What not to blog

by Eszter Hargittai on October 5, 2004

For a while now I’ve been wondering about whether it’s a good idea to blog about one’s travels ahead of time. There are clear advantages (the opportunity to meet up with people one otherwise would not contact), but there are potential downsides as well. Ever since my parents’ place was badly burglarized a few years ago, I have been more sensitive about the issue. And now I see Allison wondering whether a blogged trip lead to a break-in at her home. Of course, the chances are pretty small that potential thieves are reading our blogs and they also would not know in most cases whether and to what extent others sharing the household, housesitters or security systems would stand in their way (thieves take note: in my case it is usually two out of three:). Nonetheless, I have been wondering whether it is best to be less open about some of our travel plans. This would be one of those issues with which anonymous bloggers likely don’t have to deal.

So don’t expect up-to-the-minute travel info from me, but I thought I would mention where I am headed in the next month or so in case paths cross with people I did not think to contact (I have a hard time keeping track of who is where). I’ll be giving a talk at Penn soon followed by a quick visit to Princeton and one night in New York City; I’ll be attending a workshop in the Bay area and giving a talk at Yahoo!; I’m going to a conference in Atlanta; and I’ll be giving a talk at my alma mater Smith College. I’ll likely stay put for a while thereafter, which will be necessary to gather energy for an even crazier Spring travel schedule.



Jonathan Edelstein 10.05.04 at 7:17 pm

If you’ll be in NYC before the 7th or after the 12th, give me a call.


john b 10.05.04 at 8:12 pm

Maybe I’m underestimating the criminal mind, but I can’t imagine a typical burglar searching Technorati for holiday-related index terms, tracking down the contact details of everyone who comes up, finding out who’s within easy getaway distance of them, and then casing the houses to check for the deterrents you list… Looking out for people near their neighbourhood driving off in expensive cars filled with suitcases would seem a more fruitful MO, even if you’re going to plan it in advance rather than just being a drug-addled idiot.

I guess the exception would be if a blogger were renowned for their wealth – but then they’d be even more likely to have strong security.


John Quiggin 10.05.04 at 8:55 pm

I’m generally a bit cautious about announcing my movements, though, as john b says, there would seem to be lots more productive ways for burglars to pick targets (and the place is tightly secured anyway).


Hogan 10.05.04 at 10:22 pm

I’ll watch for you at Penn. Let me know if you want to plant a question. (I’m pretty good at sounding like I know what I’m talking about when I don’t. Also at nodding enthusiastically.)


Timothy Burke 10.05.04 at 10:38 pm

I don’t talk about my movements before I go mostly for this reason. Also because, I dunno, it doesn’t seem like something worth sharing with my readership. Not the kind of writing I do at my blog anyway.


luci phyrr 10.06.04 at 1:09 am

Of course, the chances are pretty small that potential thieves are reading our blogs

Thieves, yes. But how about stalkers?…might some besotted soul long to obtain his favorite blogger’s knickers?


David Edelstein 10.06.04 at 2:51 am

It never occurred to me to comb the blogs for vacation and travel announcements. Forget weddings and funerals: This could be a real windfall!

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