Sharing Everything With Everyone

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this blog. About how this blog has changed direction multiple times over the years. About what I post about and what I don’t. And I’ve been wondering why I share a lot less than I used to.

When I started this blog, I was 15 years old. I had never had a boyfriend, never received any important exam results and never had to do anything that grown-up really. Nobody in real life knew about the blog, and I never posted my full name or any photos of myself on here. I was worried that people would find me and laugh at me and the stuff I posted.

I used to post almost every day, about what had happened and how I felt about it. I’d write about arguments with friends, detailed accounts of my school day and I’d barely leave anything out. I shared pretty much everything that happened to me, because there was nothing to stop me. Nothing was that serious and no one would ever see it, so it didn’t matter.

In my second year of university, I worked for a social media management company. I learned about the risks of social media and how you should be careful what you post online because employers might see it. I deleted all my old posts after that. Personal blogging felt too risky, so I made this blog more “professional”. I only wrote about my life indirectly, and focused mainly on writing advice articles. I constantly worried about what I shared online.

And I still do. There’s so many things I haven’t shared on the blog because I’m scared about what people might think.

I never wrote about how much I hated my second year of university, and how I used to go home and cry because I was too socially anxious to talk to anyone.

I never wrote about how I had my heart broken in my previous relationship.

I never wrote about how I nearly quit university mid-second year because I felt like I couldn’t cope with it anymore.

I never wrote about the challenges of working in customer service.

And why didn’t I write about those things? A variety of reasons spring to mind. I was scared to post it online. I didn’t want other people to see it. It was too personal. I was ashamed. The feelings were too new. “You’re not supposed to air your dirty laundry in public.”

And if I was to go back in time I’d miss out all these things again. Does that make my blog dishonest? Is missing out information detrimental to a blog? I don’t really know. Part of me wishes my blog was more personal, but another part of me doesn’t want to live my whole life online. It’s a difficult one.

I think a lot of bloggers don’t tell the whole truth. Especially when it comes to relationships. I always used to be reluctant to mention partners online, in case the relationship didn’t work out. Because if you break-up you may feel like you have to delete all those posts. It’s difficult to look back and read about the past. It’s difficult to have them immortalised on something that belongs to you.

And when it comes to break-ups, I’ve noticed that you don’t usually find out about them until the blogger has a new boyfriend/girlfriend. And I don’t blame them. It’s hard to go online and say ‘hey guys, remember that “love of my life” I used to talk about constantly? Well, we’ve broken up. And we hate each other. And we definitely won’t be riding into the sunset on a white horse together.’ And it’s hard to be aware that any of your readers can go back and read all the posts about how besotted you were with the person who’s just stomped all over your heart.

On the flip-side of this, when I went through a bad patch in my previous relationship, I wrote about it on Tumblr. And not just a ‘we broke up’ post – it was a full and detailed description of everything that had happened. It mentioned all the emotions I was going through, all the things he’d done, and how he’d basically ruined everything. I think that’s a shining example of sharing too much online. It was too soon to be writing about what had happened, I was too emotional, and all the gory details just weren’t necessary. It’s unfair on the other person, and it’s also not something you want to stumble upon when you find your old Tumblr.

I think personal blogging is all about finding a healthy medium. About sharing enough to be human, but not sharing the private details. And, most of all, it’s about finding a level of sharing which works for you. Not everyone wants to, or even can, write about their life in detail and that’s fine. Everyone is different, and everyone enjoys writing about different things.

Personally, I want to get back into a reasonably personal level of blogging. I really enjoy writing about my experiences and opinions, in fact, they’re some of the easiest posts to write for me. I want to write about important topics like relationships, politics and growing-up. I want to show more of my creative writing online. But I still want to write jokey list-posts that are completely impersonal, and I don’t want to feel like I should share everything.

On a related note, I was wondering if you could help me out with something. As one of my 24 by 24 goals, I’ve challenged myself to vlog at least once this year. As I don’t want to just be talking at a camera aimlessly for five minutes, I’ve decided to do a Q&A vlog. I don’t know when I’ll film this, or how long I’ll even leave it up for, but, if you have time, could you please suggest a few questions for me to answer in this post? I’ll answer anything, within reason, and if it feels too personal I’ll probably still answer it, just in a jokey, non-informative way. Thank you and enjoy your week!

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16 Comments

  1. I’ve been blogging for a long time, I’ve definitely changed in terms of what I post. Like you, when I was younger (12/13/14/15) I’d talk about my crushes, stupid stories that happened at school, arguments and what not. I’ve definitely changed my style too because I don’t want to be seen in a negative way by employers who happen to stumble onto my blog but still try and put my views out there, sharing as much as I can without all the very private or getting too personal – I think it’s all about balance because being very compassionate is part of my personality and getting passionate/emotional in some posts just sort of happen for me but not like how I was when I was 15!

    I remember posting about my really bad relationship on Tumblr a few years ago now too! It felt good letting it out, but I felt it was so one-sided because I did some mistakes in the relationship too. It wasn’t just entirely him, you know? I deleted it about a year after I posted it.

    Ooo, I like the vlog idea! It’s one of my year goals myself, but I just can’t seem to start one up because I get anxious talking to a camera! xD But I think Q&A would be a great platform actually, eases the tension because it’s more of a conversation!

    Here are my questions:
    – What’s your favourite Disney movie?
    – If you were any character which would you be?
    – Are you playing any video games at the moment?

  2. I used to write in detail about my life as well. I’m trying to be more careful about the things I post along with trying to control my association with my e-mail to website. Just because you don’t mention about your “dirty laundry” doesn’t mean you’re fake or anything. You’re still telling the truth about the other things you’re talking about.

    We tend to end up regretting writing about the “bad” things that happen. In that case, it’s better to avoid bad subjects altogether :).

    Q’s:
    – What do you like about reading other people’s blogs?
    – How do you keep yourself organized?
    – What’s your favorite font?

    1. I definitely agree that it’s important to be careful, but sometimes I feel like I’m being too careful. Work experience in social media has made me very wary of the Internet!

      Thank you for the questions 🙂

  3. I used to blog the same way too! It was an online diary, and nobody I knew in real life knew about it. Once they started finding it, though, I changed my blogging game super quick. I’m glad I don’t feel many reservations about deleting that kind of content. /stares at deleted Tumblr account and blog posts from 2010. Nothing can really haunt me so much.

    I think I’ve found a good balance for personal blogging. I write personally on certain topics, like mental health, gender identity, and sexuality. They’re topics I can write about because I always think, “Someone else might be able to relate to this.” That’s the question I put my ideas against: will someone else connect with this? Will someone else be able to add more? It’s been useful. I also do a “This Was A Day” post about once a month to do a play-by-play of a day. It isn’t so much a diary as it could be a vlog. Snapshots of my life, y’know? I like those kinds of personal blogs.

    Questions!
    – If you could make a hybrid animal like a chimera or centaur, what would it be made of?
    – What are your biggest pet peeves?
    – What’s a weird habit you have? (Mine is locking my bedroom door while I sleep.)

    1. It’s great that you write about those topics, even though they can be quite difficult to write about. I know I’ve looked to the Internet a lot for comfort on personal issues, and it’s so reassuring to see that you’re not alone in what you’re thinking/going through.

      And some Tumblr content is made to be deleted!

  4. Love this post. It definitely resonated with me, because like yourself when I started blogging I used to write about every single detail that was going on in my life – I continued that right up until my second year on university and suddenly something switched, and I withdrew from the blogging community and barely blogged at all. Then I started it up again after I realised that I can still blog without blogging about everything. My first ever boyfriend, I wrote about him a lot on my blog, but I never went through when he broke up with me.

    I feel like some bloggers are returning to the personal side of blogging, which is a good thing! I feel like people have lost touch with why they started blogging in the first palce. Not to say that one has to tell everything about themselves, but there’s more to blogging than “50 Great Ways to Wear a T-Shirt”, you know? Blogging is getting a bit commercialised, at the moment.

    Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to more posts of yours. I know, for me personally, my style of blogging has definitely changed, but that was a conscious decision and one I don’t regret. Now, as for your vlog questions:

    1. What inspired you to start writing?
    2. Where do you see yourself in 2 years?
    3. 3 books that you could read over and over again.

    PS. Thank you for inspiring me to get back into Camp NaNoWriMo. 4 days to plan something! Can’t wait 😀

    1. Break-ups are so difficult to talk about online. I felt too embarrassed to post anything about it online, even though I barely spoke about my ex on the blog.

      I loved reading your sex post recently. It’s so refreshing to see personal topics like that posted about. You’ve definitely inspired some personal posts from me!

      Thank you for the questions!

  5. It was really interesting to read your thoughts on this and I can relate. I too used to write a lot of posts about things in my life with much more detail and didn’t really think about family or potential employers reading it. It was all raw and my emotions and thoughts. I am much more conscious of what I post now. I guess that is partly because I have also grown and matured in a lot of ways. I still share what I want too, but there are many thoughts and considerations when publishing, compared to ten years ago.

    1. It’s definitely important to be wary of who could be watching! The Internet is not the private place it used to be – or at least that’s how it used to seem to me.

  6. I definitely used to be more open on my blog — you can just tell by going back to my old entries from 2002 to like 2005 LOL But I noticed that after I got into uni, I became less open. Mostly because I just didn’t have time to blog as I did in secondary school, but also because I wanted to be careful about what I post online. A couple of things I posted online did get me into some embarrassing moments, so I’ve learned from that.

    Now, I blog things that are sort of personal, but not entirely. If I want to air my secrets and such, I do it on my friends-locked LiveJournal/Dreamwidth, but I don’t want to post too much of my whinging and complaints on my blog. I feel that I’ve found a happy medium between for my blog 🙂

    1. I think a happy medium’s what I need. I avoided talking about my life at all for a couple of years, so my blog just became a collection of advice posts, which I kind of regret. It’s like I ripped two years out of a diary!

  7. I’ve definitely become more careful about what I write on my blog as I grow older. I still want it to be personal in a way, but there are so many things I leave out. Part of it is as you say, it’s difficult to look back and read about negative things in the past. I have a private Livejournal that I used to write a lot more on, but over time, I forced myself to stop using it. I’d use it to rant, thinking it’d make me feel better, but it really doesn’t. Instead, I have a trail of unhappiness that I don’t want to look back on.

    I totally agree it’s about finding a healthy medium. I’m ok with sharing some things about my life, especially hobbies I’m passionate about. I’m very careful not to post sensitive things about work or things my friends wouldn’t want me to share though. It’s definitely a balance!

    Hm… questions for you…
    1. What are your favorite video games?
    2. What’s something on your wishlist to buy?
    3. What’s a place you really want to visit?

    1. I rant on paper now. Or in person to my friends. Seriously regret putting so much on Tumblr in the past – I want this to be a personal blog, but not THAT personal! Thank you for the questions!

  8. This. I can relate so well to this post. I’ve asked myself these same questions before, because there are certain aspects of my life that I didn’t share a whole lot of. I really went through this in college when I was suffering from depression. Everyone had told me college would be the best four years of my life, I would make so many life long friends, yada yada yada, and I just didn’t have that same experience that everyone said I would. It sucked. And at that moment I wasn’t sure whether to blog about it because I didn’t want to be all “woe is me” and have people think that I was complaining, etc. I also didn’t want anyone’s pity.

    And that’s when I decided that I would always be honest on my blog, rain or shine. I don’t think it’s fair to paint a picture of only the good things that happen, because that’s not a fair representation of who you are. So I blogged about my depression and there was so much love and support from everyone – and I can look back and think, wow, look at how far I’ve come. I was glad I shared. But there’s definitely a line in oversharing, like you discussed, and not everyone should know everything about you. But I have a problem with bloggers who only want to make themselves look good. And at the same time, you want to retain some privacy and there are many things that shouldn’t be shared online. It’s definitely just finding what is suitable for yourself and what you’re comfortable doing.

    Some questions: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, every day, what would you eat? And on the other hand, what is your least favorite food?

  9. Wow. I can relate. I started to blog when I was probably 11, so I’m not sure what I posted there, probably something 11 year olds care about. I publicly named my crushes, who I don’t like, etc. No one I knew in real life knows about the blog anyway. But as time progressed, the internet became somewhat mainstream and it was easy to find anything with just a click of a finger. I was shocked one day when I went to school and everyone knew who my crush was. Turns out, one of my classmates stumbled upon my little online diary. I brought the blog down immediately. That was a great lesson though.

    Anyway, for the questions:

    Name a book that you wished you had written.
    Are you a morning or evening person?
    What’s your go-to food when you’re down?

    🙂

  10. I understand where you are coming from, and you are one my long-time blog friends, so if anything, you would have noticed the turns that my blog took over the years – even though I know you kinda disappeared a little, I don’t know if you still kept reading my blog during that time.

    Writing about my previous breakup was difficult, introducing my new one even more so. I didn’t ever write details about the relationship, but I did write a lot about school and my horrible commutes to university, including all the complaining. I also went straight to my blog after fighting with my parents or my friends, and the more I struggled with depression, the more deep my posts became. Luckily, no one I know online ever really read my most personal, harrowing thoughts that were on my semi-private blog prior to 2008-2009 when I blogged on my own domain – but I know that I won’t be sharing that much information anymore. I ended up writing about my previous break-up very vaguely, mostly talking about my feelings rather than anything that went wrong. People knew or had met my ex, and I didn’t want to bring more attention to him. It was enough to say that we fell out of love and that things were not going well, and that is all people had to know. I knew if I didn’t write about it, my readers would be curious – in some way I felt I owed it to them to at least give some sort of an explanation.

    As someone who essentially works ‘on’ the internet, I know all too much about my public profile and the risks with sharing information. But I have had so many people, even in the professional environment, look up to me and what I have written, as personal as it can be. As long as I am OK with sharing what I share, and other people are OK too… then all is well.

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