When Do Blogs Get Too Personal?

Last week I spoke about taking your blog in a more personal direction. Today I want to talk about the opposite: when topics might cross the line into being too personal.

This topic can be somewhat touchy. There are some bloggers that literally put every action and thought on public display on their blogs, and they have every right to do so. What I want to share with you is simply my perspective on what issues might be too much for your audience, and might cause a backlash among your readers, or invite trolls into your comment section.

Ready? Remember, this is all based on my experience alone.

1. Money. Talking about money issues in your blog invites entirely too much speculation and advice about what you should do. Last year my family struggled hard to make it (and a bit of the year before that). There were times that I put up a tip jar on my blog (usually at my reader’s request), and because of that, my family budget came under public scrutiny. I was told many times to just get a job at Starbucks rather than keep trying to make it as a freelance writer and consultant, regardless of the reality of my situation (which was that I made more money with the small amount of work I had than I would have at Starbucks -— and they weren’t hiring anyway). I actually lost a friend because she became obsessed with my energy drink habit and insisted that was the root of our financial ills. HOWEVER. Many, many of my readers were having similar experiences and they were very grateful to read about our struggles so they could feel less alone. As usual, a double-edged sword.

2. Sex. Unless you’re a sex blogger, it’s probably wise to keep the nooky talk to a minimum. I only wrote one post that was in any way explicit, and while it was wildly applauded by my readers and fans (and still garners a fair amount of traffic today) it got me kicked out of Google AdSense. Yes, you can get kicked out of Google’s ad network for “pornography.” Just so ya know.

3. Politics. Okay, I’m clearly a hypocrite on this one since I write about politics frequently. But here’s the thing: writing about politics comes with a steep penalty. You might ostracize and lose readers if your views are extreme one way or another (I consider my views to be fairly extreme in one direction), and you will certainly attract dissenting points of view. Personally, I love hearing from other view points, and even arguing about other views, as long as everyone can remain civil and “play the ball, not the man.” Also, when I do bring up politics, I have made it a personal policy (fairly recently) to not allow pile-ups in my comment section on those that have differing opinions. I believe it’s completely okay to say, “I don’t agree, and here’s why” but draw the line at those that say, “You are stupid if you believe that.”

These are the big three bad, boys that can become too much information, but obviously your personal boundaries are what you should use as your guidelines. So, what do you think is too personal? Where do you draw the line?

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