Do you blog as the real you?

The bottom half of a swan emerging from the water.
A visual metaphor gone wrong: yesterday

I really enjoyed Blogfest at the weekend. It was a great opportunity to meet up with friends new and old and to listen to some great keynotes by some inspirational people. One of the topics that kept cropping up was about voice and there were some really interesting points raised both by the panellists on stage and the attendees via the massive screen behind them. What I’m going to write about here probably removes the illusory fourth wall and gives away some behind-the-scenes stuff, but, well… sod it.

I was especially interested in the concept of how much of ourselves we share on our blogs and social media and also how we go about it. One question I found particularly fascinating concerns whether we blog truly as ourselves. There are those that the cliché ‘what you see is what you get’ firmly applies to, but I have a feeling that most bloggers write as slightly different versions of themselves. I know I do!

The Tom I project on here is definitely still me, albeit an edited one. He’s a lot more confident and capable at the whole parenting lark than I am and is a bit wittier given the extra time he gets to ponder his thoughts before blurting them out. In truth, I keep a lot to myself for fear of presenting any shrinks who land on my blog with a field day. Sure, I openly admit to winging it and sometimes even write about my feelings, but you should see the stuff that goes through my head and doesn’t make the cut! Think about the bit of the swan you don’t see as it seems to effortlessly glide across water and you get the idea.

Another thing that resonated with me was the idea of piloting content before writing it. I was glad to hear that others do this as it’s something I do all the time! You can almost guarantee that, if I tweet about something funny that Dylan or Xander have said or done and it gets a good reaction, it’ll show up again a week or so later in a blog post. Again, not the truest reflection of myself as it’s based on research of sorts.

Finally, I was interested to hear how others approach publishing a new post. A fair few seemed uncomfortable with the idea of writing something and publishing it in one go. I’m not quite sure what I think of this one as I rarely get the chance – I write most of my posts on my phone on the way to work – but would probably prefer to leave a post overnight before publishing it. Yet again, allowing time before sharing a bit of myself online.

Just to well and truly eliminate any strange notions of swan-like style and grace in the creation of this post, I wrote most of it while stood on a crowded train with a stranger who reeked of cigarettes in my personal space. So there!

Other bloggers: how do you approach your posts?

Comments

  1. Jonathan

    It sounds like you were at a really thought-provoking session about blogging. I used to draft posts and then re-read them and add some photos a day or so later. More recently, I’ve planned titles of posts and done drafts that basically just have a few key headings and left them like that before writing. I’ve done a lot more posts recently where I’ve written it and then posted it online. There are, however, some posts (e.g. monthly highlights of being a parent ones) that I add a few sentences to ever few days.

  2. Andy

    This is a really interesting topic Tom. I think we all edit the internet version of ourselves to some extent, and are right to do so. If I wrote using the same tone of voice as I speak at 5:45 on a Friday morning even less people would read my blog!

    I’m also very conscious that it’s not just my life I share, but also my wife and children’s. I hope my children will one day read it all but am careful to share stuff in a way that is respectful to them.

  3. Dad Without a Map

    I definitely write as me but being anonymous has helped conquer the fear and stopped a lot of procrastination. If i knew friends family and colleagues wererreading every word it would stymie the flow of my thoughts. That may change with time and confidence. Thanks for your support by the way!

  4. Alex

    Nobody blogs (or writes) truly as themself; it’s not entirely possible. The simple act of using written words alters your thought process and the way you think about stuff for starters.

    Time for a bit of poetry:

    WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.

    Going a bit deeper, we even behave differently when we’re with different groups of people. If you’re out with your mates, you’ll behave different than you would if you were out with your wife or work colleagues, so the real question is can you even pin down who the “definitive” you actually is?

  5. Garry

    I try and write as me even though it sometimes comes out imperfect as I am targeting readers that are in the same boat and still learning about my niche (astronomy). As to when I write, think up the topics on the way to and from work, but write them up on my phone in the evening when I get spare time from my family. I don’t publish until the next day usually when I can read over the post and make sure I am not making a complete fool of myself.

  6. Tim

    I’m similar to you, Tom. While I don’t go out of my way to present an edited version of myself, Blog Me is a better dad than Real Me, as well as being funnier, more successful, more outgoing and much better-looking (in my head, anyway).

    In fact, if he wasn’t me I’d probably hate him.

    As for how I write posts, it varies. A few get dashed off in 15 minutes and are published with no more than a cursory read-through for typos. A few go through a gestation period of weeks or months where I write a draft, bin it, rewrite it, leave it to cool forgotten in a corner, and then rewrite it over and over until I’m happy. My record is something like 7 complete rewrites (and a load of minor ones) over 3 years, but it’s also one of the posts I’m most proud of (it’s the one that won me Best Post of the Year on the LADs Awards). Most are somewhere in between and typically go: write, make coffee, tweak a bit, edit properly, sleep on it, re-tweak next morning, publish. My average post is probably 12-24 hours from first word to published.

  7. Amy Ransom

    I didn’t go to Blogfest so I’ve found this really interesting. I see my ‘blogging self’ as a persona. I don’t want to share EVERYTHING about me as it would a) be boring b) be too much like oversharing and c) be unfair to my family. That said, I do share a lot of what goes on but I try to give it a funny spin. For entertainment purposes. I blog and post in one go. I never plan my posts but I do take 2-3 hours over each one to get the tone just right. And I also sometimes incorporate tweets or FB statuses (though subconsciously). I read somewhere that one blogger does 20 drafts or so… Great post. Popping over from #PoCoLo

    1. Dad Without A Map

      Good point – i think there is a difference between editing what you share and staying true to your voice and personality. Friends have said that I write as I speak and that when they see something I’ve written they can hear my voice. But I choose what to tweet and blog about. Partly to protect privacy but also because most of life is very very dull!

  8. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk)

    I have to admit that sometimes I bare too much. No matter how much I share in my blog I think its still not the whole of me.

    Looks like you have learned so much from Blogfest. I really wanted to attend something like this and learn but its just too far and expensive. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned there.

    #pocolo

  9. Christine

    I absolutely blog as myself, but I don’t write about everything as I wouldn’t want to embarrass my children. I also spend far too much time editing (faffing) my blog posts, hence I only manage to publish one once a week!.#pocolo

  10. Jean (notsupermum)

    Very interesting post about a subject I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. When I first started blogging several years ago I was anonymous, and I was very frank and open and more like the real me. Since I lost my anonymity a year or so ago, I now only share a very edited version of myself (and have deleted most of soul-baring posts). It’s a shame, because writing as myself was very therapeutic.

  11. Emma T

    I’d say I am mostly myself on my blog. It’s not too revealing, the OH doesn’t really feature as he hates the idea of blogging and being seen online, and I wouldn’t want any strong views or anything that could damage job opportunities being visible in the public domain. But otherwise, I’m me.

    I tend to write my posts and post after the one draft. Might write them somewhere else, but rarely spend a lot of time editing. Just decide a day to post, and post it, if I’ve written a few posts in one go.

    It’s interesting to see how others do it. #pocolo

  12. Verily Victoria Vocalises

    A really interesting post. Sorry I didn’t see you at Blogfest. I have to say that I always write as myself – the reason for the Verily in my blog title! – but there are some things that I do keep for me and my family because they are my business. I find over-sharing a little distasteful at times! I don’t really think too hard when I schedule or publish a post! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo 🙂

  13. Debbie

    I’ve always thought I came across as me in my posts, but as you pointed out, maybe it’s not quite so. A post takes a lot of thinking and planning, which is me, but not me if you know what I mean. Given that extra thinking time means I can be who I want to be on paper ( or on screen), not much different than the real me, but a better, more confident me. An updated version with all bugs fixed (or most of them at least!).

    I don’t think I’ve ever published a post without leaving it to mellow for a few hours or overnight. As I like to read it through with fresh eyes before hitting the publish post button.

    I popped over from #PoCoLo and this is my last read of the night. You’ve given me plenty to ponder before I head to bed….Which is the real me? Me or blogging me?….

  14. Lysa @ Welcome To My Circus

    I recently pondered if I was truly being “just me” on my blog as that is what I wanted to do since I first began blogging in January. So I asked my husband, friends, and family members what they thought. To my delight they all agreed the way I portrayed myself on my blog was definiatley ALL ME. Although I must admit here that in real life I have a bit of a sailor’s mouth which DEFINITELY is not exposed on my blog for obvious reasons. lol

    As far as posting goes I write my posts, edit them, read through them once more, and then hit the publish button. I decided awhile back that the whole intent of writing the posts were to publish them so why wait? However, there are some posts that I write that are intended for particular days of the week and holidays. Those posts are often written in advance and I schedule them on blogger to post on the days they are intended for.

    Thanks for sharing such a great post!

    Wishing you a wonderful week!
    xx
    Lysa

  15. The Fool

    It’s an interesting one isn’t it? I think actually the process you go through as a blogger means you start off really being you and then change a little to how you think people want you to be. After a while of this you realise that your own voice is ok and revert back. But as I think most people know you should never judge a persons life by what they share online, it’s rarely the full picture.

    Oh and I’m definitely funnier as a writer than in person, always have a good comeback an hour later….

  16. Paul McCann

    Hi,

    I have just started blogging as I am on additional paternity leave with my 7 month old. I love it and have a lot to learn but at the minute I am experiencing so many new things every day, I make notes in my phone then when I get a few minutes free I try to tie it all together into a blog post……

    http://wp.me/5j2mt

  17. Agatha

    I tried blogging as someone else, I found it difficult to stick with as every post was so difficult to contrive. I found it became far more fluent and fun when it began to feel “more me.”

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