Many good bloggers share something of themselves on their blog. It’s an easy way to differentiate you from other people who write about the same topic. Talking about your life can also help people see you as an individual, which may capture the interest of viewers who have similar or different lives.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that your public image and your relationships aren’t the same thing—you need to manage them separately. Otherwise your blog risks being taken over by your relationship. The opposite can also happen: your online persona can encroach on your personal life. Make a plan before anything comes up to ensure that you’re prepared no matter what comes your way.
Consider Your Niche
One of the most important considerations when deciding how much to share is what niche you write in. If you’re writing about the latest news and the focus is outside your life, you may choose to share almost nothing. If, on the other hand, you’re writing about something where the focus is on your life, sharing may be the right thing to do.
Ask yourself whether the focus is external or internal. If you’re writing about your cooking, your fashion, your relationships, your video games—that’s an internal focus. You should share some aspect of your life on your blog. If the focus is on other people’s achievements, discoveries, or actions, it’s an external focus and writing about your life may be less appropriate.
When Things Go Wrong
When something goes wrong with one of your relationships, your instinct may be to immediately share it on your blog. If you have followers with whom you interact, that may be a source of comfort. If you find writing to be cathartic, you may just want to get it out on the page. This is usually inadvisable, though. When it comes to bad aspects of relationships or negative things about others, a good rule of thumb is to avoid writing about them.
There can also be legal implications for things you share online. Make sure that no matter what you share, it won’t affect you for the worse in any legal dealings.
In a situation like divorce, you may be shocked at just how many decisions have to be made. Don’t let it bleed into your blog, but don’t let your blog keep you from doing what needs to be done, either. Having the best divorce lawyer possible, for example, can help you navigate the tricky waters of your changing relationships while you still maintain your professional image online. According to Steve Fernandez and Mark Karney, once a judge has declared a person single, “divorcees face far-reaching, life-altering consequences and changes in their rights and duties.” Do your best to balance those with your blog and keep moving forward.
Plan How Much You Want to Share
Ultimately, how much you want to share is up to you. Before you start writing about your life, though, plan ahead.
You can assign different names to the people in your life if you want to preserve their privacy. Many bloggers refer to people by their relationship to the writer, like husband or kid 1. Others give pseudonyms or nicknames. If you choose to use people’s real names, get their permission before you do so.
If you share photos on your blog, decide which people you want to feature and how much of them you want to show. You may only show aspects that don’t immediately reveal their identity, like the backs of heads or hands. In some cases, you may want to show pictures of yourself but not others. Other people choose to show their entire families or friends in photos. There’s no right or wrong choice. Take the same tactic that you do with names and ask for permission before you share photos of other people.
Consider Your Privacy
Sometimes even when you are cautious with your information, your privacy can be affected. Putting things on the Internet is like throwing feathers off a cliff: it takes seconds to do it, but you won’t be able to get them all back. Your information can be saved by anyone with access to your blog, and it’s important to remember that when you post things that identify you.
Also keep in mind that while studies show people like people better when they share personal information, that’s only true when the information shared is socially appropriate. Ask yourself how the story you’re sharing will reflect on the people in your life, the people on your blog, and your image as a blogger. If all of the reflections aren’t positive, consider omitting or editing the story.
Put Your Relationships First
Your blog may be your hobby or your vocation, but don’t forget that the people in your life matter the most. Your public image is something you can control by filtering what you put onto your blog. Your relationships, however, may not be salvageable if you overshare or put things online that make the people in your life feel self-conscious or upset.
If it comes down to a relationship with another person and your blog, there’s almost never a reason to put your blog first. As long as the relationship is a positive one, find another way to promote or fill your blog rather than hurting a relationship that means a great deal to you.
Managing your relationship and your public image comes down to making a plan for how much you want to share. Knowing the amount of disclosure that’s appropriate for your blog is the first step to making a plan that both promotes the public image you want and is positive for the relationships in your life.
The best time to take a step back and put a blog in drafts overnight is when you’re upset or something is going wrong in your relationship. Never post when you’re angry or fighting with someone, because the words you post can come back to haunt you and negative posts aren’t good for your public image.
Keep things happy, positive, and appropriate to craft the best possible public image while still having healthy, fulfilling relationships.