Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Requests From Our Readers: Week 14

This week we are talking about public vs. private blogs. Check out what our reader said:

"Hey panel! I have been thinking about making my blog private for a long time but have had a hard time making my decision. I know that some of you have private blogs, while others have decided to leave theirs open. I would love a discussion about the topic and hope that your insights might help me in my decision."

Thanks so much!

So help her out:

Is your blog public or private? Why?
What helped you make your decision?
Have you ever had a public blog and then switched to private? Why?
Have you ever had a private blog and then switched to public? Why?
Any other thoughts on public vs. private blogs?


Jared and Delia said...

My blog is not private. I tried making it private but too many family members had a hard time creating a google account to view it and because of that barrier they didn't view it very much. Some of them also distrusted the whole process. I think it is because they were not educated on blogs and didn't really care to be. I decided to make it public again so they would be more willing to view it.

I understand the worries that come with a public blog. You can put sitemeter on your blog to track who views it. I try to leave out particulars that are obvious...our last name, the city we live in, where exactly we work, what school we attend, etc. It does make it a little bit worrisome when other people comment revealing particulars they know about you...of course without even realizing it. I find it is pretty easy to write around those boundaries and still say what I want to say.

I think this is a personal choice. Some families are more high-tech. Their grandmas have a blog or they have an extended family one, so going private would be an easy transition. That isn't the case for us. The choice came to, either make the blog private and barely any family would view it and not often, or switch to public and make it more accessible to them.

Jes said...

I used to be public and didnt have any problems until I started getting people I didnt know leaving comments in different languages on my posts.
I did one of the site meters and found I got a LOT of strange traffic ...surprisingly a lot more than you'd think. So i switched to private.

Its been ok being private, its just harder because since it doesnt update other peoples' feeds they dont see when you post new posts and so you get a lot less people who comment and stay totally current.
Also, its been a decently-sized hassle having to try to re-explain how to get access and signed in with the accounts and etc like Delia mentioned...
Another thing Ive noticed is that you can only have 100 viewers having access to a blog when its private... we have a HUGE family and I have a lot of friends all over the world, so we are already pushing close to that number. So no, they dont all always comment on every single post, but just the fact of having that many people having access means its almost time for me to have to switch back to public or figure out something else.
Ive actually been debating for a while of going back to public.... its just harder having to watch all that you say (personal info and etc) now that Im used to being able to share some of it.
Im curious to know what everyone else has to say on this.

Diane said...

I went private a while ago. Mostly because of some news articles about peoples pictures being tampered with and posted elsewhere on the internet, and also just to keep my info more private. I do like not having to worry about what I post, since everyone who reads it knows where I am already anyway. I do feel like people don't read it as much since it doesn't update on peoples blog lists. Oh well. I mostly like to write about things I want to remember for me anyway, so it's not too big of a deal. I do have a friend that went private and made an additional public blog where all she does is post that she has posted a new post on her private blog. That way people can know when to check it - good idea. (you can see it here to see what I mean - then it links to her blog, but you have to sign in.)

I think it would have been interesting to use Google analytics before I went private just to see who looks at my blog. Perhaps I would have stayed public longer, but who knows.

Good luck with your decision. :)

Kelly A. said...

I used to have a public blog that is now private and I actually like it that way. For me, I kept going back and forth and back and forth but when we went private I was so much at ease. I no longer had to worry about who was looking at my blog and pictures and such. My hubby is computer savvy so before I made it private, he installed google analytics so I could see where viewers where coming from. What did me in is when I saw that a couple people where being directed to our blog when they googled the name of my little girl since it is the same as someone in the media who had a baby around the same time my baby was born. Granted, they were only on my blog for a second or so, so it looked like they clicked off as soon as they realized that it wasn't what they were searching for but it still bugged me. I just wanted to know who was looking at my blog and that I knew who they were. (However, my friend has told me since that there is a setting on blogger that lets you set it so people can't get to your blog from a google search.) Like has been mentioned above, there are a few people who read our blog less now since they don't know when I update but to my surprise my family had NO problems getting accounts and signing in and the people who really want to keep up to date on our lives check it loyally! I really do it for my own record keeping anyway, so I was never super worried about that aspect. My only concern has also been mentioned above and that is that Blogger only lets you have 100readers and I've actullay had to delete a few readers (like my bro-in-law who just shares accounts with my sister now when he wants to see pictures etc) to add others so we don't exceed that limit. We too have big families and friends out of state now, so it's easier than we first thought to reach 100 readers. WOW! That comment turned out really long and wordy! Hope it made sense :) Good luck with your decision!

Universitybabe said...

Our family Hosts our own "blog" off of our own computer. The front page is public (you can even find it though google) but my hubby helped me get the extra pages password protected. We had problems with a family member using the links I had in an unethical manner and contemplated going private the whole way. Like Delia, I have gotten so that I don't use specifics, I have progressed to the point of not even using the children's first names though I still do use my husbands and I's. I only have one month available at a time so the amount of information someone can glean from our public first page is pretty limited. All the archives are linked and you have to have a password to get to them. I find this is a great solution for us. The whole private thing was really annoying to me because of declined readership, hassle to get the right people the passwords blah, blah, blah. BUt yet the public thing worried me a lot too...there is a lot of stuff there if someone really wants it. But I am really happy with this half and half compromise. People can see the newest but can't access more than that without permission. Plus, I have a map that shows me who is comming to visit. (I don't worry so much about someone happening across it but I will be able to note someone I don't know constantly accessing it.) A final thought. Blogger likes having so many users that I am sure if you could find something you would like to be able to do with it and explained it you might just see it as an option before too long. Make the technology fit you not the other way around is the best advice/insight I can give.

Megan said...

I had a public blog, but I went private. I was worried about people pulling pictures off and tampering with them, and also I had comments from people I didn't know commenting on my family which made me nervous. It is a hassle getting everyone setup so they can see my blog, but if they really want to check in, they are more than willing to go through the process. I've thought about going public again, but probably won't. I'm used to having the freedom to post whatever I want and not watching what I'm saying. I have lots of friends that have public blogs and like has been mentioned before, they keep certain particulars out of their posts, like their city, their last name, and things like that. I think it's something that you really have to decide for yourself. If you're comfortable having a public blog, that's cool. If you worried about things getting on there that you don't want, or comments that you don't want, you might want to consider going private. I really like the 50/50 idea that Universitybabe mentions above.

Beth said...

I have a public "rant" blog but also a private blog devoted to my son. I like having my kid's blog private - I can post whatever garbage I want and know only family members will see it.

We did run into a problem with Sam's grandpa logging into the blog - Sam is the first grandchild and my Father-in-law is pushing 70. I tried to walk him through it several times but he never "got it." So I took the liberty of setting up an account for him. He's been able to access it without any problems since then.

Chris and Laura said...

My blog is public, and I have no concerns about making it otherwise. That said, I don't know that I can give any grand reasons why I haven't gone private.

For one, I like a lot of people being able to read what I write. I have lots of extended family, old friends, current friends, coworkers, random relatives...Going private would make that a huge hassle that I don't want to deal with. And I confess, I like getting the comments (online and in person) about the things that I write.

For two, I don't worry much about things being stolen off of my blog (information or pictures). I do what I need to to make sure overly-identifiable information isn't posted, like our address or phone number, but other than that, I don't stress about what I write. My logic as best as I can explain it is that there are way too many things to worry about in today's world. As long as I know my daughter is safe, I'm not going to use up emotion and brain power worrying about pictures of her that may have been copied from my blog. I know what's real, and I know where she is, and I leave it at that.

I hope that makes sense...

Jared and Delia said...

Oh another idea. My SIL gave all her kids as well as her and her husband a nickname on the blog so their real name is never used. That makes it even more protected while staying public.

~Sherry (Bear) and Stephen (Wolf) said...

I have a public blog, but made it non-searchengine searchable. I feel fairly safe with that. I quess I need to see who has visited my site, but so far, I have only had one person I don't know comment.
I put my kids names in my posts...maybe I shouldn't...but I refer to my husbnd as "my hunny" or by his nickname,never mention our last name,and I am sure I have never mentioned what city I live in. And if someone found out our city and names, our phone number is unlisted, so they wont find our address. (At least I would hope so.)
What a great blog! You bring up so many important tops!