Blogs are a personal, intimate medium in many ways. After all blogging grew in the main out of personal websites, diaries and journals.
That was then, this is now. Today how much of “you” ought you share?
It’s a tough call how much personal information you should divulge. When you look around there are bloggers who seem to share every minute detail of their lives, while there are just as many at the other extreme who list the barest of vague hints at their non-blog lives.
One fact though I need to get straight right up front is it is possible to over-share.
Read about what Darren Rowse had to experience for a cautionary lesson.
So we know there are enough scary people out there that you shouldn’t be too specific. How does that fit with the usual advice of writing with personality?
Readers do like personality and to know you are a three dimensional human-being, but that doesn’t mean they have to know what you had for breakfast :)
It is possible to share without over-sharing. Think of the blogosphere like a cocktail party. If you are talking to someone new what would you decide to share and which nuggets would you hold back?
In most cases you would share information that allows the other person to respond in some way, that creates a common ground or bridge between you and the other person. Some information is irrelevant, yucky or inappropriate, while other facts help you bond more successfully. Stay away from the obvious danger topics until you are really sure of the environment you are communicating in. You might share that you follow a particular sport, liked a recent movie, had the latest CD from an act in your car, have been to an enjoyable concert, read a great book, etc.
Even strictly business blogs can have personal sharing moments!
Your blog doesn’t need to be all-facts-all-the-time, even if you consider such sharing as off-topic. In most cases a 80-20% ratio of on to off topic is wise, but you can often drop anecdotes in to on-topic posts that have the same affect while staying exactly within the main subject matter.
Over the last week I have had a situation caused by moving house. This factoid has appeared in several of my posts over a variety of blogs, my own blog, a blog on technology and productivity, another on marketing, and now here (not that I am one to milk a story or anything!).
You might doubt the effectiveness of this but people do respond, in many of the comments and feedback I have received since people have wished me luck in the new home, even in coversation with bloggers I didn’t realize ready my posts at all :)
Unfortunately over the 14 or years I have been publishing online I have become a bit of an open book. Between Google cache and Archive.org there is little that can be clawed back. Remember the Internet has a looong memory.
So my advice is share, include your readers just a bit so they feel welcome, but draw the line somewhere.
How much personal information to you divulge on your blog? Share in the comments ….