As security hacking methods become more sophisticated and creative, online publishers need to be especially on guard of their personal information. Another danger we encounter as we access information with expert SEO engineering attached to it is that not all information on the web is not true, accurate, or correctly attributed. The following are common best practices to ensure safe blogging.
1. Don’t post personal information online.
A Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) site points out that this is “the easiest way to keep your information private.” More specifically, don’t ever post your full birth date (month, day, and year), your address, or your phone numbers. But, Kathryn, you say, you don’t have control over everyone who could potentially post that information. RIT answers that by saying, “Don’t hesitate to ask friends to remove embarrassing or sensitive information about you from their posts either.” It takes some mindfulness, but it’s worth it in the long run.
2. Be wary of the people you communicate with.
The web as a whole does not go out of its way to make sure to verify the identity of its users. It is always best to be cautious of the people you interact with online. When chatting, exchanging contact information, or networking, be very careful. The RIT has posted several best practices along this vein.
3. Determine the purpose and intended audience of your blog, then strongly consider being private or public and allowing comments.
If your blog in a personal journal with a limited audience, it may be safe to make it private. However, if you intend to build a following for a business or to network with other people out there like you, public is probably the way to go. The Center for Digital Ethics and Policy has a full page dedicated to safe, ethical blogging practices. It also talks about transparency and attribution, among other important decisions bloggers need to consider as they create a style, voice, and brand for their blogs.
As online resources, blogs extend educators’ reach infinitely. They are not as formal or conventional as research papers, they are not as expensive to access as a conference presentation, and they can be accessed as quickly as you can type in the address, look at your RSS feed, or click on a link. They are convenient. But that doesn’t mean they hold any less value than those research papers or presentations. In fact, you may find they give them a run for their money with socio-cultural interaction capabilities, linking capabilities, and ease-of-publishing capabilities. Here are a few that I’ve found to be inspirational, well-designed, and fulfilling certain gaps in the field of education.
Edutech for Teachers was created and is maintained by Jamie Forshey, an instructional technology specialist and teacher at the Bellwood-Antis School District in Central PA. Her “About” section indicates that the blog “is dedicated to innovative teaching and learning through the use of technology and digital media that engages students in learning while providing them with a 21st Century educational experience.” Among other things, her posts are updates on ongoing projects with her students, videos her students have made, and cool teaching tools she has found. I find these to be very inspiring, especially as she includes a section in each post called “Classroom Connection,” where she gives her readers a few tips for how to apply the principles from the post into their lesson planning or general education research. Her blog address (also linked above) is: http://edutech4teachers.edublogs.org/.
Journalism students at Cactus Canyon Jr. High started Cougar News Blog as a media outlet as they wrote about their school’s events. In the site’s “About” section, the students write “Students try to blog stories about current events at our school weekly, but we write our stories very fast, so our teacher, Jason Davis, enrolled us into the EduBlogs contest.” Here, the blog becomes a teaching tool – it familiarizes the students with online publishing technology, it reaches places the printed school paper cannot, it encourages and supports faster production, and it makes students aware of what other kinds of resources are out there. The blog address (also linked above) is: http://cougarnewsblog.com/.
As a self-proclaimed cybrarian, Julie Greller uses her blog, A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet, to inform her readers of tools available to teachers and librarians. It has tips for using internet tools and links to online resources, including inspirational videos and free book apps. The blog address (also linked above) is: http://mediaspecialistsguide.blogspot.com/.