Hey, settle down! I’m not talking about THAT kind of naked.
No, what I’m talking about is THIS kind of naked:
– Posting monthly revenue reports.
– Sharing the itinerary for your upcoming solo backpacking trip.
– Discussing your romantic relationships or lack thereof.
-Writing about your plans to dump your job.
-Talking about your struggles with chemical or other addictions.
-And a boat-load of other personal business.
Back when I was a kid, the homes in our rural community were on a party-line phone system. Several farms shared a local phone line, so, if a person picked up the phone to call their doctor, they just might overhear their neighbor revealing their award-winning rhubarb custard recipe to a pal.
Now, when this happened, the polite thing to do was discreetly hang up the phone and try again later. People being wired how they are, however, a bit of eavesdropping and clandestine recipe scribbling generally ensued. As tantalizing as this activity sounds, it was usually a big bust in the gossip-gleaning department, however.
In those days, people knew that a shared secret was no longer a secret at all and remembered the WWII admonition to GI’s when writing home: “Loose lips sink ships.”
Fast forward to 2010.
When I hit publish a few minutes from now, my words will be available worldwide. And, once they’re published, those words can be tweeted, shared, linked to, and bookmarked faster than I can finish my morning coffee.
Now, that’s excellent news for a blogger like me who wants to share a message and grow a readership.
Unless . . .
. . . there’s something in that just-published post that could:
- Hurt someone else.
- Cost me a job.
- Damage a relationship.
- Encourage a predator.
- Trigger an IRS audit.
- Get me sued.
- Embarrass me months or years from now.
That’s almost enough to make me want to write nice, safe posts like, “101 Uses for Dryer Lint” from now on.
Seriously, both our creative spirits and our readers will be bored silly in about 2.7 seconds if we get so wrapped up in “what if’s” that we scrub every personal, semi-naked detail from our writing.
What we need to do is find our personal sweet spot for sharing information on our blogs.
What works for me is to be the same person online as I am when I’m out in public. I figure if I wouldn’t want someone at the next table in the local coffee shop overhearing a bit of personal news, then publishing it for all the world to see doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
If you’re still not quite sure just how much information is too much information to post on your blog, here are some questions to ask prior to publishing:
- Is there anything in your post that could hurt someone else’s feelings, business, or relationships?
- Have you written something that might embarrass another person?
- Are you comfortable with a current or future client/employer reading your words?
- Is the personal information you’re sharing beneficial to readers in some way?
- Are you revealing details that might compromise your online or offline safety?
- Are financial and other personal details true and in alignment with what’s reported to the government and other agencies?
- Are you prepared for the attention, good or bad, that this post may bring?
Once you’ve determined how naked you’re willing to get on your blog, also remember your personal guidelines as you interact in the comment section of your own and other blogs, as well as when conversing on social media, in forums, and in interviews.
While there’s no reason to collapse into a quivering pile of paranoia about any of this, do remember that others are listening, and just like in the old party-line days, “Loose lips sink ships.”
And bloggers too, sometimes.
Bottom line: If it’s not something you want everyone in the world to see, put your clothes back on.
Your turn: How naked are you willing to get on your blog?