"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Do Bloggers Owe Readers Full Disclosure?

Growing up, most of us were socialized to believe that “sharing” was a good thing. That it made us decent, unselfish, conscious, evolved human beings.
Remember how we were encouraged to share with our siblings, playmates, and those less fortunate?

In most aspects of life, sharing is a groovy thing.
It truly reaps rewards--whether it’s karma, or the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve helped someone through the allocation of information or resources.

Perhaps it’s the underlying reason too, that “sharing” on personal blogs has become so popular. Writers may feel that being transparent and “giving” makes them more likeable, generous and real.
But sharing as a child, compared to sharing as a grown up, has different rules and dynamics, folks.

Tread carefully.
In an effort to establish rapport with their readers, reveal vulnerabilities, and perhaps form future bonds, some bloggers are going way beyond the call of duty in what they share online, (through images and conversations) IMHO (in my humble opinion).

Which begs the question: Do we owe our blog audience “full-disclosure”?

Here are some things to consider...
  • Whether it’s a personal blog or a personal friend, proper discretion is important.
     Some things are best left between you and your clergy, or your God. Why? Because how much you share “speaks to” your level of social sophistication, and understanding of appropriate manners in public forums. Remember, there’s a time and place for everything.

  • What you share may violate other’s privacy.
  •  A good example of this would be celebrity divorces, or the lives of politicians. Do we really need to know all the intimate details of their sex lives, finances, family dysfunctions? And what about their kids and/or parents? Do they deserve to have their lives on public “display” by association?

  • I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating.
  • Bloggers, you never know who is reading your words. Hello? It could be a conservative client. Or your child’s teacher. Or a future employer. Keeping things at a “PG “ or “G” rating can provide for a lot of damage control for the future.

  • Depending upon what you share, (and how you share) you can make yourself unnecessarily vulnerable.
  • To litigation. To alienating friends and families. To backlash and FaceBook wars.

Ask yourself, is it worth it?
Additionally, in an article featured at
Bloggingpro.com, the author poses some enlightening questions to consider for those who desire to discuss personal issues on their Blogs or other public forums:

      1.Why am I sharing this?
      2.Would I want my children (or anyone important to you) to read this and know I wrote this?
      3.Would I want my co-workers/acquaintances to know this about me?
      4. How would my life/reputation be affected if I share these details?
      5. How would the other parties involved be affected?

      I find that Writers are often divided on this timely topic. Author & PR expert , Wendy Burt-Thomas, offers the following:
      "I'm a fan of personal stories being shared on blogs because it adds a sense of comfort and camaraderie to the post. Personalization makes blogs more relatable and there's a sense of humility involved in sharing stories that you'd tell a close friend.
      My general rule is, if you can find it on the Internet already, it's probably ok to share."

      You decide. But there's great validity to the expression, "Loose lips sink ships."
      Sail carefully.

      Agree or disagree? What are your guidelines for sharing?

      Image credit: Freedigitalphotos.net


  1. Good post, Jen. It's a great question, and especially timely in light of the upcoming election. I find it to be a tricky balance. I want to be friendly and relatable, yet don't wish to divulge TMI, nor bring reproach on my faith, family, and friends. Sometimes I feel I don't say enough about myself, but then I return to my blog's original purpose which is writing, and that helps me better focus the content. Sure, it's okay that my readers know I love to read, have two grandchildren, and am a fan of hockey. But they don't need to know other personal details or even my political leanings (they can probably figure the latter out anyway). Your five questions offer good guidelines to consider. As always, I appreciate your insight and encouragement. :)

    1. Thanks, Karen. By the way, you are "friendly and relatable.: :-)

  2. I think a lot of people on Social Media engage in TMI - too much information. Do people really need to see the picture of that gash that required umpteen stitches? I scroll by those at record speed. As you said, I try to think about who might be hurt/angry/upset if I share something that involves them.

  3. Well stated, Susan. :-) Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. Jennifer: A friend of mine was very open about her going away one weekend. Her daughter went to her apartment to feed her dog and found the dog in the front yard. My friend had posted when she would be gone. Someone broke into her apartment and stole her laptop computer. I had seen on FB where it was best to talk about where we've BEEN not where we are going. You have a good thought, the world has TMI about a lot of people. Some people NEED to establish boundaries.

    1. Good info, Celeste. Thanks so much for adding to the mix here. :-)

  5. On my design blog now you can read a little more about the behind the scenes 'Making Off'. On that blog I share more of myself and some little background info about How I made the designs.

    I believe that when I show a little about 'What goes into the designs' it can help to create more interest/involvement. It also gives you more
    sense of value.