Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dunham Blog, Social Media and Privacy

I started to do my blog years ago simply to record our son’s childhood.  Almost 8 years of memories.

When I look back on some of my blog posts, it seems so unreal what has happened to our family.  Our son was a toddler and now his is 11 years old ending the 5th grade.

During those years, the focus of my blog had certainly changed because of my strokes. I never intended my blog to be about strokes, aphasia, etc. I realize that many of my posts are dark and perhaps too personal in nature.

When I actually post my blog on social media, I realize because of my “blog traffic” means a lot of people read my blog.

There is a certain responsibility when you understand that people read your stuff. In the old days, journals and diaries were pretty private. Now, blogs are “out there.”  Yet, I still include stark and real insights about my life.

As an elected official, I have a sense of responsibility to be conscious about my views. I never want my post to reflect poorly on the College of Western Idaho. So too, when my Twitter and Facebook posts are written, I try to be mindful that “people” rarely understand the difference between my personal  observations and my public role as an elected official.

The impact of social media is interesting. Unlike journals and diaries which could be destroyed, social media is “forever on the Internet.” With the advent if social media in the age of the Internet, what happens now is reputations are destroyed rather than journals and diaries.  

For me it is a conundrum. What should I actually share?

Several years ago, a reporter wrote a story about me.  The reporter told me later that he read all of my blog posts to get a sense about “Mark Dunham.” Many of my blog posts after my strokes were incredibly raw and angry.

The fact that the reporter used my blog as background for his story about my was unnerving to me. 

My blog is “Out there!”

Yet, I continue to blog about pretty personal things. I have written less than before because I really do not know who reads my blog. What is my audience?

And, as my son grows up, I realize he will read my blog at some point.  At one point when the focus of my blog was my son, I got a weird comment about my son saying he was really good looking. Pedophile? Local? Russia? Some of my readers are from Russia! Makes me queasy.

As a safety precaution, should change my blog or delete my blog?

Again, “it is a conundrum.”

I do experiments. I can monitor the use of my blog though I cannot identify actual readers. I can post my blog on Facebook and/or Twitter. Or, I can simply publish the blog on the web without social media.  The results are what you would expect. Social media results get me more readers.

Is this a good or bad thing? 

The bottom line, despite my misgivings, I will continue to blog. Nevertheless, I do not blog much as I used to. And I am reflecting about the focus of my blog.

What to do?

I will post this on web and Twitter but not on Facebook. 

The results will be telling. Or not.

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