The Man Behind The Blog

by Jan Geronimo on January 8, 2009

How comfortable are you parting the curtain so that readers can take a glimpse of your real self behind the blog?

I came across this interesting post by Andrew G.R. of the Blog Herald. He asked his readers: how much of yourself do you reveal on your blog? He said he was a private person by day, but at night he found himself opening up to reveal some personal details about his life. Andrew asked himself if this was an awakening of sorts, but he himself observed, “I find the roots of some of my strongest content have their seeds planted in areas I don’t want to share with complete strangers.”

As I reader, I find it interesting to find rare glimpses into the personal lives of people I read about in the net. Much as I love the ease of writing and originality of Chris Brogan’s posts on the social media and his inputs on blogging, I don’t feel a disconnect whenever he strays off topic. He wrote a Christmas post with a video of his dad and sons and I found it endearing, giving me an intimate and seemingly complete picture of what could have been just another online persona.

Closer to home, SELaplana who writes about making money online occasionally posts personal stories. His early hardships as a blog author is a riveting story of grit and perseverance. When he started blogging, he endured the hassle of commuting to a nearby town in order to post to his blog. He’s the first to admit he had a poor command of English, but he kept at it in spite of kibitzers who insulted his awkward writing. He did not buckle under the insults. Today, he may still not win the Pulitzer prize for writing, but he writes well enough to put him at the top of his game.

Writing a personal blog is a stage wherein we find ourselves in various stages of undress. It comes with the territory.

Some authors lay it all on the line on their blogs. In my book, Heather tops the list. She pokes fun at everything, most especially the Mormons in her family. It’s a scary act and she pulls it off well.

In Annarchy, Ann wrote a time line of Christmas celebrations. It’s a post filled with melancholy, family rituals, shared pain and joys – what she calls gravitas in her life. As readers we felt amazed at the adroit handling of the delicate swirls of emotions involved. Spare, but feline enough to leap and tear at your heart strings.

In my case, it’s an ongoing process. Much as I’m a very private person in real life, I find myself relaxed and easygoing online. Even taking comfort in small talk, sometimes even alluding to a painful incident in the past. I can’t play the clown as well as Jhez does and still retain credibility. Gosh, even if I were as accomplished as he is, I’d still balk at revealing in a year-end report a million pesos earned from blogging . Because I don’t want the BIR beating down my door. And complete strangers suddenly claiming we share the same bloodline. I’m more like Ambo who left a comment here that he nearly made it as a priest. Or like Viviene who took a ridiculous story in her life and wove it to make a powerful post on babysitting for American kids. We are Hansel and Gretel of the blogosphere, leaving meaningful trail of bread crumbs for people to figure out. One blogging day at a time.

Maybe it’s not the blog per se nor the internet and its social media that account for this phenomenon. It’s the nature of writing itself. In every post, in every article, and even in simple conversations we make, we leave a personal imprint of who we really are as a person. A bold statement to the world. Or a quiet gesture implying a deep need to be heard and validated.

As a reader or blog author, let me ask – how much skin do you show? At what point do you draw the curtain and shut the window to your life?

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  • bingkee
    Hi Jan, did you figure out the contactform? Hey I got an award for you..come over and check it out on my blog and post it here.
  • carrinepretty
    hmmm... reveal something that is necessary.. if you think that the stuff you want to reveal is not that relevant to your readers then no need to share it.. hehehe,,, i like your blog, so interesting, whew,,, happy blogging JAN.
  • Jan
    @bingkee: Not yet. Pretty hectic yesterday. And at this hour, I'm at work. Multi-tasking. :) Wow, an award. Thank you!

    carrinepretty: you're right. reveal only the relevant stuff and only if you can live with this decision. thanks for your input and the visit.
  • Jesse
    It's in the author's choice if he/she would reveal his identity; maybe sharing about his/her life, family; or maybe, eventually sharing about the deepest secrets of his/her.

    Writing is a form of expression. As writer, you can express your feelings, thoughts, ideas, life, and almost every thing that's related to you and what you know. The more you exercise this form of expression, the more you master the things that are related to what you write. Also, you, maybe unconsciously, are shedding light to the people who reads your blog.

    If you tend to write a personal blog, or maybe a blog that is intended to be read by people, you should at least let them see at least a glance of who you are. This is really important for it gives the readers the feeling that someone is running the blog and is not made by some sort of automatic posting software. If you don't want to let them see, even just a little glance like showing them your personality when you write, then I don't recommend making a personal blog or a blog that's intended to be read by people. It would only lead to epic fail.

    Remaining anonymous isn't bad. It's just that you just have to show them, even just a little, who you are.
  • Jan
    Jesse: Great comment, Jesse. You've just filled in some important points I should have included in my post. So young, and so perceptive. Thanks. :)
  • marites salce
    actually Jan iam your fan here.. hahaha godbless and kisses.. best regard to sis.. more power to ur blog,,
  • carrinepretty
    whew am confused if i sent already my first comment,, hahahaha hay memory gap again, am old LOL
  • JeD Chan
    Hi Jan,

    Finally! Managed to comment on your blog. Quite busy these days..

    I love this post, it's very well written! I wish I also have the skill to express everything in writing. I know I'm not that good at writing, but believe me I'm really trying! ;P

    Well this really helps you may see, it seems like my blog has no straight direction. I've been writing one topic and the next day another topic, and the next thing I know I've been writing about social-media and blogging. Funny thing is, I'm branding my blog as a self-improvement blog..

    Maybe my writing style reflects my personality...a confused personality don't you think? hahaha just kidding...well I'm positive, and everything will fall to its proper place. ;)

    God Bless!
  • Bruno LoGreco
    I'm an open book in person and with my blog. What you see is what you get.
  • Roy
    how much does a blogger reveals of himself? a lot actually.

    in every post he opens a window to his soul. whether he likes it or not, he is letting his soul peek in words that he write.
  • Jan
    @Maritess: Yipee, I have a fan now. Hehehe. Thanks a lot.

    @carrinepretty: Hi, Kaye. Are you related to Maritess? Anyway, you did leave a comment, earlier. Thanks for dropping by. :)

    @Jed: Come on, you write well yourself. We tend to gravitate towards topics we're most passionate about. Forget the earlier pronouncement. It's your blog. If you stick to it and your passion is somewhere else, it will show on your writing..Take it from a guy who's blogging just over a month. Nyahahaha. Feeling expert. Thanks for finding the time to make house calls. :)

    @Bruno: Forthrightness is an admirable trait. Thanks.

    @Roy: Exactly my sentiment. Plus the things left unsaid, this too. Thanks for joining the conversation.
  • kathleenmaher
    Jan, I didn't get to you sooner, because I was visiting my family.

    As to how much I reveal on my blog, the answer, because I write fiction, is both a great deal and nothing specific. My writing is a kind of performance. But so is all social interaction. On the internet or off. In journal writing or structured stories.

    The best writers, I think I can identify by their "voice" and persona right away. On Brooklyn Bridge someone graffitied a few lines from Walt Whitman. I'm no expert on his poetry, but I knew it was WW right away, even though the lines weren't famous.

    My short answer is true but trite: be yourself whoever that is. Narrator or discussion leader, lover, hater...just be real.

    PS. Please vote for Diary of a Heretic for the 2008 Weblog Awards for Best Literature:
  • Jan
    Kathleen: Hey, it's all right. You are licensed to take your time. Really. Writing fiction is a tough act and for it to turn into a great performance you need a lot of focus. :) Thanks for the visit.

    I was at your site earlier. Didn't comment though because my mind conked out on me. Hehehe.

    It's a pleasure to vote for your fiction. And I advise readers who love fiction to check Kathleen's site. You'll not be disappointed.
  • Fatherlyours
    I reveal what I think is interesting about me and my family.
  • Jan
    Ramon: Yes, that too. But I think my neighbors are far more interesting characters. Hahaha. Thanks.
  • Ambo
    I think there's nothing wrong to come out in the open. If you blog about personal life, then that's a great decision. Not all wants to reveal their identity. In my case, i'm not an open book. I still want a little privacy for my own. Thanks for the mention Jan.

  • Jan
    @Ambo: It was a mention made in haste. And a little awkward. I'd make it up to you next time. :) You may not be an open book, but there's the almighty Google. And I can read between the lines. Nyahaha. Nang intriga pa. Thank you - I love your inputs. Take note, plural iyan ha. :)
  • some time ago, one blogger-friend told me that what we display in our blogs are nothing but a persona of who we want to be and not who we really are in real life. to which, i rebutted quite strongly by telling her that to blog just for the sake of creating an online character that is distant from your own true personality is just too pathetic and presumptuous. i agree with you when you said that blogs do leave trails of little bread crumbs that lead to who we really are out of the computer celluloid.

    my blogger-friend still insists it's otherwise. but i intend to be on the other side of the fence regarding her point. we are still good online friends though.
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