The very wise and erudite Andrea Weckerle (‘rhymes with ski’) has been wondering if some bloggers’ propensity to share part of their personal world on their business blog is a good or bad thing.
Regular readers of my own blog know that I am no stranger to sharing some of the more ‘personal’ aspects of my life, albeit stopping short of naming names and showing maps of where the bodies are buried.
Example: a son of two very dear friends of ours is currently in critical condition in hospital after a teenage misadventure in which my stepson, but for the grace of God, was spared equally horrific injuries. You can imagine that there is all sorts of commotion and emotion in the BetterComms Towers at the moment…
There is, as she points out, a very real risk of becoming ‘over-friendly’ and disclosing personal information in a, for some, inappropriate manner or context. One of the (many) criticisms launched my way over the years is my ability to become too friendly too soon for the comfort levels of some.
However, this can be balanced by the very real experience of many bloggers that when they finally meet face-to-face with colleagues whose blogs they have been reading for a while, it is as though they ‘already know them’. This allows some of the ‘dancing’ that occurs when two people meet for the first time to be dispensed with — one can get to the ‘meat’ or ‘heart’ of the matter quicker.
My own preference is to disclose a little of myself — I cannot help but ‘share’ a part of my inner and outer life with others if I feel I can trust them — so that ‘what you see is what you get’.
I recently commented about Steve Crescenzo’s ability to both educate with and ‘personalise’ through his blogposts. Steve wrote to me to thank me and kindly commented that he is a fan of my own writing style — which is similar to his but nowhere near as expressive, powerful and wise.
And it may be that mutual applauding that is the key to the question, for the internet and the blogosphere is large enough to accommodate everyone of every style and intent. What has happened is that two writers in a similar niche have found a mutuality of interests and style. And that is what has happened with me and the boy Jenkins — anyone listening to our CommsCafe chats who doesn’t know us is often surprised to learn that we have never met each other, live at opposite sides of the globe and yet are able to engage in conversation so effortlessly.
If you, as a reader, are put off by my personal disclosures and see it less as ‘relationship building’ but more as ‘unprofessional’, you are free and able to find writers in our same niche space who are less ‘revealing’ than I.
I have rightly been criticised by colleagues for revealing parts of their personal world on my blog; it is a habit that I am working hard to correct. But my own personal ‘style’ is to share, to include, to greet with open arms and a warm smile all who I am fortunate to meet. Egalitarian, I hold little sway with bowing down to those of ‘superior’ position; you are equal in my eyes until you do something to prove otherwise, be it display your foolishness or display your mastery.
So yes, I am a ‘flasher’ on this blog. But at least, as the photo at the top of this post suggests, one who doesn’t show you all the gory details…
Update: I am working on some new promotional literature for myself and was just flicking through an open copy of Alan Weiss’ Getting Started in Consulting for some ideas in how to phrase the services I offer as a benefit, not a feature (the ‘outcome’ not the ‘how to’). I opened a page randomly and the following ‘Career Key’ box stared out at me:
Although consulting is a relationship business, don’t mistake that fact with the need to make friends. If you need love and affection, get a dog
I still have a small ways to go, it would seem…