now you see it, now you don’t.

Now you see it, now you don’t. The blog post you read in your feed reader an hour ago was deleted by the blogger. There is rarely a good excuse for it, although I will share some thoughts of why you may consider it. But, before you think twice about a post and opt for that delete button, first consider…

  • People already know what you said. One of the worst reasons you could delete a blog post is regretting your words after you publish. First of all, if you’re going to bother with regret, after publishing it is too late. Once it’s out there in feed readers, email inboxes, etc., there’s no going back. People have seen it and you do nothing but make yourself look like someone with something to hide. If you’ve changed your mind or realize you screwed up, edit the post and say so, own up to it. Apologize if it’s necessary and just move on. It’s far more respectable.
  • Nothing on the Web is ever completely deleted. It doesn’t matter that you deleted the post from your blog. It’s still probably cached in search engines. It was probably in feed readers. It’s very likely in the email inbox of some subscribers. Again, you just look like you have something to hide and you never know when it could come back and bite you on the ass (all it takes is for one reader to call you out for a simple deletion to turn into major drama for you — not worth it).
  • Your blog posts show your progression. It’s okay to change your mind over time; we all learn new things and have new experiences that might influence our opinions on an issue. Instead take it as an opportunity to connect with your readers. You’ll have more positive influence by justifying what you’re telling readers than by simply flip-flopping. Don’t underestimate people’s memories. Just because you delete a post, it doesn’t mean your readers don’t remember the views you shared.

I firmly believe the above to be an excellent guide to follow; however, people are always talking about “online life” vs. “real life,” but the reality is, we only have ONE life. The way we manage either component trickles into the other. With that reality I submit that there are a few reasons to delete a blog post or comment. These are only my opinions, so please understand and give it some thought as you read through the list …comment below, I promise not to delete any!

  • Every time you see it, it makes your stomach drop.
  • You are thinking about it obsessively.
  • Your mom questions why you wrote it.
  • You think it might upset your boss. Your “real” job pays the “real” bills, right?
  • Someone attempts to assassinate your character. Most of us are never going to get rich blogging, so you shouldn’t endure any unnecessary grief.
  • Unfounded behavior such as racism or prejudice. Freedom of speech might be a right in your municipality, but this is YOUR blog. If you think someone is off base, than feel free to edit accordingly.
  • It’s attracting spam. I would never eliminate a strong post, but sometimes it’s easier to just kill the post then waste time filtering comments. At the very least, close comments.

Dealing with a few dead links or disappointed readers is easier than getting rejected for a job, a tarnished brand and wondering if it was the blog post that kept you from gaining another client or a dream career. The delete button was invented for a reason, use it with caution and sparingly, but use it!

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18 thoughts on “now you see it, now you don’t.

  1. Randy – excellent observations about blogging behavior and the bigger issue of social behavior. Beyond having my values in front of me hanging on the wall, I keep Socrates 3 Filters at the top of my fore brain. Is what I write or say kind; is what I write or say truthful; is what I write or say necessary. By adhering to these mental markers, I have yet to delete a post and very rarely delete comments to my blog posts unless the remarks are totally disrespectful. My general sense is when we are careful and circumspect, we potentially will be using that delete button with far less frequency.

  2. I am with you on this one :) I also see no difference in my online vs offline self. I think those who feels there is a difference need to get a little more authentic perhaps :) Social media is such a cool tool!

  3. Thanks for a good post.
    10 years ago I would say that we have two lives: “real-life” and “on-line life” but now…we are interacting with others using social media/web-tools 24/7 so those ‘real’ and ‘on-line’ intertwine. I like to say that we have now off-line/on-line world

  4. At the rate, we develop content and share it. What is headlining today good or bad is old news tomorrow as something else is the hot topic of the day.

  5. Thanks Randy for this post, it reminds us to blog about things of value to our readers, and always think if it is time relevant. Great post!
    I just started blogging about business 3 months ago and I am addicted. Please check out my business blog and tell me what I need to improve, thanks. – ( http://www.danielchege.com )

  6. Sometimes people don’t think things through, do not do their research, don’t have an editorial process and things slip through the net.

    Last year – a large and generally sensible organization – had an intern write a blog post for Independence Day following on from a trade mission to China.

    The article was filled with factual inaccuracies and was jingoistic (emailing you guys a copy of it – I did not want to post a link to the anonymized version here in case you thought it inappropriate).

    After 4 complaints the post was taken down, no explanation – no apology.

    Needless to say my view of the company involved has changed. I no longer trust their data nor their editorial pieces as I once did.

    I’m appalled by their clean up of the situation more than by the fact that this article slipped through their editorial process.

    It takes time to build trust and authority with your audience but it only takes a second for all of that to vanish!

    • Kittie- in this “new world” of “I’m a journalist, I’m a marketer, etc.” credential’s and proceses are of no need, sad. I read the shared post and and see how you would loose trust. Again sad as I suspect you had relied on the source for much thought and entertainment curation. Thanks for the share, read and giving me some thought, always enjoy your comments.

  7. Nice thoughts. I have never deleted a post (yet), but there are some I feel not so proud about, what the heck they are part of me as well, we have our good and bad days. And to think that I started blogging in November 2010 in German … only to realise that my three readers are native English speakers!

    • I have plenty of rants! That is what they are but not a need in deleting them it was my mood and i accept the responsibility of them. I do and try to temper them :) Thanks for the read and comment.

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