Monday, August 27, 2012

Keeping things professional. Or not?

A couple of us were chatting the other day, about projecting a professional online image. Opinion seemed to be you should keep personal stuff out of blogs and off Facebook if you want to be perceived as businesslike.

I can see the sense in this. Unfortunately I like to talk - and I'm probably more guilty than most of talking about my private life online. There won't be many who read my blog who don't know about my love for John Barrowman, or my constant battle with my legendary giant backside. And I've taken great delight in discussing my various encounters with customer service departments over unsatisfactory dealings (Amazon's customer service team came out very well - some of the others didn't).

I completely understand why writers might want to talk exclusively about writing, but I view my blog as a personal site rather than a professional one. Which I know is daft because I can't control who reads it and it's all out there for anyone who wants to use a Google search engine to see.

There are, of course, some things I'd never discuss on my blog (a Minx has to have some secrets). But even today, the tone of my post - while making a tiny reference to my writing - is mainly personal.

So, am I making a mistake in viewing my blog as my own space?

Should I stop talking about family? My shopping experiences? My giant backside? Should I stick to business and blog only about my work?

Tell me honestly - I won't be offended - what do you like to see in a blog?


Michelle Smart said...

Absolutely nothing wrong with having personal stuff in blogs - in my opinion it makes them much more interesting. And who is to judge what is and is not professional?

Donna Alward said...

There is a vast difference between giving a glimpse into who you are - I think readers like that - and TMI or only talking about your life to the exclusion of everything else. Especially if that's complaining. Bob Mayer talks about a lot of stuff, but my favourite tweets of his are ones where he posts pics of Cool Gus and Becca (the dogs). Far more important than to share or not share IMO is the TONE of your posts. Be professional that way. Don't be a constant complainer or whine or bad-mouth other people. THAT goes a long way towards being professional IMO.

Romy Sommer said...

Thanks for another great post, Suz.

My personal take is that as long as you're not sharing anything intimate about your loved ones, or anything that mind offend someone else, then it's okay.

I'm pretty sure I've crossed the line a time or two by blogging about day job frustrations, but I try to never express an opinion that might be divisive or diss a book or movie. You just never know if one of your readers loved a book or movie that you didn't, and by expressing your opinion you might lose that reader's good will.

And no, talking about a big butt isn't crossing the line - there are way too many of us out there who can identify!

Teresa Ashby said...

That is the joy of Blogland - so many different blogs to read and yours is one of my favourites :-) Your one today made me cry, but often you make me laugh. Carry on as you are! x

Aimee Duffy said...

Suz, I love hearing about the stinky socks and how you're getting on. I don't think you share too much at all, or are unprofessional. If your family are happy with it, you should be to. It's always entertaining, and todays post was lovely! ;o) xx

penandpaints said...

Your blog is lovely and you always make me laugh, don't change it!
I think that most of us started blogging to find friends with similar interests and we have achieved that and I like it the way it is. I don't give much away about my family. If I wanted to be all prefessional I think I'd start another seperate website or blog.

Caroline said...

Why change something that works so well? ;o) We all love you as you are Suzanne! Caroline x

Jackie Ashenden said...

I'll share something I got from the RWNZ Conference - YOU are your platform. Readers who read your work are not going to want to hear about writing. They want to hear about YOU. So you kind of have to decide on what kind of persona you want to project, how it reflects your writing, and how much of yourself it really is. And putting out a little bit of personal stuff helps people feel connected to you - hence Donna's comment re Mayer's dogs.
Just my two cents anyway.

Joanna said...

I love your blog, Suzanne. It's a joy to read it because it's always honest and funny and strikes a chord with all of us. I don't think our writing can ever be entirely separate from us as people, therefore it's valid for the blog to celebrate both aspects of our lives.
We're all careful not to give out very personal information or anything offensive and I think that covers the professional bit of it well enough

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments. Huge apologies that it's taken me so long to respond. I had trouble with blogger for a long while - and catching up has taken longer than it should have.

I'm still blogging about my life. :0) But I hope I balance it out with some information about my writing that some people might find useful.