Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ma's Advice About Blogging

You know 'Ma' don't you? The kind, patient and wise mother in the Little House books? Ringing any bells?

Of course, I do mean the books and not the '70s era show. Those are two different things entirely, though I won't get into all that just now.

Anyway, Laura Ingalls Wilder's books are some of my favorite ever written. Polly and I are reading through the series and we are almost finished, being now in the book Little Town on the Prairie. In the chapters we read tonight, Laura gets into some hot water at school because of some angry words. After this situation is set right her mother writes in an autograph book a piece of advice that I have no doubt the future Mrs. Wilder would remember until she died:

If wisdom's ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.

Mrs. Ingalls could not have imagined the marvels of computers, the Internet, email, and so on, that we have today. But she, in her wisdom, couldn't have hit a better bit of advice about blogging and social networking if she had tried.

We may not ever meet our readers in person. We may attempt to control just who has access to our pages and sites and whatnot. Howsoever that may be, I know I would do well to remember Ma's advice, not just in the "real" world, but in my cosy little virtual ones too. Just goes to show you: wisdom in 1881 is still wisdom one hundred and twenty-eight years later in 2009.


Elizabeth said...

Actually, I got the impression that a lot of the people who comment on your blog are friends from offline. But even so, these personal conversations can be read by anyone.

Sometimes I see people on Facebook carry on intimate conversations in a comments thread and I think, "Dude, this is what private messages and chat are for!" Though even in private written conversation, the fact that it is written means that the other person can display your careless words at an inconvenient time.

In spoken conversation, I'll admit to being a blabber-mouth, but even I watch myself online.

Oh, and I read half of the "Little House" books when I was 10 years old, mostly while sitting in a tree next to my parents' house. Never saw the tv show, probably the weight and cords would have made a television awkward there.

Elizabeth said...

Speaking of old-school wisdom applied to online etiquette, here's a video my husband just sent me:

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