How I Censor Myself Online

We have a natural right to make use of our pens
as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard.

– Voltaire

It took me some learning from college days, to really consider who might come across what I publish by way of Facebook, Twitter, or any other online public forum. I’m still learning. For instance, something I didn’t consider til a year or so ago, is that comments you leave on blogs are searchable. I now have a mental checklist of questions I go through before I publish, comment, upload, tweet, or record.

  1. How would I feel if my little from Big Brothers & Big Sisters found this? Am I setting a good example? How’s my language? And I’m not just talking about swearing, am I demeaning myself or anyone? Am I contradicting anything I’ve tried to teach her?
  2. Sometimes I’m most inspired when I’m angry at someone. How would I feel if the person who inspired a post were to read the post? Is it something I’ve discussed with them in person? Is the focus on my journey or am I merely airing dirty laundry? Are they identifiable? How would they feel if they read it?
  3. Am I violating anyone’s privacy? I’m a pretty candid person, but many of the people in my life are more private. Am I disclosing anything about them that they would not like to be disclosed? If I’m confused or if it’s not clear, I ask them simply, “May I post this [photo/post/conversation]?”
  4. How would I feel if an employer or coworker found the posting? This is the obvious one that still gets people in trouble. Am I divulging confidential information? Am I complaining about a coworker? Am I airing grievances online instead of speaking to those directly involved?
  5. Questions: How do you censor yourself? What would you add to this checklist?