Keeping safe online as a blogger

The blogging world is a lovely place, there’s no doubt about that. It’s one of the reasons many of us continue to blog and on the back of this some of us have even formed some amazing friendships through blogging. Still, the internet can be a scary place. As much as you might want to meet up with everyone and give out your address for every PR sample that you’re worth, how safe do you really feel doing it?
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I recently hosted a Lunchtime Bloggers Chat (#ltbloggers) on ‘Oversharing & Keeping safe online’. I had a great response from everyone who took part and it got me thinking. Since a lot of the bloggers were unsure about a few things mentioned and hadn’t thought about risks until I had asked, I decided to share my thoughts with you all.

blogger safety privacy and security when oversharing online

Using your real name online
This one is personal preference really. My actual name is pretty unique, and it seems there’s only one other person that uses the internet shares it with me (yes I’ve googled myself). I’m not so sure I’m comfortable with the idea that strangers from across the globe know my full name. The job that I do means that I’ve got to be a little more vigilant that your average Josephine so I’d rather not have clients & maybe even my employers knowing about my blog. Still there’s nothing wrong with using your real name or including your surname. It’s personal preference but one to think about before your put your digital footprint out there.

Protecting your privacy
Have you checked out your purchased domain name on websites such as this one. As it’s stated on the GoDaddy website “The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires accredited registrars like GoDaddy.com to publish the registrant’s contact information, domain creation and expiration dates and other information in the WHOIS listing as soon as a domain is registered“. This means that the contact details that you register with (name, address & phone number) are visible to anyone (stalkers, hackers & even cyber bullies). You can of course stop this information from being displayed quite easily by paying a small fee to your domain provider who can then privatise your information.

PO Box address & doing your research
It can be such a great feeling when you are recognised for your hard work and someone gets in touch because they want to work with you. Looking back at the opportunities you’ve had, how easily have you given away your address to total strangers in order to be sent a PR Sample? A lot of PR reps use their own email addresses to contact bloggers; which is fair enough however that could be anyone at the other end of the email. I would strongly advise all bloggers to research brands & PR reps beforehand before giving away personal information such as your address.
PO Boxes are quite easy to get set up (at a cost) if you would like your address to be hidden. I think ultimately it’s worth the cost so that you can feel a bit more at ease when giving your postal address to a total stranger – which in essence is exactly what it is.

Blogging events
Blogging event organisers are incredibly hard working and I really have to commend them on the things they manage to pull together just for us bloggers, most of the time out of their own expenses! However recently there’s more and more smaller meet ups taking place and it makes me wonder how many of you have really gotten to know the person/people you’re meeting up with.
Rather than being patronising and going over the dangers of meeting people online, my point is to just make you all a little bit more wary before deciding to go for that blogger sleepover which is only just you and a few people you don’t know.

Geo tagging
This is a way which most smartphones nowadays embed the lcoation a photo was taken into the photo. The idea is kinda cool, but if you don’t want people turning up where you live or where you are you might want to ensure it’s switched off. Even apps like periscope have geo tagging options.

I am by no means an expert or trying to cause a panic, however my day job is to keep women and children safe from potentially dangerous people, which may be why I’m extra cautious compared to most bloggers. The most important thing to take away is that there is no right and wrong and you should go with what you feel comfortable with, just remember to take a moment to think about your safety first.

I’ll leave you with a link to a tale told on the guardian’s website, detailing just how strange people can be. Stay safe lovelies <3

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What are your thoughts?