Twenty-two-year-old Lisa called in sick one Friday afternoon. But she wasn’t really sick. She was planning to start the weekend early by going to the beach with her friends. Days later, she posted pictures of the outing on her blog. Someone in her office found the link. Soon, she was called to her boss’ office. She didn’t lose her job, but she got into a lot of trouble.
Eighteen-year-old Anne enjoys an independent life. Both parents are in the US. She blogged freely about her misadventures—drunken nights out, failed tests, her penchant for bad boys. She thought her blog was being read only by her friends.
But a concerned relative sent the link to her parents who immediately jumped to action, calling Anne up and threatening to fly her to the US where she could be put under their watch. Anne is still in the country but has deleted her blog.
The two girls have experienced blog backfire. Things they posted online ended up working against them.
Make sure it doesn’t happen to you, too. Here are some things to think about when you blog.
1. You don’t know who is reading your page.
Unless your entries are locked and you have total control over who has access to them, you’re never sure who is reading your entries. Your parents, your teachers—they’re all just a google search away from unlocking your deepest thoughts.
2. What you post can make or break your career.
While some people have gotten book deals after building a huge blog readership, most bloggers need to realize that employers have started using Google searches as a tool to scan job applicants.
3. Will your post hurt anyone?
It is easy to vent online your anger with a friend or a family member. But let the anger simmer before hitting the “publish” button. Sleep on it, think it over because once it’s online, it will not be easy to get rid of—not with the cache features of online searches.
4. Can your entries be lifted and used against you?
5. Will your entries attract the wrong kind of people?
Most blog readers are kind. They leave comments, they send you e-mails and sometimes, you even find people you can be friends with. But some of the more popular bloggers have had problems with blog stalkers. High internet traffic is a good thing, but not when it leads to scary encounters.