The Blogosphere Privacy Bill of Rights

I am always a bit wary of writing about my personal life on the blogosphere. That being said, this is The Frisky and we are all about honesty and openness. Last Friday I took my first crack at publicly exploring a private issue. Not to air my dirty laundry to the world again, but I wrote about a problem I was having with my boyfriend. I was conflicted on many levels, not the least of which was wondering if it was even OK to write about him in the first place. In the end I decided to write the post. I had a lot of legitimate reasons for doing so, but I was also really really furious and didn’t care if he read it or not. Inevitably, he found out. He wasn’t upset with me, but the incident did get me thinking…. Traditional journalists have to protect their sources, but the blogosphere lacks a set of guidelines about what we can and cannot reveal about other people.This is why I feel the need to create The Blogosphere Privacy Bill of Rights. We need this, if only so we don’t scare away all our friends and family.The Blogosphere Bill of Rights:

  1. Never mention someone’s real name: Under no condition is it OK to reveal a person’s name without their permission, lest their personal biz be found out through a mere Google search.
  2. Do not give away any specific information or identifying details: Just because you didn’t mention a name doesn’t mean your readers won’t be able to put the pieces together and solve the mystery of your friends identity.
  3. Refrain from posting on social networking sites: There is a little stalker in all of us. If you and the subject of your dissing are in anyway linked on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. everyone and their grandmother will know what you wrote. Awkward.
  4. Tell the person if you are posting about them: If you still have a relationship with the person you’re writing about, tell them you’re doing so. I am totally guilty of not doing this, but I should have. It’s the polite thing to do and prevents angry confrontations should your friend ever see what you really thought about her outfit.
  5. Don’t tell other people’s secrets for them: If a friend has shared a secret with you, it’s your responsibility to keep it. We are all a little guilty of gossiping about someone’s private business to a friend or two. Just because you don’t personally know who is reading your gossip girl-esque post doesn’t mean you haven’t told anyone. You have actually told the whole world. Nice one, blabby.

Disclaimer: I am not posting this on Facebook either.