July 05, 2013

Blogging Safety Advice

Blogging Safety Advice
As bloggers we love sharing our experiences with our readers and the occasional insight into our lives, we're quite careful about the information we share.  Thankfully we haven't had many bad experiences in our 2-3 years of blogging but for bloggers it can be quite easy to share too much information and put yourself in a vulnerable position.  We often see people sharing their work locations, pictures taken outside of their house and it really only takes 1 person to gather up all these details and do something about it.  Safety is a bit of a strong word but it’s important if you're putting yourself out there to learn a few tricks to protect yourself in bad situations.  As it’s a subject that doesn't really get talked about too much we thought we'd try something a little different for todays post and put together a little list of safety advice for bloggers (old and new) and generally everyone who might be interested in a few safety tips we've picked up from blogging.

Product Samples
At the start of blogging it’s really exciting when you get your first email and people want to send you things.  You generally want to accept everything offered to you but please be aware of who you're giving your address out to.  What information are they asking of you? Is it a PR company or an individual person with a gmail.com account? We only accept samples from PRs we know and have worked with before or ones who are clearly established and well known.  Although the person with the individual email account may be genuine, you don't know what they're going to do with your address or if they may pass it to someone else.  It’s good practise to only accept products if they're available in drugstores and legitimate online retailers.  One time we received a product from an unknown/new natural brand and we later found out that the product was in fact expired by about 5 months and they'd placed a sticker over the real expiry date which is terrible and really made us more aware of the risks, especially if these products are going on our skin.

Domains or .coms

When you’re registering for a .com or .co.uk make sure you read the terms of your domain.  The thing you want to look for the most is if it has a private registration which usually come with .com but they don’t with .co.uk.  This basically means that when you register your domain without private registration your details go into the WHOIS database which reveals your full name, address and details about your domain registration.  If you have a domain already you can search the WHOIS lookup tool to check your details.  Anyone can use the WHOIS tool which means anyone has access to that information.  If you do go for a .co.uk domain, make sure you change your address when you register to one of another country far away from where you live to be safe.

Social Networking/Pictures

Us bloggers love sharing a picture or two don't we! Though before you click publish, make sure there isn't any sort of hint to where you live or information which you wouldn't want in the wrong hands.  This could be an envelope with your address on it, a picture of the front of your house or a picture of your works badge.  There was a recent incident where Helen Flanagan tweeted very subtly tweeted she was home alone without thinking which lead to a break in shortly after.  Although you see it more with content, people can easily steal your pictures and try to pass them off as their own.  While pictures of makeup being stolen isn't such a huge deal, pictures of your face being passed off as someone else are so it might be a good idea to do a google image search once in a while and see if your face pops up where it shouldn't be.  You can of course add watermarks if you like but it’s up to personal preferences.  Also, if you're taking pictures of products with mirrors/reflective surfaces make sure you have some clothes on, it happens to a lot of people!

Negative Comments

If you have a large readership it may be a lot harder to keep track of but try to be aware of who reads your blog and the content of your comments.  In blogging, the negative comments are much more rare than those who make YouTube videos but if you see the same username popping up and giving you grief, report or block them.  The same goes for someone who may seem a bit too friendly and takes a deeper interest in your life than they should.  Of course they may just really admire you and want to be your friend and know more about your life but try to recognise if their comments change or start to become strange or generally make you uneasy.  We can't say this has ever happened to us but it’s important to take these seriously, even if you’re established or not.  Having said that, sadly as a blogger you probably will come across some negativity but it’s best not to add fuel to the fire, not everyone is going to like your blog and that’s okay!

Advice from Bloggers

As a last safety tip in blogging we asked some fellow bloggers/readers on twitter what their safety advice would be:

WestEndGirl said: Giving your posts a personal touch to engage with readers is great, but don't give specifics.

Girl On Beauty said: Take a careful look at what is in the background of your pics. Could accidentally have personal info in view!

Bombay Rose said: Don't mention past schools - easy to track down where people live from education information.

Haileys Beauty World said: When doing outside posts or videos make sure you're not giving too much away.

Pamela said: Have separate, private social media profiles for friends and family.

It would be great to get a sort of discussion started and there’s probably a lot of things we've missed.  If you have any other tips feel free to leave them in the comments below, we'd love to hear about any experiences you've had on the subject.

Stay safe bloggers!
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