What’s weighing on my mind…

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    I’ve been thinking of writing this post for a little while now.
    But I was putting it off in the hopes it would all pass…
    Unfortunately it does not seem like that is going to happen, so it’s time to come clean…

    I’m feeling very discouraged about blogging.
    Or more specifically “social media” as a whole.

    It started about a month or so ago when the whole Pinterest debate raged…
     **  Pinterest allowed to sell our images?!
    **  Pinners not supposed to pin their own work for “self promotion” – yet by pinning we’re agreeing that we “own” the copyright to the images we’re pinning?!
    **  The potential for me to be sued for lots of money I don’t have just for pinning an image on my virtual pinboard?!

    The reality of reading about people who had been sued for using images in similar ways and had to fork out thousands of dollars for breaching copyright kinda got me scared.
    What if that happened to me?!
    Little old me?!

    Then there was the case of people pinning MY images.
    Just to clarify I don’t actually mind people pinning my images as such –
    it brings my blog more traffic & it’s flattering.
    But what about when it’s images of my CHILDREN?
    According to Pinterest’s terms & conditions* – because other people pinned my images (some of my children) that automatically gave Pinterest full copyright and allowed the Pinterest powers to be to sell those images without my say so.

    Not happy thoughts!
    I got scared and a bit deflated.
    What should I do?
    I debated with myself a lot about this;
    Should I delete all my pinboards?
    “Oh but it’s just a bit of fun…”
    “But I could get in trouble…”
    “But it’s just a bit of fun…”
    “But I don’t want to delete all my pins…”
    “But I could get in trouble… do I want to take that risk?”…

    And you get the idea!

    So I decided to sit tight and quiet and see what happened. I was pretty sure Pinterest would be doing something about all the flack they were getting pretty quickly.
    In the meantime while I waited and watching I just stopped pinning. But I wasn’t quite ready to pull the pin & delete all my pins yet.
    And I was right, it didn’t take long… ** Pinterest’s terms & conditions have since been changed to omit the part about selling images & some of the other stuff they were getting flack about.

    So I tried to move on, keep on regardless.
    But the seed of unease had been planted in my mind and I haven’t been as relaxed since.
    I know I’ve been busy recently and that has been partially to blame for my lack of blogging (or lack of quality blogging) but it’s actually been more than that…
    I kind of got Blogger’s block.
    The whole Pinterest debate made me wonder {moreso than usual} whether I was doing the right thing by putting so much info & so many photos about my family & I out there for all to see.

    Then just this week 2 more things happened to Bloggers I know to make me wonder and feed my unease…

    One of the big Blogger’s I know had a photo taken off her blog without her permission, her watermark cropped off, and a “funny” slogan added. I say funny in speech marks because the slogan added to her photo was kinda funny. She admitted herself that under normal circumstances she would have laughed and moved on.
    But the reality is that photo was stolen.
    It was of her & her kids & it has since gone seriously viral.
    She has had her trust broken and is understandably not happy.

    Another of the big Blogger’s I follow – a fellow Australian – had her address made public on Facebook by one of her “followers” this week.
    Her actual address out there for all to see!
    Not cool!
    She is also understandably not happy!

    So it has all made me think even more.

    The thing is…
    I like blogging!
    I like having a record here of both my creative journey & that as a wife/mother & that of my children’s growth.
    I like to trust that my photos and thoughts will be “safe” and treated with respect when I put them out there.
    I like all the good relationships that I make through blogging.

    I have never been naive of the risks this whole time…
    Yep, I’ve always known of them, accepted them & decided to move past them.
    Because up until now the pros of blogging (in my own mind) have always overcome the cons.
    In my mind there was/is no point whinging about someone “stealing” your stuff (or copying your ideas) if you put it out there for all to see.
    But now I just don’t know.
    It’s different when it involves the kids.
    And now I’m discouraged.

    An easy solution would be to simply stop writing about or publishing photos of my kids.
    But that just wouldn’t work for me!…
    My kids are my life…
    They make me who I am.
    They give me joy, and that then flows into my writing.
    So that is not an option for me.

    Another solution, which I see a few other bloggers I follow have done recently, would be to make this blog private & by invitation only.
    But again – where’s the fun in that?!
    And really – I’m sure anybody who wants to break in could still do so.
    So really I would not be gaining anything.

    Anyway, I am an all or nothing girl. So for me it’s either a blog full of my “real”; just like I’ve been keeping, or it would no blog.
    I just can’t do the inbetween thing just about my craft.
    Or really just about some of my craft.
    That would not be me.

    So then I keep coming back to that same old question…
    What should I do?

    I have no answer yet, but I thought it was time to share.
    I’d be interested in hearing what you think of the whole “social media debate”…
    And more specifically the “what should Kat do about her blog” debate…

    Heavy thoughts I know…
    Sorry!

    ( I haven’t linked to any resources because there is just so much out there about all the social media debate stuff that it would be a case of where to begin! But if this is all new to you and you want to know more, then might I suggest you make a little visit to our friend Google…)

    30 COMMENTS

    1. That’s a lot to think of. I post pictures of my grandson but I mostly keep it about my quilting. I need to start watermarking my photos – but hey, I guess they can crop that off too. I’m sure there is a good solution. I’ll keep reading your blog to see what you do. Thanks again for sharing what you’ve been feeling.

    2. I am a bit of a “stick my head in the sand” kind of person. I like to believe that there isn’t much use in worrying about bad things that could happen, because it will just make you miserable and unable to enjoy the fact that bad things aren’t happening. So my reaction to all the hoopla going on has been “this will pass” and I do think it will. The furor will die down, people will keep on blogging, some people will have bad things happen – like the two friends you speak of – but most people will have a good time. That’s just the way it is. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. But I also believe that in the end good will prevail. You suggested to me a while ago that prayer might be helpful for the situation I told you about. I am gently gifting the suggestion back to you.

    3. good post Kat …

      I think it all comes down to what we said in the etiquette series last year – don’t post anything on the internet that you want to keep private.

      Like it or not, what we post on the internet is out there. period. We can hope that people will respect each other’s spaces but as it doesn’t happen in real life why would it happen here?

      There is bound to be upheaval while the world of intellectual copyright gets its head round this new share and adapt internet culture. All will be calm in the end …

    4. Gosh you have said pretty much the exact same things that have been going through my head.

      It really is a dilemma – all the online stuff is so much fun, but there’s a bit of a dark side to it too. So no advice or solutions just empathy!

    5. Hey Kat,

      As a fellow mother I totally understand that the whole world revolves around our children, and there are times when I’d love do as you’ve done and post pics of the kids in things I’ve made, or when they’re sewing etc..

      But in my case, my husband and I have agreed that we are not comfortable having our children’s images and their real names out there in cyberspace for all to see – for years my facebook profile has been friends only for everything, especially photos of the kids. Sadly it is a sign of the times that we live in.. we are so connected to social media that the boundaries are blurred..

      I personally will never publish photos of my children with their faces in frame (either neck down, or from behind is ok) and I use pseudonyms.

      I personally don’t have any problems using my full name on the internet, but there are times when I even question whether I should even be more cautious.

      It’s a tough call, and it’s a little scary, and I can understand why you’re questioning whether to continue or not.

      Best of luck, either way xxx

    6. Wow Kat. Selfishly I would miss you blogging tremendously as you’re such a huge part of my quilty community. Still, you have to do what keeps you and your family physically and mentally sound. Keep mulling it over, the right decision will present itself to you….but I hope that is to keep blogging 😉

    7. I personally love your blog so I hope you will continue. That being said I agree on all the issues in your post. I can only tell you to follow your own feeling of what is the right thing to do. Personally my blog only document the quilting aspect. I have a couple of more posts but never post a picture I wouldn’t mind to see in another connection. And I might disguise certain aspects. When my FIL was dying for example we were of course greatly affected by it, but I choose only to name him ‘a close relative’. I wasn’t ready to face the sadness in public yet if that makes sense. Generally I’m very careful about mentioning town names etc. I never post pictures to my Facebook profile (cause they own them) and are reluctant to pin pictures. A few of my quilts have been pinned. That’s no problem with me as they’re just things of fabric really. It’s sad that we can’t trust people more… I stand out as a very one-dimensional person in social media. But I can live with that. Behind that is a full person 🙂

    8. Ah, I have been here before with the photography world – everyone’s out to get us!!!

      Okay, ridiculous hysteria aside, like you, I knew Pinterest would change up its Ts & Cs pretty damn quickly, although there are many still propagating the original Ts & Cs as fact to whip up hysteria. Unless you make your living from the photographs people are pinning (family photos aside), does it matter? Really, what is someone going to do with it?! If you’re worried, stick a large enough copyright symbol on it to make it a complete PITA to try and remove.

      Family photos. Ah yes, since media grew to national news with sensationalist headlines, there has been hysteria generated about people getting photos of kids, and I mean pre internet here. (Incidentally, legally, anyone can walk up in a public space and take photos of your kids. There is NO law against it, much as people may not like it) The hysteria is leading to generations of kids growing up without photos recording their formative years (there’s been paranoia about the people that print the photos in the past).

      All those street photos from days gone by that we all love to admire because it shows how interesting life in the past was? Yeah, very few are taking them now because they’re afraid of being branded a paedophile – my dad was taking a photo at an outdoor art installation a couple of years ago when a security guard came over and told him he had to stop because there was a kid waaaay over to his left and the mother wanted him to stop, err, he wasn’t anywhere near the kid, or pointing the camera anywhere near him, rampant paranoia much?! Incidentally, woman taking photos like this don’t seem to get hassled. Sorry, can you tell that this is something I’ve seen raging on for a while?

      Anywho, realistically there are billions of internet users out there, and an extremely miniscule percentage is looking at your stuff. There are not masses and masses of people queueing up to steal photos of your kids, however cute they may be, but if you’re worried you can either not put them up, or put white blobs over their faces. Really though, teeny, weeny, tiny percentage of the world even knows you exist… (sorry, didn’t want to make you feel bad by that, lol)

      Okay, stepping away from the hornet’s nest now…

    9. Kat I totally hear what you’re saying. It’s hard to figure out all the conflicting demands. I have always been a bit circumspect on my blog because of my day job and I think it’s possible to have a meaningful blog without revealing too much private information. Any photos of my kids are from behind so their faces can’t be seen and I never mention their names, is that something you could consider? I am more open on FB but the info is limited to friends there.

    10. It’s a toughie! At risk of sounding somewhat archaic, how does Mr Flutter feel about his family’s life being in the public domain and his daughters’ names and faces being exposed? Maybe his opinion would make it an easier decision for you 🙂

      One of the main reasons that I don’t blog (besides simply not having enough time!) is that my hubby is very protective of our privacy (and he also has to be careful due to security restrictions with his work i.e. not telling everyone when he is away and where!) and I would find it difficult to blog just about my work and not my family.

      I am sure you will come to the right decision for you and your family 🙂

    11. It seems like any blogger with a brain is thinking about these things nowadays (especially moms). I think you have to go by how YOU feel and the longer you sit with these issue the more your own boundaries will become clear to you. Thanks for the interesting conversation!

    12. Well, I think I agree with the photographer above. It’s something I was very worried about before I began blogging. When I started I used psuedonyms for everyone, which was crazy because I couldn’t really establish any relationships with other quilters if I was too scared to tell them my name! Eventually I used my name and for the kids I just use their ages. I do use photos of them because for me they are very much a part of my life and my crafting. I did have someone recognise one of my kids when we were out in public once, but that was a good thing because she was a fellow blogger I had an email relationship with and I got to meet her in real life. Never have I regretted this. She is a lovely lady that I am pleased to know! I love my little corner of the Internet. Not many people come by there and I have met some truly wonderful people by being a bit open and sharing my life.

    13. I do hope you will continue to blog about your sewing and crafting. If you decide to say less about or show less photos of your kids/personal life, that would be a choice that no one will be bothered by, it is entirely up to you. However, if you put it on the internet, anyone can use it and they are not all nice people.

    14. I can see in the internet a whole load of paranoia, money making and other stuff which isn’t healthy, but that’s no different to the world in general.

      I pin what I like, but rarely ever upload to my blog, and if I do, it’s never other than to say ‘wow’ looks what so-and-so did and it links right back to the original.

      I show the odd pic of my kids (never in poses that I wouldn’t want seen by anyone), I have never named them on my blog or on others and would delete any comments from anyone that did by mistake.

      I never blatantly say “we are going to be on holiday, please burgle us”, and generally keep in mind that it’s not just my ‘friends’ that are reading.

      I have to consider my job, and other things in self-censorship, but I still only put out what’s ‘me’.

      Please keep blogging, pinning and don’t be scared by the hysterics.

      If everyone believed everything we were warned about, no-one would be brave enough to run a restaurant never alone eat in one for fear of poisoning someone and being sued for billions; no-one would trust ANY adult left with a child, and we would never connect to the internet, use a cash-point or public toilet.

      OK so these may end up being famous last words, but it’s worth the risk xxx

    15. You can block pinners from pinning your photos. However, it doesn’t stop them from stealing your pictures. I always resize my pictures before uploading them. This way, they don’t have the original pictures. Also, keep the raw format as it has the metadata. Thieves will not have the metadata and you can prove it’s your picture. I’m doing research into how I can block people from even right clicking on and saving the pictures. I was shocked to find out that some of my friends did this with some pictures of me without my permission. It made me feel stalked and icky.

    16. I personally hope you keep blogging, because I enjoy your blog. However, I know my elder daughter would be livid if I mentioned her by name, though I suspect my younger wouldn’t mind. I therefore refer to them as DD1 and DD2, as in darling daughter, not sarcastic in this instance!
      My son is similarly referred to as my son.
      I wouldn’t put up identifiable images of them without their permission, but then, they are all adults, and both daughters have images of themselves on their blogs.

      Small children are another matter, and I did make some stuff on flickr private, after someone ‘creeped me out’ by making a picture of DD2 a favourote, I looked at their stream, and went ‘yeurgh’. I did a lot of thinking at that point.

      I am sure you will come to a sane conclusion for you and your family.

      Good luck FlutterKat, and we will all understand if you bow out, even temporarily.

    17. Taking a slightly different approach, I tend to think how can I teach my children to be safe with their own personal information (when they are old enough to use the internet) if I put our whole life out there on my blog?

      My husband is not happy for me to put lots of photos of everyone on my blog, that’s why I don’t show faces etc… I think its a decision that you need to come to as a family.

      A friend of mine’s daughter was recently out and about and a (lovely) fellow blogger recognised her daughter. My friend felt TERRIBLE that she was plastering photos of her daughter on the web and that anybody could recognise her, but she discussed it with her husband and he wasn’t phased at all! Talk to Mr Flutterkat and see what he thinks.

      I know you’ll do what’s right for you and your family 🙂
      Good luck.

    18. Like you, I sat back and waited for Pinterest to change their T&C and, sure enough, they did. They actually listened to the worries of their pinners and did something about it. Kudos to “Ben and the Pinterest team”.

      I don’t know what the solution is for you but I’ve started putting the name of my blog on my photos – when I remember! (I *always* have to go back and re-do them!) But then, I don’t have young children and it might be different if I did.

      Just a few words of warning to you and some of your commenters – there is a code that Pinterest supplies for you to stop people pinning things from your blog. Now that’s all very well but people can still get your photos by either right-clicking or, if you have the right-click thing blocked, they can take a screenshot and pin that instead.

      Personally, I’d much rather someone pinned something from my blog which links back to my blog than pinning my photo from their computer which would say “uploaded by user” with no link back.

    19. Oh Kat, this is very hard. I have periods like this myself and really wish I could offer some amazing life clarifying advice, but I cant!

      All I can say is there will always be a few that will spoil it for the many, I hope you manage to reslove this, I would be so sad to see you stop. I wish I had more time to comment but life with children, 2 jobs, a craft addiction etc doesn’t leave many hours in the day. At least we will meet in June!

    20. Hmmmm definitely food for thought. I personally don’t mind putting photos of my family on my blog as I am not a big hitter and it is mostly friends who read anyway. I like to believe that people who do read have the same morals and values as myself and ‘trust’ that no one is using my material in a bad way. Having said that I don’t post any pictures of the kids that could be used in a bad way either. I don’t usually put any Pins in my blog either once all the ‘who ha’ started about copyright etc and I don’t mind if someone pins my creations as everything I create is available on the web anyway if you want to look for it. I would be concerned if I was doing more original stuff but like someone else said it brings more traffic to your blog so I guess thats good if thats what you want. Its a fine line isn’t it. I think we would all like a popular blog but there is responsibility and risk to go with that fame. Good luck with your search, your inner voice will let you know the right thing to do 🙂

    21. Hi Kat. It is lovely being one of your far-away friends…but whatever you decide I 100% support you…You are a fantastic wife & mother & that will always be the most important thing!

    22. I’ve hardly been on pinterest since the whole who-ha about it kicked off. Good to know it’s been resolved.

      The other issue of theft of stuff is a biggie too. When I first started blogging I read another blog that had links to posts done by people that had had major rip off’s of their lives via their blogs. I’m talking someone stealing their family photos and blogging about them as if they were their own. (I can probably find the links if you’re that interested and they’re still out there?)

      Also I am never happy when I go to a blog (particularly of someone I don’t know) and find they have taken my pictures and blogged about my stuff without letting me know. It’s so rude. Most of the time if someone asks I’d be only too pleased to say of course go ahead but maybe you could link back to my blog.

    23. I’m visiting your blog for the first time after seeing links about the blog ettiquette series. Of course, I got distracted with this post as it’s something that I think about all the time.

      I’m not a Pinterest user myself but do have photos of mine pinned. I finally decided that instead of blocking that, I would put a watermark over the main subject of the photo. That way it prevents someone from just cropping it off. I do try to place it so it doesn’t get in the way of everything, but I do think it is important for me to have it there.

      I’m not a parent yet but have thought about the parents who post so many photos of their children. I respect those parents who opt not to do that as I think that would be the route I would go. My blog isn’t a lifestyle focus anyway and is more about my art and creative process.

      It’s nice to see others are having the same uncertainties on how to protect themselves and their loved ones.

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