In light of some recent activity by bloggers from my particular denomination, I wanted to remind myself of things I try to avoid in cyberspace. The list is not exhaustive, but the topics included certainly can be!
1. I don’t have non-public dialogue with women by and large. My work e-mail is monitored, so that is ok, especially since I deal with mostly with parents of our students on there. Except for the occasional quick Facebook chat with someone asking me what time “Event A” is or whatever, it doesn’t happen.
2. I don’t debate matters of theology by and large. I’ve learned that whatever is typed will generally be interpreted in the worst possible light, and rarely do you wind up dialoguing with someone. Usually you end up trying to answer 10 people, 2 of which agree with you (but argue so terribly it hurts your point), 8 of which assume that your SS number only has 3 digits which don’t exceed seven but aren’t less than 5. Occasionally in the right forum I’ll offer a comment (if I know the person personally, it’s more likely.) But generally I offer my own opinions on here and here alone. I also avoid theological statements that may unnecessarily alienate people I currently minister with and to. I don’t want my view on Ezekiel 76 to cause conflicts because it’s just not important (and in this case, non-existent).
3. I don’t discuss personal matters related to my current job. duh. not even “anonymous” stories. people will either know the person (so it’s still just gossip or breaking of confidence), or they’ll guess, which is probably worse, since now multiple characters are impugned.
4. I don’t argue politics. and every time I break that rule, I “immediately regret that decision.” that doesn’t mean I don’t care or that I’m not a good citizen. it just means that most of the people out there are too <cough> stupid <cough> to have that discussion with and me not wind up wanting to go Corleone on someone. And those generally are the people I agree with!
5. I don’t post other people’s mail. 🙂
6. I don’t write my own blog as a “comment” to some other person’s writing, and then leave 50 comments on their blog letting everyone know that “interesting post. I actually wrote an article on this topic at <insert link to my blog>.”
7. I don’t promote my blog posts with 27 twitter updates describing in different terms the same post, spread throughout the day.
8. I always try to remember that the things I say and do online are easily recordable, transmittable, and likely to show up at an interview someday when I least expect it.
9. I don’t stay up blogging when my wife says it’s time to sleep. So this list ends here.