Self-Saturation: Are You Going Too Far Online?

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self-saturationA few years ago, none of us would ever have dreamed of putting all our information out there on the web for all to see.

Nowadays, as bloggers, we have a vested interest in revealing more of ourselves on line than we ever normally would in a real-life situation.

How has this happened?

We know as bloggers we need to keep people engaged, and this means showing our true personality and getting ourselves known…

Is it a positive thing to have a strong online presence?

Of course it is, in obvious ways.

We need our customers to see us and who we are, in order to identify with us and purchase our products. This means it’s necessary to be out there on the web in all our flawed glory.

Our blog is like a store front, and all shoppers like to meet the person behind the product.

The benefits…

The customers you are trying to attract get to know the person they may want to work with, the whole experience becomes a more personal one and that could help provide a more tailored service to fit the customer’s needs.

Being more personable online could aid you in winning those customers in the first place and attracting them to your site. They can see the person behind the business is committed to what they are doing.

The pitfalls…

There is a danger if we reveal too much about ourselves this may actually put potential customers off.

They may not want to know such personal details about our lives.

They may just want to know we can do the job they need us to do. It’s your job as an expert in your chosen industry to determine just how much, or how little, you need to reveal about yourself.

It’s about striking the ideal balance between being personable, and over-personable.

If someone knows your inside leg measurement and how loudly you snore after a few drinks, they may not be able to make the shift to seeing you as a reliable business owner.

How to protect our online privacy even as we blog

A quick way to protect yourself is by using a contact form on your blog, rather than detailing your personal e-mail address. This removes you from direct contact with your customers, so only those people you trust know how to get hold of you directly.

Don’t post up personal details about your home life that you wouldn’t share with the postman or even sometimes your own friends.

Take for example Dr. Brooke Magnanti, a respected researcher in children’s health. You may recognise her by another name. While studying for her doctorate she supplemented her income by working as a London call girl, and began to blog about it.

Now ‘Belle de Jour’, Dr Magnanti’s pen name, is a successful blog, series of books, and the subject of a popular television series.

Did she take her revelations about her life too far?

Unless your intention is to reveal this secret life you’re living, it’s probably best to keep the more intimate details of your life to yourself. Admittedly, Belle is probably one of the most celebrated bloggers in the world, but she paid the price of her revelations when her identity became known.

How far do you go?

Please share your views in the comments below. Thanks.


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15 Responses to Self-Saturation: Are You Going Too Far Online?

  1. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot September 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    There’s a fine line between being boring and sharing too much info. I try to stick to my topic, make it fun and add some personal stuff but not every tiny detail:)

  2. Steve September 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    This is a tough one. I do like to talk freely about myself and what I do online. I think that saying what you honestly feel and talking about yourself can sometimes be interesting, though I do not talk “that” much about myself as I assume people do not want to hear me yammering on about my personal life.

    That being said my name itself is a pen name and I have a separate personal and professional emails.

    The reason I did this is because with my previous e-business I put everything out there. I didn’t mind getting calls at home and talking people through things, even.

    It all went well until some crazy guy actually showed up at my doorstep late one night (my ADDRESS was never listed) This all happened not long before I started my blog, hence though I try to get ‘real’ I do like to leave a little bit of my personal information off the record just to be “safe”.

    I am sure that 99.9% of people are safe but there are a few scammers and nut jobs out there who can do a lot with a little information.

    (Oh….I also have my identity stolen and credit cards made and run up in my real name once, though that time had nothing to do with the ‘net…it is also a concern online)
    Steve recently posted..20 Travel Horror Movies that Make You Want to Stay HomeMy Profile

  3. Ryan Biddulph September 10, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    There’s a fine line between revealing too much and not opening up.

    I tend to open up more than the average blogger, although I don’t do it frequently. I also feel it depends upon what you are opening up about. If it’s something silly or inconsequential it may look unprofessional but if it’s a life-altering event I say let people know about it.

    We are attracted to people who have triumphed over all types of odds. Most are afraid to share their skeletons for fear that they will be judged, or that they will look weak. Not me. I’m human and I don’t hesitate to reveal my “human-ness”, although I don’t do it too frequently. If readers are uncomfortable they aren’t in resonance with me, and vice-versa. Usually I attract plenty of like-minded people who’ve experienced the same stuff.

    Thanks for posing an interesting question. Great blog you have here, I’m looking forward to future posts 🙂

    Ryan Biddulph
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..How to Slap Your Next Blog Post Out of the ParkMy Profile

    • Andrew
      September 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm #


      Thanks for coming across and I’m pleased you felt you had to comment.

      I believe you are right about people liking the “human-ness” in others.

      Nice clean site you have there yourself.

      Andrew recently posted..What to do with Old Blog PostsMy Profile

  4. Stephen Kavita September 11, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    Bloggers are always exposed and this article has come in the right time. Ultimately, blogging should be fun and bloggers should always look for ways to engage their readers by seeking to find out what issues are affecting the target audince.

  5. Felicia September 16, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    I think in order to make a blog popular, some people will go to great lengths, even expose their real identities and endanger themselves in the process. Blogging was born to help us share our knowledge, our experiences, our ups, our downs. I just don’t get it why there are some people who would use a person’s information and endanger them for their own selfish reasons.
    Felicia recently posted..WCOOP- ex-World Champion Greg Raymer places high in 2 eventsMy Profile

  6. Joseph Archibald December 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Really interesting post Andrew and nice inclusion of the Dr Brooke Magnanti tale!

    My site is based on SEO, which even I find to be very dry indeed. Hence I add a lot about myself on there.

    No doubt that does aid sales, although I don’t make so many sales from the blog. But I feel its really sensible to expose the human side to SEO and not just discuss techniques. After all, unless we have the continued focus and motivation, we will never be successful at SEO. Thus the human side to SEO is vital to be in touch with.

    Joseph Archibald recently posted..Can We Collaborate to Make the Internet Maketing Dream Accessible to AllMy Profile

  7. Canadian Doomer January 2, 2011 at 3:02 am #

    Clearly, I’m using my real legal name, even if Facebook won’t let me open an account with it. (And that means that I can’t access Alexa!)

    In all seriousness, though, there really are some crazy people out there, and I’ve run into a couple. I’ve been stalked, in real life and on my computer, and I’ve had some scary things happen. Like Steve, I go online with an alias that is very distinct and separate from my real-life identity.

    I don’t like this trend toward showing and telling everything, and I won’t do it. My readers learn a lot about me, about what I think on a lot of things. I’m even blogging all of our spending this year (although not our income). But I will not give out our address, our real names, my non-blog-persona email, or identifiable pictures of us.

    • Andrew
      January 2, 2011 at 8:32 am #

      I can understand your approach as you have been stalked…it must be frightening.

      Andrew recently posted..Blogging Little Crackers- Do Not Get Your Blog BannedMy Profile

      • Canadian Doomer January 2, 2011 at 11:39 am #

        The problem is – you have to take safety precautions *before* it happens. It’s like practicing unsafe sex and getting AIDS – you can’t take it back, and it’s life-changing.

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