Will I Be Dooced?

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My private life is in danger. My students have found my Myspace page. Will I be dooced?

This is actually something that I think is relevant to the big blog rollout my school is planning for. Having school-sanctioned blogging is a tacit blurring between one’s academic and personal pursuits. Normally that’s the sort of thing we strive for in the classroom; we are, after all, always trying to show the relevance of learning and literacy. But when there is no clear demarcation between what is a classroom activity and what is not, issues of institutional responsibility and control come into play.

Perhaps the school has a say in what is or is not appropriate for blogs hosted at school, but what about blogs hosted elsewhere? What about a trackback to a blog hosted at the school? If someone googles “Penn Charter” and my blog comes up on the first page, does that automatically extend my status as a representative of the school?

I generally follow some (what I think to be) common sense guidelines:

  • I avoid mentioning the actual names of students or colleagues
  • I keep specific grievances and gossip to myself
  • I do not publicize or give out the URL of my blog to students (although I don’t lie about its existence when asked point-blank)
  • I don’t post the specifics of assignments and assessments

That last one was something that contributed to me taking down my last blog. I’ve learned to value a certain amount of opaqueness about grades and curriculum, and I realized it could be a complicated thing to give away too much of my planning online, even if my blog could function as an effective content management system (CMS).

On the other hand, I do mention school issues and activities from time to time. I also post pictures I’ve taken — and though those pictures are generally not captioned, students do appear in them. I also don’t hesitate to talk about my personal life, sometimes rather frankly, and that includes my religious beliefs.

Is there more I should or should not be doing? Is this going too far or not far enough?

I personally feel this is something the faculty and staff in my school ought to hash out, and maybe receive some protection in our contracts.

Somewhat Related:
George Bush Gets a Myspace Profile. PopoZao!

myspace, blog, privacy, censorship, etiquette

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