“How do you balance the need to protect your “internalness” with sharing your thoughts with this abyss of strangers?”
and his reply was, “In the end, dropping my protection allowed me to realize that the abyss of strangers is nothing more than a collection of friends I have not met yet. And each time I share a bit of my heart, I find that I make another friend…most of whom I will never meet.”
When I first started blogging, I was worried about putting myself out there. I did a lot of research on blogging and tried to read the advice of many people. At first, I put up a cartoon avatar and used my username – Loonyhiker. I felt a little more comfortable behind a cartoon and username.
I had been a little worried about people who disagreed with me or told me I was wrong but that hasn’t happened much because of the way I chose to share. I realized that I wanted to tell people what I believed in and things that I did which had been successful. I wanted to share my mistakes in order to help others not make the same ones I did. By doing this, I’m not telling others what they should believe in or what they should be doing. I have had people email me and ask me for advice but rather than tell them what they should do, I try to tell them what I would do if I was in that situation. I think that helps people be more receptive to my message.
Then I started to get comments on my blogs from real people! What a thrill. I started to have conversations online with these real people. My relationship with them moved from my blog to Twitter, Plurk, and Facebook. As we traveled, I started to meet these people face to face (that was a much bigger thrill!).
It was at this point that I stopped being so afraid. I changed my avatar to my real picture and put my real name out there. But I still use common sense. I don’t put sensitive information out there but enough for people to contact me and if I want to give them more detailed info, I can do it privately. I feel like a child growing up when I was told never speak to strangers but as you grow up, you learn to know which strangers it is alright to speak to. If I never talked to strangers, how I would I ever talk to my students who, on the first day of class, are usually complete strangers!
So, as I continue to blog, I will continue to throw myself out there. I hope if you are reader of this blog that someday we will meet face to face. If you are someone out there I have already met face to face, I’m so glad you are in my real life now! Let’s stay friends!
How do you feel about revealing yourself? Please share.