Privacy for Bloggers: Are you aware of what you share?

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Hi folks,

With the whole media buzz around privacy policies we become more aware of what companies can do with our information. These days customer data allows companies to contact people in many different ways. It’s now almost impossible to do a purchase without giving your name and email address for commercial purposes. Facebook is by far the most powerful tool for companies to get information about everyone worldwide (age, gender, work, email, phone number, interests, …), especially since the increasing popularity of online shopping. But what’s the deal with bloggers?

Before the whole buzz I wasn’t really thinking about what I share online, but after receiving loads of spam in my mailbox with policy agreements I asked myself the question: how much information should I share with my readers? There should be a limit of course, and it’s absolutely important to protect yourself, because information equals power. Especially when sharing personal life issues, bloggers should be aware of the visibility and accessability of that information.

Just some random facts to make you think:

  • An employee who said to his boss he’s sick and couldn’t go to work, shared his fun activities of that day on his Facebook because he faked the fact he was ill. His boss saw the message and fired him right away.
  • You’re sharing pictures of your traveling on your blog, while your neighbour is trying to break into your house after he’s seen that you’re gone for a week to another country.
  • Your best friend shares her location all the time on her Instagram and Snapchat. That way her ex boyfriend has the potential of stalking her en knowing where she is in one blink.

Sounds all cruel right? These are worst case scenarios of what people can do when they have specific information. That’s why you need to be aware of what you share on your blog and social media.

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I have some tips for you so you can make sure you won’t share too much.

  1. Things you shouldn’t share: your home address, your full name, your bank/identity information, passwords, phone numbers and your birth date or place. Sounds logical, but people with bad intentions can link things easily and sometimes you share this private information without knowing.
  2. When you’re planning to go on holiday, only share pictures of your trip when you don’t leave your house alone.
  3. Don’t forget that what you write, everyone – and then I literally mean: EVERYONE – can read it. Your collegues, your boss, your friends, your family, your neighbour, the old lady from the block and even that creep from across the street. So: if you wouldn’t share the information in a conference with all these people, then simply don’t publish it.
  4. Be aware of the non removable history of the internet: what you publish stays online for ages even when you delete it (people share all the time). So be careful with political opinions or religious preferences. This information is sensitive and to be rude, it really isn’t anybody’s business.
  5. Don’t share any photos, names or information about people you know without their permission. For instance, when I share a photograph with my boyfriend, I ask his permission if it’s okay if I publish it on my blog. Never ever give personal information of other people.
  6. Be careful with locations. These days when you share something, it’s almost natural to share the location too because it’s also a way to find new pictures and new accounts. But don’t be to specific. You can just type the name of the city, but never share a full address.

To finish this post, I’d also like to share a new privacy law for bloggers called the AVG/GDPR. Since we also possess data of our visitors, for instance when subscribing to a newsletter, it is important that we guarantee their data protection as well. For my blog, you don’t need to worry, my blog’s secured and the information stays on my platform – only I have exclusive access to it.

How do you deal with the new privacy laws as a blogger? Do you have some tips as well? Share them in the comment box.
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