I'm sure someone out there has done this, but I've been thinking a lot recently about some rules (or should I say proscriptions) that I should really keep in mind when I blog. Some I think are universal, some purely subjective. All of these I learned through hard personal experience.
1. Never make public pronouncements of intention that you may not follow. Example: You're a doctoral student, and you announce that you're going to take a blogging hiatus to devote more time to writing your dissertation. When you're back three days later, you will look like a royal ass.
2. Never blog angry. I mean really, really furious, not just pissed off or mildly irked. Don't do it. Just don't. No exceptions, none at all. Unless your anger is effectively masked in humor, which is really difficult to achieve. Thus far, I've avoided doing this, but largely through Sarge's interventions. At times he's had to physically restrain me from my computer.
Some corollaries, such as Never Blog Drunk, are not hard and fast rules. Drunk blogging can be fun for your readers; you must have a high tolerance, though, for personal humiliation. Also, it's best if you're of the "illllloooooveyooooumaaan" school of drunk and not of the "iiiiiimmmmmgooonnnnacuuutyooooou" school.
3. When posting something personal, always consider how people you respect would react to the disclosure: every blogger should have a personal gatekeeper, either real or imagined, someone whose very existence might keep you from posting something you'd regret. It's kind of like WWJD for the layman. When I'm feeling delusional, I like to imagine how Severus Snape would react to a post. He's not a bad gatekeeper, actually, because all those who have read the books know how guarded a character he is. He keeps himself to himself, giving away very little to those around him. I mean my god! we didn't even know about the massive torch he carried for that eyelash-batter Lily Potter, until the bitter end of Book 7 (although, and this is a complete digression, Sarge predicted that plot twist, in near-entirety, as early as Book 4 or 5...is he smart or did he have a secret communique with J.K.?)
In "real life" (and I use this term quite loosely), Sarge is my blogging touchstone. When I met him in college, at a time and at an age when I and everyone else was emoting all over the place, being touchy-feely, revealing all manner of personal secrets and shadows just to get attention or hook up, boys and girls alike, Sarge was dignified and loath to unload all his personal business. He's still like that, god bless him, and I aspire to his masterful circumspection. Let's be honest, though, I often consider his perspective and then go on to shamefully emote and reveal anyway...
4. Exercise extreme caution when blogging about politics or religion: This old truism holds for polite conversation as well as for blogging. I really like to hold forth on things, but it can get you into trouble in several ways. If people don't agree with you, it can make you mad and/or hurt your feelings profoundly. Also, I think you can make others mad and/or hurt their feelings. I keep uncontrollably blogging about politics, which I really don't think is a great idea, but I can't seem to stop myself. I've been lucky that the people who read this blog are so incredibly polite and tolerant!!!!!
5. Exercise extreme caution when blogging about your child: I'm not so sure I always adhere to this stricture, but as Hedgie gets older, it seems very important not to infringe on her privacy. My rule of thumb is, can she read what I wrote without becoming embarrassed/furious?
and finally, most importantly,
6. Don't eat soup over your keyboard as you blog: this one is self-explanatory, and goes also for overstuffed hoagies, chocolate eclairs, and of course hot coffee.
So, does anyone else out there have any personal blogging rules?