Where Does the Line Exist For Being Too Personal Online?
Posted on April 25, 2016
I’ve joked before about feeling at times like I have too many people telling me what to do. When Ralph isn’t in town, Little Brother feels the need to take up the slack so that my husband doesn’t have to worry. It’s a Chinese courtesy. This usually entails Little Brother expressing his opinion about whatever it is I’m working on at the time. I don’t mind that he does. Sometimes, though, we’ve had to agree to disagree, and it’s caused problems. This has happened several times in the past with a post I’ve put on Facebook, or a blog post I’ve written. He believes they’re sometimes too personal and give too much information, and I don’t. We argued about this last week and he asked where I draw the line.
We didn’t have the technology we have today back when I was growing up. Obviously, right? And so if you had an author whose books you read, you waited every couple of years for a new release, maybe saw them in person for a few short seconds if they did a book tour, or maybe caught them on a talk show if they were popular enough. Or you read about them in a magazine. There were fewer published authors at the time and book stores were gold.
The times have changed. There are many more authors, millions more books, instant availability, digital readers, and an appetite for what you want, when you want it, and served up how you like it.
The veil of mystery about an author has been lifted and, surprise, we’re just like everybody else. We can now also communicate with folks all over the world with a keystroke. It’s really cool! But because there are so many of us and so many more books, how do we stay memorable between releases? By letting people get to know us, by us getting to know everybody out there, and by becoming friends, or at least cyber-friends. Some authors who I’m friends with offer up nothing personal about themselves at all. It’s strictly business. Others are more open.
Where does this leave me?
This blog has served at times as a way to test comedic material out, as a diary, as a way for me to voice my hopes and/or frustrations, and to share things about what’s going on in life, like with my father’s Alzheimer’s. I chose to open up about that because, as I discovered, so many folks out there related and shared their own stories. There’s a community and it helped me get through some pretty dark times. And, yes, I do share some personal things about myself. Little Brother commented that “I talk to you on the phone and you tell me something, then I see it on your newsfeed. Everybody knows the same things about you I do.”
So do I share everything? No.
Little Brother has met my family. Few others have. He knows quite a bit about my family. Few others do. I don’t mention my mother much in social media, and while I do discuss my extended family from time to time, I never name them and you’d be hard pressed to know who they are in real life. I talk about my husband quite a bit and while I’m playful in my descriptions of our antics, everybody except T.C. Blue has loved him when they’ve met him. I may give general descriptions about things going on, but I will also leave out some specifics. Why? Because they’re sometimes too personal to share.
When it comes down to it, if I’m comfortable telling the world something, I’ll do it. And if I’m not, I won’t. That’s the line. That’s my line. And, for some people, what I share may be too much information for them. That’s their line. But it doesn’t mean your line is my line. And if somebody doesn’t like my line, they won’t read me. It may not be for them and that’s perfectly fine. But for the folks who aren’t bothered by it? We’ve got something to talk about.
Now, what about you? Do you find yourself sharing things about yourself or keeping things completely non-personal?
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.