When you blog in the Peace Corps you walk a delicate line. You want what you share to be real, but you don't want it to be too real.
We have a disclaimer we have to put on our blogs to indicate that nothing we say is representative of the U.S. government. We have to refrain from offering location specifics for ourselves or other volunteers. You may notice that I never really say exactly where I live. I rarely even post the name of my school. I have never posted exterior shots of my home (there are some on the flickr, but they are available to friends and family only). The PC staffers on our country desk in Washington are reading our blogs and some of us have even been "reprimanded" for offering too much detail about the location of another volunteers home.
I also try to be respectful with my blogging. I know that host country nationals (including Cale's pule) are reading the blog and I don't want to seem too critical of Samoa or accidentally say something that could offend. On the other hand, I don't want to post only happy blogs and give a one-sided representation of my time here.
Most of the time, if I have a delicate issue or something I think is questionable, I run it by Cale before I publish it. Also, many of you are on my email list of "director's cut" messages, things that I didn't not want to post for all the world to see.
I think that overall I have done a good job of striking this delicate balance. However, recently it has all come into question.
As I was typing up the cashew post my inbox pinged and an email told me that I had a comment on this entry. The commenter claims to be a student of mine who had a free period on the day I spent all day taking pictures.
To be honest, I had never really thought about my students reading my blog. It just wasn't something that occurred to me (which, in retrospect, is very silly). I didn't get the impression that they had regular access to the internet. I also am not overly worried about the students reading blog entries about my life outside of school. I am a person and I have a life. However, I am concerned about blog entries about school. The entry with this comment is one of the first times I have ever actually named a student in my blog and now I wonder if I should refrain from doing that. I also made what could be considered a derogatory remark about a student's work, which I would not want my students to be reading.
I cannot say for sure this comment was from a student. According to my site tracker this comment was made by a site visitor logging onto the internet from a city outside Brisbane, Australia. This makes it a little less likely it is a student, but doesn't eliminate the possibility entirely, as students visit family overseas often.
This will definitely make me think not just twice, but three times about school-related topics before I post them to the blog.