I recently changed the settings on my Instagram profile from private to public; previously, users would send a follow request and I'd vet that person, depending on whether or not I knew them (whether IRL or through blogging or another social channel), and either accept or decline the request.
Initially, I'd decided to make my photos private for a variety of reasons: I used to post photos of my baby niece and family members when I'd visit (which I feel uncomfortable about sharing without limits), and I was too lazy to make a personal account for my "personal" photos and another for my "blog" photos. After all, this blog is ... well, personal. And since the majority of my photos on Instagram are an extension of this blog, I felt that I wanted (and was ready) to share, in order to widen my audience.
Which brings me to the question at hand: when does revealing personal information become revealing too much personal information?
Over lunch with my friend Jodi the other day, she mentioned something that stuck with me - something that I've been thinking of since we met. "I really admire how willing you are to share so much of yourself on your blog," she said, in between bites of her ham and cheese croissant. I smiled outwardly, but panicked on the inside. Do I share too much? Do I overshare?
I'm a sharer. Always have been, always will be. Despite the cautioning of my parents, the emotionally-repressed Chinese culture I come from, the stiff-upper-lip attitude of the British society I entered into ... I'm a talker. This doesn't mean I share everything, of course. I'm selective.
But I've always been a firm believer that - in order to gain someone's trust (or interest, even), you have to be prepared to make yourself (even the smallest of iotas) vulnerable.
Like many other bloggers, I visit my Google Analytics page regularly. Not obsessively, but curiously. I'm interested to see which of my posts "speak" to readers - and which they tend to gloss over or ignore.
The most popular posts? Not the ones about new restaurants or shoes or fancy candles or trips to the beach, but rather, the posts about grief, about dread, about homesickness, or about expat life. These posts are honest; they're authentic, they're raw, and they're real. (Not that the ones about new restaurants and fancy candles aren't, but you can only be so real, raw, and authentic about pork belly and Diptyque, you know what I mean?)
And so, this is my conundrum: I've always wanted to write for magazines. I've got a lot on my mind and I want to say it. But I'm so afraid to make what's private public. I can write about almond milk lattes, no problem, but when it comes to real writing - all that dark, scary, often unhappy stuff that brings out the best writing in me - I'm scared. I'm scared to make myself that vulnerable; to share too much.
So, if you write, or you blog, where do you draw the line between what's private and what to make public? I'd love to know.