“This will make a great blog post,” you find yourself thinking as you’re walking down the street / reading a book / eating a meal / being chased by a pack of wild dogs across arid terrain.
OK, maybe not that last one.
But we do have a tendency to look at everything as potential blog fodder. Or I know I do, anyway.
I’ve been intrigued recently by the number of posts I’ve seen from people talking about how one of the main problems they encounter with blogging is trying to decide how much of their lives to share.
This is less of a problem if you have a blog where you only write about one specific subject: recipes, or gaming reviews, or whatever.
But if you’re someone who likes to mix things up, and who also likes to write more journal-style entries, well then you have some decisions to make.
In terms of the Bad Serious Things that happen in life, I think it’s relatively easy to work out which ones to share, if any. It’ll depend on your own preferences: some bloggers like to take a no-holds-barred approach, sharing absolutely everything while it’s happening. Some prefer a ‘highlight reel’, sharing only the good bits. And some (I’m in this third category) like to give a realistic look at the good and bad of life, but prefer to share the bad bits several years after they’ve happened. The idea of having to go through whatever crap is happening while also blogging about it for all and sundry to see is just not something that appeals to me.
But what about the good stuff?
There’s something to be said for keeping some of that to yourself, too.
Otherwise it’s all too easy for your whole life to turn into a constant internal stream of writing up your experiences on your blog.
Which is fine, if that’s what you like doing, but I don’t.
So I had to come up with a system (of course I have a system…) to balance out my desire to write about stuff with my desire to keep parts of my life private.
The ‘one in three’ rule
This one’s for the blog itself.
Some time ago, I decided that for every three good / interesting / new / fun things that happened to me – the ones that made me go “Oh! This would make a good story for the blog!” – I’d only share two.
At first, it was quite hard to stick to this rule.
Sometimes I really wanted to share something, but I didn’t because I like rules. Especially ones I’ve made up.
And gradually, over time, those third things have become experiences I really treasure. Because it’s nice, in this atmosphere of sharing everything, to occasionally have things you can savour and keep all to yourself.
Why three? Dunno. Arbitrarily decided it. If the idea appeals to you, pick a number you like and decide to not share that number of things.
The ‘later than reality’ rule
This one’s for social media.
I have a love-hate relationship with it. I hate Facebook – I don’t have a Facebook account, nor do I want one – I quite like Twitter because I’ve met some good people through it.
And I freakin’ love Instagram.
Pretty pictures, all in a row? Gimme more.
But I also have a strong desire for people to not know my exact location at every moment of every day.
So I have no location sharing on Instagram, but I also tend to switch my posts around a bit.
Does posting something about Switzerland mean I’m there right now? Nope. Does it mean I was there at some point? Yup.
Again, it gives me the chance to savour the moments and decide later which ones I’m going to share, and it also gives me a (false?) sense of not giving quite so much away.
How do you decide what to share on your blog and social media?