What to Do When Your Mom Discovers Your Blog

By Biz Stone

"With the raw materials in my blog, [my mom] could actually construct an accurate picture of who I am. This is f***ing serious." —The Onion

Do you blog about stuff that you would never tell your Mom? Does your Mom surf the web? Don't panic, we've got answers. Deleting your blog and abandoning your loyal readers is a last resort and should only be undertaken under dire circumstances. Our experts here at Blogger Support have come up with a list of suggestions to help you navigate around the dreaded 'Mom Scenario' (or prevent it altogether).

Use a Pseudonym

Join the prestigious ranks of literary superstars like Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) and Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) who, just like you, required pen names to keep their Moms blissfully cloaked in ignorance. To do this, you can edit your Blogger user profile and change your name. If you make an alias out of your pet's name and the street you grew up on, (for me: Bruce Upwey) be aware that your Mom will see right through that. Be creative.

See: How do I change my user information?

Go Multi-Lingual

Put those high school language classes to good use - obscure your true self from your Mom. Blogging is widely known to raise I.Q., so think what it could do for your as-yet-unexercised language skills. Blogger supports Unicode which means you can blog in a wide variety of languages.

See: Can I write my blog in a language other than English?

Change Your Blog Address, Keep Your Readers

This method may only work on Moms who are dazzled into confusion by the word "subdomain" but it's worth a try. If you change the URL of your Blog*Spot account the old address will remain. Simply post: My new subdomain is "nomom" (or somesuch) before you switch your subdomain name. Your regular readers will know to type "nomom.blogspot.com" but you will have thrown the person who gave you life into frustration and confusion. Good work!

See: Can I change my Blog*Spot address?

Search and Destroy Modify

Censorship is generally thought of as a negative thing, but this is not always true. You know how faces are sometimes blurred on news programs to protect peoples' privacy? You can go that same route with your blog by searching for potentially incriminating keywords and editing for a softer, more Mom-friendly vocabulary.

For example: "I got really drunk last night" becomes, "I got really marshmallow last night."

It may not make sense, but it does give you plausible deniability, which could help. Every little bit counts.

See: How do I find an old post?

Pull a Tony Pierce

Another good way to dupe your mom - include a disclaimer on your blog. Prescient blogger Tony Pierce claims "nothing in here is true." Feel free to write your own disclaimer and include it as a permanent part of your blog's sidebar. Just tell your Mom that your blog is an experiment in fiction and she need not worry. If you choose this technique, be careful not to blur your own understanding of the difference between fiction and reality. That could lead to even bigger problems. Placing a disclaimer in your blog's sidebar is much the same as editing your link list (common on most Blogger templates.)

See: How do I edit my link list?

Go to the Source

Like most of the world, your Mom may use Google to find your blog in the first place. If you suspect this is the case, you have an option. You can remove your blog from Google's index so that your Mom (and others) cannot find it. Again, this doesn't only keep out your Mom, so think about it first. Every Mom is a different case.

See: Will my blog appear in search engines?

Blogger employees love their Moms as much as you do. We also strive to understand the needs and concerns of our users in these complex times. Be nice to your Mom and call her at least once a week. Take her out to lunch once in a while, show some respect. And most importantly, don't give her more to worry about than she already has — if that means steering her gently away from your blog, so be it. We're here to help.

Biz Stone works at Google on Blogger and is the author of two books about blogging.

Phillip E. Pascuzzo is a designer and illustrator living in New York.

Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 15:52