Public vs. Private – Life Online

I really don’t know when it happened, but at some point in my life, I became a person who “over-shared.” I know the “over” is relative, depending on who you are, but I knew it was “over” for me when it bit me in the butt! šŸ™‚

Otherwise, before that, I would just call it “me being a very trusting person.” I like people, I think the best of people, and I tend to trust others pretty easily. I couldn’t imagine someone using my personal information against me as gossip with others! I wouldn’t do that to someone, so I think I thought they wouldn’t either. Wrong! Lesson learned.

And I hate to admit, but I also think I thought too much of myself, thinking that either people cared sooooo much about me and wanted to hear what was going on, or that I had such valuable information worthy to be shared!! Ā šŸ˜‰

But as I’ve grown up, I have come to realize that most people really don’t care. I don’t mean that in a horrible way. I just think as humans we care too much about ourselves. We kinda just have to. We are busy. We have “enough burdens of our own.” We are already pulled in a million directions.

It has been very freeing to accept that reality.

And because of that, I have really come to treasure, like deep-in-my-gut treasure those trusted souls who really do care. Because they are special and rare. I don’t expect it of everyone anymore. I love sharing my life with those friends and family and hearing them share about theirs. I love sharing my newest finds – books, links, activities, ideas with them because I know they value them.

So, all of this is background to my recent ponderings of life “on-line.”

I started blogging many years ago, but just kept it on the DL (“down-low”). I programmed my site so it couldn’t be found by the all-searching eye of Google. I wrote a lot about my family, faith, and surprising insights of life. But I knew all the people who were reading it, and felt comfortable sharing about my life with likeminded, trusted friends.

Now that my blog/website is public, though, I am very cautious about “over-sharing.” I don’t feel like I should air out any dirty laundry about my husband or kids. I don’t know if certain beliefs will be misconstrued. I’m not sure that someone wanting to grow their brand or business really cares about what my family did on Tuesday. šŸ˜‰

But at the same time, I totally understand that a public life on-line, especially for women, it seems, involves some level of sharing, even “over-sharing.” I personally love reading women’s blogs who just get real and lay it all out there – their insecurities, their struggles, their surprise successes. I benefit from reading their stories and learning from their mistakes or insights. And I appreciate their courage and authenticity.

So, for those of us choosing to write on-line and maintain some level of a private, public life, I think we just need to decide, “What is our goal?” And, “How much of our personal family life are we comfortable sharing with the world?”

The answers are different for everyone, and they should be.

For writers just starting out, I think it’s important to write as much as possible, finding your voice, style, and level of comfort. Publish it, see how people respond. If it feels too uncomfortable, you can always delete it.

And for all of us, we can know that those who resonate with what we have to share will choose to lock-in and keep reading. They do care about what we write, either because they care about us or because they know they will personally benefit from what we share. So, the goal on-line can be the same off-line, to find those “trusted souls” who we want to share life and grow with.

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