Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hump Day Hmm - Who's Allowed to Blog About Whom?

Hump Day Hmm
This week's Hump Day Hmm over at Julie Pippert's Using My Words poses the following questions:
Are people we know fair fodder for writing? People in our real lives? People we know or read online? Other bloggers? Things we read, such as blog posts, emails, news stories, etc? Are other people and the things they do fair fodder for our blogs (or other writing)? How do you handle writing about people? People you know in real life? people you know online? What are your criteria for discussing the people who affect you? Have you ever dealt with someone finding themselves in your writing and reacting (in any way)? Share with us your ethics and mores as a writer, when it comes to characterizing others.
Since I've been blogging for nearly four years (yikes), I've often thought about what makes good blog fodder. As you've probably noticed, I rarely blog about my husband, Doug, mostly out of respect. I certainly don't want to air any dirty laundry in public, and nice things often come out too cutesy and not at all entertaining. So I tend to stay away from discussing him and we've both been fine with that. Our kids, on the other hand, are fair game, as this is a mommy blog after all. I try not to write anything that would embarrass them too much later in life, I don't put them down, and I keep any frustrations in the context of myself and not their shortcomings (of which they have none, they are perfect children, right?).

In terms of other real life people, I do occasionally mention them by first name only and only as an aside and never as the topic of a post. Most people who find themselves in my blog are usually pleased that they are mentioned and I've never run into a "how dare you mention such and such". I've been really careful not to mention anybody from work as you never know who's reading. There have been so many times where I've wanted to air out my frustrations being a manager, but bit my tongue time and again. (I do want to mention quickly that I am totally bullshit that my short term disability claim and appeal were turned down for my illness in December because I filed one day late).

For anything else I find on the internet, all is fair game because it's already out there. It is usually something cool that I can add my own twist on. I don't judge or laugh at other people, and I try to spread only good things. In the realm of ethics, respect is key. I always try to be respectful and apply the golden rule. I've seen how things can get totally out of hand with rumor mills and cyberbullying and such behavior should never be tolerated. In fact anti-cyberbullying day is coming up again on March 31 and thankfully I have nothing to report as opposed to last year. Although this banner been swept off the blog, don't forget to stop the trolls and promote responsible commenting as well as responsible posting.


Julie Pippert said...

Cyberbullying is an issue---that's John Gabriel's point as well. Last year was pretty bad. I even heard about it again on CNN recently...but no news, just rehashing as an example. Hopefully we learned. I wrote on that day too.

I had not seen that responsible commenting logo before.

Looks like we have similar approaches. I think I am going to find that a lot.

I think I am turned off by blogs that don't, KWIM?

SciFi Dad said...

Like Julie, I suspect there will be a near-unanimous consensus this week among participants (humpers and hummers both trigger the wrong kind of google hits).

The cyberbullying thing is a lot less common on blogs than on other web 2.0 implementations, at least from my experience. But it still has to be watched.

le35 said...

Great post mommybytes! I liked your suggestions on blogging niceties. I guess I am just naturally drawn to people who are nice to other people in general.

Bigqueue said...

I have always found your posts to be very positive and on topics that "build" rather than "tear down".....which is what I try to do with my own posts.

I figure that negative, hateful discussion is easy to create....easy to find....not very helpful.

Sure, it is OK to mention a negative....particularly in myself.....but even then I try to only do that in terms of a learning and/or growing experience.

As for mentioning other people....I try to ALWAYS mention the people who gave me the information or idea for a post....whether they know they did or not.

I try to never take credit for something that I was given.....so I make sure to mention (and link to) people who were the genesis for a post.

I don't think I drop names for the sake of doing that....and I only talk about people who have passed away in a very positive tone. Heck, they aren't here to defend themselves, and so it wouldn't be right to knock them. (I don't know that I've ever met a perfect human, so I hope no one takes my positive posting to mean I thought anyone I wrote about was perfect)

I also delete any comments that people post that are mean spirited and cutting against others who comment. I don't mind things critical of me.....I mean these writings are all about me....and I like the feedback....good, bad or indifferent.

Bigqueue said...

PS: Doug is a very good sport....you might not post anything negative about him, but posting this photo of PIZZA HEAD Doug shows his patience. :-)


Angela said...

Can you tell I'm an engineer? I just fixed the post title to say "about whom" :P

Melissa said...

Yeah, I go back and edit my posts for typos, too. I am a geek. :)

But yeah, we all like each other for a reason, so there should be no surprise that we agree.

I like the pics of your kids, and sometimes I want to put some of mine up, but I made a deal with Spouse and that's the end of that. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

I go back and correct typos as well even if it was something I notice weeks later.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

I find that usually when I mention people by name they are pleased.

Julie Pippert said...

I'm back!

I saw your comment somewhere about the post you did re. your dad. I'll respect whatever decision you made, but I did not find that a post at all of vitriol or victimhood.

I thought it was an excellent example of a forgiveness style story. You dealt with a tough situation, and shared how you did so.

I think that type of conversation is so important.

Also your documentation of your kids here will be a joy for them later. The photos and stories are magnificent and loving.

Bigqueue said...

I agree with Julie's comment about your documentation of your kids being a joy to them later.....yes indeed.....they will not only see themselves in those posts....but they will see their mom shining through clear as day....and her pride in them.

Good work "mom".... (and Dad too...I'm sure)