March 22, 2014

how personal is too personal?

How personal should a person be on a blog is a query that’s been bouncing around in my mind for quite a while now… I have certain readers who have told me I share too much, and others who’ve said I’m dishonest because I don’t share all the nitty gritty (and sometimes even ugly) details of my life.

Some people might not be comfortable divulging much information, and that is completely understandable.  After all, once a blog goes public, anyone with access to the webs can read it.  What I’ve found in my few short years of blogging, however, is that the most important thing one can put into a blog is heart, which was something I tried to separate from my writing (both blogging and stories) for quite a while until I finally gave up, and partly because it was just easier. 

Emotional writing was no easier than emotional living for me, being the introvert I am.  But, I was surprised to find what a positive response came from the people who read my work, both in journalism and here.  When I write the stories that mean something to me, I can tell they turn out better, and folks want to spend more time with them.  And by putting my heart into my work, I’ve learned to live with heart, if you know what I mean.  I’ve found that people are interested in life.  Y'all want to know what’s going on.

(Side note: And it’s not at all difficult to grow attached to one another in our own little blogging communities. End side note.)

But there are boundaries any blogger has to work with.  I just don’t want y’all knowing all my business.  No offense.  I love you guys.  But you know what I mean… some things are just too personal to paste on the interwebs, and that’s just the way it is.  Take my petsitting, for one example, my first job, and my primary one.  It's an extremely private business by it's nature, going into people's homes and caring for the house and their pets while they're on vacation.  It would simply not be appropriate to put details about that business here.  Relationships, for another one.  Not that I have a significant other, but if I did, I'll leave it to him whether or not he wants his life as open a book as mine.

So, what do you think?  How personal is too personal?  What crosses the line when it comes to blogging privacy?
Follow or leave a comment somewhere, because I'd love to get to know you!

15 comments :

  1. I think it would be safe to post pictures only of the animals you care for, you know? Who is going to know one beagle from another? I have a whopping three followers on my blog so I don't worry that much about what I write. (In fact, this year I haven't written a single post yet and nobody has missed me at all.) I didn't post many pictures of stuff and even fewer pictures of people. I did participate in 6 Word Saturday for a couple years solid, and it was neat to summarize my week in a short little post, but that was basically for myself. I found your blog when I was looking for the Clementine Cake recipe from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty movie.

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    1. Welcome, Debbie! So glad you found me! Did the recipe work out for ya?

      I thought that too, at first, but as my amount of readers grows, I don't trust the internet with my clients, or their pets. Strange things could happen.

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  2. I don't think your blogs are too personal! You definitely know the boundaries that you don't want to cross and do a great job with abiding by those. I love reading your blogs and will continue to love reading them for as long as you blog! <3 Great job my dear! I wish I could emulate your passion about life and be able to write about it to!! Props to you dear!!

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    1. Well thanks, dear! It took me a while to figure them out, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. ;)

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    2. I agree wholeheartedly!! Not too personal at all. "I wish I could emulate your passion about life and be able to write about it" <--- Me too!! She does a great job! And, Iris, I love your movie reviews, They are seriously the best I read!

      -- Rachel

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  3. We are kindred spirits.

    First off, it never ever ever occurred to me that you could be an introvert. Mind blown! Introverts unite!
    I'm not so much a writer, (though I often wish I was) but taking emotion-filled photographs-ones that are honest & down to earth is really important to me, yet it's hard because I'm not generally one to express my own true emotions. I'm kind of getting into the knack of being more like that, and it's been so super encouraging to get a positive response when I do. It's that kind of support that keeps me going some days!

    I too, struggle with knowing where to draw the line. It's especially hard with building a business because honesty and being real are so important to me & that (hopefully) carries through with my photography, but then there is the need to be professional. It's a tough call to know where to start and where to end with what to share. Right now I'm taking the not-going-to-think-about-it route. Which may or may not be working out for me. I think you've done a very nice job of not getting too personal, yet still remaining real in your blog & writing. Bravo to you!

    (ALSO. GREATEST PICTURE OF YOU EVER.)

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    1. I think MUCH YES. Very yes.

      Gosh, so many people say that when they discover my introvertedness... but I am much louder online, I will admit that...

      I hear ya. And professionalism includes protecting the privacy of the people you work with, and sometimes it's haaaaard. Especially with photography. Because some of the pictures are so good you just want to share them with everybody. Ah well.

      Thank you, darlin'... ;)

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  4. I like your side note; so true. For example, I just saw the movie The Book Thief with my husband and LOVED it, so I ordered the book from Amazon. But when it came in the mail, I had this thought: "I'm not sure if I'm going to like this book. Iris wasn't a huge fan." :)

    Like you, I believe if a blogger doesn't write from the heart, people won't really stay interested. But I don't divulge the most intimate details of my life, either. There are just some things that I feel I must keep private, no matter how good a story they would make.

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  5. My sister (who also blogs) and I were just talking about this very topic...how do you know when too much is too much?
    I liked what you said about having heart...good thought's! I've been having these type rolling around in my head for awhile:)

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  6. Yay! It's Sunday! Yay, I get to read your blog!

    Such a thoughtprovoking question. The realm of blogging is so wide I feel like there's no ONE answer, depending on who you are, who you blog about. You know what, I think there is a line between personal and (good) simply TMI (not good). I certainly don't share everything that's going on in my heart on my blog, but I try to express what I'm feeling without too much info. My post, Growing Pains, was the first time I blogged about my real goings-on in my heart in a long time. It felt good, but I didn't feel the need to divulge into the details excessively. I like to share my heart too. I love when people do the same. It's just that some things aren't meant to be shared by everyone. Talk to your mom, talk to your siblings, talk to your friend, but not on the public blog. It's crazy how many people read people's blogs!

    Until next Sunday!

    ♥ aspirer

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    1. Welcome, welcome! :) Happy Sunday! And I agree, there is no one answer. It depends on the person, and how comfortable y'are with sharing what prudently.

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  7. Wow, that's a beautiful picture! I don't know the answer, but I know I have mixed feelings about blogging about things that are especially personal, or especially emotional. Or tragic. They tend to get much more traffic, but, I think, it's not always because they're written from the heart, but because people are drawn to emotional, dramatic situations. It could get manipulative, if someone were to make a point of writing very personal things just for self-promotion.

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    1. Heyya, Mrs. T! I try away to stay away from tragic things, too, unless it's really necessary to ask an awful lot of people for their prayers. And it's true that people are drawn to emotions and other drama, unfortunate as it is...

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  8. Oh goodness... I've delayed commenting on this post, just because I wanted to think about it... what a deep, thought-provoking idea... it's definitely something that has been stirring unconsciously within my heart... I'm still thinking about it... I don't think that there is a "line" as long as other people featured on the blog are okay with it... and as always, tact, kindness, and discretion are in use... but really, I think it depends on why God is calling you to blog... you know? Good luck figuring out that convoluted thought. God bless, Iris! (Happy feast of the Annunciation!)

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  9. Super glad you wrote this. I struggled (and still do) with determining this fine line. Sometimes I felt weird writing about things happening in my life, but then people greet the post warmly and it feels right all of a sudden. Still trying to figure out where I sit in the matter, but (again) so glad you wrote this! :)

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