“Authentic” is arguably one of the most overused words when it comes to blogging and social media these days. People want brands to be authentic if they're represented on Twitter or Facebook. That's how we can trust we are speaking to a real human being, with personality, brand knowledge and maybe even a little wit. People expect the same of personal bloggers, including all of us! Each one of us was inspired to start blogging for one reason or another. Eventually we reach the point where we need to consciously think about how much we're sharing – either because of time, or because our blog reaches critical mass and our readers demand it of us. So how do we find that sweet balance of being authentic via our blog or social media, while maintaining some shred of sanity and privacy for ourselves?
Hackers, stalkers and trolls are abound on the internet, and you don't have time for that!
I bring up privacy because it's a very real thing to worry about. Hackers, stalkers and trolls are abound on the internet, and you don't have time for that! Personal style bloggers shoot outfit and event photos often near their home, and while there's some amazing scenery in our backyards, safety and common sense should play a part in how obvious your location is. It might sound exaggerated – but you also don't want to be the example of when sharing goes wrong!
Many of us represent so much more than just ourselves – we have families, significant others, friends, jobs and neighborhoods who are very much a part of our world too. Be mindful and respectful of how comfortable they are with you including them in blog posts, FourSquare check-ins or tweets. Personally, my mother and sister are super-shy and don't spend a ton of time on social media, so I don't mention them a whole lot in my blog posts or updates.
Be mindful and respectful of how comfortable [your friends/family] are with you including them in blog posts, FourSquare check-ins or tweets.
There's another term out there associated with having a digital presence, and that's “FOMO“, or the fear of missing out. It's very easy to get caught up in FOMO – for example, have you ever scrolled through your Instagram or Twitter feed and wished you had the popularity, closet or endless trips to beautiful places that high-profile bloggers are blessed with? (Don't do that & compare yourself, by the way. Comparison is the thief of joy, as they say. It's also the thief of productivity, self-confidence and momentum!) Or maybe you're unwittingly inspiring FOMO in your readers or followers, leading to resentment or jealousy. We are all guilty of sharing only the most-flattering photos and news we're most proud of. I'm challenging you today to “keep it real” with your readers. If you're comfortable with it, post about a bad day, or no-makeup-sweatpants day, or a serious “I'm going through some stuff” post (life changes, being sick, etc.) You'd be surprised how many of your readers will open up and relate their own bad days or life-changing situations to you. Better yet, if you're down, your readers can offer support, love and kindness in a time of need.
More than anything, being authentic shouldn't feel forced, and while you should challenge yourself to be the best blogger you can be, understand your comfort level with how much you're sharing about yourself. When you are writing from an honest and true place, that's when your readers can truly see your shine.
Where do you draw the line between what you're sharing and your privacy?
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]