The Ghost Of Blog-Posts Past

” I bear the posts I wrote in life! I composed them; word by word, ‘graph by ‘graph, and title by title. But they are none so poisonous as those you bear Ebenezzer Blogger!”

Late last year the Beast, in a fit of pique over the results of the November elections composed and posted a profane, ranting column that pretty much lost him most of his regular readers. He recouped over time, but that post haunts him to this day; it was a mistake that will never go away because it’s securely cached in the Google Archives, like a ticking IED in the hold of a jetliner. It will forever be associated with this blog. Every once in a while it will come up on his stats page and when when he realizes that somebody’s read it he cringes, but there’s nothing he can do; even deleted off this page, it still exists somewhere.

Your blog is more public than a mannequin in a department store window; it is on full display to the entire world twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. If you blog under your real name, every post is inescapably, permanently YOU and it will remain so until either civilization collapses or you die.

Actually, it will go on after you die.

So before you hit that “Publish” button, you need to ask yourself a simple question: “Will I be proud to be haunted by this forever?” If the answer is anything less than a resounding “YES”, then don’t do it.

The Beast has a female friend who got deeply into the early 80’s Punk movement in Boston and thought, at age nineteen, it would be a good idea to cover her back, shoulders and arms to the wrist with winding green dragon tattoos. After a time she married a businessman and all was well until his career took off. One day, when he was up for a big promotion, his CEO invited him and the other candidates to a cocktail party. A fancy dress cocktail party. A little-black-dress-fancy-dress cocktail party.

He and his wife (now in her thirties) were confronted with a dilemma: do corporate execs and windy green dragon tatts go together? Probably not. So she was forced to wear something sleeved and high necked. Most of the other wives and girlfriends at the party were in something lower cut. She felt frumpy. There have been more parties over the years, and in all of them she has been forced to wear pretty much the same thing. And she hates it. She hates her tattoos now. A style decision made in her youth now haunts her every day.

The same holds true for your blog posts, folks. Employers now routinely run web searches on applicants names and if they read anything that could potentially embarass them they don’t hire. That’s just the way it is. Consider the two bloggers hired by the John Edwards campain: their rhetorical molotov blog-cocktails gained them a lot of attention within the Liberal Blogosphere, but they had to “resign” when some of their nuttier blog-rants were exposed. Poof!

What to do about it?

The Beast suggests you cover your butts and write two blogs. Build one under your real name and another under a pseudonym and keep them VERY separate. The “Name Blog” should be more of a marketing tool: an extended resume designed to make you look good to a potential employer. The “Rant Blog” can reflect your darker, wilder self but should be set up so you can walk away from it at any time. This means don’t link them to each other and don’t cross-post.

It’s possible that your wild blog could become so popular that you might have to step out of the shadows to reap the rewards, but not likely. And if it does happen, well, we should ALL have that kind of trouble. But at least you won’t be forced to work at Wal*Mart for the rest of your life because employers keep turning you down based on the rantings you posted on your blog drunk three years ago.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted April 6, 2007 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Sounds pretty reasonable to me… 🙂

  2. carlie_rae_1973
    Posted April 10, 2007 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    So, where’s your second blog? 😛

  3. Posted April 10, 2007 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    i must say, Beast, i disagree with the conclusion “think before you post”. i actually believe that what makes blogging better than other forms of communication is exactly that you can be spontanues, thoughtless, and amatorial… if we lose that, then we lose blogging.

    having said that, it all changes if, as you say, you’ve got your name on it…

    p.s. what do i have to google to find this memorable post of yours that i must have missed (given that im still here)?

  4. Posted April 10, 2007 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    You are so right. I have been thinking the same many times myself, when I read blogs that expose the writer in a rather vulnerable way.
    It took me long time of thinking before I decided to use my real name on my blog.
    In my case, it is because;
    ~ I am old and out of the working-marked.
    ~ My children are grown ups and do not use the same sirname as me.
    ~ I am in a situation that I can be “off the world” any time.
    ~ But it was something I wanted to get off my chest while I still had time.
    That’s the reason in my case.
    Still, one of my children got nervous after I wrote “public letter to my children” In another blog and on a podcast I had.

    I had to remind him that no one knew that he is my son, unless HE tells so.
    But that letter at least brought him to contact me after 17 years.
    To go public was the only way to come in contact with my family.
    That is also the reason for writing my book “Tell Me Who I Am” under my real name.
    (My second book, and the last one, is also at the publisher now for review.)

    I did it for a purpose … I can leave now, any time.
    “I wanted to mark the soil I have been walking” … Now it is marked … what I wanted to say is said and it will be there after my death.

  5. Posted April 10, 2007 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Carlie,

    The Beast sees no need to have a “Name blog” as of yet so there is none. His multiple nom de plumes seem to be doing their job.

    Yucca,

    If memory serves you were the Beast’s very first commenter. We started out blogs roughly at the same time, did we not? As for your dissent it is noted. But in reading your blog The Beast noticed that the kind of anguished, profane howling of which he speaks doesn’t appear to be there anyway.

    Click the BeetleWeasel for a link to the offending post and it will be provided for your sniggering pleasure, since you are so interested in the dark side.

    Kirsen,

    As long as you didn’t name the kid he has no basis for complaint. ESPECIALLY the little Bastard’s gone 17 years without contacting his mom. The Beast calls his mom twice a week and takes his kids to dinner there three sundays out of the month. Those who do not show consideration deserve none in return.


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