Private or public?

There was no power at the office this morning because a transformer blew. Or, maybe, its dilithium crystals suffered a tachyon inversion. Or, whatever. As several of us gathered at the Starbucks #2 across the street to enjoy our liquid breakfasts, the subject of personal web sites (and their subjects) came up.

Long story shortened, one of my coworkers was taken aback by some silliness I wrote during NNWM last month. What I thought was a funny take on marketing self-delusions I’ve seen (elsewhere) was, perhaps, too clever for my own good. The colleague now apparently thinks I’m some kind of standard deviant.

So, nearly two years after I last pondered the question, I’m wondering about the cost/benefit of continued public blogging. On the one hand, the immensely talented and hilarious Ben took his blog private last year. Many of my blog friends use pseudonyms not obviously tied to their real personas. Susan, John and Hans are exceptions.

On the other hand, I’ve been blogging for >4 years, about various and sundry topics. Some are useful. Others, not so much (though hopefully amusing). When I’ve mentioned a few work related things, I’ve avoid anything that could be construed negatively. Really, trade shows and forms happen everywhere. (Oh, the stories from IBM…) Heck, during my interviewing two years ago, this was a great ice-breaker. I’ve also met a few great people I’d otherwise not.

I have my one-on-one scheduled Thursday during which I can inquire whether this is even a concern beyond this one person.

12 thoughts on “Private or public?”

  1. Yes, it’s sad that there are people that can’t handle sarcasm, humor, or other similar forms of expression. Worse when they are in the same workplace as yourself and try to manipulate the system against you.

    I never really debated private or public for my own blog. Public is what I wanted. I do try and think twice and write once when posting. This rule also saves me in other forms of digital publications (work email “discussions”). I know that there are some items I have posted that might rub some folks the wrong way. But I would hope that they would be honest and up front enough to question me directly and spark up a debate. Those that instantly and silently judge are exposing their own biases and should consider a little bit of self examination.

    Your choice of private vs. public also comes down to what you want from your blog. Leaving it open invites all to the party. I’m sure we all have school day memories of what can happen to open parties. Having a good bouncer at the front door can help to keep things running smooth and all to have a good time. But there’s always the chance that someone will get in and try to spoil the fun.

    Going private means a huge loss in viewers. I know you must have many loyal but silent readers. They enjoy your site but for whatever reason, don’t want to show their “faces”. It’s a one sided conversation with those folks. I think of it like a radio show. You know they are out there but you only get feedback from those few “listeners” that actually call in. Going private turns your show into something more like a few folks getting together to chat. Not that that’s bad. But it’s a different venue.

    So it goes back to what you would like from your blog. What makes you the most happy about your blog? Make a list of those top 5 or 10 items that make you happy. Then look back at the list and see if those same items will be viable in a private setting.

  2. I try not to blog about work, kids, religion, politics, parties where I end up wearing a lampshade, or my sexual proclivities. If a present or future employer wants to get uptight about what I eat, ride, or do in this virtual world, then perhaps I shouldn’t work there anyway.

  3. I *try* follow the same policy as John above me wrote. But it is not possible as I blog about my one month stint to China. That was due to work. Sure I enjoyed a little outing besides work but that included family and my family background. Again possible rules of my own I could break. One thing I dont do is reveal my company name until I have left. People take everything too seriously. They really really need to loosen up. Anyways, do not go private. Why? You are bending towards censorship to a few (well I think).

  4. I enjoy your blog and I hope you don’t go private. Maybe the colleague will get used to you and the odd sensation of “standard deviant” will blow over.

    I thought about using a pseudonym but didn’t ultimately have the patience for that kind of elaborate setup. My rarely broken rule is to keep everything I write positive. After almost five years, no problems yet.

    Happy holidays Jim!

  5. Stay public. If your coworker can’t handle your blog, then tell him/her not to read it. Your “standard deviantness” is what makes your site worth reading (especially all the good bicycle stuff)!

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