Letter to Romenesko
From ANNE MIDGETTE, classical music critic, Washington Post: Your post about Aaron Barnhart struck a chord with me, because I encountered something similar when I went on maternity leave from October to January. During my almost-three-month absence, I had a lot of readers contact me and contact my editors to ask what had happened to me.
It’s an interesting question, in these days of increased transparency and social media, to ponder how open we should or are willing to be about our private lives. I did post about the baby on both Facebook and Twitter, which I use mainly in a professional capacity. But while I considered putting something up on my Washington Post blog, that blog is considered an extension of the paper and it didn’t seem quite appropriate to use it for a baby picture. Furthermore, I encounter a fair amount of hostility on my blog, and I didn’t necessarily feel like exposing my personal life to that element, particularly since our son is adopted. (The adoption went through with little advance notice, which is why I didn’t have a lot of time to plan with my editors how to present my absence to readers.)
One unintended consequence was that a rumor spread in my field that Placido Domingo had gotten me fired for something I wrote about him. This rumor made it all the way to my Wikipedia page, where it sat for a couple of months unchallenged until a friend sent it to me after I came back to work.