Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Following: Privacy Vs Transparency

In the subject of Blogger blogs and use of Following, we periodically see conflicting queries in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?.
How do I Follow my favourite blog, without being seen?
and
How do I get a list of my private Followers?
These queries are mutually contradictory - and possibly come from people who don't get the concept of Following.

The idea of Following is two fold.
  1. Have your icon displayed, on the face of your blog of interest.
    • If the blog of your interest has a Followers gadget.
    • If the Followers gadget is not fully populated, with newer Followers.
  2. Get a newsfeed subscription, to your blog of interest.
If you don't like the idea of being seen, as a Follower of any given blog, you have several options.
  1. Not Follow the blog.
  2. Follow the blog, anonymously.
  3. Subscribe to the newsfeed of the blog, in any newsfeed reader.
It appears that options #2 and #2 are functionally the same - except that #2 leaves you with using the "Manage Blogs I'm Following" wizard, if you want to disassociate yourself from a given blog - while #3 leaves you with a simple newsfeed subscription management issue.

Some blog owners, possibly those who worry about anonymity (generally) and stalkers (specifically), would like #2 and #3 removed as alternate choices, and leave their guests with just two choices.
  1. Not Follow their blog.
  2. Follow their blog, and be known to the owner, but (hopefully) not to the Following community.
As a blog guest, you would then have several options, vaguely similar to the above.
  1. Not Follow the blog.
  2. Follow the blog, anonymously, and be seen by the owner, but (hopefully) not the general Following community.
  3. Subscribe to the newsfeed of the blog, in any newsfeed reader, and be seen by nobody.
Of course, #3 will still be a possible problem, to the blog owners who fear stalkers.

It's possible that if you are a blog owner who worries about stalkers, and wishes to insist on seeing all Followers - including those who wish to be anonymous, you will leave your readers with just two choices.
  1. Not Follow your blog.
  2. Follow your blog, and be known to you.
This may cause some readers to
  1. Not Follow your blog.
Will you really benefit, from the latter?

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2 comments:

MeilleurCafe said...

I've seen online reports that say Google is eliminating private profiles as of the end of July 2011. If you do not change your profile setting from "private," they will eliminate your profile. Can you address this in terms of blog privacy? If my blog is private, and only approved authors can view and post, how will this be affected by this change? I'm assuming my blog will show up as "blogs I'm following" in Google profiles, and I prefer not to publicize it.

Chuck said...

The strategy to eliminate private Blogger profiles won't eliminate private blogs, it will make them more useful. In a way, Google+ could even give us the equivalent of multi-level read restrictions for our blogs.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2011/07/confusion-and-panic-over-private.html