Saturday, April 17

Boundaries and the Anonymity of Social Media

When my own children were younger and were upset or worried, I am encouraged them to write in a journal to help them sort out their feelings and organize their thoughts. I've been upset this week about something at my school, so I've been taking my own advice and writing about it. Once I finished and re-read, I concluded that it was too personal and I would cross a boundary if I posted it on my blog. Everyone who knows me is aware of my technology passion and that I am on Twitter as well as many on-line teacher groups. If someone from my school discovered and read my blog, well, suffice it to say, the fallout would be unpleasant at best.

So I’ve been wondering about boundaries. I am a very private person and it is easy to embrace the anonymity of social media. There aren’t face-to-face meetings or conversations and we can hide behind our laptops, keyboards and smart phones. It is easy to be a little-bit-better version of yourself. No one checks facts, so you can embellish. You can even act more assertively as you respond to tweets or comments on blogs.

When I re-read my lengthy blog about teachers who cross boundaries when the make psychological diagnoses (ADD, ADHD, ODD, OCD), I realized I was crossing a boundary, too. I needed to get off my own high-horse and not report anonymously to the world my opinion. I sounded judgmental and preachy, and in all honesty, really annoying.

The old adage of not putting anything in writing that you wouldn’t want the rest of the world to see is no longer hyperbole, but accurate. The tweets, blogs, and comments we write need boundaries. I’m glad there is a delete button.


Stephanie & Brad Bishop said...

I really enjoyed your thoughts on this topic and am going to refer to them when I need to FILTER my thoughts. You are a gifted and insightful writer and I love people who dedicate their lives to teaching. I will be following your posts.

Nancy Hniedziejko (Nancy Ehrlich) said...

Thank you Stephanie. I'm overwhelmed by your comment. I feel humbled that you will take the time to read my blog. If you have a chance, you might want to check out my class website at

Thanks again!

Hen Jen said...

I struggle with how real to be on my blog. None of my family reads it, except my dad..but I did tell everyone about it when I started, so I always pause before writing something just in case someone from family does decide to one day check it out, I kind of wish I hadn't told anyone about it. It's also hard to decide how much of a story is really mine, and how much belongs to those I love, I err on the side of caution and kindness. I do kind of wish my blog was more anonymous.

Nancy Hniedziejko (Nancy Ehrlich) said...

Thanks for the comment. It truly is a balancing act. Doubt usually means don't:)