Newbie Blogger Initiative 2016 - Think Before You Blog
The internet has a reputation for being both transient and anonymous. However this is far from true. Blogs and websites may well come and go but sites such as the Wayback Machine contain a wealth of archived information and content. Tools such as Cache View can be extremely useful in finding deleted or amended posts on sites and forums. It is also not especially difficult to discover the true identity of internet personalities and popular bloggers. Don't believe me? Type your own real name in to Google and see what comes up. I think you'll be surprised by the results.
It is therefore worth remembering that your written content may be available long after you have ceased to care about it. This could work to your advantage in the years to come, when someone discovers your long lost words of wisdom. However there’s also a chance that your prose will return to bite you on the ass, at a time when you least expect. Therefore it does no harm to reiterate to bloggers both old and new, think before you blog. In a world were social media and our individual online footprint have increasing significance, it is wise to pause for thought and consider the impact of our words.
I was recently recommended for a rather niche job and because the position interested me, I decided to pursue it out of curiosity. I was interviewed by someone half my age who ran a startup, who grilled my quite extensively about my employment history. His final question was regarding my online activities, which I explained were predominantly associated around my personal writing. I was surprised by how important this question has become to the recruiting process. In a nutshell, employers want to ensure that there is nothing buried in an employee’s online history that can blow back on them.
I encountered a similar issue last year when trying to find established internet personalities who’d be prepared to endorse the Newbie Blogger Initiative. Sadly many were loath to do so for exactly the same reason employers are. No one want's to run the risk of negative publicity. I’ve written over two thousand blog posts for Contains Moderate Peril over the years. I could easily have something controversial buried in the back catalogue. Mud sticks and no one wants their Google juice to be contaminated by endorsing something seemingly benign that then turns out to be a cesspool.
There's an old rule of thumb that says when you get a snotty email from some douche bag work colleague, sleep on the matter before you respond, or else you'll probably send an equally snotty email in return and then bang goes your moral high ground. It's pretty much the same with blogging. Think about how you respond to criticism or temper your rant about the latest internet outrage. Just because you can say something, doesn't necessarily mean that you should. Time changes everything. Remember all those important issues, TV shows and bands that you gave a shit about twenty years ago? Take a moment to consider your view on them now.
Now I'm not advocating that all new bloggers add another tortuous layer to their current content creation process. I am simply advocating that you take a moment to consider the future when you write. If you blog about your passion for a game or just post screenshots then you're not exactly at too much risk of your words coming back to haunt you. However if you write broader think pieces and stray into the more complex socio-political aspects of gaming (or any other subject), then just be aware that your writing has a greater permanency than you may imagine. Forewarned is forearmed.