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