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Friday, August 21, 2009

An Odd One

Typically I respond to comments left on the blog by sending an e-mail to the person who posted, as long as I have an e-mail address. Yesterday I received a comment from an anonymous someone... and I thought the comment deserved an answer, but I couldn't contact the person directly. You know, because the person was anonymous. Heh.

Anonymous Person posed a legitimate concern, so I thought I'd bring it to the blog today and bore you with some more Tonggu Momma Endless Rambling on Monday. Anonymous Person, on my Heathen in a Barbie Dress post (who thought of THAT title?!?!), stated:

Followed your blog for a little while and greatly enjoy your Tongginator stories and respect that you have educated yourself on adoption issues so that you may best help and relate to your daughter. One thing I noticed is that you show pictures of other people and their children, some of whose parents have blogs and some who don't, while going to the trouble of even creating an emblem to cover your and your daughter's faces. Maybe you ask permission to post pictures, but it would seem odd to ask them if you can show their child's face when you don't show your own's face.

You're right. I don't show recognizable photos of my daughter, myself or my husband on the blog. I just don't. There are a lot of reasons for that, some involving the Tongginator's privacy, many involving the fact that one of my uncles worked on the first-ever task force in the United States to deter and prevent cyber-crimes involving children. In other words, internet child pornography and abductions involving the computer. I heard too many stories from my uncle to ever feel comfortable posting recognizable photos of my daughter on the open internet, with no restrictions whatsoever. For awhile I felt tremendously silly about that, especially with all of the mamarazzi blogs out there, but then an imaginary blog friend (and a real-life friend of Stefanie) shut down her blog this past winter after some cyber-psycho used images of one of her children to... well... just guess.

But not everyone is me.

Some people feel much more comfortable sharing photos of their children on the internet. They look at the odds of something happening as being slim to none. And they are right - the chances ARE small, especially since most predators have moved on to video stream. I always honor a parent's wishes in this regard. I don't post face shots of others unless they give me permission to do so. If you check out posts about the Tongginator's best friends, twins Cinnamon and Spice... or Peaches and Cream, the other Chinese-adoptee twins we sometimes hang with, whose momma doesn't even understand exactly what a blog IS... or Pocket and Posies, our neighbor twins next-door... or my sister's children, except for two infant pictures of Baby Ruth that my sister gave a nod to... or a myriad of others... you will find that I don't show their faces either.

Because I asked. And their parents aren't comfortable with it. And I tell them I totally understand because I feel the same.

But not everyone is me.

The Fish Family is totally cool with me sharing the beauty of their three girls with the world at large. This summer, I also posted photos of Ivy's daughter Kira and also Aunt Lolo's two darlings... two mommas who share photos on their blogs at least weekly. But I did NOT post photos of CC or her family when I met them last fall... because their momma wasn't cool with that. But the twins from the Tongginator's dance class (are you picking up on the fact that we know A LOT of twins)? Their momma was absolutely fine with it as long as I didn't share their names. And on and on and on...

So... obviously... not everyone is me. And I respect that each parent knows what is best for his or her child.

Anonymous, I'm glad you asked this question so that I could explain myself. Yes, I do ask people before posting photos of them or their children on my blog. I even tell them, when I ask, that I don't post recognizable photos of my family on the blog. That gives them an easy out if they feel at all hesitant. But I do ask. It's even a running joke among many of my friends about how I make children pose for what they call my "blog photos" - turning around backwards, hiding behind something or holding something up to their faces. I also love that my husband, my momma, my best friend, my pastor and even my social worker all know about this blog. It helps to hold me accountable, even if my momma is the only one who ever comments (well, and the Husband sometimes, too).

I realize that I didn't exactly address the whole "seems odd" part of your comment. I guess it does seem odd and that I, Tonggu Momma, seem odd.

Then again, I never claimed to be normal.

40 comments:

Rhonda said...

If you're odd, then I'm the Queen of Bizarro World. :)

Wishing 4 One said...

I love that you shoot the way you do. If I had kids I would so not show their faces. Just because, thats me. Hell i dont even post using my real name nor have I ever posted a photo of or anyone I know. My blog is anonymous because I like it that way and has a been a great outlet for me with my infertility. The only real life person I know who reads or knows about my blog is my dad. I totally respect your right to privacy and glad anonymous asked that question, cause I bet lots of folks want to know why. Great blog by the way. -ICLW

Stefanie said...

Amen.
Glad you got a chance to clear the air on that one :)
And if someone does thing you're odd, they should know you're even MORE outrageously funny, smart and big-hearted!!

Stefanie said...

P.S. I think I fall into the 'odd' category myself :)

happygeek said...

Hey if she thinks you're odd, she should visit my blog. Everyone has a different comfort level. Mine keeps me off facebook and now I don't even do pics of my kids backs:)

Tonggu Grammy said...

Odd? Maybe, but I think just wise beyond your years. Besides, I love the incognito photos even if you sometimes have to purposely pose them for the blog. That just makes those around you sigh and think "oh, no! It's going on the blog. What have I done?"

Aunt LoLo said...

I think the way you do it is just fine...and didn't even need explaining. ;-) We have a similar policy on the videos I share on our blogs. If anyone so much as MUTTERS my children's real names...the video is not fit for the blog.

Sharie said...

I love your photos! Plus your security makes me think much harder about my own. Had blogging been as popular when I started nearly 5 years ago as it it today I would have done many things differently too.
I have even read old posts and changed them when they had too much identifing information.

We are on vacation and I almost blogged it yesterday, but I realized weirdos would know exactly where we are and thought - uh duh! So it will wait until we get home.

So thank you!

Gail said...

Well you know I didn't get it at first either, but do now and understand and respect your decision to do what you do TM. In fact since my blog is probably the opposite of your's with the picture thing...my kid's pics are all over it, it's made me think also about the privacy issues. After 2 years of blogging it's probably too late for me to change, cause I'm one of the obsessed mammarazzi type mammas...lol.

Happy you explained yourself though you sure don't need to my friend!

Have a great weekend!

The Gang's Momma said...

Oh this conversation is one that goes round and round and round in my mind. The place I've settled is not entirely comfortable for me, but not terribly uncomfortable either. I do think that my mode is most true to my personality and the way I live life and do relationships. My blog is a very close to true representation of me.

It seems as if this place that you've settled on the issue is the same for you - true to you and your style. I appreciate your explanations and point of view. And I so enjoy how you put it out there. Always something good to think about here, my bloggy friend!

T Lee said...

Hah, oddity should always be applauded... And this question really gives me something to think about, privacy-wise, in the future (hopefully).

The Unproductive One said...

Insanity is only boring for those who don't suffer from it, those of us who do, well it's a riot. Oddity falls into the same catergory.

I think it's great that you took the time to write this post and address the commentators concerns.

ICLW

WiseGuy said...

You said it very well!

I have had issues about posting my pics two, and there has been two instances where I posted and later took down photographs.

People who I reply back however do know my real name. But with them on different continents, I am not too sure of how likely we are tto ever bump into each other!

ICLW

LJ said...

I follow the "your blog, your rules" policy in general. Right now, I am comfortable showing pictures of my family, but have close friends that don't want their kids put up - I totally respect that.

There may come a time where I need to scale back, I already had to stop writing about certain family members. Thanks for stopping by my blog - I've added you to my daily reader :)

Donna said...

I understand where you're coming from. Privacy isn't an on/off toggle switch -- it's more of a sliding scale. On one end are people who make their kids wear masks in public and on the other are folks with blogs that list their full name, address and phone number and display photos of their kid smiling on the toilet.

I think I'm somewhere in the middle. I don't list our last name or show photos of our street address, license plate, or school. I don't name our city or mention where my husband works. But I do happily share photos of our life with strangers online. But I can assure you that the glimpse into our life is VERY FILTERED.

I have a good friend who will not let her kids play at public parks because she knows that is where most pedophiles lurk to watch children. Even though she's right, I don't share her concern enough to swear off all public parks. But I am more worried about people who see us in REAL LIFE, coming and going from our home, going to school, etc, than people who see photos of us on our blog. Which isn't to say that you should be more or less worried yourself. It's a personal choice.

:)

Donna
Our Blog: Double Happiness!

Norah said...

Yeah, how DO you know so many twins? What's up with that? : )

Jboo said...

I think it's a great choice that works for you. I can tell your girl is a sweetie anyway and so darn funny!! :)

And the twin thing - I'm a twin too -- so you know another twin! Have a fun weekend!

Janet

Dawn said...

Everyone has to answer for their own actions and according to their own comfort level.

And, have you noticed that "those types" of commenters almost always do it anonymously??? Hmmm... now THAT "seems odd" to me! LOL

The Byrd's Nest said...

We are all odd! I love your blog and don't you change anything about it....I love your writings....I love your heart for the Lord....I love your book recommendations....and I love your heart for orphans. I'm sure there is alot more of you that I love....I just can't think of anymore right now;)

Heather of the EO said...

I always feel a bit itchy with this topic. I'm pretty comfortable with pics of my boys on my blog and I use their real names. I didn't know any better at first and then when I did, it was kind of like it was too late or something. Sometimes I wish I would have known better. You're right, we're all different. You have good reason for NOT sharing photos and names. It's not odd that you do share photos of others because you DO ask permission. I never doubted that you did.

Now that I wrote a book, I'll go away.

a little leprechaun said...

How is it you know so many twins?? Ya'll must be twin magnets!!

I completely understand about the privacy thing. I've thought about not showing the faces of my kids, but alot of times I blog for my family. They all live out of town, and it's their way to keep up with us. I do try to keep very vague on details. I tell myself that not that many people follow my blog...

Cavatica said...

Odd is good. Odd is great. Now I thank you for this blog.

blackbelt said...

My therapist says Normal is a setting on the washer.

Belinda said...

I am a grandmother of six, who loves to weave stories about them into my blog posts sometimes but recently my daughter in law asked me not to mention their names on the blog (a while ago she asked me not to post photos.) She and our son have a friend in the police force who told her stories...

I had a twinge of regret at having to keep things so veiled, but I respected her wishes. Your post helped me understand her concerns even better. Besides, it just makes me a better describer when I write about them and people who know them recognize who I'm writing about.

Thank you!
Belinda
ICLW

CC said...

Well, I for one think it's a royal shame that that the Tonnginator and her family are not seen in all their glory. And anyone who would hide their family's faces is.....

Bwhahahahaha!


Sorry, can't keep up the facade. Since, you know, I show my kids' faces on every post. ;) ;)

Ruth Snyder said...

We all need to be cautious about the information we share with the world. Unfortunately there are people who will hurt our children if we give them access.

Beautiful Mess said...

HAPPY ICLW!

Normal is over rated, anyway ;o)

I use to be very anti internet pictures of my children. I've calmed won a lot in the years, but I have taught them about safety on the internet. My daughter is 12 and it would be very easy for her to get into a situation online that could pose a problem. We actually went through something like that with my niece. We used it as a learning lesson for Nae.

It's you choice, your blog and you life. You can do what you want with it. I think it's great that you ask permission, as some people don't.
*HUGS*

Mamma Christine said...

This was a very educational post. I don't think I've ever posted a picture of someone else, but I post pictures of my kids often. I did disable the right click function on my family page. Not fool proof for sure, but hopefully enough of a deterrent to convince someone to look somewhere else, no?

nh said...

Here from ICLW
I think you have to do what you feel happy doing. And it's your blog - your space.

In Due Time said...

I think every blogger has their comfort level. What's good for one, isn't always good for another.

I don't use names, but I use photos.

Sharon said...

I love how you express your heart and share so deeply in written word its like you give more of a picture than I can even with my images. Keep true to your instincts...and please keep us informed of any more creeper problems because I probably need to be a little more cautious!!

Missy said...

I think it's great that you explain this to people and ask their permission before putting up pictures. I should probably be more careful about what goes online.

ICLW

Dita said...

I love your blog JUST THE WAY IT IS! Ain't no one out there like you, TM!

Thanks for bursting my bubble though, I always wondered if you pose the Tongginator or if you were just a stalkin' Mamarazzi with the camera at the ready and got those shots strategically. That would take a lot of work and patience, I'd imagine. And, here, I thought that was yet another unbelieveable skill in your quiver.

Now you ruined it for me. I hope you're happy!

Tammie T. said...

I love your blog and your answer to this question is exactly what I figured! You have a fun style of writing! Do you have any book deals in the works?
From TT (Amelia's aunt)

Lisa said...

I suppose I fall somewhere in the middle too; very careful about not posting too many identifiers, even to the point where I wouldn't share what hotel we were staying at in Taiwan, until we were home. I'm careful, but you are right, no defense is fullproof and I too have struggled with similiar doubts & concerns.

I started my blog in the spirit of sharing our journey and updates of our son, but clearly it has evolved. I go back & forth with whether or not to go private...that only solves part of the problem too.

I respect any family's decision to guard their beloved child and privacy in whatever matter they see fit....period! I think anyone who reads your blog often, may have already guessed that you ask first, before sharing photos of other children.

I like your blog...I love your writing style! Would I LOVE to see a smiling pic. of T? Of course...but is it a deal breaker? NO WAY! :)

Happy weekend! Blog on!!
Lisa

Lesa said...

I have found this topic come up a lot lately. I think that if one is careful there shouldn't be any worries, but I'm one to talk because I post my kids, and my family on our blog.
Perhaps one day I will go private by invite only.... But for right now I will leave it open with us sharing the joy of our new son.

I think it isn't a problem to not show faces, but I think it has to be up to the individual just the same.

Take Care.

Clare said...

So glad I discovered your blog today, one of the reasons I love ICLW. I am also so careful about putting up photos of children. I am a teacher and I recently ran a Summer Camp and made an online album for parents, I knew it was important to be super careful about who could access it so I think you do the right thing. I know the chances are small but you never know right? Another fellow blogger (my marrakesh) found pictures of her son she had posted on her blog on a very gross website. She actually posed as a predator to find out more about the website owner to get the site shut down and the pictures off. Very traumatic.

On another note I love your stories about the Togginator, she sounds amazing. I grew up in China, speak Chinese and many of my parents' friends who struggled with IF adopted girls from China (that was back in the 80s when only girls were up for adoption). My DH and I are seriously considering adoption here in Morocco and every time I read stories like yours, it fills me with the confidence to do it. Will be checking in on you and the Togginator in the future!

Clare said...

So glad I discovered your blog today, one of the reasons I love ICLW. I am also so careful about putting up photos of children. I am a teacher and I recently ran a Summer Camp and made an online album for parents, I knew it was important to be super careful about who could access it so I think you do the right thing. I know the chances are small but you never know right? Another fellow blogger (my marrakesh) found pictures of her son she had posted on her blog on a very gross website. She actually posed as a predator to find out more about the website owner to get the site shut down and the pictures off. Very traumatic.

On another note I love your stories about the Togginator, she sounds amazing. I grew up in China, speak Chinese and many of my parents' friends who struggled with IF adopted girls from China (that was back in the 80s when only girls were up for adoption). My DH and I are seriously considering adoption here in Morocco and every time I read stories like yours, it fills me with the confidence to do it. Will be checking in on you and the Togginator in the future!

Sherri said...

Wow...
While we were in Washington I did think a couple of times "I wonder if that lady in Tonggu Momma?" "I wonder if that's Tongginator" Soooo, if this follower didn't know who you were, than no one else will!

Colleen said...

Odd!!! You??? NO!!!! Well that's why I like you....You just keep being odd because when you suddenly decide to turn normal...it's over for us.
: )