search
top

Creating Privacy Boundaries On Your Blog

We’ve all heard that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” The same is NOT true in blogging. What you post on your blog can last forever. Even after you’ve taken it down, there can still be traces of what you once put up…and this can have consequences later (sometimes much later) on.

I love blogging, but over the past year I’ve created some Privacy Boundaries for my blog that I don’t cross. Some of you might have similar boundaries you’ve created for yourself…feel free to share yours in the comments below.

Boundaries

Picture Boundaries

  • I share a lot of pictures on my blog. Most of them are tutorial pictures or completed projects. In order to protect the privacy of my friends and family, I have very few pictures with people in them, and even less showing faces.
  • I find ways to post family gathering photos without showing my actual family. Like I did in the engagement party post, and the baby shower post – showing the crafts and theme while omitting faces.
  • I don’t post pictures of my husband (and although I did post a tutorial on the boxers I made for him, I didn’t show the boxers I snagged from his drawer to use as a template. Mostly because if he took a picture of my underwear and shared it with the internet, I’d be pretty upset).
  • I do post some pictures of my son. Of all the things I’ve made, he’s the one I’m most proud of. BUT whenever I postΒ  picture of him, I put a (very faint) watermark over his face, just as an extra layer of protection. It isn’t “foolproof,” but it would stop most who might want to steal his beautiful smile.
  • All my pictures are 100% “G” Rated. No exceptions.

Information Boundaries

  • I think it goes without saying that I don’t share my home address, social security number, or the like. I also don’t share my maiden name (though I love it and am very attached).
  • I don’t share when I’m planning a trip out of town, because I don’t want to “advertise” that my house will be empty and available for burglaries (though I will post about a trip after I come back).
  • I have chosen to share the city I live in, as well as my name. It is a big city, and my name is common. However, I don’t share any other names (my husband, son, relatives, or non-bloggy friends). I refer to my better half as my “hubby” or “Mr. Moore” in most cases, and my son is “Little Moore” or LM for short. There is one time when I “bent” this rule – when we were raising money for the American Cancer Society in my cousin’s name.

Story Boundaries

  • I’m careful about the stories I share. If I think there is even the possibility that I might want to take it back in the future, I don’t share. I’d rather err on the side of caution.
  • I don’t share any angry stories, like arguments with family and friends. I don’t talk about any problems with my son. These things are private. I did post on how to get nailpolish out of the carpet, but I think that even 15-20 years from now my son will still be okay with that one.
  • I don’t share anything personal about my husband, or our marriage. Except that he’s awesome, and I’m the luckiest gal on the planet. But, that goes without saying. : )

Off-Blog Boundaries

  • These are the rules on my blog… but if I guest-post, the rules get even stricter. When I guest-post, I have less-than-zero control over what someone else is going to do with my content. So, I don’t include pictures of my son at all, and I’m even more careful about the personal details I share.
  • I generally follow the above boundaries on Facebook and Twitter as well.

None of these boundaries were created overnight. Many, such as watermarking Little Moore’s photos, were the result of hearing other bloggers’ horror stories.

The over-riding principle is this: I blog for me, with my readers in mind. I’m happy to share a slice of my life online, but I’m going to control how big a slice I dish out.

What boundaries have you created for your blog?

banner ad

27 Responses to “Creating Privacy Boundaries On Your Blog”

  1. Catherine says:

    I do have pictures of my children on my blog. Just curious, what are the “horror stories”? I’ve never been really concerned about it, but am now wondering if I’m doing the “wrong” thing.

    • Mostly the horror stories are about complete strangers who go to a blog and lift entire posts, claiming that the children in the photos are theirs. I read another account where a woman was stealing pictures off of a blog and putting them on her Facebook page, saying things like, “look how cute my son is.” Both creepy.

      About a year ago I heard the craziest one yet. A woman got an e-mail from her friend who was on vacation in another country. The friend had seen the woman’s family photo on a billboard-style advertisement! At the time, if you went to google images, typed in “happy family,” and sorted by the largest size, that family photo came up on top (and it was a great picture). This is also a good reminder NOT to use full-resolution photos. I shrink mine down to about 600×400, which is still plenty big.

  2. Nat says:

    Really great post.

    I don’t think I’ve shared my last name yet. I don’t share the husband’s name and everything’s a bit easier for me since I don’t have kids. I refer to my niece and nephew a lot but will not post pictures of their faces. I’ve had some photos where I’ve had to blur out my maiden name.

    The photo thing is a bit tricky for me since my blog is primarily scrapbooking with some crafting thrown in. Part of the idea is to show pictures.

    I think all of the boundaries I’ve set up in this past year are in danger because I’m going to be working on my wedding scrapbook and blogging about it. I’m sure my last name will come out then because I used it everywhere when I was designing stuff for my wedding!

  3. Jen says:

    Great post. I have the same issue with having a scrapbook blog but I don’t want to post photos of my kids…my main scrapbooking focus. I’ve just had to get a little more creative with both my scrapbooking AND my blogging.

  4. Christy says:

    Such great advice! I have posted pictures of my kids. I need to do the watermark thing. How do you do the watermark or what program do you use to do it? About the pictures I have already posted…is there a way to “undo” them? Or do I just start doing these things from here on out?

    • Once something is out there, you can’t ever completely take it back, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave it the way it is, either. I was several months in on my blog before I decided I should be watermarking. I went back and replaced the photos of my son with watermarked photos. I just use picnik, because it is free and super easy to use. I’ll see if I can get a tutorial up in the next week or so. : )

  5. Crafterella says:

    I think that a lot of my blogging boundaries are a bit more lax than yours. I really like how you have put the watermark over your son’s face (I had to go and check, I hadn’t even noticed), I think I need to start doing something like that too and maybe it is time to reassess how much I am sharing. Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Everyone needs to decide what boundaries they are comfortable with… if your bloggy boundaries are more or less lax than mine that doesn’t make them wrong… it is just what you’re comfortable with. It is your blog, and you get to write it however you want. : )

  6. Amy says:

    Good tips. Good article. Of course now I feel like I am doing everything wrong. Nervous lol.

    • Amy, these are my own boundaries that I developed over time. I read other blogs and saw what they were doing, and learned from them. For your blog, you get to create your own set of rules based on what works for you. : )

  7. arya says:

    I don’t post pictures of people on my blog unless I have their permission (verbally) and I post about my life, the good and the bad stuff. Mind you I don’t go into all the details and I certainly don’t post arguments with hubby or anything but I do write what I would talk with someone about.

  8. Thanks for this perspective! Your precautions seem reasonable. I’m always kind of amazed what some people will share on their blog, especially about their children. An occasional pic is one thing, but why share personal stories that might be a little embarrassing for that child in 20 years for the whole world to know? That girl could be president some day! πŸ™‚
    I limit how much I share (just an occasional personal pic, general location, etc). I’ve gone so far as to set up a pen name… but I wonder if I’m worrying too much.

    • The women in my family are “professional worriers” and would argue that there is no such thing as “worrying too much.” πŸ™‚ I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting up an extra layer of security.

      What is funny is that the idea for this article came from a conversation I had with my mom about something I was going through. Something a lot of people could relate to. My mom mentioned that it would be something good for me to share on my blog. Which was funny, because when I first started the blog I didn’t even tell her for several months because she’s always warning us about sharing “too much” on the internet. And now she was talking about sharing a personal story.

      It is so easy to get “relaxed” and forget about our boundaries. That being said, I still think it is a good idea to re-evaluate your boundaries every now and then to make sure that they’re still fit your needs.

  9. Michelle L. says:

    Wonderful discussion! I have tried to keep boundaries in mind, and I think I’m mostly okay with what I have posted…but I liked some of your ideas a lot and might decide to shrink my boundaries just a bit. Thanks, Carolina and all commenters!

  10. Amy says:

    I do share some of the hard things about raising my children, but I make sure the things I share aren’t mean or terribly embarrassing and I don’t share their names. I love that you found out what works for you and what I love most is that you stick to it!
    xoxo,
    Amy

  11. I don’t post my family names (Dear Daughter, Sweet Son and Handsome Hubby), but I have posted some pics… would love to see how to watermark them and I hadn’t thought about reducing the size of the pics, but that seems like a good idea.

  12. Susie says:

    Thank you for posting this. I am completely amazed at the sort of personal info people post online. Especially things like when they are out of town and such, or embarrassing things about their kids. Mine are grown and I still don’t post embarrassing things about them (without first clearing it with them–sometimes they think I’m a little crazy for asking and sometimes they are glad I asked first). I worry that the current generation will one day wake up and be sorry about some of the stuff that is out there forever. It makes me sad.

  13. MJ says:

    I try to not mention names and only want to share positive things and am really trying not to complain. I hope it will be enough!

  14. Carolina – love your post – thank you for sharing your boundaries! It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one limiting what I share through my blog. I’d say that my boundaries are pretty parallel to yours – occasionally I might include a kid’s name or photo, but I try to minimize those, just because I am such an overprotective mama, lol.

  15. Great thoughts on protecting one’s self online. The thing to remember is that there are A LOT of address sites out there and if someone really wanted to find you and/or your family, a search online will net a whole bunch of information, right down to your phone number and street address. It’s kind of creepy really.

    So the only sure-fire way to prevent your identity from being found is to use an alias and when registering a domain name, paying extra to have your contact information hidden.

    I’ve been online, sharing personal stories and what-not for ten years now. I share a photo of myself and my real name.

    But like you, I am very SELECTIVE in what I share and how much.

    I NEVER tell someone when I am going out of town and I NEVER go out of town the same time each year. I also never tell them when I am leaving the home to run an errand or what-not on social networks, that’s just crazy!

    I do share stories of my vacations or day trips, but only AFTER I return.

    I’ve shared photos of my family, but only with their permission and always very limitedly. I don’t like a lot of personal photos to be online because of the horror stories mentioned above, and I try to get them to understand how important it is to safeguard themselves as well when they go online.

    And even though there have been times I’ve had strong feelings about a “hot” topic, I have refrained from sharing my thoughts when I’ve felt it would only add fuel to the fire or may, in some way, reflect negatively on me or my business, even though I feel just in having such an opinion.

    And ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, if I have a negative story to share, if I really feel the NEED to get it out there, I MAKE DARN SURE TO PUT A POSITIVE SPIN ON IT… i.e. a life lesson. To me, there’s just no point in saying something negatively without having grown and learned from the experience, without having a reason to share it cause if it’s for a vent, just journal it and burn it.

    And if my so called negative story deals with another person or company, I make sure to remove any hint of who that person or company is and speak in the most generalist of terms. That way, no libel or slander suits prevail.

  16. Heather S says:

    Thanks for the great article! I am in the process of starting up my own business which will include a blog, so I am grateful for all of your suggestions! Some of them I thought about already, but you brought up fair points that I hadn’t considered yet!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Using Picnik to Watermark Photos | CrafterMinds - [...] my blog privacy boundaries post, there were a bunch of questions about watermarking. I’m going to show you how…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

top