Monday, April 13, 2009

Do you want your blog to be completely honest?

I know that people have blogs for several different reasons and some use the blogs on a professional platform, while others type in brutally honest opinions on life that may or may not be the best idea if they don't want to anger any of their loved ones, or work colleagues. Yet, I'm starting to think these are the blogs that become successful.

I've been studying some successful blogs lately to figure out which traits make them so popular. I think that many personal blogs, which may inevitably become business blogs as well, hold very authentic material where readers appreciate the brutal honesty and relate to it. For example, a wildly popular mommy blog, www.dooce.com was featured recently on Oprah and tells the tales of the REAL sides to being a mom. She isn't afraid to let loose and say it like it really is. Now, here is the thing. Who does she have to worry about angering? Probably no one. What if, like me, you want to have a blog about life and work in your twenties. I'll inevitably be dying to tell some great stories about some jerk at work one day. Would that be a good idea? Probably not. I know it's always possible they could read the post and well, then I'd be in trouble.

So, if I want to be honest in my posts, to attract readers, yet I have to remain very constricted as those readers may not like what they see, I think I'm in a bind.

I can still write on millions of topics, but if the reader doesn't feel I am coming across as genuine, is it worth it?

Thoughts?

9 comments:

Mrs. Stilettos said...

I did want mine to be honest and that is why the only people that know about my blog are my sister and my bff! I wouldn't be afraid for them to see anything I vent about on my blog so that is why I let them see it. I need someplace to vent and have support about everyday things that happen in my life...it seems like people can really relate to that!

Stuart Foster said...

Being as real and as forthright as possible has been essential to my success professionally and as a blogger. You have to show you have a personality in SM. No one wants to listen to a robot.

Rebecca said...

Dooce does worry and has had difficulties with her family not understanding her blog. She also gets a lot of hate mail, etc. I think she tends to be pretty open about this, so you probably know that already though.

My point was that when you're so open and honest that it's often difficult and so that's why I think it depends on your definition of success.

I'm not trying to sway you not to write openly (I'm pretty transparent on my blog), but only to weigh the consequences against your own personality.

Katie said...

I was reading one of my regularly scheduled blogs this morning, a blog where the author ferociously guards her privacy and gives almost zero details about her personal life or herself. One of the comments this morning actually asked if her blog was real or if she was just making it all up to get hits.

I've really struggled to maintain a balance between maintaining some semblance of privacy and between being honest about my life. I find myself sometimes being nervous that someone might find my blog and take it the wrong way. At the same time, though, I think if I had to be completely closed off about my personal life, my blog would come across as disingenuous or fake, and I wouldn't be able to touch on a lot of the issues I really feel would be relevant to more than just me.

It's a fine line. I still haven't decided where, exactly, I stand.

Anonymous said...

Dooce can also tell you that being honest about work, even when you changes names to protect the "innocent" can get you "dooced": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dooced#.22Dooced.22

Gracie said...

My blog is honest, but I feel your pain - I can't really complain about anything or anyone since I campaigned for all my friends to read it... SOOOOOOOOOOOOO... I started a new blog - where the problems are real, the people are based on those who are stupid and piss me off... =)
May be one of the only times my creative writing degree will pay off - it's got a pretty decent following and there's no way to trace it back to me - authentic = yes, transparent = no, potentially a cardinal sin in blogworld, but its a great release so it works for me! and it makes people laugh.

Jared said...

I would agree with Stuart that the more open a blog is, generally the more effective it will be. People like to get to know the blogger, and being open helps. There's a limit though. I don't think people feel comfortable reading painfully personal details about someone's life. Well, that's a generalization. Some people are voyeuristic. I try to be as honest as I can be on my blog, but it focuses on politics, and that raises a whole different set of issues about openness and privacy.

Brahmin in Boston said...

I was thinking the same thing when I had started the blog. I write pretty much everything on what amuses me or pisses me off but I can't do that for every person I know 'coz my hubby reads it and some of my friends read it - the one who know me personally.

I do want my blog to be completely honest but I don't want it to turn me in to a bitch - I see a lot of blogs where all people do is complain... But just like you said those are the blogs which are popular!

Thomas said...

I kind of use my blog to prove little point with slightly exaggerated humorous stories.