in a second. However, I guess with being a photographer and having so much contact information available online and to clients I figure... if someone REALLY wanted to find me they would hunt me down regardless of my blog or not.

I guess another thought I have on private blogs is that I tend to lose interest in reading them because I don't want to hassle with remembering someone's password. I have enough passwords to remember! I have considered moving to a blog where I don't use our real first names or talk about exact locations around me but then I thought it'd look silly when I turn it into a blurb book and it has all these "fake" names in there! Anyhow... IMO, to each their own and I totally respect anyones decision to privatize (some of my fav blogs are going private) so please don't take this as a bash to those of you who are!


  1. I don't think I ever would. I mean, sure I started my blog as a way to update close friends and family, so a password in that case wouldn't be any big deal, but since my blogging has turned into so much more than that for me, I don't think I would ever want to 'turn that off'. I love that old friends can find me (I'm not a big myspace or facebook girl) or people who I haven't talked to in years can check in and see what we're up to and hopefully sometimes get re-engaged in my life. And I love the friends I've found through the blog itself; other women and moms out there that otherwise I would never have met or heard their stories or their points of view.

    Many of the blogs I've read that are private I don't keep up on anymore... for some reason I lose interest, I don't know if it's the hassle or what. I'll periodically check on them, but not like before.

    I personally have never been afraid of all the "scary" things of blogging. I post way too many pictures of my kids and probably way too many details of our lives. BUT I am careful not to ever post our address, even our neighborhood, our schools, and I'm careful about making sure there's none of that info in my pictures, (i.e. a mailbox or house number or car license plate, etc.). Other than that, I really could care less what people do with all that "information" I put out there every day. I don't (yet) put a copyright on my pics, I really don't care too much what someone might do with them. Sure I'd feel upset and cheated if I suddenly found some picture of mine being used for some sort of advertisement without my knowledge or permission (or my gain!), but really... so what if they dr something up or use my photos for whatever crazy reason they might have. Most likely I will never know about it and it doesn't really affect me or my family.
    I'm just not worried about stuff like that. I guess I just don't think anyone would pick me out of a whole world full of blogs to obsess over or harass. Most of the time isn't it people you somehow know anyway??

    Blah blah blah, all that to say, I think it would take a lot, some specific instance of worry (and probably a big one at that), to get me to go to the private passwords or invited readers only on my blog. Maybe I'm naive, but it's not a big concern to me.

  2. Untainted comment first: I didn't make mine private, I just moved mine and created anonymous names for my family. My husband's ex-wife's family was starting to get belligerent on MY BLOG. Crazy mean people.

    Now I read your thoughts: I usually quit reading blogs that I have to have a password too also.

  3. it has crossed my mind, but I wouldn't do it unless it was affecting my family in some way. Besides, I am a boring writer. Who the heck would stalk me. hahah.

  4. I have had mine private before and I am thinking about doing it again. I know about 3o regulars who read it and I have about 10 regular commenters, but I get 200 its a day....who are the rest of the people?? That is what kind of scares me. I don't think I put too much private info on mine, but I have become more hesitant with what I blog about and the pictures I post.....

  5. i'm with heather, i don't think i would ever make mine private. i'm also pretty careful to not post too much detail as far as where we live, etc, and often i won't announce when we're going to be gone or when i'm going to be home alone, things like that. and the picture thing doesn't bother me either. i think it's funny when people disable right-clicking on their websites and an alert pops up that says 'no copying photos!' when i can hit the print screen button and have it in photoshop in under a two seconds with no right-clicking whatsoever. so you just have to be comfortable with what you're putting out there. a watermark over the picture of your kid probably isn't going to stop some creepy pedophile from looking at it, know what i mean? not that i'm comfortable with that... i'd be upset, but i think a) chances are extremely low and b) the GOOD parts of public blogging for me (all the new friends, etc) would still far outweigh something like that.

    i guess the only thing that would make me take it private is if i was having issues with a particular person reading it... leaving nasty comments all the time or something... but i would probably go more the avenue of trying to block that person than i would completely taking it down for the public.

    as far as security, honestly, if someone wants to get your stuff, they're going to get it, if someone wants to find you, or find out info about you, they're going to be able to. there are people out there with MUCH more knowledge of the computer world than me... people that could probably pull my bank statements. so much of our lives are already online that i think having a blog is the least of my security worries, you know?

    i always have good intentions to continue to read blogs that i enjoy that go private, i always ask for the passwords. but i've found that i end up rarely reading because of the password thing... i don't think anything shows up in google reader and, well, there's so many blogs and so little time that if it's not right in front of my face, it gets looked over. so i'd say it has to be a best friend or family member for me to go out of my way to read it.

    and sometimes, i think people say they're going private just to see who's reading... maybe not, who knows. just a thought.

  6. The way I look at it is that I would never have met my bloggy friends (you included) if my blog was private. The blogs with fake names, and no pictures - I have a hard time forming a connection with them, or caring as much about their stories. I don't put our last name, or exact location, and I don't post pictures of anyone but our family, but that's as far as I'll go unless something happens to change my mind.

  7. First, just to let you know, I "found you" through Jen (stickyfeathers) beejo and Jamie (blog sweet blog).
    I'm in agreement with the other comments thus far....I don't think I'd every make mine private. Like beejo stated, if people want to find you, they will.

  8. My blog is semi-private, which I find to be perfect. I don't have to censor or be extra careful about what types of family things I post in the private part, and I still have a chance to share public things (mostly scrapbook-related) when I want to also.

    It also makes me feel better to know who is reading my blog in case something were to happen..

    I think the feed readers still work for me, although occasionally it asks you to log in again.

  9. I don't want to privatize mine but I do want to move it to a name that doesn't contain my full name it in (what was I thinking?!) I've been talking about it forever but haven't got around to doing it yet. I did fix it so Google doesn't pick it up though.

    I don't really want my co-workers or randoms I know IRL to find it as it's more of my things and not for the general public.

  10. I have struggled with it and finally did since the twins were born. The main reason being is that I don't want old co-workers reading it and certain family members that I think might. I want it to be a place I can vent, share true feelings, etc.. and having it all out there makes me hold back. A LOT! So yes, I know it's a pain for people but at least with blogger you just have to sign in with your account and you don't have to remember a password. I hope you will keep reading though since you were one of my very first "blog friends". :o)

  11. Oh and like Kim said, another reason is because my blog address is my full name. Yeah, don't know what I was thinking there but I don't want to go through the hassle of changing addresses AGAIN! I think I would have zero readers if I did that. LOL!

  12. Im in agreement with everyone else here. They stated it so well! If someone really wants to find you then they know how to do it, even without a blog. If there was a circumstance where my family was affected by something then I would do the means necessary to protect them, but I cant see it being because of a blog. I like the openness that we have with all of our bloggers, that is how we have gotten to know them so personally. And we just wouldnt get that with an anonymous blog setup. Great topic. I too have seen lots of people mention this privatizing.

  13. It's a toss up. LOL!!

    On Myspace, you have options for each Blog (Public, Friends, Diary and Preferred List only) and that gives each Blog you write on there the option of being private or not. I like that.

    Since Blogger isn't like that...I have a regular Blog and a private one. That's more because of people thinking there's TMI in my Blogs OR I just don't want certain people (family, usually) in my personal business.

  14. I did it once but most of my non-computer saavy friends/family couldn't figure it out and it became an I had to take it off. I think mostly I worry about it having photos of my children. But then I realize that everytime I upload a photo through the internet to snapfish or even via email that it somehow is floating around out there and at some point I can't live my life afraid of the unknown. I don't post too much personal information enough that strangers could find me (I don't think). And I have had some comments on my blog that I didn't know who the poster was and then I referred YOUR links or posters and found that your readers actually link to my blog from time to time and make little comments & enjoy my entries and my no. I won't make it private again. ;)

  15. i have had stickyfeathers password protected a couple times. it wasn't because i was worried about someone finding me or stealing my pictures, but it was because people i worked with were reading it and printing it out and taking issues they had with my personal blog into the workplace. it really pissed me off. i have never had trouble sharing my opinion or feelings on my blog, but when people were all about my personal life in the workplace - i went private to hopefully get those people to lose interest. i also had two anonymous letters sent to my house (during an election season when i was a campaign manager for a sheriff's candidate) that referenced blog content in them. i even had them fingerprinted and there were no prints lifted - CREEPY.

    so my whole reason to go private was to get the workplace gossip queens to lose interest in my blog. but then, the longer it was private, the more pissed i was that i had to 'hide' my blog. i am not ashamed of anything i have ever shared. it's my blog - it's my life.

    i will probably never go private again, unless i felt it was unsafe to have out there. if someone wants to find us - they will. i also have 'met' so many cool people through my blog and i would be sad if i were to lose that connection.

    great tft!

  16. I don't think anyone reads my blog anyway so I don't think I would make mine private. Plus I like making new blogger friends. My Sister in law has her set to private and I can't add her to my reader. : (