What I Learned About Blogging From the Naked Men in the Trunk of My Car

 

After dropping my Army husband off at work, I made my way toward the gate of the base to head home.

There was a lineup of slowly moving cars waiting to exit through the partially closed gate.

There must be some kind of threat, I thought, as I drove slowly toward the gate.

I Need to See Your ID

Just as I was about to reach the gate, a soldier dressed in camouflage jumped in front of my car, with his hand up, clearly ordering me to stop.

A moment later, another solider approached the driver’s side of the car.

“I need to see your ID,” the soldier calmly stated.

“Sure thing,” I replied, as I reached for my purse, pulled out my military dependent ID card and handed it to him.

By Order of the Base Commander. . .

“By order of the base commander, you need to exit your vehicle,” he informed me.

I got out of the car and stood on the side of the road and watched as one soldier searched my glove compartment, and two other soldiers looked through the trunk of my car, before giving me permission to leave.

Later that Day. . .

A bit later that day, I went back on base to go to the commissary.

“Here, let me get the trunk,” I said to the bagger who had helped me to my car with my groceries.

As I opened the trunk, I gasped, when I saw stacks of photos on canvas of naked, emaciated men.

Shocked, I quickly flipped the photos over, hoping the bagger hadn’t seen them.

My Husband Had Some Explaining to Do

“Honey, why are there photos of naked men in the trunk of our car?!?” I asked, as soon as my husband answered the phone.

“Oh, those were for a Holocaust display I was working on, but I decided not to use them because I thought they might be too disturbing.”

No kidding.

And Then I remembered. . .

The soldiers who had inspected my car. No wonder they spent so much time looking at what was in the trunk.

How embarrassing.

Hidden Things

What I learned through that experience is that when we least expect it, our “trunk” may be searched, and our secrets that appear to be safely hidden away, will be exposed.

The lesson in this for bloggers is that if you’re less than ethical in the content you create, you’ll eventually be found out. And embarrassed. . . or worse.

Are any of these shameful things hidden in the posts on your blog?

  • Plagiarized Content

I’ll be the first to admit that it can be hard to come up with compelling content on a regular basis. It takes time. And effort. And there’s so much content out there already. . . why not just borrow a bit of it? You know, grab something and change a few words here and there. Who would ever know?

Hmmm. . .

  • Fabricated stories

Some bloggers write about hard things. Horrific things. Tales of abuse. Others write about inspiring things, heroic feats that warm the heart.

Blogging opens up the opportunity for everyone to share about the events of their lives, and often this sharing helps to bring hope, healing, and inspiration to others.

But some bloggers make things up.

  • Exaggerated accomplishments

The about page on your site should tell people about who you and your company are, not who you wish you were.

Though you don’t have to tell people you dropped out of high school, if that was your reality, don’t pretend to have an advanced degree.

Or maybe you won a writing contest in the third grade. That doesn’t make you an award-winning author.

It’s fine to write about aspirations, as long as it’s clear that’s what you’re doing, but in order to avoid embarrassment and loss of credibility in the future, cut the crap. Write the truth. Be honest about who you are and what you’ve done.

If you’re honest on your blog, you’ll never have to be embarrassed about what your readers might discover in your trunk

Your Turn

How have, or would you respond if you discovered a blogger you admired was less than honest on his blog?

Rebecca Livermore is a blogger and content manager. If you need help developing the blogging habit, she invites you to sign up for her free eCourse, 5 Secrets to Developing the Blogging Habit,or to connect with her on Facebook.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

29 thoughts on “What I Learned About Blogging From the Naked Men in the Trunk of My Car

  1. Your husband should warn you before putting random pictures in your car. :) Great post Rebecca.

  2. The first thing you illustrated to all is the power of a compelling subject line. You had me at the “naked men in your trunk”. LOL

    Second, is the power of story.
    Clearly, you’re doing this blogging thing well. Enjoyed the post!

    • Beverly, Your second sentence made me laugh! I generally write really boring titles, and I doubt very seriously that anyone would ever type that one into Google but it was fun coming up with something different. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and the story as well. Perhaps I should do that more often.

      Hope to see more of you here, Beverly!

      Rebecca

  3. Wow, Rebecca, that is an attention getting headline if I’ve ever seen one!

    Great metaphor on how our audience expects truthful, thoughtful commentary from our blogs. Your article is a good reminder that bloggers have a obligation to uphold a high standard of honesty and thoughtfulness in our posts.

    • Kim, I’m the queen of boring headlines, so I’m not sure what came over me. ;-)

      Thanks for your kind words and for being one of those bloggers with high standards!

      Rebecca

  4. Wow, what an adventure, thanks for sharing that story. I really felt like I was there with you being pulled over by the MP’s.

    I’m so glad you mentioned plagiarized content and fabricated stories. I’ve been running into a lot of this lately and especially by finding other bloggers who are scraping my content.

    Thanks for the post Rebecca.

    • Ileane, it really is disturbing how many unethical bloggers there are out there. How have you handled blogger who are scraping your content?

      Thanks as always for your support, Ileane!

      Rebecca

  5. That must have been a really embarrassing situation ;).But I really enjoyed your post and learned some good things from it.

    • Abhishek, it was indeed an embarrassing moment! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and learned some things from it. I hope to hear more from you.

      Best,

      Rebecca

  6. Tell the truth. Be honest. Karma always catches up to you. You will not get away with lying through inflated income claims, or flat out hyped up, trumped up results. Nope. Tell the truth. Save yourself a world of headaches. Only fools lie.

    If you tell the truth you avoid the minefield foolish entrepreneurs set up for themselves. You lie, and attract lazy people who want to get rich quick. At best, these folks never duplicate. At worst, they label you a scammer, and demand their money back, ready and willing to sully your reputation at any moment.

    Tell the truth. Make sure that your closet is empty. Share your own content. Create value. Make connections. Build your business with good karma. Prosper.

    Thanks for sharing and important lesson Rebecca!

    RB

    • Ryan,

      Thanks so much for such a thoughtful comment! I had not thought about the types of people you attract when you lie, but you are absolutely right, and that’s an excellent point.

      The deal is, when we live the truth, we don’t live in fear of the lies being discovered and as a result being discredited. Sure, when we’re honest, there is still the potential for people to find fault and disagree, but that’s not even in the same league as someone finding fault because we truly did something wrong.

      I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to read a comment, Ryan.

      Thank you!

      Rebecca

  7. Wow Rebecca – what a great story! I’m sorry you had to live it tho! I can sort of feel all the blood rushing to my feet when I realize that the MPs saw those photos in my trunk…

    • Louise, no kidding! The crazy thing about it is that I got pulled over again a couple of days later. They were letting quite a few cars go through and then stopped me. Maybe they wanted to see if I had cleaned out my trunk! ;)

      Thanks as always for stopping by, Louise.

      Rebecca

  8. WOW , Rebecca Livermore @ Really gorgeous writing capabilities in your mind.A big salute to you , if you ask why this salute then my reply is here that normally i read a few blog post completely because all have the same topic those are know to me but your blog post forced me to read complete and more interestingly twice .

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Shazida! I hope you’ve had a great weekend.

      Rebecca

  9. Rebecca, It’s my first time at your blog and wow, way to open it up with a bang huh ; ). Me likey! I think the big lesson is how you do anything, is how you do everything. Like with life, if your actions aren’t kosher it’ll show, in everything. People who cut corners just can’t help it. It how they interact. I loved the story and the set-up! Thanks for the post I’ll def be back. Enjoy your week!

    • Mys,

      So great to have you here! I love what you said here, “I think the big lesson is how you do anything, is how you do everything.”

      It is very true that eventually the truth of not just what you do, but who you are, comes out. It’s like you can fake it only so long, and then eventually, you can’t keep up the act.

      None of us are perfect, of course, and I think most people are understanding about that — because the same is true of them as well. But there is a difference between imperfection, and lacking integrity.

      I hope you do have a really great week, Mys, and I look forward to seeing you around here again. :)

      Best

      Rebecca

  10. Wow! Entertaining yet awkward story haha. Its so true, the truth will always be discovered. Integrity and honesty are imperative when building a brand, a business or developing your own personal character. Great post Rebecca. Can only imagine what assumptions the grocery store guy would have made had he seen the photos :/

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Seth.

      And the sad thing is, my guess is the grocery store guy DID see the pics as he as standing right next to me when I flipped them over. It was just too awkward for either of us to say anything, so we both acted like nothing unusual had happened. ;-)

  11. Rebecca,

    Amazing post title and even better content… This is the Black Hat/White Hat thing with SEO, in the “trunk” we could have some weak moments that lead to poor results.

    Thanks

    Ryan H.

    • Thanks so much, Ryan! Always great to see you, and you are for sure one who knows the value of putting out great content!

  12. WOW, you really inspired me with this title, Rebecca! I have to say I love this title for so many reasons, the biggest being that it breaks all the rules of logic that live in my mind because I’m so literal. I really enjoyed your thought provoking post…thanks for sharing! And congratulations on winning Pat’s SPI challenge!!! WAY COOL…you go girl!!!!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words, Michele. Like you, I generally write very “literal” titles. Titles are not my strong point at all, but I decided to move out of my comfort zone with Pat’s challenge and thus came up with a rather unique title. ;-)

      Hope you have a great week, Michele!

      Rebecca

  13. Rebecca, hm where do I begin…

    I saw you on Pat’s contest post and with all the articles that were posted in that post yours was the one that I just could not resist clicking on.

    What an amazing headline haha!

    I really enjoyed reading it as well being a Marine Veteran and just picturing the whole thing on base lol. You also provided some very useful information which is always great.

    Keep up the awesome work and thank your husband for providing you with a great headline idea ;)

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Cody, and thanks for stopping by, with all of the choices you had on Pat’s post. As a Marine veteran, you know that this kind of thing really can happen, and why I didn’t think anything of being told to show my ID or to get out of my car. Just another day on base, lol.

      I’ll have to think of what other funny things I can write about as a result of being an Army wife. I’ve always wanted to use this story, but never really thought of a way to use it until Pat’s contest. I generally write really boring titles, but Pat said something about coming up with a good title, so I stretched myself a bit. :)

      Hope you have a great day and weekend, and thanks for your military service!

      Rebecca

  14. Love this story Rebecca – your headline was awesome! I too clicked over from Pat’s blog and I’ve not yet read any of the other posts. There were so many! Congrats on being picked as the best headline…I’m off to scour your site….it can’t be possible that you write boring headlines when this little gem is around!!

    • Tracey, thanks so very much for popping on over from Pat’s blog and for leaving a comment. Enjoy your time on my site.

      Best,

      Rebecca

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