Friday, August 25, 2006

Sincerely, The Blog Management

So last week I discovered some little added bonuses to enhance my blogging. Yeah, I know, like I need to spend more time on it. But one has got me thinking and I want to ask for your opinions, and the other is just so amazingly helpful that I have to tell you about it. Both are probably things you have already heard about, but for me it was all very new.

First, I got Sitemeter for my site. I read about it over at Mama D's and thought I’d look into it, just out of curiosity. I can’t say there’s anything really great about it, but it’s free and if you want to know more about who is looking at your site and how many people have been and how often your parents come each day (dude, you guys need to chill.) then there’s certainly no reason not to get it…unless it will make you obsess over your blog. I was afraid I would, but honestly after the first few days I forgot to even look at it, just like Mama D said I would.

But here’s where it gets a little dicey. I found out that there are more people coming here than I realized. You’d think I’d be happy about that, but it has brought up some concerns for me. Before, I lived in my nice little oblivious world where everyone who came to my site left me comments and I was getting to know all of you and it was all very happy. Now I realize there are some strangers coming around. And I don’t mind lurkers, not at all (hello lurkers), as long as they are not the kind of scary lurker that hides in the shadows of dark alleys, know what I mean? And I'm not saying I have like tons of readers or anything, I don't. But it only takes one freak, right? And this made me realize that there are people coming over who I don't know about, which has gotten me thinking about internet safety. I wanted this blog to be about Sam and my family, and I never really thought to worry about weirdos checking it out, maybe I should have – I still don’t know. But I’m thinking about it now. Do I want to post all these pictures? Do I want to use my son’s name, my name, both of which are fairly common? Do I want people to know what city I am in? The answer to that one is “no” and so I have changed my little “about me” over there. I worry that stressing about this will stop me from writing things about him that I love to share, but obviously I want to be smart about it. I know every single person reading this has a different opinion on it. I’d like to hear it. Where do you stand on what is appropriate for a mommy blog and why?

And now for something more fun for you to comment about – I am considering using a nickname for Sam, both for safety and his own privacy. The first thing I thought of was “Little Pooper (LP),” because I call him that all the time, because that is what he is. But some of you guys know him pretty well by now, and you know he is more than a poop machine. Got any suggestions?

Now onto the other site I discovered. Stephanie posted recently about Bloglines, which I had heard of before but never actually bothered to find out about. Well, I did. IT IS AWESOME. If you have not gone there and subscribed for feeds for all the blogs you read then you are missing out. It saves you so much time because you know just by checking it who has put up a new post since you last did your rounds. I now feel like I can “manage” my blog reading. Some of you may think, “What is she talking about? Who needs to manage blog reading?” Fine, then I am the one with a problem – my name is Beth and I’m a blogoholic – but for those of you who have ever said to your husband, “I’m really behind on my commenting. It’s getting difficult to remember who I need to read and stuff. I wish I could manage it somehow,” then bloglines is for you.

So tell me all about it: I need your opinions on privacy for mommy blogs, an awesome nickname for Sam, and to hear that Bloglines has changed your life.


Anonymous abc momma said...

Regarding privacy--I've had the same concerns as you. I have chosen to use code names for my kids, however, I'll posts pictures of them--there are so many kids in the world. I have used my real name in some posts but have tried to change everything else to read abc momma--like my e-mail address, etc. I used to have where I live on my profile, but I've changed it and try to not reveal so much about my area in my posts. If I lived in a big city like New York, I don't think I would try to conceal my city, I would just not publish my address or my plans to go walking in Central Park at 11:00 a.m. in my hot pink work-out suit.

If I have read someone else's blog for a while, I wouldn't hesitate to meet them in person. So far, all of my IRL meetings have been positive, but they have also been in public places. Once I've met them in person and have discerned I can trust them, I divulge all sorts of facts about myself and my family.

About sitemeter, my location says that I'm in a whole different state than I really am. So I'm not positive about who is who. I could probably find out if I have a concern, but I don't yet. I am interested in how many people come by and how they get there. I've learned I need to alter the spelling of name-brand things to avoid unwanted traffic.

Bloglines---LOVE IT. When I first started blogging, I would click some blogs several times a day to see if there were any updates. When I got Bloglines, I realized other writers don't live at their computers all day, and I began to get a life of my own again. I still spend too much time here, but not as much.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Nikkie said...

I sent my comment via E-mail since blogger was being stupid!

6:24 PM  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

Bloglines, gotta check into it. Thanks.

Privacy, a concern for all us mommy bloggers. I think first names are safe enough and pictures that don't somehow give out info, such as a picture of your house with its address showing.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I have thought about the privacy thing a lot too, especially since my daughter's name is in the name of my blog... But there are only a hand full of people that read mine so I think it would be more hassle for me to change than it is worth.
However, if I had more readers, like you seem to have, I would certainly take my city name away and think about changing all of our names to something different. Although, I have to tell you, I have already wondered to myself if Sam was his real name :)

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Mir said...

Hi there from a not-so-scary lurker!

I found your site about three days ago through a blogroll, although I cannot remember whose!!

I think you're just fine mentioning your son's name, but I'm with Rod. Don't mention your city or your section of the city or monements or schools by name, and don't mention your name if you can.

Also, one thing you can do that will make you feel better is to Google yourself. Chances are, you won't find anything, unless your last name is Zymetereted. Then, you might get a few hits. Google your son as well. If you get any hits linking to your blog, then you need to make some changes.

Our blog looks like it divulges too much information, but in reality, you'd have a very hard time finding us. My husband's name is the same as that of a famous rapper, and my son has about 378,311 hits to a college track and field star.

I build and consult on Web sites for a living and I can honestly tell you that unless you're trying to be discovered by kooks, you won't.

It's nice to meet you!!

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I've been a blogger long before I was a mommy so this issue is rather difficult for me to take a stand on. I want to be anonymous now, but unless I'm willing to close up shop and move to new digs and start over the cat's already out of the bag. I guess I've decided that I live in such a large city no one is going to be able to find me, though I was stupid stupid stupid and posted a link to my Mary Kay page (another stupid thing) which had my last name and phone number so I guess all is really lost now. I don't mention my specific city and frankly I worry more about the people I meet around town than the internet people, but I've had really good internet experinces.

I wasn't going to mention my baby's name on the website mainly because I don't want his friends to google his name in a few years and read all the dirt from when he was a baby. That cat is long out of the bag too. I think I'm too trusting, even though I won't hire a middle-aged person to baby sit my kid b/c I think they are more likely to be kidnappers than college students. Oh, the idiosyncracies. Btw, I would recommend over sitemeter any day. I have both on my site and statcounter kicks butt.

9:11 PM  
Blogger kate said...

as you know, i use bb for my son instead of his name. i do have my name and my region, but not city/town. i do post pics, but i try to keep faces obscured to some degree. i wouldn't have thought to do all that, but my hubby was really concerned (i never use his name, either) about internet safety. some would say it's best to only say what state you are in, never put pics of faces and always use nick-names. i guess it depends on how safe you want to be--even if you feel like nothing will happen--it's so unlikely. but, i guess as my husband said, "what do you lose by being safe?" you could lose a lot by not being safe. even if it's a real long-shot.

i've got no nicknames for sam! it's hard when you don't know the kid. nummie lover? nummie boy? ugh. i'm out.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Kelli in the Mirror said...

I've thought about switching to code names, but it just seems like a pain, and honestly I feel that if some freak out there truly wants to find me, it's going to be the kind who can ping or hack or whatever it is they do and find me anyway, no matter what I say my name is. On my daycare blog I try not to say too much about which one is my kid, but it'd be totally easy to find out since both blogs are on my profile.

I generally use my initials but I have mentioned my first name and those of my immediate family. I talk about Gillian all the time and that's her real name. :) But we have a fairly common last name and live in a big state.

I know my sister ksl has chosen to go a lot more private because her name is more unique and her husband was more insistent about it than mine was.

And Sam's nickname? That IS his nickname, right? His name is really Michael or something, right? :) You could just pretend it was a code. If it isn't, I mean, which it probably is.... :)

I use sitemeter too and I find that most people I don't know come to my site because of a post I wrote about playing Cake Mania and I must have made it sound like you can download it from my site or something. I love sitemeter though. Bloglines is on my list of things to do.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

I agree with Mir all the way. I am not concerned about privacy at all. I use our names because my blog is a journal and I want to be able to read what I publish later and know who in the heck I was talking about. Same when Liam reads it... it's for him. I don't say "DH" I say Ian when I am talking about my husband. It's just easier for everyone to understand.

If someone wants to victimize you, it won't be because of the tidbits you divulged on your blog. Lurkers are a curious breed... a few months ago I got the RUDEST comment from a stranger who knows NOTHING about me and kept coming back to the same post to rebuttle each thing I said back to her. That startled me, but she was harmless.

1:39 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

Also, that little button in the right hand corner that says "next blog"... that is how people surf blogs, so someone may stop in for a minute, but go on to the next blog. But that 2 second visit counts as a hit. Harmless.

1:41 AM  
Anonymous babyDmama said...

I just want to introduce myself, generally a lurker, I did post one comment before but wasn't really sure if I should because I don't have my own blog. I am the FTM to a 5 month old daughter in the tri-state area, but actually a Midwesterner born and raised.

A new mom friend gave me the link to Shape of a Mother (I haven't written HTML in ages so I won't even try to link it)and it has helped me tremendously. From there I found Mama D, you, and the Sarcastic Journalist. I now read you guys everyday and it is so amazing to feel like there are others like me out in mommyland.

Thank you so much for sharing your life with me. Maybe I will even start my own blog, I'm so inspired by you all . . .

8:36 AM  
Blogger beth said...

Babydmama - you should definitely start your own blog. You will love it, especially if you enjoy reading others' blogs. Thanks so much for your comment.

8:55 AM  
Blogger allysha said...

I have been thinking and wondering about the same things! I've listed my location as the county I exist in currently, and so far, my kids are mentioned in roundabout manner. I don't want to mention their names, but I worked so hard to name them the first time that I am having a hard time coming up with "code-names" for them the second time!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Valarie said...

I debated when I started my blog whether to use real names, but I only gave the link to family and a few close friends at the time. That's really snowballed by commenting on other blogs, but I figure it's too late now. Our names and pictures are out there. There's really no way to take that back.

bloglines- love it. not only does it tell you who has updated, but you can mark a post to keep it new and know where you still need to comment.

sitemeter/statcounter- I use statcounter only because it was the only one I had heard of when I started my blog. I added sitemeter later, just to see if either had any benefits. They're pretty well equal, but familiarity wins out and statcounter is what I check.

1:35 PM  
Blogger smartmama said...

i don't worry a ton about security-I don't use our names.location- but i figure there are crazy people everywhere- and of the millions of blogs its doubtful they'd chose me- also i think even having your real name known- its no different than if you are famous, the local mayor, a doctor, etc- if people wanted to find you they could do some sleuthing and do it- I see blogging as like writing a newspaper column- and i don't think my blogs about loving pastries and bookshelves will endanger me-

oh the lurkers- i want to call them all out- just to know who they are~

i like stat counter- i keep it invisible though- i think if you did have freaky people you could find them easier if they didn't know they were being watched/counted- i have had one or 2 random comments- like aguy telling me i was hot and should be a super model - that freaked meout a little but i think the only peoples attention i really hold are other moms/ friends/family- who else could endure my rambling

fun blog btw- 1st time here

2:26 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

My blog is actually my second blog. My first one was my first and last name. I had used my kids names and my husbands name and the state we lived in. Smart huh? Since I didn't know you could transfer your posts, I lost two months worth of them.

I use my real name, no biggie. That is who I am and there are seriously a thousand other mommy bloggers out there named Stephanie.

My children and husband have all been reduced to intials.

I guess I worry so much because I am sort of overprotective like that. Every couple of months, I go through my blog and if there is a picture or some information that reveals too much, I change it.

As for bloglines...YeeeHAw!!!! Life is so much easier. I don't feel bad if I miss something, because it tells me how many entries that I have to catch up on. By the way, some of those visitors might be me several times a day. Sometimes I only get two sentences read before a yungun yanks me away from the computer.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Allie said...

Hi Beth,

I have certainly entertained the thought about taking more measures to guard my son's identity, but my husband pointed out that the blog was created for our families to keep up to date on our lives.

For me personally, I don't think that I could change my son's name or not mention my husband's name while writing. I am not gifted with creative writing talent so my ramblings would only be that much harder to interpret. :)

There is no doubt that the internet is a scary concept that has certainly been abused of late and in the past. It crosses my mind every now and then and I always come up with the excuse that I don't have a huge following for my blog.

Perhaps I will download that StatCounter and see if that freaks me out enough to change my position of sitting on the fence. :)

11:54 PM  
Blogger 1tiredmama said...

After your "lurker" comment, I guess I will finally leave a comment! I have been checking your blog occasionally for the last few months because I love your stories and advice. I promise I am not a scary person, just a SAHM, who likes to read about the adventures of other moms! Maybe I will leave comments more often now!

3:37 PM  
Blogger Mama D said...

I tried to comment the day blogger was being stupid. I'm glad I was right about Sitemeter. I like being right.

I too have wondered about whether or not I was divulging too much info on me and my family. Should I post pictures? etc... I can't imagine not posting pictures. I don't know. Nicknames are good. I used to use A's full name but then I changed it and edited all the posts containing her real name. Just in case.

I've been wanting to sign up for bloglines. I should totally do it.

10:32 PM  
Blogger sari said...

I use my real firs name but I use my kid's ages as their names and I don't post pictures of them. Once in a while I'll post a picture, but only if I get an ok from the person in the picture first, and it's always an adult, not a picture of a kid.

I'm just weird that way! :-)

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

I'm abc momma's little sister and i read your blog all the time...and i love it! i just go through her site. just wanted you to know who one of the "scary lurkers" really was.

6:32 PM  

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