Archive for the 'Social media' Category

Mummy Blogging – why would you want to share your personal life online?

This was a comment made by a friend recently.  I blogged recently about setting up a single parent network at work and how my sharing information about myself in the email I’ve sent around to try and get members has provided an amazing response.  That’s why you share your personal life online.  Or certainly why I do it.  It’s partly because I want to try and help others.  If I put some of my learning out there then who knows, it might “do someone a turn” as my mum would say. 

Also it’s about building networks, making friends, meeting people in a similar situation.  You can’t do either without giving some information away to build your credibility, to show you are “in” the situation and not someone commenting off the top of your head.

There are risks though.  Anyone blogging about their personal life needs to be aware of the full potential impact of their actions.  I have shared facts, but very limited ones, about my divorce and what led to it, what I did in the aftermath to move on and learn to cope.  That’s perhaps more than I’ve needed to share but it’s an amount that I am comfortable with.  Giving some thought to what your comfort levels are is important.  It can be easy to get caught up in the emotion of a moment and write a post that you’ll later regret.  To that end I generally blog about a week in advance so I have the chance to revisit posts before they go live.  Just in case.

I am also quite ready to keep this blog under wraps from my daughter.  I have no aspirations nor the talent to become an uber blogger and so I don’t think this is unachievable.  Moderated comments also mean I can delete my name if any of my friends who occasionally visit the blog forget about my desire for anonymity and include it in a comment.

It’s also about talking to your nearest and dearest about what they are comfortable with.  My daughter is too young at a wee 19 months to have a ‘right of reply’ to anything I say.  My ex husband too has no knowledge of this and cannot respond to any comments I make either.  So I do limit what I say about them directly to the most minimum of facts I feel 1000% comfortable and confident making due to the fact they are, well, facts!  But also limited to what the minimum is I feel I need in order to tell my story and share my learnings authentically.

Despite my efforts to try and be as thoughtful as I could before doing all of this though, one person I didn’t check in with was my recent ex boyfriend.  I didn’t stop to consider whether he reads blogs, understands them or the varied and colourful motives of their authors.  I didn’t ask if he was comfortable with appearing on the blog in any form.  Inevitably this caused a few stressful conversations which I hold my hands up were totally my fault.  It’s easy to forget that not everyone inhabits the weird, wired and wonderful online world as much as some of us do.

We both sat down and had an honest, frank but direct conversation about what our worries and fears are.  I was defensive at first.  I’m enjoying this so much I didn’t want anything to threaten it.  But he explained he was a private person and didn’t want his metaphoricals pulled down in public as he learnt how to be in a relationship with a single parent.  We quickly agreed some ground rules.  He didn’t want to feature here.  I respect that totally and that won’t change now we’re apart. 

Acknowledgement to  Salvatore Vuono for use of the photo.

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Google faces legal action on bad Buzz…and back down

I  blogged recently about the privacy issues relating to Google Buzz so I was pleased to read in today’s Metro Newspaper that privacy camaigners are planning legal action against Google over the same.  The BBC have reported on the story too.  Privacy International are apparently going to make a complaint to the European Commission and the US Electronic Prviacy Information Centre has filed a complaint with watchdogs too.

I’ve since read read a news article from PC World(!) which states Google have backed down which is brilliant news:

“As a result of the continued complaints, Google said Buzz will no longer automatically connect users based on their e-mail and chat usage. Instead, the service will offer a list of suggested connections for the new user to accept or reject.”

However there’s a lot us users out there need to do.  The BBC have also reported onthe PleaseRobMe site which claims to use information people post on Twitter to identify whether their homes are empty.  Take care!

Google Buzz Has A Huge Privacy Flaw

I’ve recently migrated all my rss feeds from the cranky Outlook 2007 over to Google Reader.  Quite time consuming but satisfying to think I now have a relatively (well, comparatively) more stable option that will follow me wherever I go rather than being tied to an email account I have with my current employer.

So it was with some excitement that I read in the paper last night about Google’s rival to social networking sites of the Facebook ilk being rolled out to gmail account holders going by the name of Google Buzz.  However I’m very mindful of privacy and security so I’m sad to read about the approach that Google are taking summarised on Mike Gotta’s blog, Collaborative Thinking:

“When you first go into Google Buzz, it automatically sets you up with followers and people to follow.

A Google spokesperson tells us these people are chosen based on whom the users emails and chats with most using Gmail.

The problem is that — by default — the people you follow and the people that follow you are made public to anyone who looks at your profile.

In other words, before you change any settings in Google Buzz, someone could go into your profile and see who are the people you email and chat with most.”

Not a good approach.  Shame on you Google.  That’s so disrespectful of people’s privacy I hardly know where to start.  Imagine a mobile phone company producing a publicly available log of names of everyone you call or who calls you?  There’d be uproar.  Just the same as if Royal Mail produced a profile of who you write to and who writes to you (ok, not that it’d be possible necessarily but you get my drift).

So what if someone is in a violent relationship and is receiving private email counselling from a therapist or advice from an organisation to help them plan an escape from their scenario?  Cue the violent perpetrator being able to go online, find this out and then probably give his/her partner another thoroughly good beating.

Now before you say that wouldn’t happen, I’ve been in a violent relationship before and believe me, there is nothing that certain personality types won’t do to exert control over their victim.  In situations where victims are cut off from their family and in extreme scenarios have their every movement tracked, sometimes getting advice through the internet via a mobile device can be their only way to access support.

I know companies cannot be held responsible for how people choose to use their tools, but they should act responsibly and be held to account for the way that they deploy them and the transparency (or not, in Google’s case) with which they talk to their customers about serious issues like how to manage your privacy and security when using their tools.

Today is Safer Internet Day 2010

I don’t normally “double post” but this nearly passed me by and I didn’t want to not pass it on!  If you’ve got kids and are worried about what they are doing online and how to help empower them to be safer then take a look at Insafe’s Safer Internet Day 2010 campaign for some tips.

Social networking for introverts

On why being an introvert is great and how to think about networking in the context of being a shy person.  It’s stick men informal presentation is gorgeous.  Wonderful.  Go enjoy!

Approaches to personal knowledge management

Really nice, easy to follow description of how you can manage your personal knowledge from Free as in Freedom.

I confess I’m not using Google reader to aggregate my feeds.  I prefer to have them in Outlook so I can scan over them in the morning when I first log in and have ten minutes over a bagel and cup of tea to filter out the fluff and identify the goodies I want to come back to.

What I’d add is that I find Google Alerts to sometimes be useful and I love WordPress’ Tag surfer for a bit of serendipitous reading too.  I also randomly Google phrases that relate to posts I’m writing, once they are written, to have a peek at who else out there is writing about similar stuff and to see what they are saying.  I’ve learnt not to do that Googling process at the inception of writing a piece because it I find it allows the booming voice of my inner critic to take hold.  Inevitably there is always somewhere out there who has said what you want to say and often in a more eloquent, clever way to boot.  However this is my learning journey so its important for me to go through that thought process as I write myself.

I’d love to hear any other innovative ways people have to manage their personal knowledge.

Goodbye Facebook

Facebook was a lifeline to me during my maternity leave in 2009 during which I filed for divorce and was experiencing huge personal trauma as a result.  In the few moments when I was awake and munchkin was asleep it enabled me to reconnect with old friends and stayed connected to current friends and colleagues. 

In a sick kind of way too I used the self imposed need to make status updates as a way to force me get out, stop feeling sorry for myself and do interesting and challenging things.  Otherwise my status would perpetually be ‘Today I am changing nappies and grieving the demise of my marriage’ followed by ‘Today I am changing some more nappies and continuing to cry more than my bubba’. 

Yes it’s narcissm, yes it’s extrovertism.  It was almost like I wanted to prove to my Facebook world that becoming a single parent at 5 months pregnant and losing your husband to someone else all at the same time was not going to beat me.  It didn’t, I’m happy to say, and on reflection is was my own determination to not be beaten and to hold it together for munchkin that did the trick.

However nearly 2 years on and I’ve reached a sufficient state of together-ness to feel able to start blogging again and so got wondering what it’s going to do to my relationship with my Facebook community.  I wasn’t on Facebook when I used to blog so this is new territory.  My conclusion was that I don’t feel I have the energy to maintain a presence on both.  What with my grand designs for progressing my self sufficiency I’ll decided to leave my profile on Facebook but not to circulate in that particular cocktail party lounge much longer.

What happened when I changed my Facebook status to say ‘bye bye, I’m growing vegetables, I’ll be in my shed and so not on here’ (or words to that effect) was quite interesting.  I had a few bye bye’s from those who ‘got it’.  But I don’t think some are taking it seriously.  The more habitual facebookers have taken to emailing me stuff to try and entice me back on there.  Which I am studiously ignoring 🙂 

Two things happened recently that also secured my feelings on this.  I recently attended the gorgeous wedding of a dear friend and bumped into a mutual colleague there who had left our organisation well over a year earlier.  We exchanged hello’s and she said, “I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything that’s gone on in your life because of Facebook”.  I shifted uncomfortably and blushed.  I said, “And I see you’re still travelling regularly”.  “Oh no”, she said, “I’ve stopped putting a lot of my holiday snaps on Facebook as people were starting to make comments that travelling was all I do.” 

So there are two further examples of Facebook driving behaviour rather than the other way around.  I now don’t think that’s healthy. Or cool.  And yes I used to be one of the women who worried about wearing a different outfit to every social engagement that might end up on Facebook so I’m not snapped in the same dress twice.

Secondly I had a wonderfully, deliciously random ‘sent from my iphone’ email from a dear school friend who lives in Exeter.  I haven’t seen her in 8 years and she was unexpectedly in London recently and wondered if I was free for lunch.  She’s not on Facebook and we don’t exchange emails much or ever speak on the phone as we are pathologically crap at staying in touch.  Anyway over lunch the conversation was hell for leather.  An hour and a half of high energy, excited catching up ending with promises that we neither should be as rubbish in future and plans being hatched for other opportunities to meet in London when we can.

I think it’s pretty obvious which type of conversation I preferred.  Ok.  Feels like the grieving process for Facebook should start now but my delicious old flame, my blog, is back in my life so you won’t see me wearing black for dear old Facebook.


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