I've mentioned this in a previous entry, about the dangers of sharing one's work with the "wrong" (aka, untrustworthy) people. There's always a possibility that your ideas, even the writing itself, could be stolen. (Of course, writing groups and critique groups are usually quite safe - but even then, you have to be a little bit careful...).
In that previous blog entry, I never really touched on the specific issue of internet sharing. That can be a dangerous prospect, especially if you ever want to publish your work. You'll notice I've been VERY careful about sharing specific ideas of my novels, or first paragraphs, or plotlines on this blog of mine. There's a reason for that. I'm trying to protect my work. The internet is so big and so broad and so anonymous, that I just don't want to take a chance. Call me paranoid, but I think it never hurts to be cautious.
Yesterday, I came across a wonderful article by Chuck Sambuchino, that addresses this issue in great detail -"Be (Slightly) Afraid of Posting Your Work Online."
It contains solid, common-sense reasoning and advice, and I agree with what he says. I like his idea, of asking yourself WHY you're posting your work online. Is it to share with others and "put it out there"? To get feedback? To get lucky with an agent/editor who might, just might, see your work? If you have no desire to get a piece published and you really just want some honest feedback, well then sure, go for it. Post away. But - if you want to get it published someday, my advice is to err on the side of caution. You can never truly know who's reading your work online, or what their motives are. So, protect your work. Keep it safe.