Sara Whitman

Note to My Students

Filed By Sara Whitman | April 14, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: best practices, blog writing, blogging practices

Okay, we are doing blog writing in class and I'm sure about half of you have looked up this blog and are now reading it.

A couple words about blogs... they are not for bashing people. Nothing you ever say on the internet is anonymous. Be thoughtful because your words will travel with you, even if that bloggingfriend of yours is a real jerk and totally blew you off and deserves to be called out for it.

Don't. Trust me. Don't.

Blogs are not for shameless self promotion. (Um, have you read my Huffington Post pieces? Huh? Huh?) Okay, they are to a degree. But be honest, too. Otherwise people will delete the bookmark from your page. I've told you to be kind with yourselves in your personal reviews - I meant it. Add a dash of humility, too.

Readers like that. It rings true. Reader like honesty.

Each one of you has a unique perspective. You come from 16 different countries, are all different ages, some with previous degrees, some fresh from high school. Keep a sense of humor, never let the negative comments get you down, and always delete any links to porn sites.

Your mother may read it. Never forget that your mother may read it and show all her friends. Before you hit publish post, think, do I want my mother/pastor/best friend/sibling/kindergarten teacher/significant other to read this?

If you pause, the answer is no.

Stalkers are real. I've had people call my house and tell me what to write about. It's a little unnerving but for the most part, harmless.

Remember what I've taught you about framing. No one wants to hear about what you had for lunch. But I recently wrote about having lunch and the conversations that were happening around me.

(Okay, frequent readers don't need to comment if they thought that piece was boring. Shhh. I'm teaching here.)

And people do love to hear about success, happiness and good things. They will hold the bad stuff with you, no question but don't pull an Angela's Ashes and kill yet another baby. Life is hard enough.

Besides, your mother/pastor/best friend/sibling/kindergarten teacher/significant other need stuff to brag about, too.

Be honest. Be real. And have fun.

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And most especially, if you're going to the doctor to be tested for STDs, DON'T announce it to the world in your blog, the way a friend of mine did in Facebook, once...

Seriously. A lot of what you put on the internet opens you up to discrimination.

RE: STD tests - On the other hand, if you come up positive, then it's a great way of informing partners that they may be at risk too.

Just remember, things that are said cannot be unsaid, and what you write may be cached in archives essentially forever. If you do something like this, it may have implications 10, 20, even 50 years hence.

My Blog's being archived by the Australian National Library as being "of lasting cultural value....with national significance..." (you may now laugh) so maybe I'm a little more aware of this than you are. But it applies to all of us.

Before pressing "publish", think. Is what you're saying valuable, to you or to anyone else?

You will make mistakes, and look like an idiot. I have. But when that happens, I don't erase the data, I use <strikeout> and write a correction below. It's important for my credibility as an author that I don't conceal errors, I correct them, so readers can judge for themselves my reliability as a source.

Now go though and Blog forth. You will be providing future historians a wealth of information on how people in the primitive 21st century thought and felt.

When can I get private lessons?

hey bil, I actually get PAID to teach this course.

ha! like you need lessons. get the cat off your lap, that's a start...