Posted by: Hannah | 04/09/2011

mea culpa

I closed out my first blog because there was no anonymity.

I didn’t know any better. And when I started my first blog, Facebook was still only on college campuses. Twitter didn’t exist. The tired label “social media” hadn’t been coined yet.

We were all neophytes. And in the years since, we’ve learned some hard lessons.

I’ve had very dear friends been accused of being bad parents, bad spouses, bad people. A friend had the cops sent to her house for an innocent comment made in jest late one night on Twitter. Another friend had images of her family stolen and re-purposed by a disturbed and lonely person.

It’s missed me, largely. I’m not good at branding. I don’t put myself out there much. My blog was like my diary, with comments. I’ve been lucky.

***

But then, I started feeling constricted. Everyone I knew in my flesh life read my blog. I couldn’t express many of my thoughts because of who might be offended. I couldn’t tell many stories because of who would be bothered. And some of my friends would read my blog rather than making time to talk to me on the phone.

So I stopped. No big announcements, no beating my breast, no pleas for my few readers to beg me to keep going. I just gave it up. But I missed it, and after a great deal of soul-searching I started this space. Completely anonymous. I do have a few pictures of my family – no names, though. And no one in my immediate circle of real-life connections knows it exists. The few real people who know about it either live overseas, or are trusted.

And then a funny thing happened.

I wasn’t trying to be read much. I wasn’t looking to make any impression at all. But I started a Twitter account too, and that slowly grew. And I commented on other blogs and after much consideration linked back to this space. And that grew. I’ve been interviewed (anonymously!) a couple of times by freelancers looking to talk to work-at-home moms who are involved in social media.

It’s adding a new level of responsibility to what I do.

My last post talked about an issue that has been front of mind for me, for some time. I run a dayhome. I love the kids in my care. I take the trust that is placed in me very seriously. I do not identify any of the children by name. I do not take their pictures, ever.

None of their parents are aware that I am a blogger. I do not friend them on Facebook (and my profile there is very strictly limited to a short list of people I actually know or am related to). The chances that they or anyone they know would find this space and then connect it to their own child are, in my mind, remote.

But, maybe I’m wrong. I’m willing to concede that I may be wrong, because I am learning every day. Always willing to take in new lessons. Because I would never, ever wish to cause any hurt or embarrassment to the children I care for, or their families, I have decided to take the last post down.

It saddens me, because this space felt safe. But I should know better.

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Responses

  1. The difficulty with this age is that we are operating on old social rules of privacy, but in a new social medium. Eventually things will even out, and there will be clear etiquette on these things.

    I know someone who runs an anonymous daycare blog. I can get you in touch, if you like.

  2. I didn’t think you’d cross a line with that last post, but it’s your call and I have sadly learned that “better than safe than sorry” applies to many, many blog topics. It’s so limiting.

  3. I agree with Nan, that you hadn’t crossed the line with that last post (or any others, as far as I’m aware). However, I also agree with your strategy of crisis prevention, as opposed to reaction. You’re very right in taking heed of these privacy vs. public conflagrations.

    I think that in large part these come from a misunderstanding of what social media is. It is not a simple migration of old online journaling tools or message boards to new labels. It is instead individuals and organizations en masse socializing online. Two related, but very different things.

    You just can’t be too careful online because it is impossible to remain private there. Even an email can be forwarded. Now more than ever, if you don’t feel comfortable saying something aloud in public, don’t post it online. I’d say this is especially so when dealing with sensitive issues such as parenting, religion, etc.

    It’s a small world, and getting smaller by the minute.

  4. It’s hard, isn’t it? Everyone I know reads my blog, and it’s awkward at times. I will be talking to friends and they will say “I know! I read it in your blog.” Oh. It’s very limiting to what I can say, obviously. I can’t bitch about someone I might see in the playground which is good…because it keeps me from being too much of a bitch.


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