On Privacy, Honesty, Other Bloggers, and Oversharing

This is an unflattering photo of me holding a tiny dog.  I actually like this dog significantly more than the photo suggests.


Friends.
  Yesterday I cheekily bribed you into sharing your opinions of my blog in exchange for an ebook.  I bet you think that ebook is awesome (rather, I hope you did) but I’d venture the guess that I actually came out ahead in this deal.I found out that apparently everybody misses Dear Dude and Those List Posts (noted!) and more than that, the resounding cry was:

1) “Why are you you letting so many other people write for you?”

and
2) “We like you!  Don’t be so shy!  Why don’t you write more about yourself?”Guys, here are my (many and varied) deals.

* I think being a good conversationalist is one of The Most Important Things Ever. 
And in my mind, being a good conversationalist means asking people questions about themselves, talking about things that interest them, and resisting the urge to dominate the discussion with my Opinions About Cat Videos.  On some level, I guess I’ve applied this to Yes and Yes.  When people ask me what I blog about, I usually mutter for a few seconds and then say it’s more of an online magazine than a personal blog.

* We’ve all encountered who bloggers talk about themselves too much. And who do it poorly. You know what it sounds like.  Run downs of trips to Target.  Overly detailed descriptions of weekend brunches with their friends we don’t know.  Huge lists of the books they’re reading and the TV shows they watch.  OMG photos of their lattes with hearts drawn in the foam!  I live in fear of being that blogger.

* Sometime I feel weird that 10,000+ people read the things I write. When I meet people for the first time and they say “Oh!  Aren’t you Yes and Yes?  I read your blog!”  and then I blush and say “Gosh!” and think “Oh God.  Have they read the post where I wrote a haiku about getting a Brazilian?  Are they aware of my deeply dorky affinity for anthropomorphism?”  And I made an active choice to put that information out there.  And I stand by it!  But sometimes I feel weird about it.

* When you put something on the internet, it lives forever.  I mean, unless you delete it.  When I started this blog four years ago, I lived with my then-boyfriend and mentioned him regularly on the blog.  We went through an awful-ish break up which spawned one of my most popular posts.  Of course, now that’s ancient history and we’ve both moved on to partners who are much better matches for each of us.  But I feel (perhaps ridiculously) that that break up Was A Big Deal.  And I think I feel that way partially because I told you guys about it.  And sometimes when tough things happen, you want to forget them as soon as possible.  And if everyone keeps talking about it, it’s a lot harder to do that.

* I have witnessed first hand the power of The Mean Internets.  I very, very rarely receive negative comments on Yes and Yes.  And if I do, they’re usually in the form of “Uh, what’s up typo?” (which is more helpful than negative.) However.  Close blogger friends of mine have been targeted by Get Off My Internets.  And receive hate emails.  Like, in their inbox!  Like, a stranger took the time to find their contact information and compose a hateful email and send it!  Who does that?

So, as a defense mechanism of sorts, I started writing fewer and fewer personal posts.  Because who cares if someone leaves a mean comment on a post about animals in buckets? But if someone leaves a horrible comment when I talk about my relationship with organized religion?  Well, now my day is ruined and I’ve temporarily lost faith in humanity.

* I’m really busy.  And I like to spread the gospel of other awesome writers and bloggers.  As you guys probably know, in addition to Yes and Yes, I ghost write/edit/consult/content manage for other blogs and people.  And I have a crazy busy social life, a handsome dude, a cat, and another six week trip on the horizon.  Also: whenever I find a blog or a writer or an Etsy shop that I feel the world needs to know about, I Have To Tell You About It.  And usually that takes the form of guest posts from said awesome people.  Because I simply don’t have time or energy to create new content seven days a week, 365 days a year – but I want you to have access to new content seven days a week, 365 days a year.  Conundrum.  While I am a Virgo and an eldest child of Germanic heritage, I’m not quite that productive.

So that, dear readers, is the deal with that.  I can’t thank you enough for all of your kind, helpful, funny insight and for making Yes and Yes part of your day.  The list posts are coming back, I’ve got a new Dear Dude writer on the line and I’ll try to stop being The Internet’s Shyest Blogger and actually tell you more about myself and what I think.

I will not, however, be posting photos of my lattes.

20 Comments

Sarah Rooftops

I haven't read yesterday's post yet, but I do love this one. Even though I write all my own content (because I'm still a little blogger and too shy to ask people to contribute!) I nodded my way through it, particularly the comments about brunches with people we don't know.

And I live in fear of GOMI.

Reply
Mim

Ha! Glad to hear that the lack of latte pictures will continue. Gotta say, lattes ARE pretty photogenic.

I did do the survey yesterday, but I didn't mention this. Perhaps unlike other followers, I do actually really enjoy the way you manage to share other awesome blogs. I now follow a lot of bloggers that were recommended by you. And when you feature/guest post someone who I already love (hello, Adulting), I feel just that little bit cooler.

I think your editorial/evangelical role in this way and the ability to provide regular content is super important and impressive.

Reply
Cassie @ WittyTitleHere.com

I think this site is a great and truly diverse mix of content. I love the interviews, features, AND personal bits. I'd love to know whatever you're comfortable and willing to share with us, but I don't need to know everything, and I wouldn't EXPECT you to. There are things in my life that I sometimes think, "If I were an anonymous blogger, I would SO share this detail!" But because I'm very non-anonymous, I don't and won't.

Also, NEVER THE LATTES. NEVER. Glad we're on the same page with that one.

Reply
Chanda

Oh my! I just followed that GOMI link. YIKES, I can't blame you for backing off of the personal content (although I do enjoy it).

You do a great job with the blog, I'll take informative thought provoking posts over shoe-gazing and cupcake photos any day.

Reply
lissa

funny, I actually did see a lot of lattes with heart shots on blogs but I don't mind them.

I think getting personal on a blog is something that you cannot control. you have to talk about yourself sometimes so people don't think a robot is running the blog.

hope you have great spring.

Reply
kate

You are awesome! In return for being less shy, I will also be less shy and comment more. I always have comments in my brain and then feel too shy to leave them, which is mad. Yes and Yes Team Effort!

Reply
Emy Jo

Re: being a good conversationalist

When we left Frost on Friday, I was like "See? She asks all the questions." It's her way.

😉

Reply
Anonymous

Regular reader of your blog here but I'm posting as Anonymous today! My blog is one of those that GOMI loves to make fun of, and it is REALLY REALLY hard to take. I get plenty of positive feedback on my blog and the personal posts that I write, so I don't want to make it generic, but sometimes it is nearly impossible to avoid clicking over and then ruining my day seeing how they make fun of my blog / my Twitter feed / etc. There have been times that I've tweeted things and then had then posted on GOMI within the hour with people mocking me! How can I deal with that? I thought this might make a great follow up post that could also deal with bullying in general…

Reply
Fajr

Well said, or written rather. I too struggle to strike a balance between being useful and telling to much of my business. Maybe it's our Virgo nature to be a bit more reserved and not hog the spotlight. I think we know just enough about you Sarah; you're funny, love indie music, travel more than anyone else on the Internet and manage an amazing blog. Sounds like you're pretty cool 😉

Reply
JoAnn, Sidewalk Chic

I totally understand keeping your personal life private on a blog. When I first started style-blogging, I'd mention details about my life — pictures of friends, where I went that day. I've since made it more about photography and my style because since I've come to grad school, my professors and fellow classmates can find it and read it (and some do), and I'd rather have be more of an online portfolio.

I do like the balance you've struck here on Yes and Yes!

Reply
Rebecca McKanna

I understand your conundrum, and I think you walk the tightrope very well.

I think it's so sad that anyone would take the time to look up someone's email just to write something nasty about them. That says so much about the person writing the nasty-gram, and so little about the person who wrote the blog post.

Anyway, rock on Sarah. Your blog is one of my favorites. 🙂

Reply
Bookish.Spazz

I feel like you have a well balanced blog, and regardless of whether or not you generate all of the content from scratch, I still feel like it's an accurate representation of you because YOU picked it out and chose to display it on your blog.

My blog reads like a diary, but that's because I haven't chosen to commercialize it or anything.

I feel like people should keep in mind that this blog does generate income for you, so there has to be some semblance of professionalism surrounding it.

In short, I really like your blog— regardless of whether or not your share EVERY sordid detail of your life along with instagrammed pictures of your daily beverages.

Reply
Amanda

I downloaded the e-book(and answered the survey!) because I am paralyzed by gift-giving. It's terrible! I'm terrible! My gift is terrible! This is how my thoughts go. So thanks – helpful!

I am now torn on whether or not to visit GOMI. I like snark sometimes, but not bullying.

Reply
Felicia

I'm fairly new around here but I already feel right at home and appreciate the details you've shared about your life.

I totally identify with what you're saying and I wonder if it's an introvert thing, this fear of being judged harshly so we hold back. We shouldn't all aim to be extroverts (can you imagine?) but I hope you step out a little more because it inspires other introverts, like me, to do so also. I mean I'm leaving a comment, I never do that!

Maybe that's what the interwebs need to balance it out. More introverts stepping out, saying nice things to drown out the trolls 🙂

Reply
Megs

But I am just SO SURE that your lattes have foam in the shape of animals on top. And I really want to see it.

As I have found with my blog, the problem with being all personal, all about "me", all the time is that when "me" things get complicated, the blog goes dark. And then your family thinks your dead or depressed.

Reply
kate

I definitely think there's something to be said for putting a personal face on your blog. If we wanted to read an assortment of un-personal posts, we'd just wander over to Yahoo! So that being said, I'm looking forward to more revealing posts and if you wanted to share some instagram photos (even of your lattes) GO FOR IT!

Reply

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.