How Transparent Are You? (Online)

How transparent are you online? Are you open and honest, putting everything out there for better or worse? Or do you have your guard up? Do you refrain from sharing too much about who you are and what you’re all about? The web and social media gives the outside world a birds eye view into your daily life, which can be both a good and bad thing. We preach the value of transparency in establishing one’s personal brand, but should we be worried about the negative implications of sharing ‘too much information’?

Take five minutes and give the following ‘mini-podcast’ a listen and share your thoughts in the comments below.

[display_podcast]

Questions to think about:

  • How transparent are you online?
  • What are the pitfalls of sharing ‘too much information’?
  • Should businesses focus on clear transparency for their online brands?
  • Is Penelope Trunk brave or crazy for sharing very personal details of her life?

Join the conversation! 50 Comments

  1. I think it depends on the perspective a particular blogger has and the type of conversation they are looking to have with their audience. Transparency/honesty speaks to people because it creates the story of their conversation. This conversation is based upon a million different decisions that led up to creating who someone is now.
    So, how can you not divulge pieces of yourself in a story, especially when voicing a thought/opinion on life as you know it?
    I read Ms. Trunk’s post and thought it only added more dimension to her personal story, which is all anyone is trying to do when voicing their perspective. As a (good) blogger, you have to expect (and create) a little exposure if you want to engage in powerful, thought provoking conversation. Deleting parts of yourself when its convenient is too much of a cop out.
    Will some people be jerks and make judgments about you (and who you are as a person)? Yes. But, people do that without the added advantage of someone revealing personal vulnerability/exposure.
    Therefore in the end, don’t do what works…do what makes sense.

    Reply
    • I’d definitely agree with Raven in that the answer will vary on a case to case basis. In Penelope’s blog, this sort of transparency has certainly become the norm, although not to this extent until now. A lot of her insights and discussions are based on personal experiences, and her transparency and willingness to divulge all makes her posts both more convincing and fascinating. On the other end, some blogs really have no reason to be incredibly transparent simply because the topic being discussed is a more macro-level topic.

      I do think that there are implications of which way you choose to go with your blog, though. If you are trying to build a very strong community around your blog and brand, I do think the transparency helps your audience develop a deeper connection with you. On the other hand, if you reveal very little about yourself, then people will probably treat your blog/site as a place to come strictly for the information it provides, not thinking twice about you, the author.

      Again, I don’t think either of these is necessarily a “wrong” approach, but they do have very different effects on your audience.

      Reply
      • @Raven. I agree – it comes down to doing what makes the most sense for you. One of the main reasons I respect what Penelope does and her approach is because she isn’t afraid of putting herself out there on the chocking block. She cares what people think of her (as we all do) but unlike many, she doesn’t let outside judgment keep her from saying what’s on her mind. I do what I can to bring my personality into everything I write and while I may not be as ‘controversial’ in style, I hope that what I write comes off as honest and real.

        @Jackie. It is different for everyone – and varies depending on your style of blog. Are you focused on educating or enlightening (yes you can be a little of both). Your point brings me back to the idea of businesses facing the issue of transparency. What are your thoughts on companies making themselves more transparent, letting people (including competition) have a clear view of who they are and what they’re doing day-to-day? (several breweries fit into this description).

        Reply
        • I think that is what is scaring a lot of companies away from social media. They fear the level of transparency that is quickly becoming expected in the space and the level of accountability that comes along with this.

          Personally, I think transparency is a great thing for businesses. Sure, it may expose some of your weaknesses to your customers, but it will also expose some of your weaknesses to YOU, which you may not have been aware of before, which allows you to fix it and come out even stronger. With your competition seeing this transparency, it will also force you to constantly be improving, to stay ahead of the competition, knowing that they can mimic your activities.

          Ultimately, just like with individuals, when business tear down barriers, they make it easier for customers to connect emotionally with them when compared to companies who always seem to be hiding something.

          Summary: Transparency is good.

          Reply
  2. I think it depends on the perspective a particular blogger has and the type of conversation they are looking to have with their audience. Transparency/honesty speaks to people because it creates the story of their conversation. This conversation is based upon a million different decisions that led up to creating who someone is now.
    So, how can you not divulge pieces of yourself in a story, especially when voicing a thought/opinion on life as you know it?
    I read Ms. Trunk’s post and thought it only added more dimension to her personal story, which is all anyone is trying to do when voicing their perspective. As a (good) blogger, you have to expect (and create) a little exposure if you want to engage in powerful, thought provoking conversation. Deleting parts of yourself when its convenient is too much of a cop out.
    Will some people be jerks and make judgments about you (and who you are as a person)? Yes. But, people do that without the added advantage of someone revealing personal vulnerability/exposure.
    Therefore in the end, don’t do what works…do what makes sense.

    Reply
    • I’d definitely agree with Raven in that the answer will vary on a case to case basis. In Penelope’s blog, this sort of transparency has certainly become the norm, although not to this extent until now. A lot of her insights and discussions are based on personal experiences, and her transparency and willingness to divulge all makes her posts both more convincing and fascinating. On the other end, some blogs really have no reason to be incredibly transparent simply because the topic being discussed is a more macro-level topic.

      I do think that there are implications of which way you choose to go with your blog, though. If you are trying to build a very strong community around your blog and brand, I do think the transparency helps your audience develop a deeper connection with you. On the other hand, if you reveal very little about yourself, then people will probably treat your blog/site as a place to come strictly for the information it provides, not thinking twice about you, the author.

      Again, I don’t think either of these is necessarily a “wrong” approach, but they do have very different effects on your audience.

      Reply
      • @Raven. I agree – it comes down to doing what makes the most sense for you. One of the main reasons I respect what Penelope does and her approach is because she isn’t afraid of putting herself out there on the chocking block. She cares what people think of her (as we all do) but unlike many, she doesn’t let outside judgment keep her from saying what’s on her mind. I do what I can to bring my personality into everything I write and while I may not be as ‘controversial’ in style, I hope that what I write comes off as honest and real.

        @Jackie. It is different for everyone – and varies depending on your style of blog. Are you focused on educating or enlightening (yes you can be a little of both). Your point brings me back to the idea of businesses facing the issue of transparency. What are your thoughts on companies making themselves more transparent, letting people (including competition) have a clear view of who they are and what they’re doing day-to-day? (several breweries fit into this description).

        Reply
        • I think that is what is scaring a lot of companies away from social media. They fear the level of transparency that is quickly becoming expected in the space and the level of accountability that comes along with this.

          Personally, I think transparency is a great thing for businesses. Sure, it may expose some of your weaknesses to your customers, but it will also expose some of your weaknesses to YOU, which you may not have been aware of before, which allows you to fix it and come out even stronger. With your competition seeing this transparency, it will also force you to constantly be improving, to stay ahead of the competition, knowing that they can mimic your activities.

          Ultimately, just like with individuals, when business tear down barriers, they make it easier for customers to connect emotionally with them when compared to companies who always seem to be hiding something.

          Summary: Transparency is good.

          Reply
  3. Matt — Really nice post.

    I’d like to echo Raven’s comment because I think it is so well said, but I’d also like to add my own thoughts…I’ve always believed that you can be as transparent and honest as you’d like on social media, but that still isn’t all of you — guard or no guard. Penelope might be the prime example, actually — she’s always been transparent, letting us into her life with her posts, but not up until that particular post to which you referenced did we understand a larger part of her, get to know another side. And, as readers, many of us still don’t really “know” her, not her whole story. I think this is something that many people might forget because social media makes it so easy. And maybe this comes from how blogging itself works — we share only a little piece of our story at a time, like putting together the puzzle of a life.

    Personally, my own blog is my personal journey — it’s where I allow myself to be emotional, to sort out whatever I’m feeling in the moment. My blog is that deeper part of myself. My Twitter? That’s more the “general” me — my love of information and knowledge, curiosity, my philosophies, my sometimes goofiness and funny side. But, still, while I’m nothing but myself on these platforms, even put together, it’s not all of me, no matter how transparent I’m being, no matter how honest I am with myself and my readers. Because there’s still more to the person than can be read in a blog post or on a Twitter feed…I think that only comes from really getting to know someone, over time.

    I think transparency gives you insight into who the person really is…I believe social media allows you to really see that deeper part of that person, in many instances, but then, again, that’s one side. I think people naturally judge and make assumptions (sometimes correct ones, truthfully), based only on what they see or what they choose to see. Raven uses the term dimension and I think that’s perfect — , despite how much they share or don’t share, there’s usually so much more to a person. There’s always more to the story.

    I’m echoing Raven’s last statement in this regard — do what makes sense for you and don’t mind the rest. And that Dr. Seuss quote? Pretty brilliant.

    Sorry for the rambling — it’s still early ;) Great post, Matt! Looking forward to hearing the thoughts on this one.

    Reply
    • Susan – thanks for adding some great thoughts to this discussion. You bring up an interesting point to which all of us can relate with your comment on our different ‘identities’ around the web. Blogs are our ‘home’ – it’s where we are free to be more ourselves, share intimate details and stories about things that may have happened to us. It’s a comfort zone that we create and develop for ourselves over time.

      For me, Twitter and other social networking platforms are more ‘generic’ as well – they are the outlets for me to promote myself, my friends, and other valuable info from around the web. I invite people to learn more about me and my passions by sending them over this way. It’s interesting to me how we use different outlets in very different ways.

      It’s all about being smart – Penelope is brilliant in the way she has revealed herself, little by little. Even though it seems like she’s laid it all out there, she always has something else to say, another story to tell. And for as many people who hate her guts, there are that many more who see through the silver lining and realize that through all the controversy is a brilliant approach to the blogging game.

      Mr. Seuss is a wise, wise man indeed.

      Reply
  4. Matt — Really nice post.

    I’d like to echo Raven’s comment because I think it is so well said, but I’d also like to add my own thoughts…I’ve always believed that you can be as transparent and honest as you’d like on social media, but that still isn’t all of you — guard or no guard. Penelope might be the prime example, actually — she’s always been transparent, letting us into her life with her posts, but not up until that particular post to which you referenced did we understand a larger part of her, get to know another side. And, as readers, many of us still don’t really “know” her, not her whole story. I think this is something that many people might forget because social media makes it so easy. And maybe this comes from how blogging itself works — we share only a little piece of our story at a time, like putting together the puzzle of a life.

    Personally, my own blog is my personal journey — it’s where I allow myself to be emotional, to sort out whatever I’m feeling in the moment. My blog is that deeper part of myself. My Twitter? That’s more the “general” me — my love of information and knowledge, curiosity, my philosophies, my sometimes goofiness and funny side. But, still, while I’m nothing but myself on these platforms, even put together, it’s not all of me, no matter how transparent I’m being, no matter how honest I am with myself and my readers. Because there’s still more to the person than can be read in a blog post or on a Twitter feed…I think that only comes from really getting to know someone, over time.

    I think transparency gives you insight into who the person really is…I believe social media allows you to really see that deeper part of that person, in many instances, but then, again, that’s one side. I think people naturally judge and make assumptions (sometimes correct ones, truthfully), based only on what they see or what they choose to see. Raven uses the term dimension and I think that’s perfect — , despite how much they share or don’t share, there’s usually so much more to a person. There’s always more to the story.

    I’m echoing Raven’s last statement in this regard — do what makes sense for you and don’t mind the rest. And that Dr. Seuss quote? Pretty brilliant.

    Sorry for the rambling — it’s still early ;) Great post, Matt! Looking forward to hearing the thoughts on this one.

    Reply
    • Susan – thanks for adding some great thoughts to this discussion. You bring up an interesting point to which all of us can relate with your comment on our different ‘identities’ around the web. Blogs are our ‘home’ – it’s where we are free to be more ourselves, share intimate details and stories about things that may have happened to us. It’s a comfort zone that we create and develop for ourselves over time.

      For me, Twitter and other social networking platforms are more ‘generic’ as well – they are the outlets for me to promote myself, my friends, and other valuable info from around the web. I invite people to learn more about me and my passions by sending them over this way. It’s interesting to me how we use different outlets in very different ways.

      It’s all about being smart – Penelope is brilliant in the way she has revealed herself, little by little. Even though it seems like she’s laid it all out there, she always has something else to say, another story to tell. And for as many people who hate her guts, there are that many more who see through the silver lining and realize that through all the controversy is a brilliant approach to the blogging game.

      Mr. Seuss is a wise, wise man indeed.

      Reply
  5. Matt–This is a great topic for discussion, and I think you spoke very well about it. I agree with what everyone else has said that it depends on the blogger and the blog. We all have goals and intentions for our blogs, and transparency can be good or bad depending on what those are.

    My blog is very open and honest. I’ve shared some pretty difficult, personal stuff because I feel that my experiences can help others. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from people who have visited my blog and that makes it all worthwhile. You said something like, ‘the best bloggers are the ones who write from the heart,’ and that’s definitely what I do. If I didn’t write this way, I don’t think I would have connected so deeply with the people who I now consider friends.

    That said, there are different levels of transparency, and I think we have to be careful how far we go. There are certain things I will never write about because they are just too personal to share with the blogosphere. I want people to derive value from my words, not feel like they’re reading my diary. When I really connect with someone, talk to them one on one, and form a friendship, I may end up telling them more about my life, but that’s a different story.

    Raven’s advice is great: do what makes sense for you. It’s so easy to lose ourselves in the blogosphere if we get caught up in comparing ourself to others, reaching for the stars, and worrying about expectations. So, I say: stay true to yourself, and listen to the wise words of Dr. Seuss.

    Reply
    • To play devil’s advocate, I would argue that the best writers can write ‘diary’ entries that their readers can find value in. Penelope’s latest blog is a very real, very emotional example. Somehow, through everything that has happened to her, she was able to tie it into a basic blogging/social media concept. I think that all of us have stories that can be related to a bigger picture, a take away for our readers – the challenge is in connecting the dots to something that is relevant for a general audience.

      Reply
  6. Matt–This is a great topic for discussion, and I think you spoke very well about it. I agree with what everyone else has said that it depends on the blogger and the blog. We all have goals and intentions for our blogs, and transparency can be good or bad depending on what those are.

    My blog is very open and honest. I’ve shared some pretty difficult, personal stuff because I feel that my experiences can help others. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from people who have visited my blog and that makes it all worthwhile. You said something like, ‘the best bloggers are the ones who write from the heart,’ and that’s definitely what I do. If I didn’t write this way, I don’t think I would have connected so deeply with the people who I now consider friends.

    That said, there are different levels of transparency, and I think we have to be careful how far we go. There are certain things I will never write about because they are just too personal to share with the blogosphere. I want people to derive value from my words, not feel like they’re reading my diary. When I really connect with someone, talk to them one on one, and form a friendship, I may end up telling them more about my life, but that’s a different story.

    Raven’s advice is great: do what makes sense for you. It’s so easy to lose ourselves in the blogosphere if we get caught up in comparing ourself to others, reaching for the stars, and worrying about expectations. So, I say: stay true to yourself, and listen to the wise words of Dr. Seuss.

    Reply
    • To play devil’s advocate, I would argue that the best writers can write ‘diary’ entries that their readers can find value in. Penelope’s latest blog is a very real, very emotional example. Somehow, through everything that has happened to her, she was able to tie it into a basic blogging/social media concept. I think that all of us have stories that can be related to a bigger picture, a take away for our readers – the challenge is in connecting the dots to something that is relevant for a general audience.

      Reply
  7. Interesting points.

    I have to agree with Jackie that it depends on what your blog topic is about. It also depends on who you are. I’m transparent but I haven’t had anything crazy happen to me in my life. So who cares? And who knows how much I’d share if I really did have something crazy happen to me in the past.

    Something else to think about is the more transparent you are, the more your blog can be hindered. Sure, you connect with many people, but will it affect your blog growth? In Penelope’s extreme case, she pretty much can’t have any guest posts on her blog anymore, because people don’t care about careers, or sex, or whatever she talks about: they only care about her, and they don’t want to hear about anyone else or read anyone else’s perspective. This makes a lot of work for P.

    I also think we have to be careful about how we define transparency. To me, transparency is about openness, yes; but I also assume that the person is truthful. On social media, it’s easy for someone to share many secrets that give a different impression of the person s/he is. Too often we confuse transparency with truth.

    Reply
    • Good point with the correlation/difference between transparency and truth – I didn’t think about it that way, but you’re right – a person can be a transparent liar. I would love to hear Jamie Varon’s opinion on the guest-posting thing. She wrote a pretty controversial post a few months ago about quitting your job after two weeks – a lot of negative feedback, but it still went well over 200 comments, and I’m sure it drew a lot of traffic, both good and bad (wait…is there bad traffic?) – I wonder if she would say guest posting on a blog like Penelope’s was ‘worth it’. That’s right – I’m calling you out Jamie (in a friendly, we want to know your side of the story kind of way).

      Reply
      • The best thing that came out of doing that guest post? Being able to brace myself for negative commenters later. And, realizing that people have opinions based on their own experiences and don’t really give a shit about your reasoning behind decisions.

        Besides that, the value isn’t that positive. I realized that her readers usually hate her until she writes something like she wrote the other day and now everyone is supportive. These same people that have ripped her apart in the comments at previous times. It’s so funny. So fickle. So hard to predict.

        I don’t regret guest posting with her. At the time, it was a big deal and I thought that meant something for me as a blogger. It didn’t. My musings and ridiculousness on Twitter has gained me more readers than that guest post, which admittedly, when I read it over, sounds nothing like my own voice and very much like hers.

        Interesting.

        Reply
        • Jamie – I remember the post vividly. It was a good learning lesson in how to take crticism, without a doubt (of course MANY of the commentators over in her neck of the woods are downright hateful). It’s funny that you mention the fact that people hated Penelope until this comes up, and all the sudden everyone is bowing down to her greatness. I’ve learned that you can still respect someone even if you don’t like them all the time – that’s where I stand – not liking her stance on a lot of things she talks about, but respecting that she isn’t afraid to have that stance, to piss people (like me) off from time to time.

          I think that post still means something to you – it helped you become who you are right now, a lot of people would have tucked their tail and backed into the shadows after the beating you took – yet here you are. That has to count for something. Has she had a guest post since then? Not that I can remember…

          Reply
          • Yeah… when Dan Schawbel launched his book, he posted a guest post.

            You’re right… I did learn a lot from that experience and it shaped my blogging career anyhow. Good things to keep in mind. =)

            Reply
  8. Interesting points.

    I have to agree with Jackie that it depends on what your blog topic is about. It also depends on who you are. I’m transparent but I haven’t had anything crazy happen to me in my life. So who cares? And who knows how much I’d share if I really did have something crazy happen to me in the past.

    Something else to think about is the more transparent you are, the more your blog can be hindered. Sure, you connect with many people, but will it affect your blog growth? In Penelope’s extreme case, she pretty much can’t have any guest posts on her blog anymore, because people don’t care about careers, or sex, or whatever she talks about: they only care about her, and they don’t want to hear about anyone else or read anyone else’s perspective. This makes a lot of work for P.

    I also think we have to be careful about how we define transparency. To me, transparency is about openness, yes; but I also assume that the person is truthful. On social media, it’s easy for someone to share many secrets that give a different impression of the person s/he is. Too often we confuse transparency with truth.

    Reply
    • Good point with the correlation/difference between transparency and truth – I didn’t think about it that way, but you’re right – a person can be a transparent liar. I would love to hear Jamie Varon’s opinion on the guest-posting thing. She wrote a pretty controversial post a few months ago about quitting your job after two weeks – a lot of negative feedback, but it still went well over 200 comments, and I’m sure it drew a lot of traffic, both good and bad (wait…is there bad traffic?) – I wonder if she would say guest posting on a blog like Penelope’s was ‘worth it’. That’s right – I’m calling you out Jamie (in a friendly, we want to know your side of the story kind of way).

      Reply
      • The best thing that came out of doing that guest post? Being able to brace myself for negative commenters later. And, realizing that people have opinions based on their own experiences and don’t really give a shit about your reasoning behind decisions.

        Besides that, the value isn’t that positive. I realized that her readers usually hate her until she writes something like she wrote the other day and now everyone is supportive. These same people that have ripped her apart in the comments at previous times. It’s so funny. So fickle. So hard to predict.

        I don’t regret guest posting with her. At the time, it was a big deal and I thought that meant something for me as a blogger. It didn’t. My musings and ridiculousness on Twitter has gained me more readers than that guest post, which admittedly, when I read it over, sounds nothing like my own voice and very much like hers.

        Interesting.

        Reply
        • Jamie – I remember the post vividly. It was a good learning lesson in how to take crticism, without a doubt (of course MANY of the commentators over in her neck of the woods are downright hateful). It’s funny that you mention the fact that people hated Penelope until this comes up, and all the sudden everyone is bowing down to her greatness. I’ve learned that you can still respect someone even if you don’t like them all the time – that’s where I stand – not liking her stance on a lot of things she talks about, but respecting that she isn’t afraid to have that stance, to piss people (like me) off from time to time.

          I think that post still means something to you – it helped you become who you are right now, a lot of people would have tucked their tail and backed into the shadows after the beating you took – yet here you are. That has to count for something. Has she had a guest post since then? Not that I can remember…

          Reply
          • Yeah… when Dan Schawbel launched his book, he posted a guest post.

            You’re right… I did learn a lot from that experience and it shaped my blogging career anyhow. Good things to keep in mind. =)

            Reply
  9. I noticed the more I blog the more transparent I get. When I first started blogging it was all about finding my subject of interest. The more you engage with the community the more you start to open up, build opinions, and join the discussion. I think as time goes on people start recognizing the value of being transparent.

    Reply
    • The journey we, as bloggers take in our evolutionary process is pretty fascinating to me. We all start out with this one topic we’re going to focus on, but through time, through research, community involvement, feedback from others, etc – we develop new passions, we start a new path, we continue to reinvent ourselves (if you’re not doing this, you’re probably not successful). I know this rambling of mine is slightly off topic, but I think I’ve hit one of (many) milestones in my blogging/social media career – that ‘wondering what’s next’ point. I think we could spark a pretty awesome conversation based on the general question of ‘What do you want out of blogging’?

      Reply
      • This is very interesting and is the outcome with many blogs today. Its almost your personal documentary and whoever wants to join the journey is more then welcome too. I think you found the topic to your next blog post, “What do you want out of blogging?”

        Reply
  10. I noticed the more I blog the more transparent I get. When I first started blogging it was all about finding my subject of interest. The more you engage with the community the more you start to open up, build opinions, and join the discussion. I think as time goes on people start recognizing the value of being transparent.

    Reply
    • The journey we, as bloggers take in our evolutionary process is pretty fascinating to me. We all start out with this one topic we’re going to focus on, but through time, through research, community involvement, feedback from others, etc – we develop new passions, we start a new path, we continue to reinvent ourselves (if you’re not doing this, you’re probably not successful). I know this rambling of mine is slightly off topic, but I think I’ve hit one of (many) milestones in my blogging/social media career – that ‘wondering what’s next’ point. I think we could spark a pretty awesome conversation based on the general question of ‘What do you want out of blogging’?

      Reply
      • This is very interesting and is the outcome with many blogs today. Its almost your personal documentary and whoever wants to join the journey is more then welcome too. I think you found the topic to your next blog post, “What do you want out of blogging?”

        Reply
  11. i listened to your blog today… I just wanted you to know that. I’m outside of teh social media world to a certain extent. I live inside youtube and video content. As far as the whole, transparent vs. reserved… I consistently hide my smoking habits from the web. Mainly because I get involved with a lot of mentoring and youth program stuff and it’s just odd. I usually try to let people get to know me first and then sort it out. Also, I feel like I have an opinion about this as a sort of philosophy on life, and that is… I can always be honest because I don’t do things I think are stupid. Ok, so I cover up cigs… that’s the one thing I hate. But with every other outlet in my life, I can pretty much speak openly because I don’t do anything crazy or that I disagree with or think is backwards. Therefore, I can openly speak about whatever it is I’m up to and I have no need to feel embarrassed about my actions. It is so stellar. Don’t do stupid things, and then you can just be transparent. If you’re embarrassed about stuff you do or that you are, it’s because it’s dumb stuff, like cigarettes, which are stupid. I hide them because I can’t explain them, and I think they are dumb.

    Reply
    • Don’t do stupid things, and then you can just be transparent. Wise words Julian. I think stupid things make for interesting stories from time to time – but you’re right – when you have nothing to hide, it is, as you say, quite stellar.

      P.S. While I appalled at your smoking habits I won’t hold it against you that you’ve been keeping it from me all this time. (kidding kidding – smoke away, but those things will kill you man)

      Reply
  12. i listened to your blog today… I just wanted you to know that. I’m outside of teh social media world to a certain extent. I live inside youtube and video content. As far as the whole, transparent vs. reserved… I consistently hide my smoking habits from the web. Mainly because I get involved with a lot of mentoring and youth program stuff and it’s just odd. I usually try to let people get to know me first and then sort it out. Also, I feel like I have an opinion about this as a sort of philosophy on life, and that is… I can always be honest because I don’t do things I think are stupid. Ok, so I cover up cigs… that’s the one thing I hate. But with every other outlet in my life, I can pretty much speak openly because I don’t do anything crazy or that I disagree with or think is backwards. Therefore, I can openly speak about whatever it is I’m up to and I have no need to feel embarrassed about my actions. It is so stellar. Don’t do stupid things, and then you can just be transparent. If you’re embarrassed about stuff you do or that you are, it’s because it’s dumb stuff, like cigarettes, which are stupid. I hide them because I can’t explain them, and I think they are dumb.

    Reply
    • Don’t do stupid things, and then you can just be transparent. Wise words Julian. I think stupid things make for interesting stories from time to time – but you’re right – when you have nothing to hide, it is, as you say, quite stellar.

      P.S. While I appalled at your smoking habits I won’t hold it against you that you’ve been keeping it from me all this time. (kidding kidding – smoke away, but those things will kill you man)

      Reply
  13. i like this topic very, very much.

    i think it all comes down to the reasons you’re blogging. there are some cases where exaggeration and dishonesty actually work well, although those aren’t the bloggers you’re likely going to randomly decide to meet up with for drinks one night and immediately feel as though you already know each other. if that’s not what you want? well then, okay.

    i’m a big mraz fan (you know this) and i was reading one of his recent blog posts yesterday and he said something to the effect of “you are responsible for the way your words fall on someone else’s ears.” you’re responsible for the way you look to other people. for the way you make other people feel. in that way, we should be conscious of the things we write; we have to consider our audiences, the other people in our lives who may be hurt by our honest rants or even our heartfelt confessions (my mother and a lot of her side of the family read my blog pretty regularly, and i don’t need to give some of my aunts ammunition for telling my mother she didn’t do the parenting thing “the right way” because those conversations have been known to happen when we’re all in the same small house for too long).

    i used to be even more transparent than i am now, but i had a much smaller audience. things become more complicated when blogging becomes more community oriented than self-journaling, like it used to be for me. that said, i’m extremely honest. if something is on my mind, i’ll find a way to say it, although i often have to be artistic and cryptic about it. every one of us knows who we want to be to other people, and as long as those images are in line with our actual selves, we should write accordingly.

    Reply
    • You make to very interesting points here (Mraz is a very wise man indeed). First, the topic of audience consideration. To many, blogging is very ‘me’ oriented – but it’s important to keep in mind that we’re publishing something online with the intent for other people to read, we should keep into consideration what we say and it’s effect on them, how we want our words to be interpreted by the masses.

      Second, and on the same note, we evolve as our blogs evolve, as our community develops and grows. More eyes on will have you second guessing yourself, wondering how much is too much – but in the end, honesty will set you free. Do you have to reveal everything about yourself? No, but a certain level of transparency, letting people see who you really are, adds even more value to whatever you publish by allowing people to connect with YOU personally.

      Thanks for the thoughts – hope you’ll be around this neck of the woods more often!

      Reply
  14. i like this topic very, very much.

    i think it all comes down to the reasons you’re blogging. there are some cases where exaggeration and dishonesty actually work well, although those aren’t the bloggers you’re likely going to randomly decide to meet up with for drinks one night and immediately feel as though you already know each other. if that’s not what you want? well then, okay.

    i’m a big mraz fan (you know this) and i was reading one of his recent blog posts yesterday and he said something to the effect of “you are responsible for the way your words fall on someone else’s ears.” you’re responsible for the way you look to other people. for the way you make other people feel. in that way, we should be conscious of the things we write; we have to consider our audiences, the other people in our lives who may be hurt by our honest rants or even our heartfelt confessions (my mother and a lot of her side of the family read my blog pretty regularly, and i don’t need to give some of my aunts ammunition for telling my mother she didn’t do the parenting thing “the right way” because those conversations have been known to happen when we’re all in the same small house for too long).

    i used to be even more transparent than i am now, but i had a much smaller audience. things become more complicated when blogging becomes more community oriented than self-journaling, like it used to be for me. that said, i’m extremely honest. if something is on my mind, i’ll find a way to say it, although i often have to be artistic and cryptic about it. every one of us knows who we want to be to other people, and as long as those images are in line with our actual selves, we should write accordingly.

    Reply
    • You make to very interesting points here (Mraz is a very wise man indeed). First, the topic of audience consideration. To many, blogging is very ‘me’ oriented – but it’s important to keep in mind that we’re publishing something online with the intent for other people to read, we should keep into consideration what we say and it’s effect on them, how we want our words to be interpreted by the masses.

      Second, and on the same note, we evolve as our blogs evolve, as our community develops and grows. More eyes on will have you second guessing yourself, wondering how much is too much – but in the end, honesty will set you free. Do you have to reveal everything about yourself? No, but a certain level of transparency, letting people see who you really are, adds even more value to whatever you publish by allowing people to connect with YOU personally.

      Thanks for the thoughts – hope you’ll be around this neck of the woods more often!

      Reply
  15. I get yelled at very often for sharing too much information :-) But oddly enough, my transparency online and off-line are essentially the same.

    Reply
  16. I get yelled at very often for sharing too much information :-) But oddly enough, my transparency online and off-line are essentially the same.

    Reply
  17. I constantly get bit in the butt by this topic.

    When online I’m insanely honest. I just don’t comprehend the whole “bravado behind anonymity” thing. Why should I be one of the millions of people out there who are (apparently) 1.) Dating supermodels 2.) have two to five sports cars 3.) either a perfect body (if female) or insanely long privates (if male) and 4.) are kung fu masters or ex-Navy Seals and will kick your butt for disagreeing.

    I get AMAZED when I throw out the fact that I’ve been unemployed since 2002 and then get ATTACKED (quite viciously, mind you!) because of course, everyone online fits the above criteria of having a “perfect life”. I can’t comprehend how I’m the one being attacked for being honest, when the blatant lies go unchallenged by anyone.

    Just recently, I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, and joined the first forums I found on the topic. I shared my story on the matter- particularly how *I* was feeling, and to be honest I am feeling VERY bad about the concept, because one of the things I truly feel is that this puts a MAJOR block on my ability to date- and I’m the rare guy that’s actually freaking out about not yet having a family. I also was honest in pointing out that the sleep machines you require are a turn-off, and that I wouldn’t want to sleep with someone who needed one.

    Well I was just torn to shreds. Again, I couldn’t believe it. Am I supposed to participate in these discussions and simply lie about my true beliefs? Isn’t the purpose to share with others your situation and *how you feel* so that others can offer insight or try to see where you’re coming from?

    Needless to say, I (as politely as possible) defended myself on the forum, then removed my account. Ironically, I complained about my treatment on Twitter, and had the owner of the same website suggest I join his site because they’d treat me nicely. I very firmly told him HIS was the site that caused the problem.

    It’s an odd feeling, since in person I’ve NEVER encountered a person I don’t get along with- yet online, I tell the truth as usual and get hammered for it time and time again.

    Sometimes, I just don’t “get” people! =)

    Reply
    • Jaym – sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you – but I think you are doing the right thing by being honest – and I will agree – you openly share your opinions here but that’s what I encourage, for better or for worse, that people are free to be open without persecution – I can guarantee people won’t tear you to shreds here for speaking your mind here as long as you’re not verbally abusing someone else.

      But you do raise an interesting point – and I think it just depends on the forum of discussion as to whether or not you should put it all on the table. Sometimes you have to let people get comfortable with you before you reveal every detail of your life. Very interesting perspective on this discussion.

      Reply
  18. I constantly get bit in the butt by this topic.

    When online I’m insanely honest. I just don’t comprehend the whole “bravado behind anonymity” thing. Why should I be one of the millions of people out there who are (apparently) 1.) Dating supermodels 2.) have two to five sports cars 3.) either a perfect body (if female) or insanely long privates (if male) and 4.) are kung fu masters or ex-Navy Seals and will kick your butt for disagreeing.

    I get AMAZED when I throw out the fact that I’ve been unemployed since 2002 and then get ATTACKED (quite viciously, mind you!) because of course, everyone online fits the above criteria of having a “perfect life”. I can’t comprehend how I’m the one being attacked for being honest, when the blatant lies go unchallenged by anyone.

    Just recently, I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, and joined the first forums I found on the topic. I shared my story on the matter- particularly how *I* was feeling, and to be honest I am feeling VERY bad about the concept, because one of the things I truly feel is that this puts a MAJOR block on my ability to date- and I’m the rare guy that’s actually freaking out about not yet having a family. I also was honest in pointing out that the sleep machines you require are a turn-off, and that I wouldn’t want to sleep with someone who needed one.

    Well I was just torn to shreds. Again, I couldn’t believe it. Am I supposed to participate in these discussions and simply lie about my true beliefs? Isn’t the purpose to share with others your situation and *how you feel* so that others can offer insight or try to see where you’re coming from?

    Needless to say, I (as politely as possible) defended myself on the forum, then removed my account. Ironically, I complained about my treatment on Twitter, and had the owner of the same website suggest I join his site because they’d treat me nicely. I very firmly told him HIS was the site that caused the problem.

    It’s an odd feeling, since in person I’ve NEVER encountered a person I don’t get along with- yet online, I tell the truth as usual and get hammered for it time and time again.

    Sometimes, I just don’t “get” people! =)

    Reply
    • Jaym – sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you – but I think you are doing the right thing by being honest – and I will agree – you openly share your opinions here but that’s what I encourage, for better or for worse, that people are free to be open without persecution – I can guarantee people won’t tear you to shreds here for speaking your mind here as long as you’re not verbally abusing someone else.

      But you do raise an interesting point – and I think it just depends on the forum of discussion as to whether or not you should put it all on the table. Sometimes you have to let people get comfortable with you before you reveal every detail of your life. Very interesting perspective on this discussion.

      Reply
  19. One of the reasons why I no longer trust our politicians (no longer? When did I ever?) is because of the lack of transparency. I can understand their fear of having their words twisted, and so their language is very PC and scripted to cover their asses; however, that just leads to distrust. I can’t believe a word they tell me. And therein lies the problem with a lack of transparency.

    This would work the same way with businesses. Transparency allows customers to see whether the company is only out to make maximum profit, or whether it’s also out to provide the highest quality product for YOU.. or maybe somewhere in between. And so with transparency comes the accountability and connection with customers that are necessary for building a long-term and trusting relationship.

    Reply
    • The business world is RAPIDLY changing with the introduction of Social Media into companies’ marketing mix. We don’t want to be sold to anymore – we can research products and services ourselves and no longer need someone to dictate our buying decisions. Instead, we crave that connection – the ability to put a face and a name with a product or brand. Social Media provides a direct line of communication and feedback between business and consumer – and the smart companies are those who are always out there, with a watchful ear and eye, jumping into conversations and engaging at the most opportune times.

      It will be exciting to see the role Social Media continues to develop in the world of politics – it could, and probably will, completely change the way politicians run their campaigns (some of this could be seen with the most recent US election).

      Reply
  20. One of the reasons why I no longer trust our politicians (no longer? When did I ever?) is because of the lack of transparency. I can understand their fear of having their words twisted, and so their language is very PC and scripted to cover their asses; however, that just leads to distrust. I can’t believe a word they tell me. And therein lies the problem with a lack of transparency.

    This would work the same way with businesses. Transparency allows customers to see whether the company is only out to make maximum profit, or whether it’s also out to provide the highest quality product for YOU.. or maybe somewhere in between. And so with transparency comes the accountability and connection with customers that are necessary for building a long-term and trusting relationship.

    Reply
    • The business world is RAPIDLY changing with the introduction of Social Media into companies’ marketing mix. We don’t want to be sold to anymore – we can research products and services ourselves and no longer need someone to dictate our buying decisions. Instead, we crave that connection – the ability to put a face and a name with a product or brand. Social Media provides a direct line of communication and feedback between business and consumer – and the smart companies are those who are always out there, with a watchful ear and eye, jumping into conversations and engaging at the most opportune times.

      It will be exciting to see the role Social Media continues to develop in the world of politics – it could, and probably will, completely change the way politicians run their campaigns (some of this could be seen with the most recent US election).

      Reply

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About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

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