Privacy and Sharing

We live in incredibly inter-connected times. I’m sure you’ll be able to place some of the stories, photos, and people on this site in specific contexts. At the same, we ask you to respect the way people present themselves. It’s what we refer to as an “open secret.”

An Open Secret

As a kid I loved reading stories of people who lived on the pioneering edge – taking the gospel to new communities and people-groups. Jim Elliott, Darlene Diebler Rose, David Wilkerson, Hudson Taylor, Jackie Pullinger… these and so many more were (and still are!) my heroes.

Here’s the dilemma.

Those stories took years to get from living experience to printed page. Often great stories – the ones coming from the pioneering edge – are happening right now in sensitive or dangerous contexts. Sometimes sharing a great story could come at the expense of a residence visa, a friendship, or unintentionally leave someone feeling exploited.

Every article we share is written within careful parameters. Some people may tell their story in its entirety, others may ask us to share their experiences anonymously, leave out the name of their location, or change the names of the people involved, for example.

One of the goals for this site is to create a platform allowing people to share their experiences discretely. Though they have nothing to hide (“open”), not everything is wise to share (“secret”). We ask that you also use discretion in how you talk about this site, so that we’re able to keep bringing you current stories from around the world. (Meanwhile you can sit back smugly – you’re “in the know!”)

How to Share Responsibly

Does all this leave you feeling confused about how to share or comment? Don’t worry! Watching out for people’s privacy is one reason we moderate all blog comments (The other reason is that spam ticks us off – but that’s another topic!). We’ve also got a great rule of thumb for you.

Here’s our #1 tip for sharing responsibly: Take your cue from the author.

If someone refers to herself as “Jane in the MidEast” in an article, that’s the best way to plug their story on your social network of choice. If someone gives his Twitter info (but not Facebook) in a byline, use Twitter (but not Facebook) when you contact him for follow-up questions or comments.

Don’t do this:

[Facebook] “Check out this great story. Can you believe Jane McName, the little girl I used to babysit in Denver, is now living in downtown Cairo, Egypt at 55 Really Loud Street, writing about her annoying neighbors!?” (FACEPALM)

Great ways to share:

[Facebook] “Great post by my friend Jane (not linked to personal profile) over on!”

[Twitter] “Thanks for the helpful post @ToWinSome – love seeing my friend featured!”

We care about your privacy, too!

…That’s why we’ve made a commitment never to share your email address with a third party. Additionally, the personal information we collect about you on our website is strictly limited to the information you provide to us when you contribute, email us, post comments, or sign up to our email list. (We do use Google Analytics to track the way people use our site. The information we collect is not personally identifiable, and is targeted to things like how often our site is visited and how it’s used.)

Thanks for hearing us out! If you have any specific questions about privacy or how to share the content of this site, you are welcome to contact us.

Happy sharing!