Putting it all out there: How much is too much?

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It's a question we bloggers discuss and fret over, and over, and over again. How open should we be on our blogs? How much should we share? What about the crazies out there who will cyber-stalk us and send us creepy emails? or worse?

To be honest, I've never given it much thought. And I've not had to suffer any consequences of my decision to not give a damn, either. (another great benefit of NOT being an uber-popular blogger!) I have been lucky, in ten years of basically living my life online, that I can count on one hand the number of very negative comments and creepy emails I've received.

But negativity and critique is something you'll have to get used to if you write online. A lot of bloggers actually get really nasty comments, have posts about them on sites and forums dedicated to discussing bloggers, and some probably feel threatened.

I actually don't think this is necessarily a result of opening yourself up online, journalists and other writers incur a lot of negativity also, and they don't generally talk much about their personal lives. The Internet has created a forum for people to talk and write about things they might not have before. IN WAYS they might not have before.

But I do think it FEELS worse when you post pictures of yourself online. It feels like people are attacking you – all of you – especially if you also make yourself vulnerable by talking about personal issues on your blog. As soon as you get a comment that disagrees with you, it feels personal.

So, it's up to you how much you choose to share on your blog, but once you do, be prepared to deal with whatever consequences come from it.

Negative comments on your blog

I don't think you should delete negative comments, or comments that disagree with what you're saying, but it's your blog, you decide what you allow there. When you do get a well-thought out negative comment, or a disagreement starts, take a step back and DO NOT RESPOND for a while. If you're like me, you'll immediately get defensive, emotional, and start writing a novel about why you're right and the commenter is wrong. Nothing good will EVER come from a heated response.

When you're calm, and able to look at the comment from a relatively objective point of view, start writing a response, and then wait to publish it for a while. You want to be measured, mature, and understanding, not defensive and antagonistic.

You don't even have to respond at all – but monitor the conversation and if it starts to get to the point where you need to step in, then do.

*do NOT feed the trolls. You know the trolls, the commenters who just leave negative shit to stir things up. Their comments are not constructive at all, and they're generally really hateful. Delete or don't delete, but definitely do not respond.

Negative comments on another blog or forum

Generally, I'd say why would you even read those blogs or forums (don't follow the trackbacks!!), but sometimes it can be a learning experience to read what others are saying about you; only if it's “constructive” and not destructive, though. But, certainly NEVER ever respond to those comments on the other blog or forum – do not get involved in an argument on another bloggers turf.

Ultimately, how much you decide to share about your personal life on your blog will be determined by how your readers respond to it, and how much you feel it enhances your message. For me, overcoming struggles and “issues” have always been a big part of my life, and therefore are a big part of my blog, and my readers identify and relate, so I will keep opening up, and dealing with consequences as they come!

How much do you share on your blog? How have you dealt with any negativity?

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

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14 Responses

  1. Alison

    Opening yourself up isn’t just for negative critique any more. I do feel that by having a public site you’re opening yourself up for criticism and need to learn how to accept it, but I’ve noticed in the past couple of years that some blog readers have become more personal and opening up too much can be a security risk. When strangers run up to your child calling her name and asking if they can get a hug, when you get mail to your personal address, and when your job or friends are contacted it’s not just about being personally hurt or offended.

    I think it’s important to show a personal side, that’s what differentiates our blogs from magazines and websites. But to be cautious and remember that there’s usually more people reading than commenting and interacting with you on social media, and not all of those readers have the best intentions or understand normal societal boundaries.

    Reply
  2. Gracious store

    Anyone who puts him/her self in the public arena has to be open to every kind of criticisms. What you may consider a negativity but be an opportunity for growth. People have different view about issues or topics. The nature of the internet makes it very easy for people to express their opinion for or against issues. Trying to see issues in the “eye” of your critique may be a great opportunity to broaden your horizon about what your view points

    Reply
  3. Alisa

    I think putting your self out there and opening up is a great thing… but I agree with Alison… I think opening up is a great thing… but too much can lead to negative things. for example like she mentioned someone screaming and hugging your child… I think there is a fine line that it comes down to, and if anyone can find the perfect balance between the two that’s where its at. being able to open up to your audiences but at the same time keeping some stuff to your self is excellent!

    Reply
  4. Aleksis

    I actually had a stalker (seriously) and this experience has made me rethink what I put out there. I’m a very private person in general, but I’m not afraid to talk freely about some controversial topics on my blog. What I would recommend for every blogger out there is not to mix up your personal social network accounts with the blogging accounts. If somebody will want to send some negativity your way or even stalk you it will be the easiest through sites like facebook, so think about your privacy and if everyone should see your personal photos and where you’ve checked in on foursquare.
    Be careful, it’s serious!

    Reply
  5. Ann Krembs

    I should probably feel lucky that I don’t have negative comments, but it’s just because I don’t actually get that many comments! Ha!!

    One really funny thing happened to me this winter though: on a day when I thought I had made such a great post and had the most views I’d ever had I was just pumped! Later on a few days later, I investigated….turned out I had been posted on “Get Off My Internets,” and the Trolls had attacked! I just laughed it off. I thought it was really funny how excited I’d been to finally have made a post that brought traffic only to learn it was because I was being made fun off. I told my husband, bad publicity is publicity right?! ;P

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom Grechen!

    Ann of Kremb de la Kremb

    Reply
  6. dahi k.

    blogging has made me much more self-confident. i don’t give a damn about negative comments stating that i’m too fat (lol, you serious ?!) or have a boring/conservative style. also if i receive stalker emails i can handle that, because i don’t give a damn.

    before blogging i would have felt personally attacked but well, you really don’t need to give a damn. if you’re instable or don’t feel well in your body you shouldn’t begin to blog – my opinion.

    there will always be people who disagree with you, turn nasty or don’t like your style – but so what.

    you are what you are – and you can be proud of that.

    x
    dahi

    Reply
  7. Onianwah

    i have actually had a whole post focused on a picture I took way back which still had me with upper lip hair. It was up (still is actually) on beauty-nax. At first I had a very negative feeling about but now, not so much because it has brought me a lot of traffic from that part of the world and besides, when they visit my site, they get to know that I’ve grown so much from the time of that image.
    A couple of them and now frequent repeat visits.
    So I totally agree with the waiting a bit before responding to anything, especially when it’s a negative comment or like in my case, post.

    Barbara
    http://www.barbara1923.com
    Lagos, Nigeria

    Reply
  8. Sabina @Oceanblue Style

    I have only gotten a very mean negative comment once because I had left a nice comment on a fellow blogger blog and another reader, yes it that weird, followed me back to mine and then went on about how I could dare to comment with my blog just being small and mediocre etc. Ever since then…only spam:) So am really grateful. But being also a free lance journalist and fashionblogger 40+ I tend to set limits. Everything else for me would not really feel professional. But then again what one person thinks is personal another may just feel comfortable with. I tend to protect my privacy as much as possible on the internet. But I feel my reader appreciate the fashion advice they are getting and the travel tips to my hometown-Frankfurt- and else, that I share. xo Sabina @Oceanblue Style

    Reply
  9. SG | The Everyday & Beyond

    What do you think about the other aspects of “opening up”? As in, if you were working in a fairly conservative industry, or someplace where projecting a certain serious image was rather important, and your blog is about the lighter parts of your life…where you share personal stuff, things which may be deemed frivolous etc etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love sharing about my hopes and dreams on my blog, which Instagram accounts I love, memory keeping stuff etc etc, but my role at work has changed in the last few months, and I am meeting more senior people in my industry (private equity), and I worry that if they ever come across my blog, they would not take me seriously and since I am lacking in the grey hair department, they might take something like this at face value. I am struggling with this “opening up” bit and I am not sure how I want to tackle it. Have you ever faced a blog persona vs professional persona dilemma?

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  10. Wild

    I struggle with this immensely, especially when I’m writing about something I feel strongly about. I always wonder if I’ve said too much or too little and tend to respond to comments instantly (you’re right – I sound defensive each time) – great article, you defo didn’t share too much. Just enough I would say.

    http://www.wildhormoans.com

    Reply
  11. Vanessa James

    I think it always a bit go a knee-jerk reaction to want to respond straight away to negative comments, but the idea of stepping away a moment and thinking about it, is a good one.

    vanessavonjames.blogspot.com

    Reply
  12. Sarah

    I’m not a fashion blogger, so I’ve never been attacked for my looks, but just jokes on Twitter where other bloggers take it personally (when I don’t know who they are) or random people finding my blog at 2 AM and attacking me for writing a negative review based on my personal experiences, etc.

    I have handled some Twitter stuff poorly, I admit, but I try to do what you say and not respond out of emotions–like to the person who was so offended by my experience with a clothing company that she had to leave 2 comments in a row–I gave it a few hours and simply told her that I was glad that she had a better experience. I didn’t go poking holes into everything she said, like I wanted to. It probably would have felt good, but, like you said, I didn’t want to feed the troll.

    So, thanks for writing this! Great advice! Putting yourself out there is hard.

    Reply
  13. Mony

    I have just started blogging, and i am already skeptical about what i write or how much i write despite of getting so many ideas of writing in my head. But then it always starts with, what if people don’t like it ? or will not appreciate what i write about ? yes i will get defensive as well. But then this is what blogging is. Right ? To come up front and open up ! May be i will try to step back and think and then react, as u mentioned. Or just ignore sometimes.
    Thank for the article. I love it

    Reply