so here's what i think

Yesterday I wrote a quick post about password-protecting kid pictures and my worries about putting our pictures on my blog. I've thought more about it and discussed it with Stu, and here's what I think:

- I thought I was being relatively cautious already. I am not totally anonymous, obviously, since I disclose the city where I live and our first names. I do not, however, make my last name, my husband's last name (which is different from mine), or our kids' last names (also different from mine), our address, or my email address available publicly. If I were worried about someone coming to find us, I wouldn't be listed in the phone book.

- Blogging makes me and my family public to some degree. I recognize that. If I were really paranoid about privacy, I wouldn't be online. Period. There are risks in being online, just like there are risks in driving cars and riding bikes and sending your children to public schools instead of sequestering them in your home. Being alive is risky, if you think about it. I'm willing to take this risk because I want to keep blogging.

- A big reason I started this blog is that I have friends and family all over the country (and some out of the country), and this is one way to keep in touch and share our growth and development with them. I could email everyone privately every time I have a nice picture, but except for grandparents and uncles, I don't think everyone I know would appreciate emails with sizable jpg files from me every single week.

- I am not stupid. I do not post naked kid videos on youtube or put naked kid pictures on Flickr. I don't even have a youtube account, because as it happens we don't have a video camera. I actually have a Flickr account, but it's just knitting pictures to put on Ravelry (online knitting community), and all but very, very few are just pictures of yarn and knitting needles. That's why I haven't shared my Flickr account with anyone. No one would care.

- Stu says if it bothers me so much, I should delete every post on this blog with a photo, or delete every photo, and put everything on a password-protected site with fastmail or picasa or something. I've considered this, but for now, I'm not going to do it. Actually, I might have a password-protected photo site for the family who just can't get enough kid pictures, but I'm not going to get rid of every picture on this blog. Why? Because this blog is about my life, and my kids are a big part of that. Someday, if Daniel and Anya tell me they want those pictures gone, I'll delete them without a second thought.

- There are freaky, sick perverts out there. I wish that weren't true, but I can't change reality. They lurk online, they lurk in parks, they peer into windows, they do unspeakable things. It's totally creepy. Like I said, I'm not going to do anything stupid like put my address online or post pictures of my children wearing no clothes. I won't even email pictures like that, because we know email isn't as private as we like to think. But I can't let myself be paranoid and afraid or I'll never leave the house and I'll never let my kids leave the house and that would be very damaging to all of us.

- Thousands of people blog publicly about their families and include lots of pictures. Are we all ignorant risk-takers? Maybe. That makes a lot of us, though.

- Frankly, being a full-time mom of two small children means I get very, very little connection to the outside world as it is and damn it, I'm not going to let a few creepazoids out there ruin it all for me.

So, that's where it stands for now. I will continue to post modest pictures of me and my family and whatever else I want. I don't for a second blame anyone who is more private than I am, of course. And for the record, I never post pictures of other people without asking them first if it's okay.

In fact, my next post, whenever I get it together, will be that pizza tutorial I promised. I hope there's no one out there who gets off on bread dough...(but then, I wouldn't be surprised. I read Savage Love, after all.)


Becca said…
I hadn't weighed in on the previous post, although I had read the article. I have one picture of CJ on my blog, but I have an alternate photo account that I use to share with family. Like you, I don't publish my address, email, last name, or employer to limit the public information--but someone who knows me could probably figure things out.

I see it as the same fears, new technology. First, it's easy to fear new things regardless of the actual risk. While I'm creeped out by what some people do online, I would like to think the impact is really very small. Second, the technology isn't creating new creeps, just creating another outlet.

As an example, I submitted an online order to have prints made of my digital photos and send those prints to CJ's grandmothers. Two pics were of CJ in the bathtub (naked, but nothing important visible). Another pic was of CJ with his diaper on his head with his bare bottom visible. My mom commented she was surprised that those pics were actually printed and sent, and not flagged by the photo lab.

The idea that a couple of pics of CJ having fun without compliment of a full wardrobe could be interpreted as anything other than cute and innocent baffles me. Mom meant well; she thought they were cute, but thought photo labs might have stricter standards to prevent misuse. To me, it seems like a fine line between protection and censorship.

You're a smart cookie. Keep thinking about what you post, worry about what you can control, and have fun with your blog, keeping in touch with friends and family. Online sharing, photo labs, camera phones--just use your instincts to keep you and your family safe.
Steph said…
I really think what you're doing is fine. I liked Dawn's entry because she wasn't alarmist and had some moderate suggestions for people who can't/don't password protect. It sounds like you are doing all those things already. I don't think you need to feel worried or at all defensive about having pictures of the kids here.
Strangeite said…
Anytime kids are involved, particularly when they are your kids, people want to be cautious; however, I think the risk is very small.

As of December 2007, Technorati had indexed 112 million blogs. That isn't the entire number of blogs in the world, just the number of blogs they index with a specific degree of authority (their measure of the popularity of a blog). 112 million seem big, but in fact is a very conservative estimate, as your blog isn't indexed but is in fact a blog.

But, if you take their number, the chances of someone randomly finding your blog is 1 in 112 million.

The chances of getting struck by lightning is 1 in 280,000.

Should be not be stupid about what they post about their kids. Yes.

Are the chances good that someone is going to steal the pictures of your specific kid? No.

If you are interested in tracking your users and where your pictures end up, I recommend Google Analytics. You can use your Gmail account to get the code and it is very simple to install it within Blogger.
Strangeite said…
Ohh and I lied, you are indexed.
Mrs. Allroro said…
For a second there I thought you were referring to how excited I was that you were posting a recipe for pizza dough, but then I realized you were referring to the sickos you'd been referring to throughout this entire post. Sometimes it's fun to be dingy.

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