Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Missing the boat?


Lately, a good majority of my blogging buds have made their blogs private so they can be accessed by only their family and/or friends. And of those who are public, most make the effort to conceal their identity and/or the identity of their children.

Then there is me. My information is public for all of the blog-o-sphere to see. I use real names. I post our real pictures. Granted I don’t use our last name, and I have never posted where I live – but I’m sure that I’ve provided enough clues for someone to figure out if they really wanted to. Several people who know me in real life have found me via my blog, so I know it’s not difficult to figure out who I am.

And guess what: I don’t care. I’m not worried about it one bit. I don’t lie awake at night worried that some crazed person/homicidal maniac is going to track me down because of my blog. I know there are crazy people out there – I lock my house when I’m home, I don't drive through gang-infested parts of town and I don’t go places in the dark by myself (other than the occasional early-morning run). I don't think that I'm overly naive when it comes to my safety. But I cannot figure out what I should be worried about.

So, what gives? Is there some big internet secret that I’m missing out on? Something else to worry about that I haven’t though of? Or am I just way too trusting. Please enlighten me people! I'm not saying this to be offensive - I honestly want to know!
p.s. - as a side note - I do have to mention that when one of my friends tells me that they're going private, I do feel a bit sad. But only because the reader that I use to tell me if there are new posts doesn't work on private blogs. I tend to not check them as often because I have to physically click on their blog, and I don't always think to do that. So, if you have a private blog, I still love you!
Ok - so I just re-read this post, and I can see how it may come off a bit offensive. I'm not trying to be offensive at all - I honestly would love for people to give me their insights. Please!

20 comments:

Ruhiyyih Rose said...

Yeah I was a little worried for a bit when I was writing about places that I would be and when. But, I realized that it was meaningless worry. I'd rather be a bit more courageous. Plus, it is so fun to read about everyone's lives! Helps me to humor life better :)

Me said...

Main thing is, don't have anything (like kids' names) that you write about as one of your online passwords. Also those who have ever had stalkers or just want to blog about something they do not want certain people to read, it would of course be best to password protect.

That said, I wonder if the people who password protect their blogs are aware that they are equally if not more at risk when visiting and posting to sites. Any site can log their IP address and then use that IP address to discover the neighborhood in which they live (at least for most U.S. IP addresses). Then if they have a wireless router, someone could drive around their neighborhood until they have sniffed out their Wi-fi signal hot spot (i.e. right by their home).

To be consistent, they should consider using TOR or some other anonymizer for safer surfing.

Misty said...

Christie, we actually discussed this topic last night at dinner. I was totally wishing you were there. I agree with you in that there isn't that much to worry about. Don't use the obvious, like last names and places you live, but seriously, how much worry is too much? There is reason to have some concern, but so many people go SOOO overboard with it. Come on people, it's just a blog, not your SS#, your blood type & your driver's license. People have a way of finding out things, if they really want to - we don't need to lock ourselves up in a padded room to ensure security. Just be smart, but still let yourself live!

Christie said...

Misty - I'm sorry that I had to miss dinner too. I just couldn't leave work in time. Hopefully I'll get another chance to meet the famous Mindi.

And how ironic that you had this very discussion last night - especially considering that I wrote this post days ago, and auto scheduled it.

Julia said...

I'm the same way, Christie. Every now and then I think I should maybe go private. But that is mostly because some ppl at work found mine and they probably think I'm a psycho.

But safety-wise, I don't really worry about it much. And mine has our last name. I post nudie shots sometimes of the kids. I hope no one is getting off on it, but I like having other people be able to access my blog, share their ideas etc. I can't stand when I try to access someone's blog (usually via comments that I find interesting) and it is private. Arg.

Plus I've tried for years to get a stalker and it just isn't happening...:)

Erin said...

Christie,

I don't want to go private. If I was private, I never would have 'met' you. But I do want to protect my kids as much as I can. I want to be able to post pictures because of family that reads this that we don't get to see often...and a picture really is worth a thousand words. But my last blog address has our last name in it, so after worrying about it for months (did I mention I am a professional worrier?) I decided to give myself peace of mind and change it. This is what works for us. I am glad you aren't private either, and I get a little sad when a blog buddy goes private, too.

pithydithy said...

I've had the same thoughts many a time. The only reason that I don't use my first name is that I want to keep my personal life somewhat separate from my professional one. If you google my real name, you come up with research papers. If you google my blog name, you come up with details of my menstrual cycle. I kinda don't want the two to mix. But, other than that, I don't worry a hole ton. I know that blog readers can figure out who I am if they want to. I do occasionally have twinges of guilt about exposing Finn all over the internet without his little baby permission. At some point I'll worry about his right to privacy, but not yet I guess.

pithydithy said...

I really need to edit my entires. A "hole" lot.

Lynita said...

Really I am with you on this one! I think that if we live our lives paranoid that something is going to happen, we can't live at all. Believe me I love my children and worry about someone taking them and hurting them all the time! But I still have my last name in our blog title and we use real names all the time. I just do my best to take care of my kids and not to freak out about things that are out of my control. I know for a fact that there are people out there that can sniff you out with way less info, so lets just hope we don't give them any reason to track us down!

Chelsea said...

I feel the same way you do about this Christie. I totally agree with what Me said (is that your DH?) that most people have no idea that whenever they post on any other site they are exposing their info. Making a blog private isn't going to give you as much privacy as most people think.

BUT on the other hand, I completely understand wanting to make sure that info doesn't get read but certain people - from work, or even other family members. I do kind of miss the days when my blog was completely anonymous (at that point it was an IVF blog) and I could write about my boobs/cycle/cervix without worrying that my dad or the elder's quorum president would be reading it.

Chelsea said...

Sorry, that was "read BY certain people."

carrie said...

I really, really struggled with going "private". I have loved finding friends I've lost touch with...and even family members through blogging. I was never worried about my kids because they're never really "alone".....but we had other reasons for going private. It was just the decision we felt best with at that time. I always hated clicking on someone's blog...like Julia said, who made an interesting comment.....and then their blog was private. Oh well, it's just a personal thing. I know people can get our personal info if they try hard enough....but that was never what we were worried about. I know I'm being vague....but there's a reason for that one, too. ha ha
I always love to read your opinions....so keep them coming. Jason was asking about Ben the other day....and I gave him the "update" off of your blog. :o) We really need to just get together. It sounds like Ben's pretty busy....so let us know when his schedule lets up a bit.

Me said...

Chelsea: Me not "DH," Me DW. Anyway, don't go to my blog if you don't want me to know where you live...especially since I live in NVA too! Just kidding, my stalking days ended after I found my wife. :)

Tiburon said...

Totally agree with you. I contemplated going private for about 3 seconds. Private blogs are rough - they don't show up in reader - and I forget to check them. For weeks.

I just throw my stuff out there - if someone wants to track me down and kill me - they could probably do it on their own. They wouldn't need my blog for the info.

Amy said...

When I got home from the blogger dinner I had a strange experience... Someone has left some really inappropraite comments on my blog. I was alittle freaked out before but when I got home this "person" ( that has no blog of her own and no real name) proceeded to tell me that she found my last name on one of my blog roll links and then she free credit reported my name and then because she knew my husbands name dexonlined us and she knows exactly where we live. It as a little unnerving. I have NEVER wanted to go private, but THAT totally scared me a little. I don't think I will go private...but it was weird!

Amy said...

If you want to read a HILARIOUS post on private blogs... go to www.thewildeparty.blogspot.com and scroll down to ticked off tuesday. You will laugh hard. Sorry about writing a novel the first comment I made on your blog. I do love reading the fun things you talk about.

Omgirl said...

I actually started out private. And I'm not a really worrisome, paranoid person. But I just didn't' really want any old body to be able to read about my innermost thoughts and the minute details of my life. But then I realized, who wants to? Why would someone who doesn't know me even care? So I went public. i still try not to advertise my address, last name, etc. But I know people could figure it out if they really wanted to. I guess it's just one of those things you have to get over if you don't want fear to dictate your life.

Mindi said...

amen, sister. some people take it to the next level when it comes to kids, and i get it, but please. if somebody wants to get me, they are gonna find a way no matter what. why live in constant fear? i like putting photos of my kids on there, and i use their first names. sue me.
would i feel horrible if something happened to them? well, yes. but something can happen to them regardless of whether i have a blog or not. kids these days are already way more "out there" on the internet with face book, or their little email accounts, etc.

it's a whole new world and we can't stick our heads in the sand.

Gina said...

Hey Christie...I actually wasn't worried about not being private and I liked not being private. However I have an extremely neurotic husband who is always thinking the worst is going to happen and he asked me to please go private so he could sleep at night. I had to respect his decision but if I had it my way I would still be public!! I'm with you on hating that private blogs can't be used on the feeder...I always forget to check my private blogs!! I was glad I got to see you last week!! And I love reading your posts!!

The Monsen Fam said...

I'm a paranoid polly. I seriously wish I wasn't as cynical as I am... sad but true. I wish I could give people the benefit though.