Blogging and Openness

I’ve mused about this idea before a little, but this post over at Molly’s got me thinking about it again.

The short version: Molly got involved with a guy who said he was leaving his wife. He was lying. They both work in the same circles and now she feels he is being invited to things and she is being shunned. She is very upset.
Now, the wisdom of those actions is questionable, but that’s not what I want to write about. I want to write about the fact that she posted about this, in detail, naming names, on her very public and well-known blog. I can see where she’s coming from – she’s hurt, she’s embarassed, she feels bad for the guy’s wife and kid whom she’s hurt, etc.
However, I can say hands down that I would strongly advise any of my friends who asked against posting about this sort of thing online, and most certainly strongly suggest they think twice about posting about it and naming names like that. The kid has internet access. The guy has a professional life. Hell, Molly does too! Airing this kind of drama in public is generally not a good idea.
My personal guidelines for posting on my own blog are as follows (with exciting examples NOT drawn from my life!):

  • If you can think of a specific person you wouldn’t say it to directly, don’t post it.
    “OMG did you see what So-and-so was wearing at the party last week? She looked like a fat cow!”
    “I slack off at work so hard I can’t believe I get paid to be here!”
  • If you can think of a specific person who shouldn’t read it, don’t post it.
    “I hope my parents never find out, but I had a three way with four drunken sailors last night and it was awesome!”
    “My manager is an idiot!!”
  • If it’s about drama, don’t post it.
    “A said to B that she hates C and now C is complaining to me because D overheard it and told her about it and I’m friend with A and C both but now they want me to choose and it’s stupid.”
    “My boyfriend dumped me for one of my friends and he is such a lying asshole, OMG!”
  • If it’s all emo, don’t post it.
    “Woe is me, nobody loves me!”
    “I wish I were dead!”
  • If it’s about your personal sex life, don’t post it
    “OOOO, my SO boned me so hard last night I can barely walk!”
    “I like anal!”
    “The guy I slept with last night had a huge dack!”
  • If it’s about work, don’t post it.
    “My boss is mean!”
    “My coworkers are hilariously stupid!”
    Heard of Dooce? Learn from her.

Now, many of these rules can be bent a little under the right circumstances, particularly if the questionable content is not the focus of the post. But still. One must use judgement. If it comes back to bite me in the ass, I know it’s my own damn fault. I’m a big believer in sharing information to educate. Posting “I like sex!” is not all that educational. Posting, “the documentary The O Tapes is awesome and a must for anybody who likes sex has got to see it. I loved it!” is potentially educational and thus ok.
There’s a big difference between things we say to each other in meatspace and things we post in our blogs. Anybody with access to the intarwebs can find the things we post in our blogs (and friendslocking is NOT a guarantee, O LJ Friends Of Mine, beware!) if they look hard enough. Things said face to face in meatspace can be overheard, but they can’t be found and forwarded to our friends verbatim.
My rules grew out of my own strong loathing of drama and desire not to have things online which would come back to deeply embarass or bite me in the ass later on.
I’d love to hear what other people’s posting rules for themselves are.

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