When we publish an article to our blog, we often don’t think who might be reading it.

Some love to share anything and everything about themselves.

Others write how they speak, adding “colorful adjectives”, in the form of profanity.

And many, use their blogs to advise readers of poorly made products, insensitive corporations and cheating ex-spouses.

Today’s Lesson

Although we all are entitled to our own opinions, and shouldn’t live our lives based on what other people think, I do think twice before hitting the “publish” button.

I stop and ask myself a few questions.

Would my children, friends, a former teacher, perspective employer or a publisher find my words impressive?

How about an potential advertiser, business partner or angel investor? Would they want to be affiliated with me and/or my site?

Have I written something that could get me in a legal bind?

Or, what if an online mentor of mine was reading my posts. Would they say “great job” or would they shake their head in disbelief?

Based on an e-mail, I do know that one of my online mentors will sporadically be reading my blog . In fact, it was that e-mail that inspired this post.

Thus far, I’m happy with how I’ve presented myself.

Call me crazy, but I do care how I project myself in blogoshpere.

Today’s Assignment

Are you aware of who may be reading your blog?

Do you think twice before publishing your work?

Do you regret anything you’ve posted thus far?

Or do you throw caution to the wind, and say anything you want?

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I agree completely. To this point, I don’t believe I have published anything I am ashamed of. I may have had others disagree with my opinion, but I don’t regret stating my feelings. I try to present myself in an objectional manner and listen to what others have to say. I respect their opinion even if I may not agree with them. I enjoy a good debate as long as it is done with kindness and respect for other opinions. I consider my family and although I could write a lot of things about my husband and how he irritates me I don’t. I could also go on tangents about my father, or siblings, but again, I would never air dirtly laundry to people I have never met. I have many more readers than commentors. I don’t know who all is reading my blog and I keep that in mind when I write.

    But I do like a good joke once in a while. 🙂

    Debbie Yost’s last blog post..Friendships

  2. In some cases, saying anything you want can help your blog really take off (e.g., IttyBiz). But if you do that, I agree that you have to keep in mind that anyone can read it. If you don’t want your mom to read something you’ve said, you can’t assume she’ll never find it.

    It goes both ways though. Just as an R-rated blog might turn away some people for being offensive, a G-rated blog might turn away some people for being too…I don’t know the word here. Too innocent?

    I keep a PG rating on my blog, saving slightly colorful language for rare cases. And I might censor comments that went too far. I think it’s important to stay consistent. If Barbara started swearing all of a sudden, it would turn away the type of people she’s worked so hard to attract.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..The Best And Worst April Fools’ Joke Of 2008

  3. Barbara,

    This is a great reminder – especially for a new blogger like myself.

    Personally, I’m not so worried about the content I post. My problem is I’m not great with punctuation! I’m not horrible, but I’m not great, nor am I a particularly great writer!

    In this day and age, when anybody can google you, it’s definitely wise to release content you’re proud of every time.

    However, it takes courage to put yourself out there into the world, and mistakes make us human. We have to ask ourselves, what’s the greater pain – risk looking stupid, or not share our knowledge and talent to inspire other people? Maybe thousands of people!

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafe’s last blog post..The Power of Combining

  4. NezNo Gravatar says:

    Indeed. That is why I’m blogging my personal views and thoughts under a pen name.

    My blog is not directly related to my business, and I don’t see myself getting too political or controversial to begin with, but I decided I still want the privacy.

    I don’t swear in real life, so that won’t be happening (normally) in my blogging either.

    Nez’s last blog post..New Web 2.0 Application to Catapult Blogging Experience to Ultimate Extreme

  5. J2RNo Gravatar says:

    Great Post B.

    I’m always aware, specially potential employers.
    That’s why I don’t have much on my MySpace or Facebook or linked in or my blogs.

    I do have some other controversial blogs, but I keep those anonymous as well 🙂

    Great topic

    J2R’s last blog post..The new bubble – we caused this by being impatient

  6. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    I actually have 3 different blogs with 3, very different audiences. Because of that, I generally do not advertise my identity on all three of my blogs. For the most part, I try to keep those 3 blogs separate from one another, just because I know how some on my two non-personal blogs would think about the real me they would see on my personal blog. It’s also why I don’t go out of my way to advertise my personal blog…because it’s personal.

    I do take care with how I present myself in the blogosphere specifically for that reason. Because I do have different audiences that I cater to.

    Jodith’s last blog post..Creating Recurring Tasks in Microsoft Outlook

  7. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Debbie,

    You won’t be speaking of your April Fool joke, would you? 🙂

    I know you had a comment from a New York Times best selling author, and I’m sure it was the originality of your writings that caught his eye. I’m hoping you’ll follow up on that and make a contribution to his book.

    Just don’t forget us when you’re famous!

    Hi Hunter,

    No, we cannot assume just because a relative doesn’t have a computer, they won’t see your blog. I know of some elderly individuals who love their computers. Who’s to say they don’t see something and say, “Hey Henry, do you want to see you son’s website?”

    Your comment reminds me of my post for tomorrow, so I’ll end here.

    Hi Mark,

    That’s true about Google. I’m sure that’s how so much “mud” gets found on politicians.

    I read your blog, and I don’t see any obvious errors, so I wouldn’t worry about that. Your writing is superb and your “message” is even better. I say, whatever you’re doing, keep doing it, you’ll end up inspiring many.

    Hi Nez,

    Using a pen name is a great way to avoid the above mentioned problems, but based on the subject matter of your blog, even if you used your real name, I don’t see how it would do anything other than improve your true life credibility.

    Hi J2R

    Thanks for mentioning MySpace and Facebook too. Those, too, can be public, so we never know who’s reading.

    With controversial blogs, you certainly wouldn’t want a perspective employee Googling you and finding those.

    Hi Jodith,

    Having three blogs, so you think your “persona” is perceived differently on each one?

    Even though you have three audiences, based on your Administrative Arts blog, I’m assuming you project yourself in a very professional manner on each one.

  8. John HoffNo Gravatar says:

    @ Hunter – good points. I hear nothing but “good things” from others online about IttyBiz, but it’s just not my style. I’m all about being different, unique, and standing out, but at the same time I don’t care to spend time reading someone who could give a “s.”

    To me it’s quite annoying. I’m sure Naomi would say she could care less what I think, either I like what she does or I can look elsewhere.

    With that point in mind, and I’m sure this relates to blogging, I do care what people think of me (and my writing). I hear so many people say, “I don’t care what people think.”

    I’m the opposite. I do care what people think of me. Maybe it’s because I’m Christian and Jesus is my model person – he cared what people thought of him.

    Anyway, everyone’s different. Business-wise, if you market yourself and your blog right, it doesn’t matter if you set fire to your blog on a daily basis or talk about how George Bush sucks – there’s always someone who will listen.

    Ok, am I like way off topic? Sorry.

    @ Barbara – I see our blogs as an extension of us, as a person. This blog is you and I think you present yourself well.

    John Hoff’s last blog post..Is Your Website Web 2.0 or Corporate?

  9. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Amen John!

    Well put! Your blog and business are a great reflection of your high values.

    I have no doubt you’ll accomplish all you desire based on your beliefs, and will never have a problem with who’s reading your writings. I’m sure you make your family proud.

  10. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I’m careful, but not too careful. After reading Monika’s open letter to her parents and thinking OMG – that is bad, but my parents treat me a whole lot worse, i was tempted to refer to them on my blog as a reason for moving. But, I’m now beginning to realise that more and more people who live round here read my blog and it would only fuel their gossip.

    But, I do speak out against companies who have sh.t on me. I don’t mind doing it – although I wouldn’t make a regular habit as I prefer most posts to stay positive. But I do love how the tables have now turned on the large corporations who just don’t care about their customers.

    I also slagged off my ex husband in a post for not paying maintenance among other things and I have no regrets. He did read it and he did lie in a comment – then I had to ban his IP. But I have known for a long time that he has spread vicious lies about me to anyone who would listen – and that included customers, even my kids school teachers and people he didn’t even know. The final straw was a customer we’d had recently who we’d apparently done work for in the last business. She actually told Stuart that he had slagged me off to all and sundry – and i didn’t even know her – never spoke to her ever.

    So I did feel that a little bit of retribution was deserved.

    And I’m not afraid of being sued. If I’m telling the truth – it’s up to the other party to prove that I’ve defamed them and they won’t be able to.

    Now, I can see your point if you’re trying to appeal to advertisers and I can understand those who are employed using pseudonyms but I don’t feel like I have anyone to hide from.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Is This The Ultimate Entrepreneurial Dream?

  11. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    I started reading the letter Monika wrote online, but had to click off, as it was too sad for me to even try and digest, and was so personal, I felt like I was invading her/their privacy.

    Yours in the only blog I do read that contains “slams”. But, that’s not why I read it. Although I know you well enough to realize that is your personality, your blog is also filled with tons of other priceless information for entrepreneurs. You are teaching your readers based on first hand knowledge and experience. For that reason, you blog holds a value that some (unexperienced)entrepreneurial blogs don’t have.

    On top of that, add the fact that I consider you a cyberspace friend. I accept you as you are, and wouldn’t expect you to write any differently. In your fascinating, thought provoking, UK language laced posts, I can always find a hidden jewel, and often a good laugh. Needless to say, I appreciate your originality.

    Don’t ever change 😀

  12. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – Thank you. I know what you mean. I also felt a little sad when I read Monika’s blog. But, definitely for her – not her parents. A lot of these parents screw up with their kids and don’t make up for it. Instead they swear to themselves that they’ll do better with their grandchildren. But, what happens when they become adults too? Still, at least she’s managed to get away and make a good future for herself. She’s a great writer.

    I wonder if I don’t go OTT sometimes. But I really really hate big companies who screw consumers and I love that we can get just as high google rankings and speak out against them!

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Is This The Ultimate Entrepreneurial Dream?

  13. John HoffNo Gravatar says:

    Well said, you two. I’m still new to this blogging thing, so who knows if one day I will lash out – probably not. Not unless they did something that attacked my family.

    Oh and Cath, you do have someone to hide from! Me! mmwahhhaahahahah! LOL

    Can I just retire on that beach you have on your post today? I’m ready.

    John Hoff’s last blog post..Is Your Website Web 2.0 or Corporate?

  14. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    Your writings are “you”. Maybe for some it may seem like some of your posts are over the top, but you’re fighting for what you believe…and you’re using your blog to do it.

    And that’s not all bad. For those who don’t know, Debbie got that YouTube video clip pulled. I’m guessing all of the internet attention it got aided in expediting the speed at which it was removed.

    I do know that in the future, if I find others like Debbie who need help in bringing attention to an injustice, I will happily step in, write a post, Stumble and/or Digg the issue. That’s what community is all about.


    You have me laughing over your comment to Catherine. 😆

  15. Are you aware of who may be reading your blog? Yeah I think about it. I sometimes blog at work and I know they are watching everything, so I’m careful.

    Do you think twice before publishing your work? Yes. I think I think before I even write it.

    Do you regret anything you’ve posted thus far? No, almost once, but I deleted the post, so no one saw it, but me. Maybe I just needed to get it out.

    Or do you throw caution to the wind, and say anything you want? Nah, it will come back to bite you.

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..My So-Called Life

  16. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Natural,

    Great advice ” it will come back to bite you” if we’re not careful what we publish.

    Good job 4 Point. 🙂