How Naked Should You Get on Your Blog?

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.

Yikes!

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?

Image Credit.

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85 Responses to How Naked Should You Get on Your Blog?

  1. Anonymous June 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    I love this post! I often see bloggers oversharing, in my opinion, especially when it comes to details that would allow someone to find them, if they so wished. The community as a whole is so kind and supportive that I think we can forget that not just our buddies read our words. I like being honest and sharing myself to a degree but, I also try to remember that it’s my responsibility to make sure what I publish doesn’t bring harm to me or those I value.

  2. Katie Tallo June 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    Great post Jean. “What we need to do is find our personal sweet spot for sharing information” sums it up. It's going to be different for everyone but the basics you outline are great guidelines. I like to infuse a bit of the personal into my work, and blogging has definitely heightened my awareness of my world so I lean that way, but only in so far as it would be relatable to my readers and engage them or help them understand their world. Love that you've bared all in this post Jean. Lookin' good!

  3. TheBadBlogger June 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    Well, I'm really almost totally naked about what I write, that is why I believe there are a lot of bloggers who dislike my blog which I doesn't care much, where else those who like are my RSS readers and subscribers… Here's something I have learn : Stop concentrating on pleasing the dogs, start concentrating on selling the foxes….

  4. Eric June 28, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    I get naked on my blog to a point. When I first started the blog I actually was writing about how I was feeling heartbroken and then things just progressed as it got better and I found potential and started to talk about all sorts of things. That's actually what got me into blogging in the first place.

    I don't much talk about my feelings anymore but do put them in their once in a while. I'd say I'm half dressed most of the time, as bad as that sounds lol.

    Great post here! :)

  5. John Soares June 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    Jean, it's very important to be careful about what we put about ourselves online, and you've developed a good set of guidelines.

    In a post on coffee drinking I wrote last week on Intelligent Productivity, I mentioned in passing that I smoked pot at one time. (You left a comment.) I thought about whether or not to admit that, but ultimately decided to do it.

  6. prolificliving June 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    A very, very good question, Jean. By the way, if that's you in the photo, I love your hair :)!
    I think about this all the time – I worry sometimes about controversy and my views on certain topics turning off my readers but then I remember that if I were to become someone else and repeat the generally accepted ideas and opinions, I'd lose my own voice (that and I refuse to be anyone else ;)) – On the personal topics, I would be very careful not to hurt anyone and if something I say hurts someone inadvertently, I would be sensitive to their feelings. I would not share financial or personal travel plans in detail – on travel blogs it's always after the fact that I recount the tales…..And well, I am definitely not taking my clothes off anytime soon :)!!! Thank you for the laughs (and the insights)!

  7. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    Farnoosh, that is most definitely me in the picture. Haha.

    One thing I especially like about your blog is that it is so personal with many life experiences and viewpoints, yet you leave us with a sense of mystery as well. I feel like I want to attend another yoga class with you and go on your next adventure. I think you're found your personal sharing sweet spot!

  8. Hulbert June 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    Haha, I like the um… metaphor you used here Jean. :) I think it depends on different people. I like how you say you are as open as in blogging as you are when talking to somebody in a coffee shop. I try to be the same way too. When I first started out, I was really hesitant to share personal information just because once it's out there, it's out there. But I later realized that the more personal you are with yourself, the more other people can kind of relate to you.

    And one example of this was when I told and wrote about my OCD (a post called The Life of an OCD Blogger), which was something that people didn't know about me, I got many replies of people telling me of their own types of related health problems like ADHD. Basically, it was just cool to see other people talk about issues that they had in life too, but they wouldn't have mentioned about it if I didn't bring up the subject in the first place. So that's what's cool about blogging and being as “naked” as you can so other people can kind of relate to you too.

  9. Marion_Anderson June 28, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    A thought provoking post Jean. I blog about issues that effect my clients but the identities are heavily disguised and are often an amalgamation of several people. However if I blog about my daughter I always send her the post for approval.
    I think what I have learned from this post and the one about Lemons is to have a balance. It is good to share but draw the line before sharing tomorrow's laundry.

  10. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    I think what's key here is where you say, “I thought about whether or not to admit it, but ultimately decided to do it.” Too often bloggers don't put that thought into what they write beforehand and end up in the midst of a firestorm.

  11. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Yeah, I've seen you show some skin sometimes, Eric :) Blogging is a journey, and I've known others too who have started on the path due to hard times. Sometimes they regret what they shared in the early days, and other times they wouldn't change a thing. I like it when you give us a little glimpse into your personal life, by the way :)

  12. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    Right you are about not trying to please everyone. It will never happen. Some bloggers love letting it all hang out, so to speak, and if that's what works, go for it. Just be aware of and willing to accept any negative consequences. That's part of my taking 100% responsibility for life mantra :)

  13. Kate June 28, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Hi Jean, I have often wondered just how much of my personal feelings or experiences to share. It's funny sometimes how we can tell strangers much more than we can tell those close to us. I like your idea of the person in a coffee shop who can overhear, I am definitely going to use that from now on!
    Many thanks,
    Kate

  14. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    Thanks, Katie. I really appreciate getting glimpses into your personal life because it helps me relate to you and your work. I find I'm drawn to bloggers who share personal anecdotes without going into the minute details of their lives. Some folks like that though too. To each their own!

  15. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    I love that you send those posts to your daughter first, Marion. Perfect. Yes, it is about finding that balance, isn't it? We don't want to be stiff and impersonal, yet it's a fine line between just enough and too much information.

  16. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    Hi Hulbert. I know quite a few folks are hesitant about sharing anything at all personal online, yet it's those snippets of background and stories of our ups and downs that give us our unique online presence.

    I love that you had the experience of opening a door for others to walk through when you shared your OCD. And I love the title of that post, by the way!

  17. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Hi Kate, You'll find the right groove for sharing as you go on. I figure it's best to start out tentatively and then ramp up from there as you feel comfortable.

  18. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    I've had to remind myself quite a few times that I'm not just talking to one person. Sort of like when I reply to your comment. In my mind, I feel like I'm just talking with you, yet how many people in the weeks/months ahead could read these words? In the end, I'm still going to be who I am, but it's good to remember.

  19. prolificliving June 28, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    Looking good Jean, I love the hair did I mention? ;))!!
    Thank you for the lovely words about Prolific Living. I am a big girl and know how to take a compliment!! :) Have a lovely day and keep'em coming!

  20. Manal June 28, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    Okay this is coming from your #1 groupie :)

    The message of this post is very important. How much to reveal and at what cost. For me I share what I feel is relevant without getting into more detail than I need to. Before I started this blog I didn't even share my name online. As I write and interact with other bloggers, I get more comfortable sharing a little bit more.

    I love your style and the way you share parts of your life with your readers. To me this is the best approach.

    Another brilliant advice. Thanks Jean.

  21. John Sherry June 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Jean, stunning picture….Sorry didn't read anything after that! Just kidding.

    To answer your question I try to seperate person from personal. Talk about me the person or other people who's stories are pertinent is fine but I steer clear of being personal or too much about my own life. Because a) I'm not the subject of the content, it being generic simplicity and b) It's my blog but I want some privacy and space to live my life.

    I don't mind being naked a bit (except that damn full length mirror in the bedroom) but leaving a little to the imagination is best.

    Now…back to that picture….

  22. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    Hi Manal. Happy Monday :) You've come a long way from not revealing your name online to publicly outing yourself as a groupie. Haha. Seriously, I think your tentative approach to sharing is wise. The strongest trees grow slowly!

  23. Angela Artemis June 28, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    Great post Jean and great advice! Personally, for me I'm kind of shy so – I've already decided buck naked is not the way to go. I've read some other blogs though were they have no shame what-so-ever.

    The things I do reveal about myself are pretty benign – nothing that could get me fired from my job or sued. Working in an industry where we have to guard sensitive information has made me pretty aware of the pitfalls of revealing too much.

    Thanks for this Jean.

  24. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Glad you like the picture, John. I was having a bit of a bad hair day :) Good idea to separate the person from the personal. I like the way you put that.

  25. rob white June 28, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    Hi Jean,
    This is always a tricky one. I've always been reluctant to reveal anything personal… I just wanted to be a sage philosopher saying philosophical things. Well, nobody is interested in that these days, and why would anybody want success advice from someone that hasn't walked his talk? So, I'm learning how to incorporate success from my past that paint a bigger picture while maintaing privacy about everyday matters… working on finding the “sweet spot.”

  26. virginbloggernotes June 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    Hi Ange. I haven't decided if the no-shamers are totally fearless, totally clueless, or aware but don't care about the pitfalls. Probably a little of everything :)

  27. GetYourBizSavvy June 28, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    Sexy picture Jean! Really caught my attention ha! Thought provoking post and great especially since there is so much going on with the privacy issues. I used to be really concerned with image and not saying the wrong things, but I have moved away from all that now. For someone that wants to start a blog, those questions that you have provided are so important to answer.

  28. Dia June 28, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    Very nice post Jean. I personally try make sure not to mention politics, religions, and anything else that could offend someone. In other words, I try to make my posts diplomatic lol Thanks for sharing Jean

  29. Wilson Usman June 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    Jean I've never even thought about this. Great post. Definitely got me at the Title LOL. Really catchy. I ask myself some of these questions sometimes. I've had to delete entire drafts because I just didn't know how people would respond to it. I think this is an awesome post and people should really use this information as a guide before they GET NAKED! Hey, I don't mean in that way…

  30. Scott Barron June 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    You are reading my mind. While job hunting I find that it's a good idea to keep everything to a minimum online. Just in-case, I never know who's reading. It's funny, what we write shouldn't be any different, whether the reader is part of a blogging audience or prospective employer. Sadly, the 2 are quite different, or looking for different things.

    Oh, that Google Analytics thing…I signed up for that once and never figured out how to get it working? It says I'm supposed to put a snippet of code in my articles for them to track? I thought it was just a website based analyzing tool. Confuse me!

  31. Alienghost June 28, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    OK, so the picture at the beginning of the post is not you… :)

    Great points to analyze before hitting the publish button.

    Sometime it is said that we should talk in our blogs like if we were talking to a friend in person and that is what usually happens when you read blogs of younger people, yet it seems that later there is regret for information given and not possible to retrieve.

    There goes the chance to publish my naked pictures! :)

    Are you sure is not you?
    Just kidding….

    Raul

  32. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 12:24 am #

    Raul, that girl in the picture could be my double, really :)

    Yes, once we hit Publish, that's pretty much it. Good or bad, our words are out there. Or our pictures :)

  33. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 12:30 am #

    Someone once told me to presume everyone is reading your blog, your tweets, etc. Obviously, that's not true, but I understand the point behind it.

    Hmm, I definitely don't use a tracking code for Analytics but can't remember what I had to do to get everything started. This sounds like something Brandon should write an article on!

  34. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    Hi Wilson. Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, the title sort of snags a person, doesn't it :) It's definitely good to think about the wisdom of running around town naked before you leave the house!

  35. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 12:35 am #

    Hi Dia. Count me on those who isn't going to get into discussing controversial subjects on here. If I want to hear people argue about that stuff I can go to one of the taverns in town and get a tasty beverage while I'm at it :)

  36. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    Well, you know that's definitely me in the picture right? :) I'm not all that concerned with image either because I figure I am who I am and people will like that or not. That said, I really don't want to offend people if I can help it. I want them to be able to come in here, get the information they need, and not feel like they don't belong for some reason. That's why I tend to keep my clothes on around here :)

  37. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    Hi Rob. I wonder if there would be internet access on that mountain where you'd like to sit and philosophize (is that a word?) all day :) One thing I'm finding is that real life is simply starting to add itself to the page a little more at a time in my writing. So far nothing has plopped on there that I've had to delete, but I'm keeping an eye on things!

  38. Madeleine June 29, 2010 at 2:07 am #

    Jean, I really like your post and the great comments. I dealt with this issue first in Toastmasters in terms of speaking about my children or my BF. I've always been respectful of their privacy and dignity. I gave a speech once about my first date with my BF while he was in the audience, and he was touched by what I said. Personal stories are often what gives life to a speech or blog post. They have an emotional impact without which the speech or post may seem dry and abstract.

    My blog's a bit different. I use stories about others but no names or other identifying information. For myself I reveal a fair amount because I see myself as a sort of human guinea pig who knows things about aging from research but also from my own experience. I think that a big part of my credibility is my willingness to share relevant information.

    Finally, I've realized that a lot of what I write about, such as health topics, taking responsibility for one's own health, and so on is very controversial these days. I didn't anticipate that when I started blogging, but the health-care debate surprised me with the intensity of anger it seemed to provoke or catalyze. I generally try to write in a respectful, non-confrontational way, but I realize that some people are “spring-loaded in the pissed-off position” as my BF says.

  39. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 3:04 am #

    Hi Madeleine. You're right about stories bringing our writing or speaking to life, and the more vivid those stories can be made through sensory descriptions, the better.

    It would be a real challenge for me to write about a 'hornet's nest' topic, when just mentioning certain words will set off those 'spring loaded' (love that!) people. I salute you for handling it so well!

  40. Leah McClellan June 29, 2010 at 5:38 am #

    Good guidelines, Jean. One of my rules is to never mention anyone in my family or any of my friends or neighbors, even in a good way unless it's very general. However, that doesn't mean someone won't get hurt or upset. People have different reactions to things sometimes even when it's nothing to do with them.

    I tend to be quite naked in some ways, though nowhere near as much as I'd like to be. One of these days lol I keep in mind that I'm no different than anyone else, and some people may well appreciate my openness and honesty. My current, main blog is pretty straitlaced, but I may shift things on another blog. Or even on this one; I'm not sure. I hold back an awful lot, and maybe I shouldn't. There's only so far I'd go, though…maybe down to my underwear :)

  41. Zengirl @ heart and mind June 29, 2010 at 5:55 am #

    Jean,

    That was a eye catching title for sure! Are you sure you not problogger? :-)

    being transparent is open without hurting your privacy or others is important. Sometimes I think what if my kids saw my blog someday, would that make them embarrassed or happy? So lot of my blog post based on future event that may happy.

    Good tips as always.

  42. Jeffrey June 29, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    Hi Jean,
    One of the reasons I like Bloggers Market is the fact that I’m basically teaching about a subject. I don’t really have to get that personal. Outside of the occasional Google Slap or FTC Ruling, things are pretty quiet.
    The Europa Files.net is a totally different situation. I’m getting in trouble nearly everyday with the editors in the Admin. Dept. I can’t help myself. I’m so frustrated with our Government’s approach to our future in space. The hot topic of the moment is the cancellation of the Shuttle program, or heavy lift program, and our President’s insistence on going to Mars. First you don’t cancel the Shuttle, you replace it! Second, we’re not going to Mars, who does the President think he’s kidding? We have no abilities or resources to go to Mars! With that I would like to thank you Jean, for letting me vent in our first therapy session. Even though it was kinda short and I didn’t get my full hour!

  43. Vincent Audritt June 29, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    Hi Jean
    This is a subject I have thought long and hard about, you have crystalised the dilemma perfectly. I would imagine you party line phone system could have been a nighmare :) The written word can be easily misread by the reader as well. Sometimes I write things and then try to read them through another persons eyes and it can be surprising how things can be interpreted. I try and get mine checked out by by better half….
    Vince

  44. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    Hi Leah. I've heard of cases where someone wrote something good about someone they know, but the person was still upset because they didn't want the attention. And, I can understand that because it's almost like we're making them go naked yet not giving them a choice. Count me in as those who appreciate your openness, by the way.

  45. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    Well, you caught me . . . I'm a virgin blogger by day and a pro blogger by night :) Great idea to look at things with your children in mind. Many of us say our blogs are like our children, so we want to make sure this sibling gets along with the others :)

  46. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Hi Vince. Yes, the party line brought trouble sometimes. Sometimes people would hear others eavesdropping on a line and really let them have it! Looking at writing from another viewpoint like you do is an excellent idea.

  47. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Hi Jeffrey. Well, this was interesting to me because I didn't know about the space program controversy you have going on over there. And though I feel your pain and understand your point, I must say it's a bit refreshing to see that others struggle with their political leaders' thought process as much as we do with ours :) So, because you've made me feel so much better in that regard, your therapy session will be free today :)

  48. Karen Ruby June 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Hi Jean,

    Great topic for discussion. I'm always thinking in the back of my mind that what I write down and publish will be there for years to come – it can get a little nerve-wracking to actually publish the thing! Plus, there is a real concern for identify theft, which we have to keep in mind when being too public and transparent. It's definitely a fine line.

  49. Alison Kerr June 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    “What works for me is to be the same person online as I am when I’m out in public.”

    That makes so much sense to me and really keeps it simple. The only difference between the internet and the local grocery store, or coffee shop, is the number of people who can hear what you're saying.

  50. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Hi Alison. I tend to think of my blog as a coffee shop/pub where people can come in after a hard day's work, read a post or two and chat a bit. This keeps me from getting into 'big scary internet mode' and lets me relax into being who I am.

  51. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Hi Karen. You just nailed it with, 'what I write down and publish will be there for years to come.' Our mood and circumstances might change, but those words are out there forever. Even if we take down a post or the whole blog, there are too many tracks and traces to go back and cover them all.

  52. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Hi Karen. You just nailed it with, 'what I write down and publish will be there for years to come.' Our mood and circumstances might change, but those words are out there forever. Even if we take down a post or the whole blog, there are too many tracks and traces to go back and cover them all.

  53. annahaller June 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    For me I tell it like it is or rather what I am going through on my journey. After all that is what I have chosen to blog about, my journey in the internet marketing world.

    I am cautious though about publishing too much personal information. I think it's good that your readers can connect with you on an emotional level and at the same time you want to make your posts as such, providing them with your own personal stories so that they can relate but still make the content relevant and helpful at the same time.

    These points you make are very good to consider before hitting that “publish” button.

    Anna

  54. Chania Girl June 29, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    There is not a lot that I can add to a wonderful post and insightful comments other than to just chime in with my own approach, which is basically the approach I take with my students. I share about me and my life but only to a point. One can say, “G and I had an argument;” it's another altogether to say, “G got on my last nerve this morning he did such-and-so and then this-and-that and blah blah blah.” In fact, one of the things always present in the back of my mind is that some students may indeed find and read my blog, so I don't want anything on there that could jeopardize my job or just be too close comfort for my liking.

    I guess my approach to blogging is similar to my approach to people in general. I like meeting people and find it easy to strike up conversation, but at heart I always only have a very small number of people with whom I'm close and feel like I can truly say of them, “friend.” It's the same with my blogging, and only a very few people know the full story behind the blog.

  55. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    You brought a lot of clarity to this issue by showing the difference between touching on something vs. getting detailed. And I agree that it's always best to think that students, parents, community members, etc., might find our blogs. When it comes to what we write, a good motto may be . . . when in doubt, leave it out!

  56. Heather Fonseca June 29, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    I like your suggestion to keep your posts to stuff you wouldn't mind people overhearing at Starbucks. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too honest, but if we're not honest why would anyone read a personal blog? It would just be boring wouldn't it?

  57. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    I enjoy seeing how different folks involved in internet marketing tell their stories. Some reveal the financial/traffic side of things while others include things about their family life, as well. All that variety is fun from a reader's perspective.

  58. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Hi Heather. Even personal blogs have their 'sweet spot,' depending on the creator's comfort level and the readers. Some are more general about their activities, while some go into a lot of detail. I guess a good rule of thumb would be that if it's boring when we write it, then it's likely boring for readers too. It doesn't necessarily mean there need to be more details though – sometimes people can take a dull situation and make it sound super interesting with their writing style.

  59. Kaizenvision June 29, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    Jean, I really like your 'questions to ask prior to publishing'
    left to my own I can say far too much and not realize it until after – very often I speak before I think. I happened to marry one of the most private people I've ever met so I tend to ask myself 'would G freak if I wrote this?' If so, I don't write it. Your checklist is a bit more detailed though :) GREAT POST and I will be using your list of questions-prior-to-publishing

  60. virginbloggernotes June 29, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    Hi Aileen. The older I get, the more I find it's better to take time to ask questions before I do things. Otherwise, I end up asking questions afterwards like “What was I thinking????” or “Why on earth did I do that????”

  61. Brandon Connell June 29, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    Whenever I get naked there is trouble. Someone always gets jealous.

  62. joshuanoerr June 29, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

    Jean, this is a very important question for each blogger to consider. For me, I do like to share info from my life, as long as I know it is not harmful to me or my family. In my niche, it makes a lot of sense and carries well to the readers.

    Now, I would absolutely like to see a post about 101 uses for dryer lint. I have enough of it that I think I could do something huge!

  63. mark June 30, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    Well, there goes my “101 Uses for Dryer Lint” post…

    I have hesitated a few times when I was writing something to post because I thought that I was getting a little too personal. Oddly, the posts that I just decided to write despite the perceived exposure have been the most popular. It seems people just like honesty – who knew?

    I think that you do a great job walking that line actually. The post you did about your father was quite amazing, for example.

    Have a great day!

  64. virginbloggernotes June 30, 2010 at 2:25 am #

    Yeah, better luck next time on beating me to the draw with a stunning article concept, Mark :) Speaking of stunning articles, I need to get over to your blog and read your latest post! Good to see you again – I know life gets busy, but rest assured, you're always missed. Busy times for all of us right now though . . .

  65. virginbloggernotes June 30, 2010 at 2:26 am #

    Hi Joshua. I'd better get busy on that lint post. There seems to be a high demand for it :) Hey, rumor has it there's going to be a very non-lint like post on here tomorrow :)

  66. virginbloggernotes June 30, 2010 at 2:27 am #

    Well, Brandon, that's because you're strutting your stuff all over heck these days! That's okay though . . . when you've got it, flaunt it :)

  67. mark June 30, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    Ha, well, change is a constant. Sometimes we need to focus…Actually, I am hoping this will be the last time…

    Have a great night!

  68. Dev | Technshare June 30, 2010 at 5:55 am #

    Jean Jean.. !! Another super kick-ass post and yea… awesome title.. girl.
    Those are some great guidelines. I like the point on analyze before hitting the publish button.
    Thanks for sharing this kick-ass post. Really awesome work jean.

    ~Dev

  69. virginbloggernotes June 30, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Thanks, Dev. I wrote the title just for you :) Yep, we're always better off doing our analyzing before we hit publish and not after :)

  70. k0zm0zs0ul June 30, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    LOL.. Dryer lint huh? Oh let me count the ways…. :) Great post Jean, and I agree with the remark about how you present yourself in public is how you present yourself on your blog. I would most definitely not run around streaking my girly parts in a local restaurant, so if I am saying something on my blog that in any way shape or form conjures images of streaking girly parts… it's probably a no-go and I should back away from the keyboard slowly. As usual, you crack me up.

  71. virginbloggernotes June 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Cripes, good thing you didn't mention those streaking girly parts on the Granny post, or she would have lost her partial plate right then and there :) Dryer lint is some pretty handy stuff!

  72. SWrightBoucher June 30, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    I really like this post. As a professional in the staffing industry I talk to people every day about the new transparency we all must be aware of. Let's be intentional with the messages we share about ourselves and others. Once it's out there in cyber space it's out REALLY out there.

  73. Comic Mummy July 3, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Really enjoyed this post Jean. A couple of years ago I stopped blogging for several reasons, but a primary one of which was because I was sick of censoring myself. It's such a fine line – you're absolutely right in that you have to be aware of the realities of who might see what you've written, but on the other hand, you don't want to be censoring yourself so much that you're just writing beige, safe blather! :)

  74. MotionTech July 4, 2010 at 2:28 am #

    Great post. You bring up some important points about sharing too much info about earnings and stuff that you might not ever thing about. But it is amazing all the pros and cons you do come up with when just talking a few minutes to review the decesion.

  75. virginbloggernotes July 4, 2010 at 3:47 am #

    I can come up with so many pros and cons that I end up doing absolutely nothing sometimes :) Seriously, I do think sharing the right kind of information can be helpful to people and help them relate to us too.

  76. virginbloggernotes July 4, 2010 at 3:50 am #

    Beige blog blather is to be avoided at all costs! As a matter of fact, it sounds like something a person should be vaccinated against :) Really, I love when people (like you!) inject their personalities into their blogs and at least give us some kind of a peek into what it's like to live in their heads.

  77. virginbloggernotes July 4, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    Good points! One thing that helps me is to stay focused on my brand, which is helping to inform/inspire. That keeps me from treading too far off the path.

  78. Rhys July 13, 2010 at 5:39 am #

    Like actual nakedness with cosmetic surgery, blog nakedness can be faked too (if I say I made $90,000 on my blog, what’s there to argue? Sure it’s ridiculous, but many people do that with very little proof). Personally I keep myself quite open yet hidden.
    Rhys recently posted..Social Media Day Manchester – smdaymcr – Thoughts

    • Jean Sarauer July 13, 2010 at 7:31 am #

      Good point, Rhys. What’s presented as the truth isn’t necessarily that at all.

  79. Keith Davis August 8, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    Hi Jean
    What a coincidence… I’ve just read a very personal post that made me admire the writer for sharing but left me feeling uneasy about reading someone elses personal info.
    I’m constantly surprised about the personal information that people put out there for us all to read, but who am I to judge?

    Hitting the publish button for a post is a bit like hitting the send button on an email… no way back.

    Perhaps WordPress should have an “Are you sure” popup when you hit publish!
    Keith Davis recently posted..Making Public Speaking Easy

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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