Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mommblogging and Safety

The following is a portion of an email that I sent in response to Auds at Barking Mad. She is writing a detailed article about Mommyblogging and online safety and asked some of her pals for their thoughts/input. I don't know when she's going live with her article but since I did respond I thought that I would share my thoughts with all of you as well. Below is my response to her question, in it's entirety.

I think that I'm doing some things right. I chose to be 'anonymous' on my blog for safety reasons. When I started I was unsure where I would go with all of this. Now that I've been at it a while I'm more comfortable but that doesn't mean I should let my guard down.

The name 'headless' gives itself to no heads in pictures. I suppose someone could steal them and photoshop something, but since there isn't a face I'm not too worried. I purposely take the pictures without heads, rather than crop, so there is no question of true identity. There are thousands of kids that look the same from the neck down.

I don't use our names or exact location for the same reason. We are just like any other family in the US I think. We go to kids sports, scouts, and school activities. I try to choose photos and stories that are universal, yet talk about how we handle things. I don't shout out where we are but I also don't hide that we are in a major metropolitan area, either.

I am careful not to use the kids names, too, for the 'google factor'. Although I don't write much about the embarrassing stuff my kids do, I don't think that they want their girlfriend at 16 or 26 googling about wetting their pants, or getting in trouble at school. If they want to share my blog at that time it will be their choice: good, bad or ugly. (Do you suppose it will even be here then? Will we have moved on from blogs to something else?)

I think that some of your commenters already said this, but I mostly write about my life. Yes, my kids are a part of that life but not the only part. I run ads. If the measly money that I make from them is "profit" at the "expense" of my children, then so be it. I don't think that anything that I have written could be considered exploitation of my children. I would be a part of the Mommyblogger community whether I ran ads or not. How is this any different than an author writing memoirs about being a mom, then selling their book? I don't think it is. Why do people think that an actual book is more 'legitimate' than a blog? I'm a writer just the same, whether I make pennies or millions. My topic of choice is me, my family, and issues that affect us.

How is a blog any different than moms gathering at the back fence on wash day complaining about Johnny's talking back problem, what we're cooking for dinner, or that Jenny likes that boy that her father thinks is a bad seed? We, as women, have always had our times together to talk about our families, etc. I see Mommyblogging as an extension of that. Only my fence and your fence are sometimes 3000 miles, or more, apart.

(With my sincere apologies to Kelly from Don Mills Diva and the rest of you that hate the term. It fits here when talking about our genre.)

It's been a while since I wrote this and a few things have changed, but my basic take on this remains the same. Can't we put these mommyblogger wars to rest, already?

Headless Mom


Erica M. said...

Very thoughtful post. It's kind of a shame you felt you had to explain yourself, but it's cool you took the time to do it.

Headless Mom said...

Erica- I didn't have to explain anything. Audrey asked for my opinions on some aspects of blogging and I offered to help her with her article. She's a friend! But also, I think that it may answer some question that some folks may have about me and the whole 'headless' thing, too.

Texasholly said...

ha! I have been reading for a LONG time and didn't know the origin of the HEADLESS thing...of course, I am a bit slow sometimes.

I also sent Auds my thoughts awhile back. It is such an interesting topic for me because I have been on both sides of the anonymous and now the darkside...the non-anonymous.

There are DEFINITE benefits to both sides.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

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The Glamorous Life Association said...

There is a Mommyblogging war?

Will there be a draft?


dusty earth mother said...

I am new to the Headless folk and probably the nine-millionth to say this, but what a great idea for using pictures! Glad I dropped in on your safety explanation.

Dalia (Generation X Mom) said...

I agree with everything you said about being anonymous. I run my blog in the same way. I know that some people frown upon the anonymous ways of blogging, but my thought is I preach to my kids about online safety and not giving out any information about yourself, shouldn't I do the same? What kind of role model would I be if I didn't?