Nothing Personal

On an almost daily basis I talk to people about the importance of openness and honesty in social media. Don’t blog unless you’re prepared to be open, I’ll say. Honesty is key when you’re operating in this space.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently as I’m currently  going through some incredibly major events in my personal life, and I keep asking myself whether I should be blogging about it.

The reasons I’m not sure whether or not to blog about this stuff is that it has nothing to do with my work (the web) or my main passion (music). I’m also not sure whether I want to broadcast this stuff to the world, or whether anyone will even care. Would blogging about this stuff simply feed the voyeurism that is so much a part of all our lives these days, or would I in fact just be indulging in a huge bout of ego massaging; making the assumption that what happens to me when I leave the office actually matters?

I’d be really interested if anyone has any thoughts on this (that’s what the comments are for I guess); I can’t say that any comments will make my mind up one way or the other, but I’d certainly be interested in them. Perhaps you’ve even gone through a similar thought process yourself.

Diary image by Barnaby on flickr


  1. I suppose it really comes down to the impact and potential repercussions that could come of blogging about your personal life.

    Could discussing the information hurt anyone or damage their reputation; is it likely to negatively affect your work; when looking objectively at the situation is it likely you would change your opinion causing you to appear hypocritical in the future.

    If you answer ‘no’ to the above questions, then there shouldn’t be any issues blogging about it. You can’t please everyone and some people will find it interesting, some won’t really care and others may dislike it… but at least by sharing the information you give the reader the option of whether they will read it or just skip over it until your next post on music or social media.

    The other thing to consider is will these events have a negative impact on your blogging (ie. will they cause you to not blog as frequently while you sort things-out, will they change your focus or the topics you blog about etc.)

    If it will cause some delays or change the tone of some of your posts due to emotional distractions, your readers may appreciate a little ‘heads-up’ (even if you don’t go into great detail) just so they know that there’s a reason for it and don’t simply think you’ve turned into a lazy angry man.

    Just my 2c worth…

  2. Thanks Pete – that’s really helpful.

    Will it hurt anyone? I don’t think so – maybe me, reopening wounds etc..

    Will it damage anyone’s reputation? Again, I don’t think so.

    Will it negatively affect my work? I’d like to think not.

    In terms of impact on blogging, it’s actually upped my blogging rate!

    I guess I’m still not sure, but I’m veering towards full disclosure. Any other thoughts would be welcome.

  3. I’m really sorry to hear that you’re having a rough time.

    I know this might not be what you want to hear but I wouldn’t blog about very personal matters.

    You’re becoming something of a celebrity (remember our Twitter conversation? Incidentally that bouncer nearly broke my arm, am considering suing) – with guest posts on various sites and I would be concerned that anything which you post might negatively impact you.

    Remember if it’s online, people can find it and unfortunately may use it against you. There are some unscrupulous people out there, but, of course you don’t need me to tell you that.

    If you do feel the need to write about it, perhaps you should do so, but only share with your friends, or perhaps post it anonymously somewhere other than here.

    That said, if you do decide to post something then you can count on my support, and indeed the support of many others – you are very well liked and respected.

    And finally. this is just my opinion (well obviously) and I hope I haven’t offended you in any way – that’s really not my intention.

  4. Thanks Hannah – and I’m not offended at all – I really appreciate the feedback.

    I actually considered setting up an anonymous blog, and documenting everything that’s going on in my life in detail.

    I’m slowly talking to friends about the stuff that’s going on, and have had an amazing amount of support – if you’re at LondonSEO next week I’ll probably do the same.

    It’s a tricky one – I don’t think that anyone could ‘use’ any of what I might write about against me, but that’s not necessarily a reason to broadcast it to the world.

    The jury is definitely still out.

  5. Perhaps write it down now, but hold fire on publishing for the time being? That way you get the theraputic benefit of seeing it all on paper (or on screen), but you’re also giving yourself some time to decide what you want to do.

    Yep, I’ll be at LondonSEO next week – look forward to meeting you then 🙂

  6. I can’t wait to see you Liza. I’ll give you a big hug and maybe not insult you for the first hour, unless Stephen eggs me on.

    It IS cathartic to put things out there many times, but think it over first, since there’s no taking it back once it’s out there.

  7. Thanks Hank – I’ll be timing you.

    I’ve kind of decided not to publish anything, which now makes me kind of wish I hadn’t published this – the lesser of two evils I guess.

    And thanks for the comments guys – much appreciated.

  8. Thank you for the kind words.

    I think we all have blogs in order to be able to express ourselfs in different ways and formats about things we are passionate about, things we find important etc.

    I started my blog because I moved from Sweden, and instead of having to write a million emails every week to keep in touch with people back home, I thought a blog would be an easier way to keep people updated.

    Revealing very personal things on the web is not for everybody, and I think it usually boils down to the personallity of the person that is writing. Some people are very open and some people like to keep personal matters private.

    Im a very open and honest person, both online and offline. The personal information I write about in my blog usually reflects my own thoughts and feelings, mostly about myself and how I perceive life and its ups an downs. And yes, I have looked back on old posts and thought “what the hell was I thinking!?” or “God, was I really this naive or stupid”. But I keep them up there, because no matter how silly and stupid these posts might be, they show my progress in life and as a human being, and that is somehow rewarding, at least for myself.

    I think both Hannah and Pete have good arguments, however, if people want to use your blog against you, they will do it no matter what you write about (even though it would be easier if it was about personal things). And for the hurting other people part, well, yes that might happen, it has happened to me. There have been many occasions where I have been writing about other people. But then again, the truth hurts sometimes, and I would never say anything in my blog about other people that I wouldnt have the guts to say to their faces.

    I think my main point is that you should write about things, personal or unpersonal, that you feel comfortable about. It will always be personal in one way or anther, because you are expressing your own point of view on a subject.

    Wow, this became a rather long comment hahaha. I hope you have a nice day!


  9. Thanks Orsi – I think you’re absolutely right.

    I think that the main reason I ended up staying silent was that what I might have said would have impacted other people – and not because it was something I wouldn’t say to their face, but because the issues I was dealing with didn’t just involve me.

    That said, I’m glad that there are people like you out there showing people like me how it should be done!


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