February 12, 2013

Advice for bloggers, vol. 1 - The Crazies: they could happen to you


Many of you have already read the blogging tips I put up a while back, but ever since then I've been sort of accumulating more "wisdom," so to speak, that I would love to share with you. At first I thought I'd stuff it all in one post, but then I realized that would be the longest post ever written, so I think I'm going to break it up some and make this a weekly series for a little while. Capiche?

These are things I've learned along the way, sometimes the hard way. Today I want to discuss crazy people. Oh, goody!

Some friends and I joke that I have had THE craziest crazy people in all the land. Borderline stalker, definitely insane crazy people. Like, if there were a contest for the craziest crazies, I'd win grand prize.  One person in particular found my blog just a few months after I started writing it, and harassed me on and off for about a year. I would receive all kinds of comments from her, under different names and personas, but always with the same very recognizable neurotic tone and style of writing (and also the same IP address, which was very noticeable because it was always on my blog for weirdly long amounts of time almost every day... d-oh! I knew this thanks to Sitemeter).

I made the mistake early on of paying attention to her. I devoted an entire post to some of her wacko comments, and it turned out that was exactly what she wanted and what fed the insanity (here is the post I wrote - the funny thing is how TAME that comment she left was compared to the following comments and emails I would get from her). Anyway, she continued to harass me and then say things like "I bet you're going to write a post about me and whine to all your pathetic little followers now!" I ignored it all after the initial post I wrote, but then I started to receive emails out the wazoo. You guys, it was scary. She would write me books. BOOKS. (exaggerating, but they were extremely long emails, sometimes several in a day). I honestly wish I could share them with you. It would be quality entertainment, folks, quality entertainment. Besides telling me all kinds of crazy stories about herself that were often contradictory and obviously outright lies, she would also go off on paragraph after paragraph tangents about what a horrible, pathetic person I am. She even went as far as to say something along the lines of "I noticed you have really short fingernails, which leads me to believe that you also have hair extensions, because no one with real long, thick hair would also have short fingernails."

Oh no she didn't!

I remember being at the ranch two summers ago when a particularly nasty email from her came in, and though I was cracking up laughing all throughout, there's no denying that this sort of thing also gives you a really icky feeling. Like, seriously? There are people like this in the world?

For a while there, I felt like Satan himself had sent his personal assistant down to earth to make my life hell. I had found this wonderful thing (blogging!) that gave me so much joy, and as often happens when you have a really good thing going for you, negative forces swept in and tried to steal away that joy. Don't let that happen to you! Just don't! But DO be smart, and safe, and aware when you blog. Just like you're aware of your surroundings when you're getting into your car in a dark parking lot, be aware of the information you're sharing with an often unknown audience. The Internet is a dark parking lot. It really is. I'm glad I learned this fairly early on, when my following was still quite small.

- Don't engage with crazy people, because they feed off of the negative attention, and you'll probably prolong the life of their interest in you if you engage.
- Don't announce you're going to be somewhere at any certain point in time before you go, if you can help it.
- Don't "check in" at restaurants or post Instagram photos of places you're at before you leave, if you can help it.
- Don't post photos of the outside of your house or give people any information that could help them learn where you live.
- Personally, I try to keep my last name private, as well.

There are repercussions for having a blog that a lot of people read, and this is one of them. Assume you have crazies, even if they aren't as loud and proud as the one I mentioned above, and even if you don't have a large audience yet. The Internet is full of ALL sorts of people and, *WAKE UP CALL,* not all of them are kind, good, positive, uplifting, and SANE. Blog accordingly. The crazies could happen to you.

* * * * *

Stay tuned for lots more blogging advice, and if you have anything you'd really love to have discussed, feel free to leave your idea in the comments below!

Also, Erin and I are teaming up next week for a fun video chat with the first 8 ladies to sign up. The topic is all things blogging, so if you'd like some questions answered in a fun environment where you can learn from not only the answers to your questions, but everyone else's questions too, head over there and sign up quick! See you soon. :)



83 comments:

  1. so scary! i don't even know what to say .... but yeah, sometimes i'm surprised by how scary the Internet world can be.

    thanks for the advice!



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  2. Wow that's crazy! I also have long, thick hair (but not as long and thick as yours and for that I am infinitely jealous) and short finger nails. I simply can't get them to stop breaking or feeling annoying when they get to a certain point and I don't feel like getting fake ones put on.

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  3. I just got my first weirdo comment the other day. For some reason it really creeped me out! It wasn't anonymous, but I have to say it's the first one I haven't responded to.

    Thank you for the advice, it is excellent and I will be sure to remember all of it in the future. It's sad that some people feel like they have to tear others down to build themselves up.

    One more thing, I know a girl personally who writes similar private messages to people on FB. Some of them are downright disturbing. It turns out that she is in therapy and on medication, perhaps this woman is in a similar circumstance. Her fixation on others is unhealthy. Hopefully this woman is getting the help she needs.

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  4. Hi Jenni, I've been following your blog for a few months and have really been enjoying it! I read this post and was completely floored, I can't believe there are people out there who spend so much time and effort to cut dowm someone they don't even know, I'm sorry that happened to you! Glad you came out better on the other side :) Thanks for the advice!

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  5. Oh my, that is so crazy on a different level! I haven't gone through that myself yet, thank God- I am glad that you didn't quit blogging because of it- I look forward to reading your posts every day!! :D

    http://mylifebeingrenewed.blogspot.com/

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  6. Good post Jenni and great advice to stay alert. A dark parking lot indeed ... I like how you don't let anyone hinder you from pushing forward and pursuing your joy though. Nor should any of your lovely readers! Love you!

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  7. Oh, the haters. They all come out eventually! I write for a newspaper as well as my personal blog, and the nasty comments can be tough to deal with -- but I try to remember that, despite how personal they feel, these folks don't really know me.

    I had one particular nemesis who wrote me long, nasty letters each week -- by hand! -- and mailed them (with no return address) to my work. Seeing them come in was hilarious to my coworkers, who couldn't believe I could possibly offend someone so much by simply living, and I would joke around about it, too . . . but they actually hurt, of course. I got to the point where I would simply toss them in the trash, unopened and forgotten. My friends would laugh that I should add a personal aside to "A Reader, Female" (her personal send-off), but I knew engaging the crazy would only lead to more crazy. That's definitely a good lesson to learn!

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    1. Oh my gosh Meg! That is crazy! Some people seriously don't have enough going for them if they go to so much trouble to be ugly to others. Or more likely they are mentally ill. Sad, really!

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  8. I can never believe just how much info some people put out there. I'm a *little* more lenient about saying I'm going somewhere if I'm going to be with my boyfriend, but if I'm going to a concert with just a girl friend, there's no way I would ever say that beforehand! There's some girls that post the ticket, therefore inviting the crazies right to their seat. No thanks. And then showing your whole house and neighborhood. That's just crazy to me. It's like some people think the only people who read blogs are cupcake eating, DSLR carrying, sweet women in their 20's!

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    1. I loved the last line in your comment!!! I have thought the same thing! I remember when we all started using MSN Messenger and AOL and everyone warned us (by threat of death) to be sooooo careful. Then of course, there were the kids that got abducted after internet interactions....I was pretty much scared.

      Fast forward and we blog. About EVERYTHING we were ever told NOT to share. I'm still really careful and slightly paranoid. I hope it never happens, but I'm kind of surprised that no blogger has gone missing yet.

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  9. I think all those things you mentioned are so important! I see bloggers who are always checking in or telling people where they're going beforehand and it makes me nervous! It's so crazy to me that there are people out there who are so sad that they enjoy making other people miserable online.

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  10. Jenni...stop writing about me! Kidding. The crazies need to get lives. For serious.

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  11. You mean you DON'T have extensions?! Earth-shattering realizations over here.

    That is some SERIOUS crazy. I'm always pretty apprehensive about sharing too much information about myself, I've just chalked it up to being guarded... but now I have a legit reason to be that way, haha.

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  12. Wow! That sounds scary. It's hard to have a thick skin about that stuff. I don't understand why others have so much hate in their hearts! I know I've had some passive aggressive comments on. Y blog but never at the level that you have experienced.

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  13. Thank you for sharing! I'm a newr blogger and I do worry about some of these things and hope I don't give away too much personal information. You are so right that his is the Internet and we all need to be careful!

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  14. It is really scary when you stop and think about it. It goes through my mind daily. I don't think I have any crazies yet and hoping it never happens, but there are always the "behind" the scenes kind. Stay safe, sister...is she still harassing you?

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  15. Ay yi yi. That is crazy! I guess you do have to be careful in this day and age. I just don't really get people sometimes. If I read a blog that I don't care for or have an issue with, I just don't go back. No harm, no foul. We're all entitled to our opinion, but there is no reason to bring other people down! Sorry you have to deal with this!

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  16. HOLY MOLY! So crazy! I actually can't believe it. I don't understand why and how people can be like that. Anonymous comments are just ridiculous, period. Definitely makes me think about my blog and what I post on it. Thanks for the important reminder.

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  17. You poor things! This is great advice, things I never would have though of about, instagraming before you leave and the front of your house, it all makes so much sense. I am relatively new to blogging and I appreciate all the information you have been able to share with me. I hope this lady is long gone for your sake, nobody needs that kind of negativity in their lives. Your blog is great! Keep up the hard work :)

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  18. OMG people are seriously insane. How do they even have the time to do it? Love the tips tho and will for sure have to keep them in mind. I have to admit I am bad at a couple of them on there and it drive my husband insane!

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  19. Thanks for the advice! I love your blogging tips and I've been sharing them with others who are thinking about starting a blog. Since I'm still new at blogging, I get very few comments, but they've all be nice. If I ever do get a nasty one, I'll have to remember not to take it to heart. It amazes me that people will put so much time and effort into insulting and following someone they don't even like. Talk about a miserable life. I believe the people that use the internet to bring others down are just very unhappy in their own life. If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. That's something more people need to practice. There's no reason to say mean things to anyone.

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  20. um--creepy!! That is seriously insane! So sorry that happened to you. Thanks for the advice...I am a new blogger and seriously weirded out by people like that and I don't even have one. Hopefully never will! I hope she is leaving you alone now.

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  21. Great heads up info for a beginning blogger!

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  22. wondering if the crazy was like an old friend, or maybe an ex of Matthew's. LOL!! Crazy people!!

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  23. oh my god, I can't even believe that person. How long before they finally gave up and stopped harassing you? I swear...some people. Yikes.

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  24. Gross, what a creeper! Since, I'm just starting my blog, I obviously don't have this problem, but good to know for the future. What is wrong with some people?! Too much time on their hands.

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  25. Oh God. I have a crazy. Actually I have two. And you are so right. They thrive on the attention!!!

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  26. Oh geez. I've been a reader of your blog for about a year now, and I appreciate the variety of topics you address through your writing, the fun links to new blogs and just the small stories about your life. I enjoy reading it, so I keep reading it :) If someone is literally SO annoyed/disgusted/whatever about your life, and your blog, here's what I have to say: DON'T READ IT. Haha. It really is that simple. There are a million and a half blogs out there. Like Jen said above, I'm also amazed at how much energy this woman put into sending you an email detailing all her complaints. Lady, take your own advice from your email: "get offline and do something positive with your life." :)

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  27. Oh yes! There are crazies EVERYWHERE. So before I started blogging I created a pseudoname on my FB page and registered my Google account to the same one. I work as a part time college instructor so privacy is very important to me. I do not promote my home life and try to keep it as little about the rest of my family as possible. There are consequences to having a large following and sharing your life on Internet (first month blogging I received a nasty comment and almost cried, then I installed filter and everything was better again)
    Thank you for the tips

    happymedley.blogspot.com

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  28. oh My! I can't even imagine. Off to read your linked post about her, I could use a laugh. enjoy reading your posts and have even gotten to try a few of the awesome resturants you've written about here in town. Hubs loves when I tell him about a new one:) Keep up the awesome post and don't let the crazies get you down.

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad Lani! I know not all my readers care too much about the Austin recs, but I know I love to read about where other bloggers in town go, so I like to post when I find awesome spots. :)

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  29. That is crazy! I just recently started following your blog and really enjoy it. I just started my own blog to occupy my time as I am becoming a stay at home mommy soon. Do you have any good resources to make your blog not look like it is right off blogger? Any good suggestions to make it look unique?
    Thanks!

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    1. Hey Shannon! My best advice is to have your blog professionally designed! You can buy premade templates or have it designed from scratch. On my blogging tips page under "attractive aesthetics" there's a few resources for websites with great lists of designers! Hope that helps. :)

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    2. Thanks, I'll look there to start! :)

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  30. This is all so helpful! I recently had a sort of breakdown I guess because I realized that these crazies CAN happen. And it made me think REALLY hard about what I wanted to write and make sure I didn't put anything that could hurt me or help the crazies find me or my son. This thought even made me wonder if I wanted to have a blog or not. I'm actually still considering it, and I think you can see it in my writing too. My heart isn't in it like it used to be because of the thought of getting crazies. Ugh. Why oh why are there "Crazies?"

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  31. Omg that is so scary!! I would be mortified! I would of called the cops on her, no joke. I have made the mistake of saying in my blog where I go to school, maybe not the smartest idea on my part :/

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  32. That is insane, girl. What great advice though! I have sometimes worried about posting too much info- but I try to practice things like you said, not announcing when I'll be somewhere, keeping some stuff private etc.

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  33. This was actually one of my main concerns before I started blogging. Touch wood, so far I've had nothing like this (but then, I have only been blogging for like 10 days). I'm deliberately not posting anything about my surname, where I work, or where I went to university. Some people are nuts!

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  34. It definitely is tricky to figure out how much to share. A lot of people seem super comfortable letting the internet know everything about them, and while that seems crazy to me, you have to balance safety with letting people get to know you. Thanks for the tips and for making us remember to keep our guard up!

    www.jbound.com

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  35. People can be so stupid -.-' ... Hope this never happens to you again! Good luck! :)

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  36. So....this has totally happened to me. And my blog following is really small. It's often the weirdest, too, when people you know read your blog but you don't know they read it (I'm going to look into that site reader) and they are a distant friend's husband and he'll bring up a blog post that I wrote...I usually get the instant creepy crawlies run up my skin.

    That could be a good blog topic for you to discuss. How to handle people you know who read your blog, even if you wish they didn't.

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  37. Thanks for posting that. It's so easy to get carried away and expose too much on a blog, very sound advice! Glad that the crazy nutter eventually gave up or moved on. Hope it's smooth sailing from here on out. :)

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  38. Jenni.

    Omg. Omg. Omg. Omg. Omg. Of course I read this.

    At first I thought, wait.. wait.. wait.. "Jenni's last name isn't Storyofmylife, no wonder I couldn't find her in the phonebook." ---

    OF COURSE I clicked on the annonymous comment. And read that post and I died.. died.. died. I can see why it hurt your feelings, but my gosh.. it is hysterical.. When she chastised you for swearing I laughed out loud, because my thought was full of explitives, full of them. Then the husband being photo-shopped into your life and then the husband being the brother.. oh laws.

    omg.

    just omg.

    I had a commenter once offer to send me candy with pictures of naked women taped to the outside of the packages. joke or not it was extreemly awkward. Granted I don't allow annonymous comments. I'm afraid of people.

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  39. Oh wow! What a crazy $%&*#!! You are strong and beautiful and I'm glad you didn't let her get you down!! SOME of us actually DO care about your 'pathetic life with your brother'! Ha!

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  40. I have a small blog following and luckily have not had anything even remotely close to what happened to you happen to me! I mean you have to laugh but...that stuff gets to you! How ridiculous! And you and Matthew look like you're both white people with blue eyes but brother and sister??? Hahahahaha. That part is good at least. The internet is such a scary place! I had someone impersonating me on Facebook before I joined. They took all my myspace photos and had friended almost our entire class from high school. They were posting things I'd never say. It was really creepy. I think that same person also got a hold of my phone number as they'd send me text messages from websites with really creepy and explicit things. They also (I'm assuming it's the same person)called me from one of the deaf interpretor systems and typed to an operator disgusting things! It was insane. I couldn't believe the operated repeated some of the stuff. People are really creepy, I swear. Thanks for the tips though! I definitely don't use my last name on anything, but I do share things and trips before I do it. I don't know if anyone is stalking me...but you never know! People are WEIRD!

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  41. Oh my, girl! That is absolutely insane!! What a crazy lady!! Wow. Props to you for staying strong & not letting her psychotic comments keep you from doing what you love! As a relatively new blogger, I've been thinking lately about how much I should be let known about myself. And areas where I need to monitor & be careful. Thanks so much for the advice & sharing your story!

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  42. Good points...I've always kept those things in mind with blogging. Unfortunately, you just don't know who's out there!

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  43. Yikes! This gives me the heebie jeebies but I'm so glad you addressed it! I think this is an important thing for all online presences to learn from!

    Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

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  44. this is one of my worst fears! i know other bloggers that this has happened to :-( NOT COOL. you did a great job presenting this information - heavy, serious material with a light, almost funny attitude!!! made me smile. thx for the tips!

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  45. Her comment really cracked me up! Specially the part where you and your husband are like brother and sister and this whole blog of yours is just a sham to fool us readers! It seems to me she was (is?) the one with too much free time, possibly spending it watching soap operas (hence the idea you and Matthew are related)!
    But I can totally understand why it was somewhat scary!

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  46. yes to all of this! i have even gone so far as to delete IG comments when people recognize where i am and say the place in the comment... i might go overboard, but i figure better safe than sorry?!??

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  47. YES! I don't get why some are so willing to post every little detail of their lives. Their last names, locations, vacations coming up, when they aren't home and every other little tidbit. I'm beyond cautious as it is and know what can come of that, but I don't understand people's naivete!

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  48. Those tips you gave are the rules my husband has about Facebook as well, especially the one about announcing you're going on a holiday. I never post anything before I do it, or while I'm doing it. Great advice!

    I recently got some negative comments about a DIY project that I did and ended up being shared on a Facebook page. After reading one of the comments, I haven't looked at them since. Although someone did reply to that nasty comment with a rather nice comment, and it made me feel a little better :)

    LC from theworldofellesee

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  49. This is so scary! My dad read a fictional book (can't recall the name, although I should find out) about a blogger who got stalked (maybe even killed) by a reader. Even though it sounds farfetched, I've been very cautious and protective ever since. Great tips and great series! You can never be too careful.

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  50. Oh my word Jenni, there are CRAZIES. I am so sorry to hear you had to go through that. Also, I am totally with you on the not announcing where you are eating or living. If I post a photo at a resto I annouce it as a #latergram so that I am outta there if someone tries to stalk, you have to protect yourself. We put ourselves out there and are so vulnerable to criticism, crazies etc. and I know many bloggers will appreciate these tips as the "blogosphere" grows & grows.

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  51. It's such a good idea to remind people about the crazies! And on negativity - someone once told me not to let hateful words occupy that much time or space in my mind. I try to remember that whenever I dwell on a meanie...that they're getting free rent ;). I just started reading your blog - you have an authentic voice. Keep up the great work! :)

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  52. I remember this crazy lady VIVIDLY. SO VIVIDLY. In fact I may still have some of the emails you forwarded to me because they made me lol. She so cray.

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  53. Your post comes at the perfect time. I've only been blogging for a few months and followers are now starting to come on board but I've never really thought about any of this. I'll be thinking about that dark parking lot more often,and thinking twice about my check-ins...
    Lou @ The Honesty Path

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  54. What am I missing? I have long hair and I have short nails. Doesn't that all have to do with what you cut short and what you keep long? That is the most ridiculous thing I've heard. Whew. Your crazies take the boat.

    A lot of your tips I have followed since day 1. Except using my last name. I kind of forgot that my twitter account had my last name and then I realized, well, fudge, you can't go back now. But I think that the most important one (imo) is NEVER EVER EVER show people your street, your house or anything remotely close to your house. People know the city I live in but that is it. Also, for bloggers with husbands/ live in bfs... I NEVER EVER EVER blog about when Alex is going to be away for a night or a weekend & I will be home alone. I may allude to it after he arrives home but I don't want people knowing I'm home alone. Safety... it's all about safety. :) Great post!

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  55. I always debate about how much I want to share on this blog thing. It is scary to write about our lives on the internet but I try my best to protect my privacy, hope i am doing it alright

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  56. This is definitely freaky! It's part of the reason that I will not post a picture of my child anywhere and I refer to people by code-names mostly! It's really walking a fine line to know what to post and not to post about your life.

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  57. Oh my word, Jenni. I'm so sorry to hear about the crazies. That is hair-raising scary, and you are so brave to wear your heart on your sleeve and share your beautiful life and musings with us.

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  58. I'm one of those people who read your blog but stay pretty quiet on the comment side, but I just wanted to say hi, love your advice for bloggers series, thank you for posting them, and man oh man, that chick was crazy!!! I hope your life and blog stay crazy-free :)

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  59. Funny you should write this today. I've always wanted to take the "open" approach to my writing. Sharing my experiences, hoping they might help people, etc. For the most part, if I get responses or emails, they've been positive and people have opened up to me and told me their stories. It's been great... that's what makes the blogging community so wonderful.

    Then, today, I had someone who completely misinterpreted one of my posts and took it upon herself to write me and tell me how my outlook should really be. I felt icky, like you said. It just makes you realize out of all the awesome, positive messages we get, there are going to be others. It certainly made me more aware. Anyway, great advice!

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  60. http://ochiswords.blogspot.in/

    my new bolg

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  61. Oh my. This definitely gives me a warning to be careful as i tend to leave trails of identity. This post helped me to go back and view all of your blogging tips and they were so helpful!

    But i'm really scared when I heard that blogger can take your blog off anytime. Is there any way to prevent it?

    By the way, my blog is aspacetoconfess.blogspot.com/ (you asked to leave blog links wherever we can! Haha)

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  62. This is FRIGHTENING. I don't understand why someone would be so mean to you! I remember asking you for photography advice and you e-mailed me right back and were SO sweet! Sounds like she had the single white female syndrome going on....

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  63. I can't believe someone would dedicate So much time to hurt another person. How awful! And especially such a sweetheart and fun-lovin girl like yourself. UGH! The internet is a dark parking lot indeed. I mean, I know the crazies that come to my blog (See: obsessive Ex-Wife of my hubby) But at least the heartache she gives me is the "norm" for her. Sheesh. So sorry J!!

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  64. wow. I know there are crazies but I didn't know there are CRAZIES!
    Good for you for being able to laugh about it now.

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  65. Wow. Kind of scary.
    I try to keep my last name private, as well as the names of my kiddos. I also try not to broadcast where I am. Until after I've left.
    But, wow. How could anyone be that driven with hate??
    Wonder if you'll hear from her after today's post? Does she still bother you?? Is there any way you could track her through her IP and turn her over to the authorities?
    I'm just wondering because if something like that ever happened to me, I think I would feel better if the police knew or something.
    Be careful, lovely. Be safe.
    ((hugs))

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  66. Some people just have too much time on their hands. Glad your ignoring them and moving forward :)

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  67. Oh my gosh. I was just thinking about that crazy lady-- I remember all her emails!!! Eek. Great advice, my friend. I never check in and try to post photos after I leave places!!

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  68. Thanks for the advice! I recently just started my own blog and love your advice! I can totally relate to the trouble with finding the perfect "voice." Love your posts!

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  69. Love this series girl!! Gahhh I have had so many crazies too!! I made the mistake of responding to an e-mail one time and have since learned to never do that again! Great advice! Can't wait to read more :)

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  70. Aye, aye, aye - that is NUTS!

    I have had a couple of crazy commenters - one I responded to which was exactly what she wanted and it opened up dialogue which after the second comment, I saw was going no where. Lesson learned - delete & move on!

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  71. This was such an insightful post. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

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  72. I've never had any crazies thank goodness! Sounds awful. But they say you've made it once you have a stalker. Glad she went away. Great tips to remember if I ever get a crazy on my blog.

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  73. Scary scary! I have had a couple of odd emails from a man since I started my blog (talking about how he likes my tights and he has a thing for hosiery - gross) I deleted the emails and have now blocked him. What freaks me out though is he told me which country he is from on his emails and there is an alarming amount of traffic on my blog from that country (on my blogger stats) don't even wanna think about it... just glad it's a different country to the one I live in!!

    Janine xx
    Bake, Glue and Trend!

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  74. Very good post, and one that I think alot of people can learn from. Thanks for the insight Jenni!

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  75. Wow! I was just catching up on your advice post and this one freaks me out! I can't imagine receiving comments let alone emails like that! Props to you for not letting them discourage you from blogging. I for one, am happy because I love your blog (in a non-stalker or creepy way ha!) :)

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  76. The one thing that always gets me is how these people have so much time to dedicate to their unhealthy obsessions. Why would you choose to spend a large portion of your life tearing down someone you (likely) don't even know personally? I mean, if they've got an abundance of time on their hands I'm sure you, I, or some of your other readers would love to take it off their hands and use it constructively!

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  77. Oh I didn't know crazies could be so extreme! It's better to be safe, these crazies can be scary!

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