Be Yourself – Do Your Thang

How much personal information should you share? The true answer is: it will be different for everyone.

I knew it would be a short period of time before someone mentioned this topic. It comes up often…blogging content. What should a blogger write about? There are many posts like this one that attempt to tell you how you should write. Let’s look at some examples Darren wrote:

1. If you’re going to write about the ordinary day-to-day events of your life, write extraordinarily, with humor and insight and passion. Heather Armstrong, of Dooce fame, does this very well.
3. If you’re going to complain a lot, make sure you’re very amusing doing so.
5. The same goes for your pet. If you’re going to write about your cat, I only want to hear about how it caught that bald eagle, has pea-green feces or is growing a third ear. I know that you love them and think they’re perfect–you don’t have to keep telling me.
8. Include lots of photos of both people and things. I’m constantly amazed at the quality of photos I see on weblogs.

I don’t agree with any of those. I could go on but I do not want to recreate the post here. Let’s take these points one by one:

  1. He mentioned Dooce who does have an amusing writing style but let’s get something clear – there is only one Dooce. If you aren’t writing your posts in an amusing way on your own odds are that is not your style. Don’t be someone else, be yourself. The easiest thing to do is to write about what you love and your passion will shine through.
  2. I disagree with this 100%. If you’re pissed off please don’t try to be amusing. Many people write because it is therapeutic to them. Write from within and let your emotions show. Blog about the good things happening in your life because those might be interesting too. Lets be honest though, if your blog is whiny you are probably whiny so at least you are being you there is nothing wrong with that.
  3. If you love your pet write about it. If the user doesn’t like it, let me skip over it. Post pictures if you want. Screw those that don’t like it.
  4. Be very careful posting pictures. Make sure you clear it with your boss that it is okay for you to write online because if you don’t, and your blog is found, those pictures can get you fired because your blog is no longer anonymous. Make sure your domain information is private if you do no post pictures. There are insane idiotic people are there and you never know how many of them are reading your blog.

I am going to be honest with you. If you follow Darren’s advice you will start being overly concerned with how your words are perceived and feel pressured to post. When you feel pressure to post then it becomes a chore. There will be times when life is boring and if you start this trend you will begin embellishing your posts. Many who do this cross than thin-line and start lying because what is going on in real-life right now is not amusing. You will get burned out. You will eventually stop blogging. The minute you begin to care more about how your posts are perceived than expressing what you love, you’ve let your audience control you. This is your personal blog, don’t you do enough hoop-jumping at work?

Robert Scoble is confronted with this issue often. He posted that someone unsubscribed to his blog. He addresses the issue about viewers mentioning he should write more about Microsoft or technology:

Other people have been asking me the core question, though: “how much personal stuff should you put on your blog?”
That’s a question I can’t answer. For me, I write what makes me happy. If that causes all my readers to unsubscribe and go away, that’s OK with me. But I’ll be true to myself here.
I noticed that a few people in my comments thought that I should just stick to Microsoft or technology topics. Sorry, that won’t happen here. That’s what separates this from a press release.
You get me, shortcomings and all.

That is the reality – if people don’t like what you write they will unsubscribe and you need to be okay with that. It’s personal preference. If they like what you write they will link to you and recommend your site. It’s better to have 100 loyal readers than 50,000 that don’t give a damn.
Blog Your Way – do what makes you happy. Always be true to yourself.