Finding Balance Between Online Privacy and Authenticity

April 7, 2015
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Written by Kait Sawyer Hanson

When you first start blogging, it’s easy to enter into the land of over-sharing. It’s fun to tell what seems like “your own corner of the internet” everything that’s going on in your life, what you’re cooking and where you’re going on vacation. The reality is that sometimes the internet is a scary place to be, so it’s important to find a balance between staying true to your voice and online privacy.

One of the very best things about blogging is being able to tell your own unique story in real time—think of it like a live, public diary. That being said, anyone who stumbles upon your space can directly access your life, your family and depending on the nature of your writing, probably a lot more than you intentionally wish to broadcast. Going back to my previous statement—the internet can sometimes be very scary!

Public access to databases across the world make it very easy to take someone’s blog, connect on various social media platforms, figure out where they live (sometimes based solely on photo tags!), and, subsequently, find their location, address and even telephone number. For these reasons, it’s a safe bet to give your spouse, children and anyone you wish to protect a code name, remove geographic tagging from social channels and blog only about things you wouldn’t mind ANYONE reading about.

To be authentic, you don’t need to put every detail of your life out onto the World Wide Web. Readers seek genuine content they can relate to and will understand that certain topics are simply off-limits.

Before sitting down to write a blog post, consider these questions:

>>Is this topic relevant to me? And would I discuss this topic in a real life conversation?

>>Would I mind if I saw this blog post on the front page of the newspaper?

>>Does this blog post involve people who would mind being on the internet?

>>Will my audience find this post useful?

If you find yourself wavering in any of your answers, perhaps it is a post best left in drafts. If you’re comfortable in answering these right away, hit publish!

Sharing experiences and keeping certain issues private can be a tricky line to straddle and as the world of blogging evolves, so do the ways in which we keep our voice authentic and strong without violating our own privacy.

About the Author: Kait Sawyer Hanson is a Hawaii-based freelance writer who enjoys cooking, traveling with her husband, Dane, and playing with her chocolate lab, Judy. Kait’s daily musings can be found on her blog, www.CommuniKait.com.

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