Sunday, October 19, 2008

Private vs. Public


In the past few months, I've run into the same message on many blogs:
Dear Readers, We're making our blog private. Let us know your email so you can see our new blog.
This is some blog etiquette that I struggle with.

Why I won't go private
I know I'm on the Internet and the Internet is public. If I wanted it to be private between me and some family/friends I'd write an email and BCC it to all those family/friends, because that's basically what a private blog is.

Yes, there are safety concerns, but I try not to post anything that gives away our personal information. Sure it's obvious that we live in Provo and you know our names, but you can't come by and throw rocks in our window based off of information on this blog, so I'm fine with that.

I love the community that public blogging creates. I have found great blogs and bloggers through blog-hopping off of the comments I've received here. I don't want that to end. That's the fun of blogging: finding people with similar and different interests. I love it when lurkers leave a comment and I can find their blog and lurk on theirs.
This is also why I love Ravelry, too (you can lurk on people's knitting projects!). Just wanted to give ravelry a plug. :)

Why I won't subscribe to your private blog
First, it's awkward, "Hey, I've been blog-stalking you. Can I blog-stalk you some more?" Even if it's someone I know in real life (and most of them are), it's still an awkward conversation. When people go private, they do it to monitor who's reading their blog. I always imagine receiving this in return: Sorry, the reason we're going private is because of you- we just don't like you that much. So, no, you can't read our private blog.

If you really want me to subscribe to your private blog, you'll send me an email saying, "Hey, I want you to subscribe to my private blog because I like you." If you just do the "Give us your email" post, I'm not subscribing because that risk of rejection is just too high for me. It's like a special clique club that I know I'm not invited to because life experience (or high school) has told me I'm just not that cool. I'm not going to ask you to add me because I'm not going to risk it. My self-esteem is fragile enough.

Also, I depend a lot on Google Reader. Private blogs don't have RSS feeds, so I'm not going to read them anyway. If you google "subscribing to private blogs RSS" you find some advice to private bloggers: send an email to the readership so they know when you post. But then we're back to just emailing and BCCing the post.

So that's why I won't go private and I probably won't subscribe to your private blog. It's just one of those things.


  1. You know, it's kind of ironic that you posted this. Eric and I have been discussing privatizing my blog. I personally don't feel the need to have it private. I agree with you about the inconvenience of not being able to use Google Reader with private blogs. My problem is that now that Eric has a top secret job, I am very limited to what I can say in my blog (as far as location, job information, etc). I actually need to go through and delete some posts (which I actually find kinda funny) that have information on his job or where he is at.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I agree with you about making things private :)

  2. I totally agree! It's even more annoying when your in-laws go private, but forget to tell you (or did they "forget" to tell you??), so the next day you go to read family news and you get the message that it's a private blog and you must beg for special permission to read it. Do my in-laws really hate me like I suspected? Are they saying something about us? Am I going to look like a total knob groveling for the dubious privilege of reading about their mainstream lives once every two months, or whenever they get around to posting in their blog? Talk about insecurity.

    On a somewhat related note, you may want to change the link to my old blog "Diary of a Hippie," since it's gone. The new blog, "Adventures in Crunchy Parenthood" is at:

    (I know you know this already, just trying to give you a shortcut to the URL.)

  3. Hey, I want you to subscribe to my blog. Can I invite you? To me blogs are for keeping up with friends and family, and personally I don't like that anyone could just read about us. Plus, I want to be open about what I write. I've just heard too many weird stories, and with identity theft so rampant...what can I say. I've been diagnosed with ocd. :)

  4. You're right, I also love the internet community that public blogging creates. I've found a lot a e-friends and even if I'm not forming a lasting relationship with them, their words and ideas are influencing me in a positive way. And I like that a lot.

    But if people want to go private, eh, that's cool. There are tons of good reasons to do so. It just makes their blog different, not something that I would check on my blog-stalking rounds. It's a totally different kind of blog, with a different purpose and everyone involved has to accept the new rules that come with it.

  5. I couldn't agree more! I understand that some people want to make their lives more private, but there are other ways to do this. I personally don't feel I'm giving away too much identity theft fodder on my blog. I suppose if you spent enough time on the internet tracking me, you'd find enough. But, really, why work that hard to find me--who really doesn't have that much for someone to steal. There are now blogs that I don't keep up on because I don't get their feeds. Lazy, perhaps. But I don't have time to stalk everyone's blog.

  6. I have debated these things back and forth in my head for some time as well. Blog-hopping is fun to find old acquaintances, common interests, etc, and I, too, feel silly emailing asking for permission to read a blog. So I've put it off, and just try not to give personal info. But, I, too, have heard some weird stories, and I guess I'm just an over-cautious parent, and feel like we should be careful.

  7. I love having as many people as possible read my blog as possible!

  8. I agree with you. The thing I hate the most is when I go to a blog I've been reading and enjoying and it already has gone private and because I didn't happen to read during the few days of them announcing that they were going private and to give my email- I now have no way to even contact them. I've even had this happen with an old friend and I don't know her email, so the only way to be able to read her blog again would be to track down her # and call her. Yeah, that's too much of a hassle for me. So I'll continue to happily read my favorite public blogs as time permits.

  9. agreed...
    OK, so I feel like it is everyone's right to go private if they want to, but seriously, I'm not going to ask to read your blog. I don't necessarily have any self-esteem issues, but insecurities are probably in all of us...I'm not going to purposely put myself up on the rejection chopping block by asking you to invite me to your blog. I wouldn't invite myself to a private party, nor would I invite myself to a private blog. And amen to the whole google reader thing. Seriously, if your blog is private I will neither have time to read it, nor will I remember to read it. With that said, I don't hold it against anyone for being private. I just wont read your blog.


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