It happens to every blogger. At some point, someone leaves a rude comment or even one that might be scary, and it makes you think. Am I taking unnecessary risks? Am I putting myself out there in ways that I shouldn't be? Is blogging really worth whatever risks I might be taking?
I've taken pause several times over the last almost five years of blogging. The first time came when one of my pictures was stolen by a forum rampant with pimply 12-year-olds with internet muscles. It nearly wrecked my family vacation when that happened. However, I didn't take it lying down. I fought back and eventually everything related to me was removed and I received a written apology.
I read with horror a few months ago, when a picture from Heather's blog of her deceased daughter ended up on the computer of a child predator overseas. She was notified by authorities and it was a moment that I'm sure probably shook her to her core.
Yesterday I received a comment on my blog regarding a post I put up years ago when my self-tanner and I decided we weren't going to get along. The pictures that accompanied that post were crucial to the overall post. One picture featured the bottom of my foot, stained indefinitely with self tanner. It was a funny post and it took a lot of guts for me to even take a picture of my feet. Personally, I can't stand feet, even when they're mine. This is the comment I received on a recent post yesterday. Comments on individual posts close two weeks after the post goes live:
your feet in *that* post are great. I cant believe you blocked the comments. anyways I now added them to "collection". u should post more.
I guess I thought the person was kidding, so I joked back that I was happy to see their IP address was in the UK. The first rule of self defense, after all, is creating distance. I felt secure in that distance being a giant ocean. It's a creepy comment.
And then today, a second comment:
Do not fear woman, I actually live in the US I just use Proxies. You should be smart enough to know that what goes online stays online. I actually found the site thanks to a popular foot forum. I do offer my compliments. It is a very nice foot.
It's certainly a friendly enough comment, but it gave me pause. First, my picture (or I should say, another one of my pictures) has been added to a site without my approval. Second, the distance that I took comfort in before, is no longer there. Third, Hannibal Lecter was kind of charming in a polite but scary kind of way too. It is a stark reminder for me, that not all those who frequent my website are there because they are interested in me, my life or my writing. Not all are there because we've bonded through martial arts, raising daughters, or going through a torn ACL. Some readers are just interested in pictures of my feet, maybe my face, or God forbid, the rare picture that I post of one of my children.
So what's a blogger to do? Heather installed a Word Press plug-in that I really wish my blogging platform would offer. Perhaps a transfer to a blogging platform that allows me to do this is in order. However, moving almost 1000 posts from one site to another seems daunting and overwhelming. How does one even do that?
There's also the option of password protecting my entire site. However, how does one manage the permissions? What if some crazy person has been pretending to be a nice little reader all along when in reality they have a bulletin board of pictures of me somewhere in a dark closet? I'd also be giving up the ad revenue that this site generates. Although it's not much, it is something and it does help our family.
Perhaps I should relax a bit. When I told Mr. BBM over the phone about the comments, he laughed hysterically. "It's not funny!" I told him. "What do you think these people are DOING with that picture of my foot?" He got quiet then too; but then reassured me that it was simply a picture of my foot. Maybe I should relax about it a bit.
But then again, it's a picture of one of my body parts and it's been used without my permission, on a website forum where I would never frequent. It feels dirty and wrong. I don't like it one bit; and I'm considering all options that might make me feel better.
[Photo of the foot is not Black Belt Mama's!]
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