These days, we live a good portion of our lives online. We update our statuses, upload photos, like, love, even go live – broadcasting real life, right now – no matter what could potentially go wrong (did you see that awkward argument between Novak Djokovic and his wife on Facebook recently? Eeek!).
Don’t get me wrong – this ability to express ourselves, find common ground and connect by sharing our thoughts and lives online is a wonderful thing. In fact, as an introvert, expressing myself online via the written word is where I feel most comfortable and equipped to articulate my truth and truly be seen on my own terms.
But how much is too much? How do we discern when sharing is intimate, authentic, genuine, vulnerable in an empowering way – versus harmful to ourselves (or others), exploitative, excessive or simply in poor taste? It’s hard to draw the line when the line is floating around out there somewhere on the WiFi signal, always changing and essentially invisible.
When you’re sharing as a means of promoting a business, the line is perhaps easier to draw. When your business is you though, it becomes incredibly complex.
On my own blog, I push the limits a little more than most. Whereas most copywriters stick to copy-related subjects like ‘How to write an awesome about page’ and ‘The 7 secrets of landing pages that convert’, I’ve shared:
Why? Because I want you to know ME – as a copywriter and as a person.
If you’re here looking for a copywriter, I don’t think you want to know how to write your About page yourself. Instead, you want to know why you should choose me to write it for you (and throw your hard-earned pennies my way in the process!). In a one-on-one working relationship, it therefore makes sense that you want to know who I am, what I’m about, what I stand for and what I’m interested in – essentially, whether we’re on the same page and likely to work well together. I get it because when I’m looking to hire someone myself, I’m exactly the same. We all want to find ‘our person.’
While some copywriters really struggle with this, thankfully I’m comfortable being seen in this way. Sharing face to face? Nuh uh! But writing on personal topics, sharing and connecting via the written word makes me feel alive – and my blog enables me to do exactly that. Some would say some of my posts are too honest, too personal and – admittedly – totally irrelevant to copywriting. But when I get emails in response to my posts, it’s these exact things that prompt people to contact me. ‘I’m an introvert too!,’ they say, or ‘Oh my god, when you described how miserable you were in your corporate job, it was like you were in my head!’
There’s nothing better than that simple, sweet response of, ‘Me too.’ Yes, sharing openly enables me to connect with people looking for a copywriter. But, even more than that, it enables us to connect as two human beings making our way through this crazy, brutiful (thanks Glennon) human experience.
In saying that, there are some posts in my drafts folder that will never see the light of day. One post, which I particularly love, talks about my (rather controversial) thoughts on forgiveness, forgetting and self-compassion. But, it speaks a little too closely to some stuff in my life that needs to stay private and therefore it remains just for me. That’s okay, we don’t always have to share something for it to be cathartic. Sometimes, the simple act of getting it down on paper for ourselves is enough.
So, how do you know the difference between ‘Hell yes, I have to tell this story!’ and ‘Hmmm, maybe not’? Here are some tips:
1 // Know your why
Do you want to find your tribe? Get more customers? Shock people for the sake of being shocking? Or simply tell your truth, like it or leave it? Identify why you’re sharing, and let that ‘why’ be your true north.
2 // Set some firm boundaries
Perhaps it’s no posts about family. No whinging. No bagging other people out publicly. No sharing difficult personal challenges until you’ve resolved them and can offer some kind of useful, positive spin? Know your boundaries and stick to them.
3 // Do what feels good
And, if all else fails, simply ask yourself, ‘Does this feel good to share?’ Your intuition knows. Good might still mean scary, vulnerable, uncomfortable. That’s okay. Great, in fact! But any feelings of anger, anxiety or general ickiness might mean this is a story to keep private.
So, over to you. How do you decide what you share online and what to keep just for you? I’d love to know!