Here’s a few notes on an article relating to privacy concerns and practices in blogging, with references at the bottom of the post.
Ongoing authorship. People look for and expect a consistent author and voice of a blog.
Archival/permanent nature of posts are exaggerated by RSS feeds which create broadcast copies of blog posts which cannot be later deleted. Most bloggers edit past posts to some degree or another, but are also aware of the difficulty in erasing a blog post completely. This appears to be contradictory behaviour in that once a blog post is out there, it’s out there. Editing is not much use. Most bloggers are unconcerned that their blog posts are permanently archived, and show signs of being ambivalent about privacy, until such time as they have an unpleasant experience.
Frequency and brevity of blogging with corresponding reduction in quality. Often people post to blogs things which haven’t been thought through and this can be dangerous.
Most blogs are of the personal journal type. Only 3% are knowledge blogs. Existence of an audience important in helping people ‘think’ on a blog.This is a knowledge blog.
Women and teenagers account for over half the blogs and these were generally personal journals. Many blogs contain accurate personal information.
People who blog about their employers tend to anonymise their company out of fear of repercussions including the loss of jobs and other negative consequences. It is still unclear both ethically or legally where privacy boundaries sit in relation to the blogging activities of employees and this may be a useful avenue for future research. Companies are urged to have detailed and specific blogging policies in relation to what they see as being acceptable free speech and what is considered to be off-limits. Many companies are yet to fully articulate a blogging policy; despite having company blogs that are updated by employees (Microsoft). Groove Networks and Sun Microsystems are two companies with clearly defined blog policies.
People tend to construct their own policy on identification of themselves, their employer, other individuals, and other companies and products based on a variety of personal values.
“Authors in this study were willing to publish the names of friends and companies/products when they deemed the contents of an entry to be either positive or innocuous. This tendency mirrors results from a previous study showing that people are inclined to value privacy less the more socially desirable a piece of information is (Huberman, Adar, & Fine, 2004).”
Some bloggers perceive they ‘know’ their audience from reading track-backs and comments, however this only represents the ‘core’ audience of readers and not the wider audience. This lack of broader perception can lead to bloggers posting comments that their core audience want to read about; and this can lead to posts that reveal personal information that is not suited to the public arena of a blog.
Viegas, F. B. (2005). Bloggers’ expectations of privacy and accountability: An initial survey. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(3), article 12. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol10/issue3/viegas.html