I don’t see ill-considered blog posts as often as I do head-scratching Facebook status updates and what-the-hell-were-they-thinking tweets. And I think there’s more to it than just brevity. Let’s say you’ve had a rough day at work. Here’s how that might play out:
Twitter: The only thing I enjoy more than having my intelligence, productivity & commitment questioned is having to pretend you’re not a waste of O2.
Facebook: You want to what I’m up to, Facebook? Well, it’s 6:40 p.m. and I’m still chained to my desk because my asshat of a boss thought it would be fun to redline my copy after he’d approved it AND sent it to production. But no, go ahead and expense your meal while I sit here and drink cold black coffee because you’re too cheap to keep the fridge stocked with milk.
And I have to tell you — that was actually hard for me type out. Partly because I’m on record as having pretty much the best boss ever, and also because my versions would look more like this:
Twitter: BREAKING: Sources confirm: It’s not me, it’s you.
Facebook: Trapped at desk. Please send pizza and non-homicidal thoughts.
Ah, isn’t it cute how I imagine myself as being 15% as wordy as I actually am.
No, the reason I would have scaled way back on the details is because I’m generally — and, I think, justifiably — paranoid about how much of myself I put “out there.” Less so on Facebook, which I have locked down fairly tightly, but certainly on Twitter and this blog, where my thoughts are open for consumption and misinterpretation.
Consequently, I have a series of mental filters that I pass all copy through:
- Will my mother see this?
The answer to that is always “yes.”
- Will the rest of my family — P, the kids — see this?
I assume that P will see whatever I write, which is why I’m pretty careful about quotes and attributions, and about asking his permission on photos in which he appears. As for the kids, as I say on my “About” page: “If they’re not able to find — and hack — this blog by the time they’re in grade school, I shall be gravely disappointed.”
- Is this in any way career-limiting?
This one flips back and forth between being legitimate and hysterical. Because I have a background in PR/communications and may end up back in that area some day, I am mindful of not trash-talking brands (with a few notable exceptions, eg: Why did the chicken hit “defriend?”). At the same time, I’m self-employed right now, so what am I gonna do, fire me?
Things I don’t really consider: is this funny, is this stupid, is anyone going to want to read this.
If I had to narrow it down to a single filter, though, a sort of WWJD of blogging, it would probably be: Is what I’ve written and shared defensible?
If it isn’t — if I’m flirting with posting something contentious, something I might have to recant if I can’t either admit my mistake or argue my way out of it — no posty.
What’s your bottom line?