The Balancing Act of Privacy and Personality
written by regular contributor, amber burns
Can we get personal for a bit?
When I first started blogging, nothing made me more excited than useful content.
I wanted my blog to be the ultimate resource on living well, creating things you loved and shaping your own journey. I outlined every post, edited every tip ten times and thought hard about every piece of content I shared anywhere on the internet.
My blog grew, my readers seemed happy and I felt like I was on a path to create a successful and sustainable brand.
The blogging community also continued to grow.
More and more creatives started to share their own resources. Creating original content didn’t seem to be enough anymore as the market became more and more saturated.
Trying to stay ahead of the game, I decided to survey my readers. I wanted to make sure everything I was sharing was still useful to them. I wanted to know why they continued to read what I shared, and how I could keep my audience around as their options for brands to consume content from kept increasing.
That reader survey taught me that my brand was missing something major. This missing piece was holding me back from being even more helpful to my readers, and causing me to get lost in the oversaturation of the blogging community.
The big component that was missing from my blog and brand, was me.
The final question on that reader survey simply asked what my readers would like to have more of moving forward.
They loved a lot of the content they were getting, but readers were asking for more of me. They wanted to know who I was, what I enjoyed and what my perspectives were, not just what my best blogging and productivity tips were.
I won’t lie, this took me back a bit.
I never once stopped to think that the thing that really made me stand out from all of the other bloggers was simply me, and that this is what would appeal to my readership the most.
But with this realization came a bit of fear.
While I share a lot of myself on the internet, there is a lot that I choose to keep private.
I don’t share many photos of my friends (especially ones who aren’t content creators) or my family, I make it a point to leave my dating life offline and never talk about co-workers explicitly.
I’m a very extroverted introvert. I love sharing and socializing to an extent, but it’s in my nature to go quiet and stay private. I love opening up when I’m with someone one-on-one. But sharing with a big group tends to be draining. And the internet? That’s a pretty big group to share with.
I blocked this fear from my mind as much as possible, and soon realized that what I really needed to do was set and define boundaries for myself.
It’s okay to be yourself, open up and share freely with your readers. But it’s also okay to draw clear boundaries and protect yourself and your emotional energies.
My general rule when choosing to share something online is does it feel good to share this with everyone?
It feels good to speak out on being overwhelmed, to be opinionated, to share projects I’m up to and aspirations I have with my online community.
It feels better to talk about that bad date, tough family situation or intimidating situation when I’m one on one with a friend in real life.
It’s all about what feels good to you, and what you’re able to sustain.
Since deciding to infuse more of my personality into my brand, I’ve felt so much more connected to my readers than ever before. A first step in showcasing more of who I am has been to discover the platforms I felt most comfortable sharing on.
My Snapchat tends to show more uncut peeks into what I’m doing, laughing at or seeing at the moment. My Instagram is definitely more curated imagery, but I also upload less editorialized photo and video content on my Twitter.
Deciding when and where to share more personal content helps me balance having a professional and cohesive brand with some personal flair added in.
There’s no one size fits all way to find this balance in your own life and brand.
I can tell you from experience that trial and error will eventually lead you to where you want to be. But if you’re struggling with this, start by evaluating the brands and bloggers you love.
How do they get more personal? Do you feel closer to them? Are they your friends in your head?
Now, think what parts of yourself you can share with your audiences to make them feel similar things. Plan out where you’re share those pieces. Stay true to yourself, and fill the internet with unfiltered authenticity.
How do you share yourself authentically online? Let us know in the comments!