The modern man does not need to go out in the market to earn money, as today the market is available right in our homes through the internet. There are many ways to make money while sitting at home and one of those ways is to start your very own blog.
What is a blog?
To simply say a Blog is like a personal telephone call crossed with newspapers. It is the perfect tool for sharing your favorite chocolate cake recipe with people you know or for highlighting the basic tenets of democracy by making the public aware of the fact that a corrupt government official has been over the years paying off your boss.
How a blog works?
If you blog, there are certainly no guarantees that you will attract a readership of thousands. But at a minimum few readers will find your blog, and they can be the people you would least expect or want. These may include current or potential employers, coworkers, and professional colleagues; your neighbors; your partner or spouse; your family; and anyone else who is curious enough to type your name and email address or just screen name into Google or Feedster and click on a few links.
Who sees your blog?
The point which I am trying to make is that anyone can eventually find your blog one way or the other if your real identity is tied to it in some way. However, there can be a few consequences. Family members may not accept your opinion, and they might get shocked or upset when they read your uncensored thoughts. A potential boss may also think twice about hiring you. But such concerns should not stop you from writing what you think. Instead, what you can do is you can keep your blog confidential, or accessible only to certain people who you trust.
Precautions to take before You Start A Blog
Here I offer a few and simple precautions that would help you to maintain the control of your personal privacy so that you can openly express yourself without going through any unjust retaliation. If you correctly follow these protections, then they can save you from awkwardness, embarrassment or just plain weirdness in front of all your friends. Family and co-workers.
Probably the best way to blog and still maintain the secrecy and preserve some privacy is to do it anonymously. But being anonymous is not as easy as you may think.
Let us assume that you want to start a blog about the terrible work environment of your office, but you don’t want your name to get out and risk your boss or colleagues discovering that you are writing about them. You would want to consider and plan out how to anonymize every possible detail about your own situation. And you might also want to use one of many technologies that will make it hard for anyone to trace the original blog back to you.
Use a pen name and Don’t Give out any identifying details
When you write about your office, be sure not to leak out any telling details. These may include things such as where you are located, the total number of employees there are, and the specific kind of business you do. Even the general details can give away a lot more than you think. For example, you write on your blog that, “I work at an unnamed weekly newspaper company in Seattle,” you have not mentioned that company’s name, but still it’s clear that you work in one of two places. So play it smart. Instead, you could say that you work at a media outlet in a moderately sized city. Obviously, do not use real names or post your own pictures or anything that could relate to you. And do not use pseudonyms that may sound like your original name they are based on, for instance, do not anonymize the name “William” by using the name “Willy.” Because it would be obvious. And remember that almost any kind of private information could give your identity away, that is, you can be the only one at your workplace with a specific birthday, or with an orange laptop.
That is not all if you are worried about your colleagues finding out about your blog, then simply do not blog while you are at your workplace. You could also get in trouble for using the company’s resources like an Internet connection for maintaining your blog, and it will be difficult for you to argue that the blog is a work-related activity which benefits the company. It will also be very hard for you to conceal your blogging from officemates and the IT operators who observe all the traffic over the office network.
Use Anonymizing Technologies
There are several technical solutions for the blogger who wants to remain anonymous and keep his identity in secrecy.
If you are concerned that your blog-hosting service might be logging your unique IP address and thus tracking what computer you are blogging from, you can also use the secret network “Tor” to edit and work on your blog. Tor routes your whole Internet traffic through what is called an “overlay network” which hides your IP address. But more importantly, Tor makes it very difficult for snoops on the Internet to stalk and follow the path your data takes and then trace it back to you.
Use Ping Servers
If you want to shield your privacy while getting the news out quickly, then try using ping servers which will broadcast your blog entry for you. Pingomatic http://www.pingomatic.com is a tool which you can download; it allows you to do this by broadcasting to a lot of news venues all at once, it does all that while making you untraceable. The tool will send out notice which will be a “ping” about your blog entry to multiple blog search engines out there like Feedster and Technorati. Once these sites list your entry that is usually within a few minutes, you can then take the entry down. Thus the news gets out quickly and its source can disappear within just half an hour. Thus protecting the speaker while also helping the blog entry reach people rapidly.
Limit Your Audience
Several blogging services that include LiveJournal allows you to designate individual posts or your whole blog as available only to those individuals who have the password, or to the people whom you have designated as friends. If your blog’s primary goal is to communicate to family and friends, and if you want to avoid any collateral damage to your privacy then you may consider using such a feature. If your blog is hosted by yourself, then you can also set it up to be password protected, or to be only visible to the people looking at it from specified computers.
Don’t Be Googleable
If you want to exclude the most major search engines such as Google from including your blog in the search results, then you could create a special file which tells the search engine to ignore your domain. The file is known as robots.txt or a Robots Text File. You could also use it to exclude search engines from gaining access to particular parts of your blog. If you do not know how to do this yourself, then you can use the “Robots Text File Generator” tool which is available for free at Web Tool Central. However, it is important to remember that the search engines like Google might choose to ignore a robots.txt file, hence making your blog easily searchable. There are many other tools and tricks for making your blog less searchable and visible, without solely relying on robots.txt.
Register Your Domain Name Anonymously
Even if you do not give your real name or your personal information on your blog, people can still look up the WHOIS records for your real domain name and thereby find out who you are. If you do not want anyone to know who you are then considering registering the domain name of your blog anonymously.
Blog without Getting Fired
Only a handful of bloggers have just discovered that their labors of love could lead to unemployment. According to various estimates, dozens of people have been terminated for blogging, and still, the numbers are growing each day.
However, the bad news is that in most cases, there are no legal means of redress if you have been fired for blogging. While the First Amendment safeguards your right to free speech, but still this protection does not guard you against the consequences of what you say. The First Amendment does protect speech from being censored by the government, but it does not regulate what private parties (that are mostly employers) do. In the United States with “at will” employment laws like California, employers can fire you at any moment and for any reason. And no state has such laws which specifically protect the bloggers from harsh discrimination, on the job or otherwise.
One way to make sure that your blog does not earn you a red letter is to make sure that you write about specific protected topics. Many states have laws that are designed to prevent employers from firing people who openly talk about their politics outside of workstation. Such laws do vary from one state to another that is why is good to keep your eyes and ears open because many laws are still untested when it comes to blogging.
Most states also including California, have sections in their Labor Code which prohibit employers from regulating their employees’ political affiliations and activities, or by influencing the employees’ political activities by threatening to fire them ultimately. For example, If you blog about membership in the Libertarian Party and your boss fires you for doing that then you may very well file a lawsuit against him or her.
In most states, writing or talking about unionizing your workforce is actively protected by the law, therefore in most cases blogging about your efforts to unionize will be safe. Also, if you are in a union, then it is possible that your contract may have been negotiated in a way which allows blogging. Some states also protect “concerted” speech about the workplace, meaning that if two or more people create a blog which discusses the conditions in their place of work, then this activity will be protected under local labor laws.
Mostly there are legal safeguards to protect whistleblowers–people who reveal the harmful activities of their employers for the greater good of the public. However, most people have a fallacy that if you report the regulatory violations such as toxic emissions limits or the illegal activities of your employer in a blog, then you are protected. But that is not the case. You have to report all the problems to the concerned regulatory or law enforcement bodies first. While you can also complain to a manager at your company. But still, it is better to notify somebody in authority about the sludge your company has been dumping in the wetlands first, then blog about it.
Blogging on Your Work for the Government
If you are working for the government then blogging about what is happening at the office is safeguarded speech under the First Amendment. And it is also in the public interest to know what ‘s going on behind the closed doors because citizens are paying you with their hard earned tax dollars. But of course, do not post confidential or classified information.
Legal Off-Duty Activities
Some states have such laws that protect an employee or applicant’s legal off-duty blogging, especially if the individual has no policy or a troublesome restrictive policy in reference to off-duty speech activities. For example, California has a law which protects employees from “suspension, demotion or discharge from employment for lawful conduct which occurs during the nonworking hours and is away from the employer’s premises.” But these laws have never been tested in a blogging context. And If you are fired for blogging while off-duty then you should contact an employment attorney and find out what rights you might have.
Blog Without Any Fear
Blogs are gaining a lot of attention these days. You can no longer safely presume that the people in your offline life will not find out about your blog if you ever could. The new RSS tools and services make it, even more, easier than ever to search and aggregate entire blog entries. As long as you blog anonymously and in a complete work-safe way, what you say on your blog is far less likely to come back to you in a troubling way.