Does Blogging Overexpose the Blogger?

Full disclosure:  I started this blog so I would have a “writer’s platform” I could show agents and potential publishers.  But it doesn’t come without a cost, and that is one’s privacy.

The idea of public and private has shifted.  While some people still keep private diaries/journals, myself included, others are blogging their hearts out for all the world to see.  Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, Telegram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, YouTube, chat rooms, etc., have conditioned a new generation to spill it all on the web, to not hold back.  Some set up webcams in their houses so strangers can follow their daily routine.

Has the isolation we experience in our neighborhoods caused this overreaction on the world-wide web?  When I was a child, I knew everyone on our block.  I walked to school, which allowed me to see my neighbors, both coming and going.  People sat on porches in the summer time and shared produce from abundant gardens.  We formed neighborhoods, not these individual units that make up most communities today where few people know their neighbors or interact with them.  Even the words neighbor and neighborhood sound quaint now.

What is the effect on our consciousness of such willingness to turn ourselves inside out for anyone to see?  We won’t know the answer to this question immediately, but we can speculate.  Of course, writers learn early that they can’t hold back.  They must be willing to expose their private selves, whether in poetry, fiction, or non-fiction.  Even the most objective academic or journalistic writing can’t conceal entirely the person behind the prose.

Of course,  I could argue that this revealing of ourselves invites others to also do so, creating a closer bond between people who engage in these activities. But then what happens to those who don’t blog?

Ultimately, what is blogging’s effect on our consciousness, on our relationships with ourselves and others?  What does it mean not to have a private self any longer?  What are the drawbacks to this kind of exposure?

Would love to hear your thoughts!

4 thoughts on “Does Blogging Overexpose the Blogger?

  1. My writing blog has bits of personal stuff I care to share, but is mostly about writing, publishing, and the things I’ve discovered along the way. I doubt anyone reads much of it unless they’re interested in MY writing, writing in general, or something specifically mentioned in a post title.

    My books’ blog tells those who follow: milestones, sample bits, and sales – and occasionally useful bits like a Book Club discussion guide.

    Both have Akismet enabled, and I’ve only had, since 2012, 2 comments slip through which didn’t get the comment banned immediately, and were caught by my requirement that first comments have to be moderated.

    Mild enough, not particularly revealing, and don’t mention the kids or husband except generically when appropriate. If I ever get much traction, there are almost 700 ‘interesting’ posts – that’s about it. I’m not putting a spotlight on my personal life, but occasionally sharing pieces of it that are relevant to the writing or the books specifically.

    I don’t feel OVER exposed, but am used to posts getting maybe 10 comments on good days from the people I stay in contact with online, and an occasional newbie brought in by a title who stays. That way the husband doesn’t need to participate in those discussions (he doesn’t read much fiction, and not mine), and I have an outlet, and I’ve made nice friends. It has worked for me so far.

    I don’t know what would happen if I finally got some traction on the Pride’s Children trilogy – but I love talking about my work, so I’m not worried. I WILL bend your ear if you encourage that sort of thing!

  2. I have pondered this same issue many times, but I’ve found that I am a better traveler when I’m paying attention in a way that will make my blog more interesting. A related issue is whether a public essay discounts the depth and personal nature of the experience. Toni Morrison once reminded us that “it’s still there even if you don’t share it,” and sharing can be a little narcissitic. Thanks for an interesting posting!

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