Before You Click “Publish,” Part 3

I’m linking up this morning with Company Girls! Welcome, ladies!

This is the LAST of this week’s three-part series devoted to helping your voice be heard in a public online setting such as a blog or forum. In The Soapbox (Posting Your Opinion, Monday) and The Snappy Comeback (Disagreeing With an Opinion Post, Wednesday), I suggested ways to keep online conversations civilized: things like sticking with the issues, avoiding logic errors, and showing respect for people who disagree with you. But while I’m at it, I also want to throw in a word about including family members in your posts.

Part 3: The Skeleton Closet (Posting About Your Family)

1. Respect! My top priority is to respect my husband’s and kids’ feelings. I mention them often, as long as the subject is either neutral (“My husband and sons like to play paintball”) or positive (“I’m proud of the way my sons have explored career paths”).

2. I really try to be fair, neither whiny nor overly rose-tinted, as I describe various aspects of our family. I don’t want to bore you with some implausible fantasy about how absolutely perfect our kids were when they were little. But neither is it fair for me to vent about normal childhood mishaps as if the boys had been deliberately trying to ruin my life. Such a one-sided account is equally implausible. Neither will be of any value to the reader.

3. If you have a serious grievance against close relatives, especially your own spouse or children, it honestly does not help anything for you to air that “dirty laundry” in public. You may gain some sympathy from strangers, but probably at the cost of any trust your loved ones have in you. Better to deal with those issues in a private setting, protecting your family from public scrutiny. As 1 Peter 4:7-9 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” And Paul reminds us in 1 Corianthians 13 that love “is not self-seeking (v. 5),” but rather “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (v.7).”

4. However, there is a place for transparency and community support when you are dealing with a difficult, no-fault situation such as a handicapped or seriously ill family member.

5. We have no such difficulties in my immediate family. If I do tell a story on any one of us, it is usually either
a) to illustrate some insight I have gained, or
b) just for a laugh.
Either way, if it’s about my husband or son, I almost always run it by them first, to make sure they don’t mind my tattling sharing. Some pastors have a clear policy of never using their child as a sermon illustration without that child’s permission. I have tremendous respect for that.

6. Proofread for grammar and spelling so you don’t sound illiterate. (Yes, you have seen this one before.)

I hope this series has given you some tools for preventing online conflict, and for dodging those bullets that do get through.

Thanks for reading!

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
This entry was posted in Near As I Can Figure..., Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Before You Click “Publish,” Part 3

  1. Marie says:

    Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your prayers for my hubby and Sunday morn. There is respite but you have to apply for it and the process takes a looooong time…….so I just keep going. Have a good wknd.


  2. Julia says:

    These are some great tips. I completely agree with you. My husband and I have been discussing why people blog. He and I think that personal issues should be discussed with people face to face, not aired online. He also thinks that church pastors should refrain from using so many personal illustrations (he was a PK). Thanks for the reminders to think before sharing too much!


  3. Star says:

    I agree! My hubby and kids read my blog all the time, so I never say anything about them that I wouldn’t say to them. I do think that there are times the blogging friends I have made are great for advice and if I am having a struggle that I feel is not overly private, I will share it for some wisdom but I definitely do not want to put all my dirty laundry out there forever and ever to be read by who knows who.


  4. Jen says:

    This is great! I didn’t realize you were doing this series until I stopped by today. Now, how about some tips about breaking into writing as a job? Maybe?


    • Jan says:

      Hi, Jen! Thanks for the kind comment — and the question, which I am mightily unworthy to answer! Before I graduated from college last year, I looked for actual writing jobs on Believe it or not, there were a few in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I’m also emailing you a link to another resource that I hope will help.


  5. Erin says:

    Hi Jan,

    I wanted to thank you for visiting my blog today and for your kind and encouraging words- you truly brightened my day. Thank you.

    I also wanted to thank you for this series, I really like it!! I can’t wait to read it more in depth. I’ve often shied away from speaking my mind because it seems like there is always someone who comes off as intellectually or theologically elite that is so overbearingly critical. I’m not, by any means, calling myself “The Great Communicator”, but just a little grace, please… 🙂

    Thanks again, I hope you have a great day,



Your Turn: comments welcome here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.