Do you feel like you reveal too much of yourself on your blog? Do you think you hold back too much?
Today’s prompt is about the degree to which we disclose things about ourselves to other bloggers. It is the communication of personal information, thoughts and feelings to others that has a risk element. Providing personal information to people we know renders us vulnerable to their judgement and ridicule. Interestingly, many of us disclose readily in our blogs. Why? because the screen between you and me provides anonymity. It is similar to people who readily talk to strangers yet find themselves bound by shyness in the company of acquaintances. Face-to-face conversations are less easy because of concerns about risk and trust.
Yet we write our blogs in the hope that others will visit, as we visit other bloggers’ sites gleaning something about them. We’re interested in the human connection and nothing piques our curiosity quite like that juicy snippet of someone’s past. A mother writing about the grief of an abortion in her early teens; a daughter who is struggling with the lack of connection between herself and her parents, or the grandmother who lives within a bus ride of her relatives yet sits alone in her apartment week after week. These things tug at our heart strings and evoke empathy … begging connection … the knowledge that we are in touch with another human being. Self-disclosure helps alleviate the desolation of being alone as we write reflectively and someone ‘hears’ our cry just as it can bring us closer because of something hilarious with which we can relate. How about those supermarket outings with your three year old blocking the aisles with his third meltdown of the day.
If blogging is to the 21st century what diaries and journals were to past centuries then we must self-disclose. Diaries and journals were, and still are for some, those safe places where we let it all out. The relief is tangible when words are freed and visible on the hand written page. The reflective process of laying down thoughts, musings and feelings while blogging can be compared to that of journalling. I have this idea that hand written journals are more authentic as there is no backspace or delete button to retract a thought. Between the covers of a journal private thoughts, hurts, happy ravings and angry outbursts are guarded – unless you have an inquisitive sibling or mother! On the other hand blogging provides the audience that journalling does not want. We blog because we have an on-line, ever-present, ever-evolving audience. And we journal because we want privacy and safety
Trust is a challenge for me and diaries filled the role of the missing adult confidante. As I grew up entries became less frequent as the realisation dawned of the repercussions if the entries were read by anyone in the family. In recent times journals have made welcome return and I do my morning pages which is simply free writing for three pages a day. However, a characteristic of blogging is that we disclose parts of our life stories every time we sit and tap out a post. Whether it be our mood, the topic we’re covering today, our attitude towards the chosen prompt or how we may be feeling when we sit to compose our contribution to the blogroll. Our blogging voice and tone are the sub-story that give others a glimpse of who we are under the words and message of our post.
How much I disclose while blogging is not something about which I deliberate. I like to think the morsels of personal details dotted about my posts help to draw you in. Likewise, when I visit your blog and leave a comment, if I have something to say, I leave knowing you a little better.