How do I blog? 2016 version.
December 18, 2015 7:57 AM   Subscribe

With a lot of changes happening in my life, I'd like to keep an online diary of sorts. I know nothing about blogging. But I'd like to anonymously post all kinds of things.

1. Is this something I can do anonymously and safely? (I know-- I sound paranoid. I'm new. I'm a woman. I've heard horror stories about women who... blog.)

2. I'd like to be able to make posts and then delete them at will. I don't expect to scrub published work from the internet, but I basically want to remove posts if I regret their content after a while. (I'm hoping my writing and perspective will mature. You know.)

3. I'd like to be able to allow subscribers, whom I could contact if they opened the possibility. Is that a given?

4. Free is good, cheap is fine. I don't like ads.

Again, I don't know how these things work, but I'm sure some of you will point me in the right direction, because you're wonderful. I'm transitioning in my career, and addressing some issues in my personal life, and also exploring new interests, and I was hoping for a place for all of these things to find an internet home. Maybe somebody doing a search, down the road, would benefit from the experiences I will document. Maybe when I encounter those people who are like, "You really should be on facebook blah-de-blah-de-blah" --friends-- I can say hey check out my blog. It's a little over-share-y but hey.

Any and all ideas/advice welcome.
posted by little_dog_laughing to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Tumblr. It's really easy to use, you can follow other people or not as you choose, and anonymity is just a (throwaway if you like) email address and a password away.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:01 AM on December 18, 2015

The one issue you may have with Tumblr is that while you can delete your posts from YOUR account, AFAIK you cannot delete your posts where they have been reblogged by other users.

Apart from that, Tumblr is female-friendly and has a huge variety of content and meets the remainder of your requirements.
posted by pie ninja at 8:11 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tumblr actually seems like a bad idea if you want to be able to delete your content later. As pie ninja said, once someone else has reblogged it, you cannot delete it from their blog, so it will live on on the platform. Other than that, it's a good solution because it can have more of a communal feel (if that is attractive to you.)

The more conventional blogging choice would be a blog at (That's the free version of wordpress.) Super easy and intuitive to use, no cost, people can subscribe to your blog via jetpack, and it has much better SEO than tumblr, so if people finding your things through google search is a consideration, then it's probably the better choice.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 9:08 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Maybe you would like Livejournal - basic accounts are free, long time community, good privacy controls, sharing and commenting is straightforward.

If the act of regular writing is more important than the sharing, maybe you would like the more private 750words structured reminders to keep you motivated over the long haul after your initial burst of inspiration wanes.

If ease of use and sharing is the most important, perhaps set up a pseudonymous Facebook page? Or perhaps Blogger?

Remember, time spent figuring out the tech side is time not spent actually writing your words. Pick one and move forward. Best luck on your writing journey, documenting all the changes!
posted by enfa at 9:37 AM on December 18, 2015

Maybe you would like Livejournal - basic accounts are free, long time community, good privacy controls, sharing and commenting is straightforward

Yes, or Dreamwidth, which has very similar functionality and some better privacy controls. Although LJ does have a lot more themes available to use, if you don't want to design your own.
posted by suelac at 10:01 AM on December 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

Seconding Dreamwidth. It's a womanfriendly community and the privacy controls are quite fine-grained. Also, it's free and does not show ads to anyone, ever.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:48 AM on December 18, 2015

It's not enough to just be anonymous yourself, you must also pseudonymize any people, pets, and places from your life that you reference in your posts. Otherwise people who know you and stumble across your blog will be able to figure out pretty quickly who you are, and sometimes complete strangers can piece together enough clues to deduce your identity.

In my experience, using capitalized descriptions as pseudonyms -- e.g., Dear Husband, Annoying Cat, Soulless Day Job, Boring Midwestern City -- is much easier for both you and your readers to keep track of than to give everyone and everything a new actual name.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:56 AM on December 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

I am a woman who...blogs. I have removed several old sites due to Reasons. So I hear ya.

I have used WordPress. I switched to blogspot and I am much happier.


It isn't even enough to use pseudonyms like Dear Husband. If someone is able to trace the blog back to you, you have effectively talked trash about a whole lot of people who can now be identified due to their relationship to you.

Best practices that I have developed:

When criticizing or kvetching, use the most unidentifiable description you can come up with that doesn't somehow interfere with the point you are making. So instead of sister/mother/uncle/spouse/coworker/boss and other specific relationships, use descriptions like "a relative", or "a woman I know". If you go with "a relative" and their gender is not pertinent to the story, use singular they to leave their identity as anonymous as possible.

If you really need to just full out bitch about something, don't blog. Start a web comic or fictional thing. Try to write a story that accurately expresses your feelings without accurately identifying who, what and where from your real life.

If you in any way identify someone -- such as calling them husband, sister, boss, etc -- speak in neutral or positive ways about them. You don't just need to kiss ass the entire time, but if you cannot find any compassion, sympathy or understanding for their aggravating behavior, don't blog. Write fiction or keep a private journal instead. No poison pen blogging. Put that on a sticky note. No poison pen blogging. Ever. They will find you. It will come back to bite you.

Talk about how you feel all you want.
Talk about small details, like what you ate today, in as much detail as you want.
Be incredibly careful with statements that could serve as identifying information: places, people, relationships, type of work you do, etc.

If there are two or more unusual things about you, write about only one of them per anonymous blog. If you are a LGBTQ vegan rock star, no two of those should ever appear together anywhere. Have an LGBTQ anonymous blog. Have a vegan anonymous blog. Have a music blog separate from the other two.

Write about either you, yourself and I where any references to other people place them as supporting cast or write about ideas or broader circumstances, I.e. your experience as a mother in the larger context of modern life and how that experience informs your views and opinions. Do not blog to write about other people. If you really just want to write about other people, then either write it as fiction or do something positive and factually accurate. Talking trash about other people is where you will get in trouble.

Be aware that even if you only talk about you, yourself and I, you are still at risk of making other people feel criticized and attacked for their choices. There are ways to work on framing that help, but I don't have some nutshell rule of thumb. Just be aware that when you say things like "I felt x was the morally correct thing to do" people who made another choice feel slammed by implication.

You don't have to sanitize absolutely everything of any kind of identifier or judgment value. A certain amount of character helps make it relatable and makes for good writing. But you can always choose to add more of that later, whereas putting the cat back in the bag is nigh impossible. So until you have more of a feel for it, err on the side of caution.

If you go with blogger, you can memail me for technical tips on how to remove certain kinds of information and further reduce your exposure.

Best of luck and happy blogging.
posted by Michele in California at 1:15 PM on December 18, 2015

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