Thursday, April 16, 2009

Is Blogging Dangerous?

Today I read that Newlywed Stilettos has closed her blog due to “some recent security concerns.” I don’t know what happened. But I am sad to see her go.



Reading of her departure, I began rethinking, “is blogging safe?”

Why rethinking?

Because I used to have a wedding blog (you can find it here, but it’s not as cool as this one).

I started my wedding blog for my friends and family, but I also hoped there were other turquoise brides, and San Diego brides, and just brides in general who could benefit from my ideas and gathered wedding wisdom. What started as something fun and inspirational, ended in a nightmare

A workers union that was locked in a bitter labor dispute with my wedding venue and found my blog via Google. As way to “hurt the San Diego Hilton” they intentionally targeted my beautiful beach wedding upwards of 30 labor protestors with mega-phones, drums, and other noise-makers to protest Hilton’s labor policies. Because I stupidly had a blog chocked full of personal details, they were able to see the exact date, time, and location of the Wedding.

We found out five days before the wedding that this protest threatened to totally disrupt our Wedding Ceremony, Cocktail hour, our pictures, and the enjoyment of our guests at the hotel. Through tears, prayer, and political negotiation by my Dad, we managed to salvage the wedding ceremony and enjoy our gorgeous wedding, but not without a lot of heartache and drama.

After that experience I vowed not to use our first or last names on this blog, or give too many details about personal events. Despite blogging under a fake name, I’m sure if you clicked through enough pictures and links you could figure out who we are. And I guess that’s OK. I just can’t preserve my anonymity as much as the amazing Mrs. Newlywed does.



I have installed Google Analytics on my blog so I can see where people are finding me from (google search terms, linked sites, etc.). And I see where they are from, what ISP they are using, how long they stayed, etc. And from that I can tryyyy to spot funky behavior.
Yes, I’m talking to you, person from Don Mills, Ontorio at Nesbitt burns inc. who’s visited my blog 97 times in two months via my husband’s blog.




I love blogging and I love making bloggy friends; learning about all of you guys from your blogs and comments. But the thought of creapsters does occasionally cross my mind.

How about you? Do you feel safe blogging? Do you ever have concerns about being victimized because of your blog? What do you do, if anything, to protect yourself?

52 comments:

B.E.A said...

That sounds horrible! I'm sorry that happened to you! How do you set up your google analytics? I don't think I did it right. Thanks for the help!

on the Rhoads of life said...

How terrible! I cannot believe that people would dream of protesting at a wedding over something that you weren't even related to. RIDICULOUS! I worry about security as well after seeing what Newlywed Stilettos said. That is scary! Good post topic!

Naturally Caffeinated Family said...

oh my gosh, i'm so sorry that happened and i'm so glad that you found out before your wedding!

we used to have our names on our blog and then when we moved and our neighbor came to our door to welcome us and new more about us than we could have imagined (he's a former us marshall, ha!), i changed our blog name so it didn't our last name, and we don't use any names anymore either. i try not to write about exactly where we live, or exactly when hubby is ever out of town, or exact details about travel, etc., i try to take those precautions but still have fun too=)

Sassy and Classy Southern Mrs. said...

I need to get a tracker thing like this! You've really got me thinking!

Miss Adventure said...

This is exactly why I have debated over making my blog more open to who I really am. I know that if anyone were to follow links, they could possibly learn more about me- but I do take measures to keep those links from letting anyone know too much about me. As much as I would love to share everything with the wonderful ladies I've met on here, I know that if I really want to protect myself I can't. Isn't it sad that while we feel "safe" on facebook or myspace where people reveal EVERYTHING, its really just the same as on here? No where is safe on the internet, and its scary to think of what people are coming to.

BLC :o said...

Oh geez, I upload analytics and never used it. I am going to fix that ASAP!! I am sad to see her go. Is blogging safe!? Xoxo-BLC

Lis said...

Gosh I feel so naive, I haven't been very cautious about blogging at all. Ugh. Maybe I need to make a change.

I am going to miss Newlywed Stilettos very much as well!! :(

Linda said...

I had another blog friend quit blogging after some concerns with work. It's terrible but it happens. My friends and family I know blog. I try not to rant about them though. It's tough though.

Crazy Shenanigans said...

Yeah, sometimes I wonder if really weird people are stalking me out there somewhere. I've just decided that I can't live in fear of that.

Katie said...

It's sad that there are creepers out there take things too far, and abuse blogger and the way we all chose to share our thoughts and experiences. Sadly, I don't think it matters if it is blogger, facebook, or myspace, if someone wants to find out your information bad enough they will find it. It's just a matter of being careful of how much information you give.

Cari said...

I had to change a blog that I loved due to a client findng it and sending me not so great comments. I am going to set up the Google thing now and I just try to not give too many specifics but honestly there are so many ways to find out information that I just can't live in fear of it. I do feel like tweaking things a bit though now that Newlywed Stilettos posted what she did...It is a tricky situation.

Brittany Ann said...

I have often thought about it, especially once we start having kids, because I am so open on our blog. (I used to blog as a journalist, and everyone knew who I was then, so this just proceeded in kind. I probably should have thought about it more.)

I was sad about Mrs. Stilettos as well, but I'm proud of her for making the best decision for her family.

I'm also incredibly sad to hear about your Hilton wedding issue. That's just one perfect example of someone taking what we all do to a negative level.

I hurt at the thought of not being tapped into the blogging community, where so many of you have been so loving and become such wonderful friends. But I have wondered, what if something unsafe could occur? What would I do? And would it be too late, now that we've got all this up here?

Rachel said...

WOW! I had no idea that any of that had happened! But I must say, after going back to your wedding blog (which I had never seen before), your wedding looked gorgeous! I loved the pictures and all the details you added!!

I'm glad you posted about Mrs. Stilettos. i think a lot of her readers are very sad by her goodbye yesterday. But you're right, it is a good reminder to be careful on here!

Shalay said...

Wow. I seriously can't believe those A-holes almost ruined your wedding! I'm sure you were livid!

I recently went through all my posts and changed any place that had our last name to just our last initial. But seriously, my first name is so uncommon, it almost defeats the purpose. I get more worried about people I work with Googling my name and reading all about me, than strangers knowing about me. I'm pretty sure it's too late to get total internet anonymity now, so I'm not going to worry about it anymore.

The George Family said...

It sure is scary that she had that happen. I set up my blog before I knew too much about being careful. It scares me a little that there are people out there that could take a harmless blog and make it dangerous.

I try and be as careful as possible, and hope that people aren't all crazy!

Always Pretty in Pink said...

I wonder what happened to Newlywed Stilettos. Her blog didn't really seem that personal, to me atleast.

I've never really worried about safety. I don't use my last name though. But I say first names. I mean, there a million Johns. My husband's name. I wouldn't give my phone number or address or anything though.

I had a stalker two years ago. That was scary. Something I'm still not really over. But I'm not worried really about someone tracking me down from my blog. If I lived in a smaller town, maybe.

I don't post exactly where I'm going to be though. Plus, I don't have kids. So I guess maybe that would change how I felt.

We can't live in fear though. Someone could follow you home from the grocery store tomorrow. You never know. You just have to think positively.

1 Hot Dish said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your wedding situation...I can honestly say I've never really worried about the dangers of blogging but this post has definitely made me think of all the details I post on my blog!

Thanks for heads up!

Gretchen and Jimmy said...

Wow! I was wondering the same thing after Newlywed Stiletos closed her blog... I keep wondering if I should be doing things differently?!

Mrs. Newlywed said...

You are correct. I am the Queen of Anonymity. What started as a way to protect myself from the off chance of a client finding my blog has become something I swear by even now that I am out of work.

I love blogging, but no one needs to know what I look like or see pictures of me out in social settings. My face isn't an intrical part of my material. It didn't start out as anything for my family or friends. In fact most of the people I know in real life have no idea my blog exists.

I can't imagine posting a picture of myself. I have a ton of irrational worries none related to my safety. What if one day I go to apply for a job and the hiring person has read my blog and thinks I am as superficial as I come across sometimes? What if she is one of the "anonymous" commenters? What if Mr. Newlywed's freelance career was jeopordized after a potential contractor saw his picture on my blog?

Most of my reasons for being discreet are work related.

You would be shocked how many people email me telling me they think it is absurd I am so anonymous. You couldn't pay me to post a picture of myself. In fact, I was offered a paying writing gig with a huge company, and I turned them down because they wanted me to link to my blog and post a picture. Absolutely not.

[sorry this got long]

Lil' Woman said...

It worries be from time to time but I try not to let things slip but after reading this I think I will be going back to fix my current post

Mrs. Nurse said...

I like Mrs. Newlywed keep my name and pictures off my blog. Mine is because of safety though. I have only entered 1 giveaway as well. As much as I would love to believe everyone is who they say they are, you never know :S

The Laughing Idiot said...

Sorry to hear about what happened with your wedding.

I probably need to change some of my information too. I seriously think about what I'm doing when I post pictures of people. I think there is only one of each of my kids. I've also gotten chided about using real names in my blogs so I've gotten much more discrete. I'm thinking about going back and editing all my blogs to take out actual names. Sounds like I got some work to do tonight.

It's a weird, weird world out there and we all need to take precautions.

ingrid said...

I stalk your blog with Google Reader... does that scare you? ;)

Jess said...

I've read about your wedding issues, before. I was shocked by the gall of the protestors.

My blog was started as a way for various friends to keep up with what's going on and for me to sort of journal my life. I don't have enough readers to really worry about safety, etc. Most people who read my blog know me in real life.

I will say that I've tried to be careful about being specific on where I work and where I live. I'm not great at it, though, lol.

Shoshanah said...

It does scare me a little. First I try not to talk about work. There have been so many stories about people being fired over their blogs it seems dumb not to. I also don't have my last name on my blog. Though like you, I'm sure if someone tried hard enough they could find it.

Its funny to think how 10 years ago no one was blogging. And wonder if this will even really be an issue in 10 or 20 years from now?

Kristina said...

It is scary- isn't it? I wish I knew more and thought about it more before I started my blog.

Nicole-Lynn said...

Wow, that's so scary! I'm glad everything turned out ok for you though. :)

Kristen said...

I follow you Google Reader (I'm just a former So Cal girl and now displaced midwest mom with 3 kids - I'm not scary, promise) But I have to say I love Google Analytics - it's nice to know all the details! I wish I had started out a bit more "concealed" but I have been really vague about where we are, careful not to say places we are going that would give us away to my kids whereabouts, etc. Sad that one has to do that but "better safe than sorry." (Now I sound like MY mom!)

Sorry to hear about your wedding, they are stressful enough as it is, let alone have something like that to deal with!

Nicole-Lynn said...

Oh and thank you for posting your old blog... lots of great inspiration!! Your wedding was beautiful, so many great details :)

Sara said...

You know, I've often wondered about this. I've kept it pretty private so far. I've contemplated throwing up some pics of us and using my husband's name, but something keeps me from doing it. Call it intuition. I would use our first names before I ever put other family, especially my sister's kids. I wold create a private blog for that. Then again, I think of bloggers like Heather Armstrong of Dooce and she's very open.

amy (metz) walker said...

You know, I'm not naive enough to think that there aren't concerns with living my life so publicly via the blog, but your story has me really thinking! Thanks for sharing!

Saskia said...

I'm so sorry about what happened to you just before your wedding. That's terrible. How could people be so rude as to use your big day to further their own displeasure at something unrelated? I'm so glad it turned out ok!

I am relatively careful on my blog. I have a really unusual first name, so I don't use my husband's first name, or our last name & I try to be hazy with locations of home & work. I also try not to write in detail about future plans, just in case, and will then write in detail about where we were, and when, after it happened.

I believe that most people are good and honest, but I just don't want to take the risk of one loon finding out too much about me (and all it takes is one!) I'm careful on facebook too...

Saskia x

That Fresh Feeling said...

Thanks for writing about this...i am a bit new to the whole blogging arena. I think that tracker is a wonderful idea

Adventures in Newlywed said...

I'm overly cautious too, and never post pictures of Newlywed Husband or myself, or even our names...don't want to risk it!

Mrs. M said...

That is pretty scary! I can't believe they would intentionally ruin your wedding to protest the Hilton!

newlyweds said...

That is horrible I can't believe people would do that. I do try not to use my name mostly or ever give my exact location.

And since your a newlyweds I thought I would ask, my blog is also Called Newlyweds and I have a weekly interview with a newlyweds blogger and would like to see if your interested, if so please comment on my blog and I will send you the details. Thanks.

Sweet Simplicity said...

Sometimes I try to becareful and then other times I think, "I'm no one special, so people wont try to find me or harm me or whatever." That is a horrible way to look at these things. I'm sure if someone really wanted to find me it wouldn't be too hard. I have started to take precautions--no last names, I block out college logos on t-shirts when I post pics, I never reveal the name of my city, etc. I will miss Stilettos Newlywed. I think that it is a rude awakening to all of that we should be more careful.

zentmrs said...

I don't feel unsafe, but I guess you could say I am cautious about what I post.

My first name is on my blog (pretty common first name). I use pseudonymns for my husband and the kids.

I don't post any information that would make it easy to locate us. We live in a large metro area, so I think knowing the city in which we live is not much help.

I do post pictures of us, though nothing that could identify our address or more personal information.

And I do keep an eye on my Google analytics. Better safe than sorry!

I suppose if someone were really trying, they could figure out who we were and where we lived. But, like some of your other commenters, I really don't have that much traffic. Most of my visitors are real-life friends or they are family. If I ever "make it big" I may rethink my strategy. :-)

Lindsey said...

Oh no, how sad!

Rachel said...

I've thought about it, but I should probably think more about it and install that tracker thing.
I've never used our last names, and I've briefly touched on what I do for a living, so I've tried to keep some personal stuff to myself. However, I have also been falling back on the fact that I live in a large metro area, which probably isn't super smart or safe. I probably should think a little more about it.

But I do love the connections to the wonderful people I've "met" out there!!

Mrs. Not-so-Domesticated said...

What a terrible wedding story! And what terrible people purposely targeting your wedding since they found the details...

I decided when I started blogging that I'd keep it semi-annonymous. I still include pictures like you and a few details about us but I'm just not ready to put it all out there.

I'm also very sad to see Mrs. Stilleto's go, but she needs to do whats best for her family. She'll definitely be missed.

...love Maegan said...

ya know, blog or no blog, this world is now set up so that really anyone can find out anything about you in seconds ...or okay, hours maybe. If "they" needed to find us, "they" would.

On the other hand, that sucks about your wedding day! ...although your wedding blog is cute. My brother and SIL had a beach wedding {Santa Monica} with the same exact colors ..okay, less turquoise and more blue but still ..very similar. You looked beautiful by the way :)

Lucky in Love said...

This is such a hard topic. I talked to my hubs the other night about it when Mrs. Stilettos left. Just wanting to make sure he's on board with what I post, you know?

I mean...we have pretty common first names...and I never post last names...but I do post picture and the town where we live. I think you have to be careful...but if people really want to track you down...they will. It's just too easy these days. I just try not to make it any easier I guess.

I'm so sorry this happened to your wedding! What an awful story!

Jennifer said...

It's a fine line, because I want to spill my guts here but I know I can't reveal certain details. My hubby sometimes think I reveal too much!

recipes for the life-chaitra said...

I Never disclose any names in my blog,No pics of Me and hubs either.Its too risky.Take care and be safe :D

SassyEngineer said...

I have Google analytics, but I don't think I know how to use it that well. I try to check-up on things and keep names and all off my blog, but I might need to be more careful and figure out all analyltics can tell me!

Stephanie E said...

Now I am anxious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I should be more careful! I know I should...but it's hard because there are so many people who I know who visit my blog!

Bridget said...

scary! thanks, I'm signing up for google A

Katie McFarlan said...

This is a great post! I am sometimes amazed at the amount of personal information people post online on their blogs or on public message boards. I remember awhile back a girl was telling me that she had to cancel with one of her wedding vendors prior to her wedding and that vendor found all her information via her wedding website and contacted each of the vendors and cancelled with them, as if she were the bride! She just about ruined this girls wedding!!!

The thing is, if people are going to find you, they are going to find-just don't make it easy for them.

kiwisandcocktails said...

HI! I clicked on your blog from Blooming in the Garden State! I Stopped by a few times last week, but I wanted to introduce myself after reading this post! I Just starting blogging 2 months ago, and so far Nothing has happened, but I know My husband gets VERY Concerned with the safety of blogging! I am going to look into the Google Anaytics!! SORRY about the disaster with the wedding! That is Horrible!

Ashley said...

I just tried to comment, but I don’t think it worked! Anyway, You might get a duplicate! I stumbled on your blog last week from Blooming in the Garden State! I thought I should Introduce myself and say Hi after reading this post!! I have only been blogging for 2 months or so. MY husband gets VERY nervous about my blog and the security and safety of it! I just might get Google Analytics now!
So sorry to hear about the wedding disaster! I can’t believe they would do that!

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