Being a Digital Mom: What you should and shouldn't share on your blog
Blogging is all about the sharing of information with people, but how much is too much when it comes to sharing on your blog?
In light of Heather Armstrong (a.k.a. Dooce) and her husband's separation -- she's the "mom blogger" who started it all -- I wanted to write this week about what you should and shouldn't share on your blog. Heather is a gifted writer who has the ability to bring someone into her world with her words and keep them there. She shares all of herself with her readers, so much so that when I read about her separation, I quite literally felt sad for Dooce and her husband. I've been an avid reader of her blog for years, and I ached for her and her family when I read her
update. It's pretty incredible that someone I don't know can capture my heart like that, isn't it?
That's the kind of blogger she is -- she shares it all and her readers/fans either love her or hate her for it. As much as Heather has her fans (like me), she also has people who aren't so nice, and that's definitely a downside of sharing too much information -- you're never going to make everyone happy with what you have to say.
So what about your blog? What should and shouldn't you share?
I'm not going to lie to you: When I first began blogging, I thought to myself, "If I share as much as Heather does about my life, will readership be huge?" I wasn't certain of the correct formula for attracting traffic and loyalty and fans. I didn't want to do it the "wrong" way, but I wasn't sure if exposing all of my family's business would be the right way to do it, so I made the decision that I was free game, but my family wasn't. It was pretty plain and simple for me. I'm naturally the kind of person that shares way too much about myself anyway, but my husband is the polar opposite. He wasn't comfortable with me even starting out using the boys' names on my blog!
So what to share? And what not to?
My advice for bloggers starting out (or for those who still wonder) about what you should and shouldn't share on your blog is this:
When you hit publish, it's live
Realize that once a blog is published, anyone can read it. Anybody. If you're going to be sharing details or information about friends or colleagues or your family, make sure you ask their permission before you put it all out there. You don't want to hurt or surprise anyone with things they don't want shared.
Ahhh… yes, the juicy details of your life. Let's face it, the juicier you write, the more traffic you're going to get, but keep in mind that it may not be the readership that you want. Not to mention, if you're positioning your blog as a "mom blog," you may not be that attractive to brands and companies if you're blogging certain intimate details. (That goes for swearing on your blog, too.)
Watch the photos you share!
This is a true story. One of my good blogging friends posted an innocent photo of her kids during tub time. She was horrified to find out that someone had come to her blog searching the words "kids taking tub." It was a tough and difficult lesson for her to learn, and she took the photo down immediately. Sharing information online is completely different than just sharing something between friends, so please make sure you're careful.
Nitty gritty details
Stay away from sharing information about your child's school, your street address, the sporting team your child plays on, etc. It's not necessary to share all information like that on your blog. You can still be compelling and be a well-known mom blogger by not sharing such personal information. Be guarded with those details.
Be ready for a response
I know this seems silly, but it's true. Not everyone will share your views and opinions and agree with what you're putting on your blog. My advice: just be ready to stand behind what you write. For example, I once wrote about how I was thinking about having a fifth baby, and I had someone write to me that I was contributing to overpopulation. It hurt me to read that, but I realized I needed to be ready for anything.