That question Who is Reading This occurs to me quite often when I am writing something posted on the internet and more often when I’m reading the things that other people post on the internet.
There is no way to know who exactly will read something posted in such a public place but daily I see things posted that are probably a little too private to be indiscriminately broadcast to everyone with a computer. This came to mind just recently when I read a post on a game forum from someone detailing the verbal shortcomings of a former co-worker. I got the feeling reading it that he had no special animosity towards this person but was just relating a humorous anecdote. If he wouldn’t tell this story in front of this former co-worker, and I get the feeling from reading it that he probably wouldn’t, then posting it in such a public place is probably a bad idea.
I see this time and time again as people post very private information or comments that they would probably not want to repeated to the people the comments are about. Every time I post about anything I have to think about what I am writing and make sure that I wouldn’t be embarrassed for the comments to be repeated to anyone. This is particularly true when I am discussing work related things. I have an obligation to maintain privacy and confidentially for my company so I have to carefully review what I post to make sure I am not violating those duties when talk about my work.
I think many people posting on blogs and other online areas sometimes forget that the person reading their words could be someone they know rather than some anonymous internet user a half a world away.