I have pulled back a bit here in talking about personal life and my kids, I don’t know if you have noticed. A couple of things have happened that make me feel less like sharing. For one thing, I am a computer teacher and when I teach my students about using the internet one of the cardinal rules is Don’t Give Out Identifying Personal Information. Don’t ever use your real name or say where you live. We had a victims’ assistance group come in the other week to talk with the 4th, and 5th graders about the Internet. They showed a little film about some kids meeting a guy through a chat room. He was supposed to be another kid wanting to sell them video games and he turned out to be a really evil child snatcher. It was so creepy watching that with them and hearing their innocent questions. Why is it bad for grown ups to pretend to want to play kids’ games? Why did he want them? What is he going to do to them? Questions it is so hard to answer without introducing them to evil. We tell them that most of the people in the world are good and kind but there are some bad guys out there. The bad guys are sometimes very clever and willing to work hard to seek out victims. One of the things our visitor said is that all it takes for a person to find you on the Internet is your zip code, your gender and your age.
I watch my site meter and every once in a while I see some really creepy person has been searching for something horrid and somehow found my blog. I try not to use any red flag terminology in my writing but it is impossible to completely avoid it. I read a lot of parent blogs where people talk about all sorts of body parts and functions and then post pictures of their cute kids. If you do that, do you watch the traffic to see who is looking at your kids? Do you just figure it is unavoidable and ignore it? I can’t stand the thought that icky people might be browsing and find a picture of my kids. I am horrified to think that predators might find my school through my blog and target the kids here.
For these reasons I have tried really hard to keep all identifying information out of this blog. I notice that most librarians, writers, editors and book people use their real names. A lot of parents reveal names and locations and post pictures of their kids. Most teachers don’t use real names. We just can’t take the chance of exposing the children to the underside of the Internet. If you know my name, location or the name of my school or have pictures of us please don’t ever use it or post it or refer to it anywhere online. Really. I’d appreciate it so much!
In the past couple of weeks I have found my name in a couple of places I didn’t plan to have it posted. I asked to have it removed, but I know it is still in the caches and search engines somewhere. Once something is up it is impossible to get it completely erased. I don’t ever mention my school by name but I have seen it linked to me in places where I was unaware that it would be revealed. Once you have registered for hundreds of different sites (yahoo, Amazon, bookcrossing, Flickr, to name a few) your real name is out there. If you Google yourself you might be surprised to see how many times you have been identified. I have also seen parts of my blog posts, reviews of different books, linked or reposted in a couple places. Not that I mind that. I like getting the exposure and referrals that that brings. I like getting more readers interested in book reviews. But it occurs to me that anything I write or post is open to copy and paste… including my Haiku, pictures, personal rambling…. I am not comfortable with those possibilities. Another book reviewer recently found that her reviews on Amazon were plagiarized by another librarian in her blog. I read about a woman whose pictures of her kids were taken and posted by another woman claiming to have adopted them. There are no limits to what people can and will do.
There is one other completely different reason I feel funny about posting pictures of my little boys. Since they are both adopted, they have biological families out there. Their first parents probably use the Internet. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be reading a mommy/adoption blog and see pictures of the child you gave birth to, gave up to adoption, and miss terribly – posted on someone else’s blog. I think it would be a stab to the heart. I don’t want to do that to my boys’ first families… letting them stumble across a picture of a child who looks the spitting image of his grandparents or uncle or something on a stranger’s blog. Can you imagine? I just feel like they should get to see the pictures first, before the whole world can browse them.
So anyway, I have been pondering what I really want/need this blog to be about. I really like writing about the books. I also love writing about my personal life and my kids and I love reading all your comments. (I always feel a little disappointed if I get on after a day away and there are no comments at all. I need to hear a response!) I am just not sure those two things (books/personal life) should be in the same blog. I am thinking about splitting into two blogs. One for the librarian/teacher and one for the mother/woman. The trouble is, I am not sure I have the time to keep up with posting in two places. I really don’t have time to read blogs much anymore, and I have fallen way behind in keeping up with your blog. I only read adoption/parenting blogs on the weekends and some evenings. I don’t have time to comment on a lot of what I do read. So what makes me think I can post to two blogs? I think of a lot of posts I never write just because there is no time. Also because I am trying to keep a line between my thoughts on my reading and the rest of my personal life. I would like to write more about adoption and single parenting but I don’t want to put that in with my more professional writing. I think I have two audiences (at least two, maybe more). I notice I get very few commenters on the book posts. Most of the commenting is on posts about my kids and adoption. I have a lot more I could say about adoption (and my kids) but I feel a little uncomfortable going on about it if most of my readers are coming for the books. Since my co-workers, family and school families read this blog, I am a more reserved than I would be if my readers were people I don’t know in real life or professionally; other parents interested in adoption and raising kids.
Well I would like your opinion. What do you like reading here the most? Do you come for the books or the adoption stuff? Would you like more Haiku and garden pictures or do you want to read about transracial adoption? Would you follow me to a new blog about my personal life? Or do you think it works just fine to have them all mixed up but a bit vague on the details? Also I would really like to see comments on how you feel about the wildness of the Internet. What do you think about posting pictures? Identifying information? If you post your real name and pictures of your kids, why? What do you know about security and the Internet? Can you share any tips? Please let me know what you think!