Women, Be More Careful With Your Blogs

January 17, 2011

in Tech

women be careful with your blogs

Three Ways to Protect Yourself as a Chick Blogger

1. Don’t argue with fools

Resist the temptation to become involved in multi-blog debates over sensitive topics, particularly where women are the subject and the attention is negative. You not only have to account for the blogger, but also for all of the mentally unstable people who might be following that blogger. Involving yourself in a debate that is targeted at a group turns a rather vague conversation into a personal one. Don’t put a target on your back unnecessarily.

Never link to a blogger who has already demonstrated a distaste for women or a certain group of women. Never approve comments that are hateful or scary, either. Do the world a favor and mark them as spam; it’s deserved punishment for idiocy.

2. Keep your home address off the books

This address should not be anywhere, as far as I’m concerned. My bank doesn’t even have my home address! :) Never put a home address on your blog, in your email marketing template, in your Paypal records, or in the records associated with domains that you purchase or hosting plans. If you used to do this, just don’t do it going forward, if/when you move.

This is critical if you are working from home. Your home is precious. Spend the money to get a PO Box or private mail box. Your safety and your family’s safety is worth the price and a lot more.

3. Lock up your Facebook

It still amazes me that people choose to use the Facebook profile feature for their business networking rather than the pages. The pages, while somewhat limited in their networking capability, offer the most amount of privacy. Someone said to me a few months ago that my Facebook profile was as secure as a famous prison (I can’t remember which one) and I take that as a compliment! It’s difficult to find me or befriend me on Facebook and that’s on purpose. Joining people’s Facebook pages is about as much risk as I can take when it comes to Facebook.

Why? Because Facebook is a network – it’s a web. Your connections can expose you, whether or not they mean to. And, you can expose your connections – your parents, your siblings, and other people who may not be as cavalier online as you are. In all seriousness, I do warn against using your Facebook profile for networking. LinkedIn is a much better, and more private, tool for that.

Blogging and social networking together are enjoyable, for some even profitable, and for many, a smart way to do business. However, please be wise. Assume nothing while at the same time, assuming everything. Calculate the risk you are taking as a blogger, and cover all of your privacy bases.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Sandy January 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Great points, Tia.
I think a lot of people share a lot of information on Facebook and don’t realize with the constant privacy changes what ends up being public.
Good advice on not sharing address information on your domain registration, something that is easily overlooked!

Libby Fisher January 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Hi Tia,

I think this is a great topic to discuss, and one you don’t hear about often (at least I haven’t!). I am an avid believer and follower of your last two points – I use a PO box for my business and a fan page on Facebook – but I have never really thought about the potential risk of “putting a target on your back” by not being careful about whose blogs you comment on and whose comments you allow, etc. Not that I would ever set myself up as a target intentionally, but it’s good to hear yet another reason to be careful about that.

Tia Peterson January 22, 2011 at 6:21 am

And I’m talking about, for example, writing about certain things in response to what someone else has written about. This happened recently where a bunch of women bloggers started writing about this ridiculous guy who was leaving comments on all our blogs (including this one – I didn’t accept it). I just feel like writing a whole post entry and linking back to his blog was a bad idea, especially since he doesn’t like women in this certain group and neither do any of the men who visit and comment on his blog (U.S. women).

Camden@Men's Gifts January 18, 2011 at 5:53 am

Tia,
Thanks for bringing up such an important, but rarely-mentioned topic. I once saw a page (can’t remember which site) where the proud parents had displayed pictures of their baby, their new house – and this is the unbelievable part – even drawn an arrow with a picture to the baby’s bedroom window! Too scary!

Tia Peterson January 22, 2011 at 6:19 am

Yeah, that’s taking it a little far!!!

S.I.F. January 18, 2011 at 1:10 am

This is all such incredible advice! I definitely agree with every single point!

Allegra Sinclair January 17, 2011 at 8:34 pm

LOVE it! Thanks for this important post. I was already following much of your advice because everybody in the world is not as fabulous as you are! Sometimes we get so comfortable with online communication that we forget some basic wisdom about protecting ourselves. I hope you have a POWERFUL week! Allegra

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Hey Allegra! Nice to see you here on the site.

You’re right – so much of this is just basic wisdom; it’s so basic that we forget it. I think the buzz of being recognized and making connections causes us to let down our guard and make careless mistakes (I have made many).

Have a great week, too!
Tia

Italian Mama Chef Michelle January 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm

So what you are saying about Facebook is to limit the connection between a “fan” page for your blog and your own personal profile? I think my personal page is pretty secure although I could make it more so. The only trouble is that I am now trying to build a local business and am using the FB connection. I am trying to keep it through my blog page but I have already made a mistake linking something on my personal profile.

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Hey Michelle,

I think as long as you are vigilant about separating business from personal things, you will be okay.

You might want to put your business contacts into a Facebook list, and then modify your privacy settings to control how your business connections interact with you, what they can see, and whether or not they can see what your friends post on your wall, too.

Jay Philips January 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Great tips for everyone.

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Thanks, Jay!

Lisa@ basic marketing January 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Tia:

Excellent tips! Especially the Facebook. It is so easy to find people’s personal info on FB and really it should be so guarded. Thanks for the reminder.

All the best,
Lisa

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm

You’re welcome, Lisa!

Alex@Jocuri January 17, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Hey Tia,

Protecting your privacy is definitely something you should consider on the internet. Because the internet is just like the real life there are a lot of people that may want to hurt you (especially if you are successful, but not necessarily ) or they may even want to steal your identity and use it for God knows what.

And although you may think that giving your address is a way to gain the trust of your readers/customers but just leaving a business phone number or a way to quickly contact you can do the trick. There is no reason to divulge this information.

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Hi Alex – You are so right. A business phone number or a contact form works just fine. Especially if you work virtually, there’s no need to tell people where you live.

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 9:21 am

Hi Antonio – Yep, I will contact you. If for some reason I don’t by the end of today, please do send me an email at tia at bizchickblogs dot com to remind me!

SBA January 17, 2011 at 8:37 am

Great advice. I notice the web domain registrars like BlueHost or Godaddy want you to buy the privacy packages and if you don’t at least BlueHost publishes all of your account profile info by default in the ICCANN public info on web ownership! You can always use the PO Box you recommended as the contact address. I also have a business (888) number that costs about $2/mo.

I deal with lots of ‘mommy or coupon bloggers’ and some give their kids names, ages and photos — not too comfortable with that when you’re audience is so widespread.

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 11:21 pm

I agree. I try to be careful with my son’s name and/or photo – not keeping them both in the same place! And luckily for me I have moved since many of my domains were registered, plus I now have a private mail box. Anything we can do to stay connected safely is key.

John@Hypertransitory.com January 17, 2011 at 8:33 am

Yeah this applies to everyone, no doubt. Common sense rules that may now be readily apparent to newbies. Especially if they’re planning on being confrontational or edgy.

I went and got a UPS box. It looks just like a regular street address, and they’ll even sign for stuff for you and hold it there (At least my UPS Store location does). Sweet.

I really don’t need my adoring fans showing up on my doorstep. I don’t keep enough booze stocked in my refrigerator to entertain.

Now I need to go back and adjust my domain information. It’s all my old information luckily (moved about a zillion times in the last few years), but I suppose I should look out for the new occupants of my old address so they don’t receive any unwanted visitors.

I know a couple of people just starting out now so I should definitely tell them to consider these things.

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Hey John – Yes, do let those people know. I think bloggers end up really making themselves vulnerable so we have to take extra measures.

Deidre Brathwaite@PixlD Inc January 17, 2011 at 8:18 am

Hiya Tia,

This is an important issue we all have to recognize but sometimes it seems that we are so trapped in the matrix that is the online world that we simply can’t see the bigger picture. Furthermore Facebook announced on Friday that apps can now access users’ addresses and mobile numbers. How invasive is that? Yet another reason to be very careful about the information displayed on our profiles.

Thanks for addressing an issue which I believe most of the public fail to take seriously.

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Hey Diedre,

Thanks for stopping by. I haven’t forgotten about the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog thing, either. It is on my radar!

Yes, Facebook has serious privacy issues. Mostly, it just gets worse with the number of friends you have, which is why I’m so particular about mine. I have over 600 personal friends on Facebook. Imagine how large a network like that is.

Biodun @ domain name registration January 17, 2011 at 7:49 am

Nice reminder, Now scammers and hackers are now focusing on Social networking sites because information is so easy to get..
Really if someone is serious about protecting your identity and personal security, you should take immediate actions to block your personal information from public search.

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 9:18 am

Hi! It’s so much easier to do if you start from the beginning with a new address. But yes, if a person’s personal information (even their personal email address) is public, I’d take steps to try and remove it. I do constant searches for myself and my personal information. I know firsthand how easy it is to find information about someone online.

It seems actually that the least protected people are the ones who don’t spend much time online.

Andreas@Blog Advertising January 17, 2011 at 7:38 am

If you have a website, a good idea is also to apply for anonymous whois registration so that your real address is secure and not displayed to the public when someone performs a whois search on your domain name.

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 9:10 am

That’s definitely an option! I’ve used that for certain domains.

Pete Carr January 17, 2011 at 6:41 am

Hi Tia,
These tips apply to all of us. Not just the growing amount of great female bloggers out there.
We really do leave ourselves wide open to being found for want of a better word.
I have put the PO Box idea on my priority list. We need to stay legal but at the same time stay safe.
Thanks for highlighting this.
Pete

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 9:08 am

Hey Pete – 100% agree. As I was writing to Patricia, my concern is that people who may have it out for a certain group of people or a person simply have so much more access. The web has created some loopholes for access information that we have to be careful about. As bloggers, we are exposed to an extent and have reason to be ultra careful.

Fran Aslam From Online writer January 17, 2011 at 5:44 am

Good morning Tia:

It is only past 6.30. And three ways to save yourself as a chick blogger is an awesome. Our chicks do need this reminder every now and then. It will stick to them more when tey read it on the internet than coming from mom.

Every now and then things worry me and I suppose same to you and you have made a great use of it.

Hope you are having great mornings with your handsome boy to the day care.

Have a great week, make it joyful and not too tiring.

Fran A

M Hartong January 17, 2011 at 3:56 am

I agree too. Being various is important. For that reason I have my business info on Facebook for my address as well as phone. And have personal privacy set very high. 1 thing not mentioned is foursquare and gps data. I have all these set to off on my phone & computer when it comes to location. I can decide to share events but only when I add it intentionally. And rarely if ever do I post a photo on location. I tend to wait, although breaking news it’s necessary – other times it’s not.

Patricia@lavenderuses January 17, 2011 at 3:19 am

Hi Tia

Thanks for the sage advice. I get really shocked when I see some of the personal things people share when they are operating as a business online. Too trusty or unwise by far. After all we see here in Oz and I’m sure it is the same in other countries warning about privacy on the net; still many choose to ignore the warnings.

I’m not a fan of Facebook for that reason. Seen too much going on that I don’t feel comfortable. with. Found this post confirming some of the things I am wary of there. Thanks for sharing Tia.

Patricia Perth Australia

Tia Peterson January 17, 2011 at 9:06 am

You’re welcome, Patricia. I find this to be so important; technology has given some people access and a motivation to carry out bad thoughts. I just feel like we as women, especially, with our natural tendency to socialize, need to be just a bit more careful!

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