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!