[EDITORIAL NOTE: While I was sleeping standup comedian, Mrs. Hughes, left a note (scroll way down) in the comments of her TGB Interview with some good news about an upcoming television appearance. You can track the dates of upcoming guests on the show's website.]
A couple of days ago, Grannie Annie of Fools Rush In, published a story about deleting blog posts.
“My entry will be written and posted and then I will hear my father’s voice, saying: ‘When in doubt, don’t.’ I will look at my post again and if I have doubts about what I have said, it gets the big old D-E-L-E-T-E.”
I was surprised. I can remember deleting only one post on the advice of an attorney while I was considering a lawsuit regarding the subject of the post. Otherwise, it has never occurred to me to remove a post. Plus, it has become so much second nature now that I hardly need to remind myself to ask my daily question as the mouse pointer hovers over the Publish button: Would it bother me if this were printed on the front page of The New York Times?
In the earliest days of this blog, I occasionally didn’t click the Publish button, but looking at it in retrospect, that had more to do with the shyness of a newbie than any impropriety in the post.
Certainly there are posts I wish I had written better. There are some others that were so lightweight they nearly float off the screen and seem, when I look back, a waste of my time and yours. And sometimes, weeks or months later, I’ve changed my opinion, but that doesn’t invalidate what I believed when I wrote it. So those remain in place, too, waiting for someone to discover them and shout, “Gotcha.”
Because few people read much of past blog posts, so far no one has.
There are certain items any blogger would be foolish to publish:
- Anything at all about coworkers or place of employment
- Photographs of children
- Street address or any other personal contact data except, if you want readers to contact you, email address
Plus, of course, it is a violation of copyright to publish:
- Entire stories from other publications without permission
- Photographs for which you do not own the rights
- Cartoons are copyrighted too
Copyright law is more complex than that short list, but a good, general rule-of-thumb is, if you didn’t write or draw it or take the photo, don’t publish it unless you have obtained permission or are invited to do so as on such sites as YouTube.
But none of that is the point Grannie Annie was making.
In the earliest days of blogging, before it became widely popular, it was a point of pride to never change previous posts – to, in essence, treat your blog as a print publication; when it’s published, it’s set in stone. I hadn’t realized, until I read Grannie Annie’s post, how deeply I had internalized that edict.
However, one of the best improvements of the internet over hard copy publishing is the ease with which wrong information can be corrected after publishing, and the convention is to do so either by inserting an update or with a
strikethrough which allows you to acknowledge errors and correct them in the same breath.
Although I’m tired of the repetition surrounding the idea, authenticity is highly prized in the blogosphere: “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” I think keeping that in mind together with "the New York Times question" as your finger aims the cursor at the Publish button goes a long way toward never having to say you’re sorry - or deleting posts.
On the other hand, maybe bloggers don’t care about the issue and delete willy-nilly. What about you?
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Celia Jones continues with Part 2 of Derbyshire County: Something in the Water?]