Speak when you are angry — and you will make the best speech you’ll ever regret.
I snapped at my brother-in-law yesterday at Easter. I really should have held my tongue; he had been in a car accident the day before, and was physically and mentally out of sorts. But he made an angry comment to Aaron about how he didn’t want people taking his picture without telling him — which is my M.O. at family gatherings. I’d actually already snapped one of him earlier, thinking his drugged-up state looked kind of cute.
So, I “thanked” him for telling me to my face not to take his picture, instead of telling my husband. He muttered something as I turned away, apparently not for my ears.
The private conversation that Aaron had with him later covered many topics, one of which was my penchant for taking candid photos and posting them online, either on my blog or on Flickr. I honestly hadn’t considered the fact that I don’t have explicit permission from the subjects to post their photos publicly; they’re snapshots of my friends and family. If I’d wanted to publish them in a magazine or use them in my online portfolio, I would certainly ask (and have in the past). But for my blog? For my Flickr?
After I cooled down and considered the implications, it occurred to me that I’ve posted people’s personal information on my blog multiple times. I’ve posted people’s full names along with their photos. While I don’t personally have a problem with posting info about myself online, other people might. (Actually, some people definitely do, even apart from my brother-in-law; one former co-worker from college has specifically asked me not to post her last name, to make her less searchable online for professional reasons.)
So, now I’m on a mission to rectify the situation. I’m going to remove references to people by their full names in all my blog entries; luckily, there aren’t many of those. (I reserve the right to keep full names of people I’m trying to find, in the hopes that they’ll Google themselves and find me.) I’m also going to set any photos of people on Flickr (ones not taken in public or at conventions, anyway) to be viewable by friends and family only, unless they’ve told me they’re OK with having their picture online. So, if you’re a regular reader and you know I have photos of you posted on my Flickr, feel free to speak up in advance one way or the other. Also, if you don’t have a Flickr account, and still want to be able to see pictures of my friends and family, you might want to sign up and friend me (it’s free, after all).
In this era of widespread indexing of information, I suppose we should all be more conscious of how we could potentially be violating others’ rights to privacy. Sorry if I stepped on any toes.