Should You Self-Censor Your Personal Blog?

Should you self-censor your personal blog?

It’s common knowledge that employers will check social media pages during an interview process and things that are deemed inappropriate can have a potentially damaging impact on a candidates success when applying for a job. Similarly, there are endless stories of people who have had their employment terminated after posting something online. Social media has now become a part of our daily lives, to the point where are now teaching students in the education system about how to manage social media accounts appropriately.

It seems logical for me that blogs that are solely for the purpose of business should be handled in a professional, efficient and eloquent manner, in the same way you would expect someone in any profession to behave in person within the workplace.

But what about personal blogs?

With approximately 2.75 MILLION blog posts published every single day, blogging is an immensely popular hobby with an enormous community and has now even become a viable career option for many. For me, it’s been a life-changing experience and the best thing I have ever done, but it hasn’t been without it’s issues.

The problem with posting online is the false sense of security that is created from hiding behind a screen. For many, a blog can be seen as a form of therapy, a safe space to discuss issues that they wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about within their immediate circle of family and friends. However, the fact that there is usually no face-to-face interaction with others often leads many to forget that ANYONE from anywhere in the world can read a public post, including people from both our personal and professional lives.

I started this blog when I was employed as a full-time teacher and used it as a way of easing the depression and anxiety that I was struggling with. At first, I told virtually nobody, but after a few years I indeed became lulled into a false belief that what I was doing was safe. I developed my social media accounts, occasionally posted things from my blog on my personal Facebook page so my friends and family could read it, and even TOLD people about it, particularly when one of my posts about teaching went viral on Facebook. Some of my family, friends and colleagues followed my blog and social media accounts.

Inevitably, this caused problems. I’ve upset family members and friends by posting about things without telling them first, or voicing an opinion on something that they have disagreed with and I had an issue in my former workplace which was mortifying. Consequently, I’ve been left with no choice but to self-censor – I’m now extremely careful with the topics that I discuss and how I phrase things. It’s frustrating and defeats the object of why I started the blog in the first place, but it’s entirely my own fault.

To Self-Censor, or Not?

As owner of your own personal blog, it SHOULD mean that you can post about what you deem appropriate and for many the purpose of a blog is self-expression. While I always want to applaud anyone who is confident and self-assured enough to blog with nonchalance, it’s a sad fact that your words could eventually come back and bite you where it hurts at a later date. If you choose not to self-censor (for whatever reason), you should be prepared to deal with potential consequences.

Here’s a few ideas and thoughts when self-censoring on a personal blog

Blog anonymously or use a pseudonym. I’ve known many bloggers through their pseudonyms over the years, and this has been an effective way for them to remain anonymous. However, if you truly want to be known by the pseudonym, then be consistent – I’ve known some bloggers who have revealed their true identities and then gone on to regret it.

Create separate social media accounts (this is an effective way of building a brand too). I’m grateful that I did that right from the beginning – all of my social media accounts are different to my personal Facebook page. I ruined it by telling everyone in my personal life what they were, but the premise was initially there at least.

Be diplomatic and fair when writing about controversial topics and avoid ranting from a one-sided perspective – the beauty of this is that you still get to voice your opinion, but the fact that you have included an alternative argument within your post leaves it open to discussion, rather than criticism.

Remember that you don’t have to publish more personal posts on your own blog – talk to a trusted blog friend about posting on their blog anonymously. You get to write what you want, they get the views. Everybody wins.

Be careful when using inappropriate language. I don’t read blogs that use homophobic, racist or sexist language, but I do enjoy numerous blogs that use quite graphic language and swear words – this is a part of their personalities and, for me at least, enhances their posts. However, the use of any of this language is never looked upon favourably in a professional environment. (And as a side note, if you’re using the blog to preach hate in any form in 2017 then you’ve only got yourself to blame if it affects you negatively).

NEVER include names, details or photographs of anyone without their permission first and NEVER discuss your workplace. Do you hate your job, think your boss is awful or detest your lazy colleague? Tell a friend, don’t put it online.

Avoid personally attacking anyone. You’re asking for trouble.

And, while it may seem obvious…

Don’t actually tell anyone about your blog. It doesn’t guarantee that someone in your personal life won’t discover it at some point, but it reduces the chance of someone seeing it at least.

 

What do you guys think? Do you censor your personal blogs?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to follow my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

 

194 thoughts on “Should You Self-Censor Your Personal Blog?

  1. I used to have a lifestyle blog, focusing on topics like food, fashion and travel. That became a little too…how shall I put it…frivolous as I got older. As I approached my mid-30s, I felt more and more out of place in that plastic/fake world. I started writing about my views on society/the world and it became more and more out of place on a site called DelectablyChic!. So last week, I started a site under my own name. I don’t want to make it too controversial, but I feel like it’s a better place to discuss topics like mental health awareness, my experiences being a first generation Canadian in Toronto, etc, etc… This is necessary for me because I have always felt that my views as a first gen are largely ignored, even dismissed by others who are supposedly in my place. :S I will still be blogging about lifestyle, of course, but using my own name allows me to talk about whatever I want – within reason. I DO draw the line on certain topics…

  2. This is an interesting topic Suzie. After a month and a half of blogging I am learning so much. I have tried to self censor, in regards to not disclosing names and photos of my husband, kids and loved ones etc. The whole social media thing is new to me too, and I am trying to learn more about this in regards to boosting traffic to my blog. So posts like these and tips about blogging are a Godsend for me. Thank you
    Lorelle 🙂

  3. Great insight. As I have started off in the same manner you had I feel like I should take this seriously. However, I feel like YOLOing because let’s face it if we cannot voice out our opinion then there is really nothig leftfor us to do. As long as we are not naming names we are good?

  4. I’ve always blogged fairly anonymously. Unfortunately over time I’ve always caved to the idea that I want more people to read my stuff, so I tell family and friends and then the safety of anonymity is gone.
    This time round (my newest blog) is all about my own catharsis. It is extremely personal but also incredibly important that I write it – so I’ll attempt to remain unknown by people who know me…..we’ll see.

  5. I totally related to this. I’ve been blogging for over 7 years on different blogs. Some were for specific purposes e.g. fundraising for a charity challenge – so these needed info on the people involved etc. My creative blog I tend to be general in my references on purpose.

    I do also have a blog I set up as a career change diary, but that isn’t linked to anything, is totally anonymous, and I only shared it with a career change group I was in – exactly because it talked about my attitudes to the work I was doing at the time.

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  7. I have to admit I do tend to steer away from negative or ranting posts, i want to build on my blog for an author profile and I think that would be a mistake. I also tend to not go very personal with my posts, but that’s my personality

  8. I always blog anonymously, although early on I’ve discovered that if I leave a comment on someone else’s blog, they would be able to see my personal email address. So, to add to your list, if you want to stay anonymous, make sure that the email address you use for WordPress (or other platforms that would let others see your email) is also anonymous.

    • Oh my gosh yes, that’s something I didn’t think to include! There’s also the thing about making your email account name appropriate – some of them I’ve seen make my eyes water haha!

  9. This has been bugging me since I started blogging, and I still tussle with it. It gets bound up in the question “who is the real me?” because we reveal different parts of ourselves depending on the personality and interest of whom we’re talking to, and there’s infinite variation in that on the internet / blogosphere! I really want to be authentic and integrated online, but somehow that seems a stretch.

    • You’re so right! I always think that people are social chameleons, adapting to their surroundings and people that they are talking to… The same can be said for online conversations at times…

  10. Mmmmm I keep my blog pretty unpersonal unless it is about me but only general stuff ..my radical thoughts I answer to those on other blogs…I don’t have to worry about an employer but all they would find out is I love to cook…lol

  11. I absolutely censor my personal blog. I made a decision when I started it that I would not swear or write about anyone without their permission. I also do not make fun of anyone but myself. This has created a positive experience for me and I believe for my readers. It gives me peace of mind to know that anyone can read it and I have nothing to hide.

  12. Great post! Unfortunately I learned the hard way and I’m more censored now. But, it came at the right time as I wanted to rebrand and focus on different topics, so it came good in the end 😉

  13. Great info, Suzie! I’m an educator, as well, and as such, I feel like I’ve always been too cautious. I worry over anything and everything with regard to voicing my opinion. With my blog, I decided to put my authentic self out there. Even though there is a LOT of material, I don’t write about work (co-workers or students) – that will have to wait until retirement 🙂 What I write about is pretty “tame,” but it still took me a while to let go of the fear related to putting myself out there.

  14. I liked reading this. I am currently looking into future careers, for example Primary School teaching or marketing – different I know. And on a daily basis, I think about what I post. It is kind of sad but at the same time, a reality of current times when it comes to employment. I don’t mind friends and family reading! I’d love for blogging to be my job, but honestly, I don’t know how to make it happen – keep on dreaming eh!

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  16. Hi Suzie – having found your great facebook group, I had to have a look about your site and I love it. This post really caught my eye and has made me think about how I blog – although I am slightly different as I am no longer able to work so future job interviews is not an issue here! However I will be showing my tweens – as this obviously applies to all their online activity, not just blogging. I have included your link on my regular feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! as all bloggers should read it! Great connecting, Claire

  17. My first blog was a personal one and I blogged anonymously without telling anyone other than my mother, but now that I’m blogging professionally, I use my real name and pretty much everyone knows that I do it. I use pseudonyms for my kids and husband and don’t talk about them or get personal like I did on my old blog.

  18. Hi this is interesting. When I started out to blog a year back I consciously decided to avoid social or politcal blogs, explicit words or personal attacks and to keep my articles light and humorous because that’s me! Once in a way I do tend to include a mention or two of something trending in my country. But it has never been hardcore and it has helped generate discussion. But I go over it several times before I hit the publish button to make sure it’s what I intended it to be in the first place – a lighthearted humor blog!!

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