Oldest Blogging Site Offers Safe Alternative to Social Networking

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The oldest blogging site on the Internet has some rules that have made it a safer place to be than social networking sites like MySpace and Xanga. Keeping users anonymous has prevented real-life problems at OpenDiary.com.

Back in the early days of the Internet, before anyone had even heard the word “blog”, a website was started for writers in the brand-new world of online journaling. That was in 1998, and only a few hundred people were keeping diaries or journals online. However, the founders of OpenDiary.com knew that if they were going to bring these people together in a community, they would need to have some simple rules.

Then, as today, there was a great deal of concern about people contacting each other through the Internet for unfriendly purposes. These problems have only become worse in recent months, with the growth of social networking sites such as MySpace and Xanga. Every week, it seems like there is a new story in the press about an unsuspecting teenager who was lured into a bad situation by somebody assuming a false identity. The fact is, the truly bad situations – the ones in which a child is hurt, or worse – would never occur without there being physical contact between the people involved.

Realizing this, the people who started OpenDiary.com wanted to make sure that the visitors on their site would not be able to contact each other in the real world. They established a simple rule – all users of their site would remain anonymous, and would never be allowed to post personal information such as full name, phone number, or address in their online diaries. Other rules were added, to ensure that people would not be allowed to post racist, sexist, or other derogatory writing, and to keep pornography out of the site.

“Most of the social networking sites today have realized that they need rules like this,” said Bruce Ableson, founder of Open Diary. “The problem is that they didn’t have them in place from the beginning – and once you have thousands or millions of people used to living on your site with no rules, it becomes like the Wild West. Riding into town and trying to force rules on people who are already living there can be extremely difficult.”

With these rules in place since its beginning, Open Diary has had a very low incidence of real-life problems between its users. After eight years online, the site has hosted over four million diary writers from countries around the world. The fact that all of them must remain anonymous has created some funny situations, Ableson said. “We have had times when a brother and sister or two coworkers have found out that they know each other in real life, after being friends on the site for years.”


Bruce Ableson

Email: business @ opendiaryplus.com

Phone: 908-581-0544



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