(Note: those reading “The Keys Are In It” may proceed to Part Fourteen, where we see a meeting of the minds.)
I already had written this post before finding this (update: this has been altered):
It featured a picture of our son, that my wife took, used without permission. They linked back here in a bit of text separate from the rest of the post, which was how I knew it existed, but that’s not enough.
And I’m pretty sure I’ve had enough. *(see update at bottom of post)
For the past three years this blog has:
- kept me writing in a public forum after my newspaper days were behind me,
- got me out to try new things (so I would have topics for this blog),
- inspired a spin-off blog that forced me to start and finish more works of fiction than I had started in the 10 years prior to that,
- made me friends of folks in states I’ve never visited, and even one in another country, two of whom I subsequently met in person and hit it off quite well despite my inability to love fine single-malt Scotch,
- kept me up very late at night at least three nights out of each week (with the occasional assist from the spin-off mentioned in number 3), and
- put my family life on public display for all the world to see.
When I started, I had just moved a minimum six-hour drive from anywhere I had ever lived, and in an area where I had only one friend outside the home. Started as a place to brush up on my writing, “Regular Life” ended up a place for cultivating online relationships. Now that I have several friends locally and online, I’ve scaled back efforts to meet anybody new beyond a sentence or two commenting on a similar interest.
The way I figure it, I can maintain numbers 1-4 without this blog. Admittedly, number 3 takes more discipline, but it’s possible. Number 5 I could do without, especially as my age approaches 40. Even that one I could control without changing how this blog works or who may read it.
The big one, then, is number 6. They say “write what you know.” I know about being a dad, a husband, and a cubicle worker. Despite its wealth of content, I can’t write about the latter for fear of being dooced (that means “fired for blogging about work.”) The other topics can be entertaining, but often the parental bias is difficult to temper, and posts end up very boring to anybody but family and close friends (or even more boring to that group since they already know it). I already have shared all my stories of note that happened before I started “Regular Life,” and have scrambled ever since for content.
I know that my adventures as a dad will only increase as our son gets older, and topics aplenty will arise.
The problem, however, is that I want to quit doing number 6. I know that eventually our son and/or his peers will be able to read what I post, and that it could potentially embarrass him. In fact, even if I resolved to stop posting about him from now on, someone with a mean streak could mine the archives for humiliation fodder. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to embarrass him without the Internet’s assistance.
All this is not to mention the security concerns in making private details public. Posting pictures including his soccer team’s name made me nervous.
I’ve read much about managers scouring the Internet to find details about potential hires, and as a result not hiring them. Could “Blue Straw” one day be my professional undoing? Unless I break into the entertainment industry, I certainly can’t see them helping my career.
My options are:
- stop this blog completely and take it offline,
- password-protect the whole site, leave it up for family and friends, and start a new one that’s more appropriate for public consumption, or
- password-protect only the posts related to family (retroactive, too), otherwise continuing as usual.
From one perspective, I don’t like any of the above, because I get a little satisfaction each time I see that someone searching for “depth of field tips” landed on my page regarding that topic. Likewise, when someone searching for Greenie Peak, New Mexico, ends up here, they get a pretty good idea what it’s like and whether they might like to visit. So, keeping at least some of the posts public is desirable.
Number 3 solves my problem, but is rather labor-intensive. It would involve sifting through nearly 800 posts and deciding which ones are and are not too revealing, and/or editing slightly those that include details both private and public. The categories would help expedite the sorting a bit, but the time involved still boggles my mind.
Number 2 would be the best option if I could find a way to move existing posts to the new space. That way, if someone found my newly-privatized site through a Google search, they would see a link to my new site alongside the username/password fields, and the content would be there.
Maintaining two separate spaces would have been the best way to go right from the start. That is not an option now, however. Whatever I do, one goal is to compile the whole thing into a print-on-demand book. I would explore the possibility of including the comments, because they add entertainment value, but I’m not sure of my rights to distribute those since they are others’ work.
Whatever I do, you will see some changes out here.
* The owner of that blog graciously accepted my request and removed the picture of our son. It is a pretty good site, by the way. See it if you have a chance.