May 11, 2017

What to Know About Balancing Authenticity with Privacy When Starting a Blog

This post was first published in August 2016 and has been revamped to be as helpful and relevant as it can be! When starting a blog, it's not always easy to know what you should and should not share online. There are the obvious no-nos, like your home and work addresses, but some privacy lines are fuzzy. You want to be "real" and authentic with your readers, but you don't want to offer so much as to endanger yourself or the people whom you might be posting about. Less extreme, and probably more likely, is that others might try to use your personal life against you (I'll get into that more). There are definitely ways to balance being safe and staying real while blogging, though.

Get personal...

Write from personal experience. 

Is there a post that you can't stop thinking about writing? Is there a story that you think could help others if you shared it? Is there just something you want to get off your chest? Write it! I'd like to think that most bloggers do write from personal experience, but I'm sure that not everyone always posts based on actuality. The recurring theme here is to not share more than you're comfortable sharing, but I believe that if you're motivated enough, you can find a balance between what goes public and what stays private that works for you.

Write what you want to write. 

This tip deals expressly with authenticity. When starting a blog, you may not be familiar with how it all works, so it can be tempting to write content based on what others are putting out or to pare down your content according to what you think others will want to read. Don't do it. Just don't. I promise you that someone out there wants to read exactly what you're sharing with the world, even if you're convinced that the only one who cares is you.

... but not too personal. 

Be careful geotagging.

As I already mentioned, the one really obvious piece of information to not share is your address(es). Going along with this, make sure that when you're tagging your Insta location that you never tag one of your personal addresses by mistake. If I'm posting a new photo from home, I always make sure that the location is listed as the city, not my neighborhood or nearby businesses, if I include it at all. I also wouldn't tag myself at, say, my usual Target or Trader Joe's. 

Use common sense.

I, as I've noticed many other bloggers have, have chosen to share my age, school, and location online with my readers/followers. This is a matter of personal preference but be smart. It's totally cool if you go to the University of Miami (#GoCanes), but if you live on campus, maybe don't share what dorm you live in, what lot you park in, and things of that nature. I also personally would not share who my past employers have been or names of companies/businesses with which I've applied for jobs.

Consider the relationships you're posting about online. 

If you're dating someone and he/she is all over your blog and in all your social media photos, and you two break up... it could be weird. Splitting up is completely fine and normal, and I'm definitely not saying to close this part of your life off from your readers if you don't want to, but it could lead to some prying/questions that you don't feel comfortable answering. The same thing goes for family and friends. If you don't want to deal with awkward questions, you might not want to share certain things; you can also choose just to ignore these types of questions because most people are willing to respect your privacy but, again, that's up to you. 

What are your tips for staying safe, while also staying "real," as a blogger?

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