I’m hoping you can all learn from my fuck-ups. And no, I don’t mean the recent relationship that ended really badly. Well, not the relationship part.
As I’m spending a bunch of time deleting content and figuring out how to keep other content away from the wrong eyes, it occurred to me that I, Ann St. Vincent, could provide a list of “what not to do” to keep your blogging content away from some of the people in your life.
Some of this also applies to you as a reader. You’d probably be surprised to know what I can learn about you when you engage on a blog.
Some of it may be obvious, but I thought I was safe and I wasn’t. Here goes:Have separate blog email, even as a reader
Have a separate email address for your blog, if you are a blogger. If you are a reader, I strongly suggest you also have a separate email address to use for interacting with blogs.
This is especially true for Gmail. I’ve had people use my contact me page with their WordPress information and Gmail account, and then when I respond to them (or they respond to me again), Gmail then shows whatever information is tied to that account. Gone is your blog name and there is your real name and often your picture.
The best thing to do is use an entirely different email provider for your blog email.
Be prepared for your social media accounts to be found
You may not be aware, but once you have emailed someone or they have emailed you, it gets stored in your phones. Multiple social media sites will now helpfully connect that email address (or phone number) to the accounts of those people.
So let’s say you and I have exchanged emails from personal accounts. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram (and I’m sure others) all have features where they will review the email addresses in your phone and match them to accounts. Sometimes this is helpful, but not in blogging and dating. On Facebook, you can turn off the ability for people to find you using your phone and your email. Not sure about the others.
From a dating perspective, I’d suggest you also use a different email address for any dating sites or interactions with people online… unless you want them be able to see your social media accounts.
Oh, and please don’t invite Ann St. Vincent to connect with you on LinkedIn. It’s happened to me more than once, and always makes me laugh. I’m really naughty, probably not what you want in your connections.
Don’t use the same app or program for blog and real identity
I made the mistake of using the Gmail app on my phone to switch between accounts, and of course one day emailed by ex husband from my ASV account. It was a pre-Christmas nightmare and the first time I made my blog private. When you are doing things quickly, it’s easy to do.
Two things I did helped me avoid this mistake again:
- I put a signature at the bottom of all of my Gmail accounts, which I can see when I’m drafting a new email. This way, I can see which account I’m using right away.
- On my iPhone, my Gmail app is for my blog email only, and all my personal email goes through the apple mail app.
Be super vigilant of “integrators”
Hey, isn’t it super helpful that Google uses your Gmail account to log you in to various places, like YouTube, which they own? No, not really when you inadvertently send a link to a boyfriend without realizing that YouTube had you logged in using your blog email address and not your personal email address.
Thank goodness Tony is often distracted. Could have been a shit show.
I got rid of Google+ for a similar reason. Google so badly wants you to connect with people you may know, it was an accident waiting to happen and there was no benefit to me of having a blog presence there.
I hear Facebook likes to do that as well. Be very careful if you have a blog and “real life” presence there.
Keep your workplace completely out of blog comings and goings
If you use your company’s electronics to access a blog, or their internet / wifi connection, you may be revealing more than you think. Your company’s name could be in the “host name” or the IP name. So what?
Whenever you comment on a blog (on WordPress, at least), your IP address is captured. While it may not be a big deal for someone to realize what city you are in (if you are engaging in a blog from home, for example), it’s a bigger deal if they can easily find out where you work.
I do believe most people are trustworthy and wouldn’t do something with that information. But be aware, you are giving it away.
Don’t mix blog life with real life on social media
This was my most recent dumb mistake. I had just one link between a real life social media account and a blogging friend’s blog identity social media account. I foolishly thought nobody would be interested enough to spend the time to find and exploit the connection.
I was very wrong.
But here’s the thing… I didn’t only put myself in jeopardy, I put her in jeopardy.
So just don’t do it. It’s SUPER tempting, especially as we make friends through blogs. But if you have real life social media accounts, do not follow anyone’s blog accounts, and vice versa. You never know what information someone does and doesn’t give away on their blog that you might mistakenly leak.
Here’s the other thing, and this is a harder one to swallow. It’s probably also not a great idea for your real life account to follow their real life accounts, either. Again, let’s say in theory – ahem – you have a boyfriend who ends up losing his shit. You’ve told him things about your friends, which includes blogging friends (although they don’t know you met them through a blog). If they ever figure out the connection, you’ve potentially given away information they didn’t want to share.
The reverse can happen as well, through absolutely no ill-will of your friend. But if you want to keep your blog and it’s information safe, you just can’t be too careful.
Just for bloggers…
Don’t use any images or posts on your blog that are also on any of your personal accounts. People can search for both and voila – there you are.
I hope these help. If you have more tips, please comment; I’d love to hear them.