Challenges that I have come across as a Blogger and Keeping safe online

Personal privacy

Well this topic just like many issues in life has no one size fits all solution and what works for me may not necessarily work for another blogger. As a blogger I try my best to protect the personal privacy of my family or people whom the blog interacts with. Wacha  niKwambie  blog is issues driven and does not dwell on personalities that is the writing style I have adopted. So discussing people and their private lives will never be the blog’s style unless it is issues driven like the two experts that I have engaged in the blog recently on Domestic Managers and a Healthy Eating Lifestyle and the topics affect a wider public.

Being a blogger sometimes it is allowed to smudge details of ones personal life for ones own privacy and safety depending on how much of ones personal life one wishes to share. Photos can be posted a few days after one has been in a place where exact details of time are not important. It is okay from time to time to smudge details e.g. not use the real names of people to protect people’s privacy. I would advise those who have other professional interests to keep off stories of or from their employment from the blog so that there is no conflict of interest whatsoever. Let your professional contacts that is boss, colleagues, clients, employees and partners also have the joy of enjoying articles from your blog from an unbiased perspective.

Writer’s block and how to stay motivated

That moment when you want to type but the words just freeze or you have no motivation is called writers block. No ideas for creativity that is. Well this is a challenge that I have had from time to time. There are many factors that could have caused it; one great one is being highly stressed and other things in life calling for my attention or drawing me away from my writing. The paradox is that sometimes stressful times have also been a source of creativity. Writers, please do not try and understand us, we do not even understand ourselves sometimes. We are sometimes complicated like that. What motivates you, can also be a source of demotivation.

Well in instances of writer’s block, most of the time I do not entirely stop writing. These are the moments I will write a short poem or story just for my own personal consumption. Poetry – I really should do more of that. I particularly like writing romantic or inspirational poetry when I am highly stressed.

Other ways I have dealt with writer’s block is to take some time out; rest and relaxation. Spend time with my family, watch my favourite station on TV, take a walk, cook a nyummilicious meal, read a book that I have been procrastinating on, take a drive, chat up my friends, take my favourite drink at my favourite place and just watch people, visit the different malls in my beloved Nairobi and pick up on trends – My Kwambie Style!, listen to music, do my nails or visit the salon, basically try and have some fun and give myself some self love.

Other important tips for the motivation of a blogger;

-read lots in your area of blogging/writing or area of interest. Sometimes my friends ask me,” Kwambie, how do you get all these ideas running out of your mind?”…one of the best ways I do that is to read a lot on lifestyle issues. Soon you become a resource person if not an expert of sorts.
– have a notebook; this could be digital or in hard copy to jot down interesting observations that you come across along the day.
-cultivate a habit of good listening, really listening to people. If there is one thing blogging made me is a good listener…in as much as I talk “a lot” online when you meet me in person these days you will realize I listen more and talk less and go with the rhythm of the conversation.

Online threats

Cyberbullying, becoming addicted to social media and thus affecting personal offline relationships, hacking, fraud, loss of reputation, theft of intellectual property whether photos, written words or recorded videos, ideas, social and professional networks – for instance you begin an online group with a noble cause the next thing you know someone has taken off with most of your members, identity theft, revenge pornography, self harm e.g. pro suicide games and groups, radicalisation that is being indoctrinated with extreme political, religious and social ideals and aspirations are some of the threats that come about with interaction on the internet today. Take care dear readers. That should not kill ones spirit when engaging online. There is still a lot of positivity when engaging online which I will be musing on later.

Cyber bullying in my own words is when people try to demean your persona, lifestyle and thoughts when engaging online. Cyber bullying like the proverbial play ground bully when  we were little is a sign of someone with a low self esteem who hides behind the keyboard and tries to bring others down .

Boost up on your self confidence and self belief such that whatever cyberbullies say does not affect you. Have a personal lawyer on standby too if need be. Keep evidence of the   bullying for legal redress. Block the person. We have had people committing suicide because of effects of cyber bullying, its effects can be that serious.

Revenge pornography on the other hand is when an aggrieved person uses naked images of their victim online to bring them down. This scenario is very common to estranged lovers. So for victims of revenge pornography, dust yourself up, pick up the broken pieces, seek legal redress, life does go on. At the end of the day we were all born naked, however dignified or up the social and economic ladder we may be take comfort in that victim of revenge pornography. Naked we all came from our mothers’ wombs, to the dust we will return naked, with nothing. Seek legal redress if you have the capacity to. Your hard earned reputation and what you have to bring to the table will surmount the storms of revenge pornography.

Another threat that we face online is identity theft. Where personal details such as name, date of birth, bank account details are stolen and used by perpetrators of crime. Such details may be obtained in the following ways: spyware, phishing, pharming, spoofing, Trojan horse virus.

Now the government of Kenya has taken online safety very seriously hence The Computer and Cyber Crimes Bill of June 2107 which soon should be enacted into law.

The bill is very comprehensive on online security. The aim of the bill is;

i. to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer systems, programs and data,

ii. prevent the unlawful use of computer systems,

iii. facilitate the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of cyber crimes,

iv. facilitate international cooperation on matters cyber safety.

Areas that have been addressed include hacking, false publications that is fake news, child pornography, computer forgery, computer fraud, cyber stalking, cyber bullying and offences committed through the use of computer systems.

Tips to staying safe online

1.     Never share personal or bank account information online or over the phone. Use legitimate institutions that is banks, credit and debit card companies, charities, government agencies etc when providing your personal information and do it in person.

2.     Use difficult passwords online and keep on changing them from time to time.

3.     Keep a close eye on your finances to monitor suspect transactions in your financial institution accounts.

4.     Never post the photos of the following online; boarding pass, you holding money, financial information, birth certificate, passport, confidential work emails, your work that is not copyrighted and   computer screens that clearly display what you are working on.

5.     Children are also vulnerable on the internet be wise when posting photos of them online. Be prudent on whom you share with identifiers such as date of birth, where they go to school and   their day to day routines.

6.     Avoid clicking on email links or attachments that you do not recognize.

7.     Avoid internet sites with negative content.

8.     Get your source of news from legitimate sites.

9.     If you are meeting someone that you have met online for the first time offline please tell a friend or family member of your whereabouts for the first couple of times.

Just like every coin has two sides the internet has both its positives and negatives. Stay safe!

The conversation on #WachaniKwambieblogthestory closes in the next article with the thrills of online interactions and what next in Blogging

Finally we have been nominated for the BAKE Awards 2018. If you have found this article useful towards your online safety please vote for us as “The Best Lifestyle Blog” Category 19e in the link that follows: https://vote.bakeawards.co.ke/. Have a winning week ahead.

#WachaniKwambieblogthestory

#Tips

©

Kwambie Nyambane,

April 2018

References:

The Computer and Cyber Crimes Bill of June 2107

Personal research sources.

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