I've mentioned this before. It's a good idea to be extremely careful about just exactly what you put on the internet. I think most bloggers would really be surprised if they knew just how many folks read their blog.
The vast majority of the people who read blogs are good individuals, but you can attract some really unpleasant and possibly unbalanced not so pleasant types , with even the most innocuous posts.
You have to be very careful about little details that might be in your photos, like street signs, license plates, mail boxes. Pictures of any of those could give away your address to someone intent on finding it. I can't imagine anyone putting their address on a blog, but you can do exactly that and not even realize it. Over time, you can give people enough clues that they'll figure it out.
One of the things that finished off my original blog was just that. Over a period of time, I said enough, and put enough pictures on the blog, that an individual did determine exactly where I lived. He didn't mean any harm, in fact he warned me about being careless. The event seriously rattled me at the time, even so.
It's easier than you think. Most public records are on line now and freely available to anyone. So if you identify the physical location of your residence, it only takes a few more pieces, surprisingly innocent, to fill in the blank spaces on the puzzle. If you say how long you have lived in a place, or when you bought a house, and the searcher has some idea of what your property looks like, or some aspects of it, some defining fact that can be linked to others, they can run you down. One of the worst things I've done in blogging was to describe my property exactly. The whole time I had that old blog, any dimwit with a knowledge of plats could have gotten an exact read out from our tax office, over the net, just by doing a few quick searches of those parameters. If someone is mad enough, they'll just go back to the start of your blog, reading posts. Enough mistakes like that one, and the jigs up.
Is that necessarily a bad thing? No. Not if it's just a kind of game to them. But remember, you might have unbalanced individuals whom you've infuriated in one way or another reading your blog. Those people can be dangerous, and they can cause you a lot of trouble. They don't have to come to your house to wreck havoc. But they might show up on your doorstep if they know where it is. There are a lot more mentally ill people roaming the countryside than is generally supposed. Particularly in those states (like mine) where they were turned out of public mental health institutions during the 2007 budget crisis and just left in the streets.
If you have pictures of your children, some pervert can get infatuated with them. There are a lot more of those out there than is common knowledge too. Look at your county sex offender registry and you may get an ugly surprise. The world is full of sick people. Some of them don't always just lurk.
If someone is angry enough about your political views, and you air those, you are taking a risk. I admit to sometimes feeling a certain fleeting apprehension over how many nasty grams I get from people who appear to have taken umbrage about my views on "The Religion of Peace." I'm not particularly enthralled with hits from Pakistan and similar hell holes either. I can say without braggadocio that anyone who comes up here after old Watash had better be ready to become a Shahid. It would be ironic, I admit, to have survived Lebanon only to be whacked by some Islamic low life 33 years later.
How much risk you are prepared to take is the measure of how much utility you can get out of your blog. If you take too much risk, you may have to pay for it.
Even after my experience years ago, I tend to get careless. It's so easy to say something about where you live, something unique like a geographic fixture, or a business, or a school. That's all it takes.
Publish a picture with clues in it, and not so nice people will eventually find you if they want to.
Say you have 100 visits to your blog every day. If only one in a thousand people fits the negative profile, that's roughly 3 individuals out there each month, hovering in the ether, that represent a threat.
It's no secret internet predators use the web for "research"
If you google "blogging danger" and read some of the articles, it's enough to make you throw your computer in the trash and start dropping the shutters down on the windows.
But I'm not going to let a potential danger like that stop me from doing something I want to do. I am going to bear the situation in mind and try not to put myself in jeopardy through some act of thoughtlessness or stupidity. Having gone down that road once, I'm trying not to repeat it. Now, in retrospect, it doesn't seem like my experience was a big deal. But at the time, I was not sure that some of the threats made were not real. At that time, I still had my family at home. It was a bit stressful.
In my particular case, some of those people who like to leave obscene comments got my phone number. I had a friend in Israel, a young woman who wrote a blog called "Ole Girl." A bunch of nitwits started in on her, and I engaged them. I don't regret it,at all. They were trash and somebody needed to. But they were way more devoted than trolls and they worked in a clique. They got my phone number. I don't know how, because to get it they had to get my name. They did, and it got ugly. I changed the number for an unlisted number, and the phone calls stopped. But I had to acknowledge that they knew my exact location. I had a lot of sleepless nights. You never know just how crazy those kind of people are. And there was always this. If you know a persons phone number, you can find out anything you want about them for $30.00 from one of any number of companies on line, right down to where they work.
That was one of the reasons I dropped out of blogging for so long. First, the reader I mentioned, pin pointed my location, which I wanted to keep secure.
Right on the heels of that, my midnight phone calls started coming in. Very unpleasant phone calls.
Then on top of that, there was a big fuss that broke out on the blog over something related to the anarchist movement, and I said to hell with it and pulled the plug. It took a long time before I came back to blogging.
Nasty comments and trolls aren't anything to worry about. But it can go far beyond that.
It's wise to be very careful about what you say on line!
I enjoy my blog, and I value the many friends I've made. People I would never have known without a blog. I've learned a lot from individuals I've met on line, and some of the information I've been given has been invaluable to me. I try to reciprocate. I worry sometimes about not being clever enough to avoid poor operational security on my part, but I do my best. That's all any of us can do. Remember the risk, and try to be careful not to disclose, by accident or otherwise, things we don't want to be general public knowledge. There's email for point to point communications, rather than general broadcast to the world.