Aug 13, 2013

All Apologies

It has been months since I have posted here and I've had a few "are you OK?" messages recently from readers, which lit a fire under me to finally explain why I've been MIA (and why I have found it so hard to find the words to say why I've been absent from posting on my blog, as well as commenting on others, etc).

The reason why is two-fold:

1) Time. I've no childcare this summer and my husband works really long hours (sometimes really, REALLY long hours). So I don't have the time to myself to sew, let alone document it in photos and text, as well as do all the other things you must when you have a blog that a few people read — respond to comments, read others' blogs, sort through spam and delete it, field strange requests to review things that have nothing to do with what I blog about.

But I don't want to complain about the fact I never get a single moment to myself to sew, blog or even sit on the toilet without my kid yelling a question at me under the door. I'm happy my husband has a job, and I'm really lucky to have this time with my kid during the last summer before she starts full-time school. We have done pretty much everything you can do with kids in NYC this summer, and it has been really fun. I'll have time to myself again in September.

2) The Internet is full of creeps and criminals. I have been really disheartened over the past year to see what search terms sometimes send people to my blog. Most of the time it's normal things like "how to draft a hood pattern" or "Wisconsin heart string art." But frequently near the top of the list will be two or three innocent words that when grouped together are really inappropriate. And these words never appear next to each other on my blog, but apparently anytime that a word appears on a page with another word somewhere, a search can pull your page up. And even though the person searching for those things would no doubt be disappointed to find himself at a sewing blog, it upsets me to think about what it was he was really looking for.

I tried to search my entire blog and revise it in places to make it less likely to get pulled up by pedophiles. I deleted whole posts. And I even considered shutting the whole thing down, I was so bummed out about it.

And then someone alerted me to the fact that a website had used a picture I posted in a questionable way (and it was a picture of my kid, so I was pretty upset). The site took the picture down after I contacted them, but it was eye-opening.

If you want to grow a readership, you need to be public and searchable. But if you're public and searchable, you put yourself at risk of being used in ways you would not condone. I'm not sure the way forward for me on the Internet. I may start over from scratch.

But not until September — at least.

Anyone out there dealt with this before? What did you do?

42 comments:

  1. Hi Suzanne,

    The first one we all understand. Life always takes precedence. I'm glad you are all in good health and this is just a case of realigning priorities.

    The second I have no words for.. This is the reason I haven't published pictures of my child... and face shots of mine. I'm far too paranoid - but not without reason and due to some back history. My poor blog readers will have to put up with headless shots of me or my clothes on the dressform or hanger. :( but they don't seem to mind. Sure, this means my readership will never be big as most people do like pictures with faces. But the side benefit of this is I can keep my blog readership small as I find it overwhelming when faced with too many comments.

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  2. It was great to meet you on Saturday and, of course, everyone has times when blogging is just not a priority. Work-travel is my general excuse.

    That's really awful about the creeps/criminals. I don't envy parents in this day and age!

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  3. life is always more important than blogging, and it's great to hear that you've had a fun summer with your daughter. time with our kids is precious, even if it doesn't always feel that way!

    i'm so sorry to hear about the creepers and criminals. i do struggle with whether or not to post pictures of my kids for those very reasons. i can't imagine the shock of seeing a lifted photo used in an inappropriate context--i'm not sure i would even know what to do about it! i hope you figure out the best path forward. i haven't been confronted with this situation, so i'd love to hear what others have to say.

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  4. I feel you with the creepy internet thing. Fortunately I haven't had too many bad experiences but I have however discovered that there is actually a group of people (read: creepy old foreign men) who call themselves "amputee devotees" and pry on pictures of, you guessed it, AMPUTEES. I mean is that the weirdest, creepiest thing you have ever heard? Ugh. And obviously with my hand I've run into this a lot with them reposting my pictures and subscribing to my YouTube channel and all that. I feel like I can handle them ok without it getting to the better of me for the most part but it's another thing entirely when someone is bringing your child into it. That is NOT ok. Ugh, some people make me sick.

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  5. I had been wondering what had happened to your blog -- even checked to make sure it hadn't got dropped in the feedly switch. Sad to hear what really happened. I had a "cleverly" titled post on my old sailing blog about taking the sails off: "Misty gets naked." And it was the top search term for more than a year. Yeesh.

    In other news, it was lovely to see you at MPB day. We didn't speak (I'm a little shy sometimes) but it was lovely to see you!

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  6. It was lovely to meet you at MPB Day and really fabulous to get to see that dress in person! Honestly, I don't know how anyone blogs more than once a week or sews things more than once a month unless they have no job/children! So enjoy your summer and just remember that someday far in the future you probably won't be reminiscing about blogging anyways. You should do it to enjoy and not for readership unless you're making your income from it, right? It is a real shame about the searching perverts. I haven't had that problem (fingers crossed), but I hope it doesn't stop you from posting forever. You have a great internet personality and I think we'd all miss it!

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  7. I am so glad to hear from you. About the time I discovered your blog and read many of the entries, you disappeared. I get weird comments on mine sometimes that I mark as spam. Nothing really creepy but I don't generally post pictures of myself. Besides, at my age no one cares! I hope you will continue to blog but be careful of posting your daughter's picture.

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  8. I'm so sorry about your run-in with Internet creeps. It is truly nothing short of a personal violation. I don't know how I would handle it either. I know this is only a small consolation, but remember that there are people on the Internet who truly appreciate the time and effort that you take to document and share about your life... So thank you! And best of luck with however you decide to move forward.

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  9. I cannot begin to imagine how awful it's been for you. Internet predators are a constant worry.
    Enjoy your summer and also whatever you decide to move forward with in September.

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  10. Oh so sorry to hear that this happened to you, and yes it happened to me too. A very distasteful blog stole my posts and used them to get traffic. This blog had also stolen posts from other completely innocent blogs and it was upsetting to see their posts, too (family photos).
    I lodged a complaint and the offending blog was shut down.
    But, for a while I did not blog, and eventually, i returned to blogging.
    Yes it was an eye opener. If I had young children, I would not post photos of them.

    I don't necessarily think anything bad would happen to a child just because their photo is online - it would just hurt my feelings too much! Of course I hated seeing photos of myself on a nasty site, but it would break my heart to see my child's photos appear elsewhere.

    Good luck - and good for you to enjoy this time with your little one. When September rolls around you will enjoy some freedom again!

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  11. I'm so sorry people creeped you out. The internet is a huge place with all sorts of freaks in it as well as awesome people. I've developed pretty thick skin and I don't think twice about posting pictures of myself and personal information online (within reason), and I've never had reason to regret it. I've gotten a lot of weird search terms leading people to my (feminist-focused) blogs and I usually just had a laugh about the poor guy seeking weird porn and reaching a feminist blog instead. But I would probably be much less blasé if I had a kid and they were involved. I hope this stuff doesn't discourage you from blogging altogether! That would be a bummer. xxx

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  12. Hi Suzanne, it is good to see you checking in but so sorry to hear about the internet creepers that have been keeping you away. I totally hear you - I don't have a blog because I just am too nervous about having an online presence. But obviously that keeps me away from the good connections bloggers can foster with each other. So I guess it's a hard line to balance! I can't imagine how much work it is being a full time parent. Glad to hear you've kept busy with her this summer - and starting school in the fall's a big deal!!

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  13. Hi Suzanne,
    Oh no about the internet creepies. I'm really really sorry to hear that.
    Like I said at MPB Day, I miss your "what we learned this week" posts about PR. I discovered your blog just a little while before you stopped blogging and would read your posts and TLo's after watching PR for the week. :)

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  14. It was great to see you on MPB Day. Your dress looked great.

    Enjoy this time with your daughter.

    How awful about the internet creeps. I can see how it would discourage you. I’ve had the reverse experience – where I was doing an online search to research a certain historical and completely innocent ladies garment and was shocked to have one disgusting photo after another open on my screen. Ugh. If I had a child, I would be terrified.

    So sad that we have to be careful about what is posted. But I love, love, love your sewing.

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  15. I too am really sorry to hear about your awful experience. It reminds all of us to never mention anyones child by name and to always check with parents if posting a photo the child is in. It doesn't keep problems like yours from happening of course.

    When I mention a neighbors kids on, say, facebook. I don't refer in any way to where they live relative to me, change their name, and check in with the parents. This reminds me that I'm not overdoing it.

    And why on earth do parents put their kids names on tee shirts, mouse ears or on their own vans? How hard is it for an evil person to call out to the child?

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  16. Ugh I'm sad to hear about your bad experiences, I find it so hard to believe that people would go and do strange things with other peoples photo's but sadly that is the reality nowadays. It does make me think twice about posting certain things and why I've kept my last name out of my blog and stuff..
    I just checked your blog today after watching my first episode of PR season 12 as I loooovved your comments on season 11! I watched it super late so that's why I hadn't commentend before..

    ReplyDelete
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  18. This makes me sad. You're one of my favorite bloggers and I really enjoy your parenting stories. I forget there are creeps out there because the sewing community is so nice! Ughh...

    I would be upset too if I had a child involved. That's really disturbing and unfortunate.

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