The Danger of Disclosure

photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

For those of us who blog about our lives, there remains a tricky balance between revealing too much and not blogging about it at all.  For everyone this decision is purely personal and based on whether they blog under an assumed name like I do (though many of my real life friends are aware of this blog) or blogging under their own name.  I have nothing but great admiration for those that blog under their real names.  I choose not to since I work online and know that potential employers will google me.  There is only so much I want a potential future boss to know about me.  This is why I also don’t Tweet under my full name and my Facebook is locked down. Still when I blog about my life, especially those not so great things in my life, I need to make the decision of how much to say because my real life friends will read it and they may feel hurt about what I write about. Also there is the question about how much of myself I want to put out in the public sphere for comment and criticism.

This is why I found Jess McAvoy’s blog post The Perils of Public Honesty so moving.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jess a couple of times when we were both living in Australia and she would bring her amazing music up to Sydney. If you haven’t heard any of her stuff, just type her name into You Tube and then be prepared to go and buy all her albums.  Seriously great stuff.  Jess is now living the expat life over in Canada and has decided to take up blogging under her own name.  Her post delves into the backlash one can experience when one blogs honestly about events happening in their lives. My heart breaks for her that she has had to go through this, especially when her posts have been vague about events in her life and she hasn’t named names. Still even a reference to events going on in your life seem to cause people to jump to conclusions and have their feelings hurt.

I’m curious about how those of you who blog about your lives handle this tricky subject of disclosure, especially when you blog about the not so good times.  Do you choose not to blog about it at all?  Do you blog about it in full detail?  Do you just make vague references to things?  Also, for those of you who blog under your real names, how do you handle family and loved ones reading your blog, especially if you do blog about contentious subjects? Has it caused any problems and made you regret about blogging about it?

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7 thoughts on “The Danger of Disclosure

  1. This is something I’ve thought a lot about. I have always blogged under my own name as my blog was originally set up to promote my creative work. As I’ve moved into my life coaching career and development the nature of the posts has changed and I’ve had to consider how much I share when using ‘real life’ experience examples.

    What I keep in mind is: Would this be something I’d have a conversation with someone about?

    The Internet is not separate from real life, as often as people claim it is. If I wouldn’t say it in person or I would be careful about it in a face to face conversation, it doesn’t go on my blog. Simple as.

    • I think this is a great piece of advice. However, there are some things I would say in conversation to one group of people that I wouldn’t say to another. How do you handle that scenario? Do you have a blanket rule that if you wouldn’t talk about it at a party where you have just met someone that you don’t blog about it?

  2. I also try to avoid using my real name out there, even on Facebook (which is also locked down, but it’s never too much), mostly because you NEVER know what a potential employer could reject you for. Even just having a blog at all might bug them. SURE, I bet someone could sleuth out who I am by putting a bunch of pieces together, but at least no one googling my real name will pull up my blog or facebook immediately. (I hope.) Even with all that, there are things I don’t talk about on my blog because they are personal or bring trolls. I’ve been more careful about this than I used to be and as a result I think my blog is unfortunately a lot more boring. My family still enjoys reading it so I keep going anyway.

    • I take that back. Once a public facebook profile (AmiExpat) reposted something I posted, and at the time I was using my real name, and it was never changed on that post, so you do get my facebook right away in Google. :( One of those times I think I ought to leave FB, but really it’s too late, they have so much of my information already….

  3. I never really needed to answer this question since I focus on my art and creative endeavours and leave out everything that’s not closely related to it. This way I can keep it professional. I only write about holidays, sudden illnesses and everything in between if it affects my artistic projects. I treat blog leaders as people who’re interested in my art but who aren’t necessary interested in what I ate for breakfast.(..and they shouldn’t be either.)

  4. I’ve been doing stuff online since before the Internet, in the days of 300 baud modems and dial-in BBS systems, but I didn’t start blogging in any normal sense until Livejournal. I spent most of the early days using a use-name, and anything truly personal was locked down.

    I’ve dealt with online drama in most of its forms, and I’ve seen the same sorts of things that Jess McAvoy is talking about in her excellent post.

    A few years back, though, I realized that the use-name wasn’t quite me any more. I reached a point where I realized that I didn’t care what people thought of what I write in quite the same ways. I started using my own name from that point forward, because it seems like the most cartoonish name I could have chosen in the first place.

    All that being said, this isn’t as much of a big deal for me- I rarely write to my LJ any more, my Facebook is fairly locked down, and my Germany blog is more about general life in Germany- I originally started it so my family could see what I was up to. I seldom get very personal in any way that could cause drama for myself.

    I do have a longstanding rule which I used even in the days of LiveJournal: My employer is always referred to as “Mr. Company.” I never post anything about work that could be a problem, but for those few times that I do refer to the job, I think it’s better to be truthfully vague.

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