I'm brand new to blogging. I must confess I'm nervous about putting much personal details on my blog like my kids' name and ages. Until now I've just said ds 8th grade or something. With all the weirdos out there I'm imagining the more info they have the more they could track you down and do something weird to your family! I know I"m probably overly cautious but how do you feel about that?I am not an expert at this, but certainly, this is a question of safety every blogger needs to consider. Some people, especially published authors, already have their names (and possibly their children's names) out there, and, well, it's too late. I wrestled with this myself, and blogged for over a year, referring to my children's ages only. But after a while, that became confusing and impersonal, so I recently "pseudonymed" all my kids. I chose against "cutesy" names (cute when they're two, but who wants to be 15 and be called "Firefly?") or names that stereotype them (Baseball Guy), in favor of real names.
I don't use my last name or my city, and in pictures, I block out revealing information on kids' T-shirts, posters, and sports uniforms. And I don't name my pictures with any identifying information. Some people use no pictures at all. You just have to decide what you are comfortable with.
And then from Julie, when I mentioned keeping blog posts short:
Without actually counting each word, how do I know when I've reached 500 words? Is there a word counter? I think it's going to be very difficult, it is beginning to appear to me that since I don't have any time to really, truly think during the day....I might start doing my thinking when I'm blogging. When I actually post whatever I've written, I'm blown away by how long it turns out to be. Perhaps as I improve, I'll be able to express myself (and think) more succinctly.I don´t count little posts, but if I´m really trying to communicate a thought, I write my posts in Word, then cut and paste into my blog program (I use Blogger). That way I can do a word count, check my grammar, use the thesaurus and check spelling (Blogger now has a spell check, which is a new feature). That way I also have a copy of it on my hard drive, in case the Blogger server ever goes up in smoke, or in case I press "delete" on accident (yes, it's happened - arggh!).
Using a word count helps me stay on point and is one way I can honor my blog friends
by not forcing them to wade through a bunch of unnecessary language fluff.
Of course, I have broken my own "brevity goal" for many of my posts (my longest post is about 1100 words). But after a while, you get the hang of how much is enough. When you read other people's blogs, be thinking about the point at which you lose interest. That's probably 500 words.
The other thing that happens after you've been blogging a while is that you realize you don´t have to state everything you think and feel all at once. You develop relationships behind the scenes and it becomes more of a conversation with friends, with stops and starts.
Shannon wrote about her blogging story here, with some good tips. And here's a nice overview from my friend Jennifer Satterwhite (who uses her first name, last name, names of her kids, AND pictures of her kids) of Mommybloggers: So You Want to Start a Mom Blog? with even more food for thought about names, safety, and more.
Any more thoughts?
(By the way, including the quotes, this post has 663 words. Rules were meant to be broken, eh?)