However, there are some things that I am dedicated to being off-limits when it comes to blogging:
1- My Marriage. Obviously I am very open to discussing how chronic illness and infertility impact marriage and my husband has even guest posted and I think it is an extremely important topic to talk about as the impact of illness and infertility on marriage is huge and the divorce rate is high and we need to be aware of that. However, this will not be a place where I come to air my dirty laundry or bad-mouth my husband. The details of our marriage are private and out of respect for my husband I plan to keep it that way. For example, I will continue to write about how illness affects marriage and relationships, with the support of my husband, but I will not write about the specifics within our marriage (such as detailing our conflicts, etc). The same rule goes for other family relationships.
2- Abby’s BirthMom. I could talk to you about adoption all day long and the crazy, hard, beautiful journey that it is. I will gladly talk about the benefits about open adoption and what it means for us as we have an open adoption with Abby’s birthmom but I will not share details about her specifically, such as why she chose to place or her history, as it is not my story to share. There are certain details about the adoption that we have not even shared with our families as they are her story and a part of Abby’s story that we do not feel like we have the right to share.
These are the two big ones but I think there is always that search for balance when it comes to blogging, especially when you focus on personal topics such as health and infertility, so I do believe you really need to be aware of boundaries and find what is comfortable for you and your family.
If you are a blogger, what do you consider off-limits?
11 comments on “Disclosure: What Is Off-Limits”
As a blogger, I have two subjects that are completely off limits no matter what. There are a few others that I approach with caution but the two that are always off the table are:
1. My sex life.
2. My soon to be stepchildren and all aspects of their lives. Most people don’t even know my fiance has children because of this.
LOL at #1 – yeah – you don’t definitely won’t mind too many discussions about that here! I think that illness and intimacy is a topic that does need addressing in the health community as it is a big deal and greatly impacts not only the patient but marriage and relationships but it is an another area were the topic may be open to addressing but no details!
I am also a blogger who talks about health issues and family, and I do have to say, my life is pretty transparent.
That being said, I definitely do not post about:
1) My marital struggles. (Except when talking about how one may go about fixing things, i.e. how to help communication).
2) My birth daughter. People know she was adopted, but the majority of the story, her face, her name, etc, are left out of my blog. She, quite frankly, isn’t mine to write about.
3) The majority of my sex life(I did have to talk about sex in general when detailing my vaginal surgery in February, but details, yeah, that’s not for public scrutiny, LOL)
These are great boundaries and I agree with your descriptions in drawing the line between talking about the topics that need to be discussed but keeping details private!
I typically play it by ear. On my other blog (WP self hosted), I usually consult my family before making any mention or even posting a picture. If they aren’t comfy with it then I won’t post. Funny thing is, most times my kids volunteer to be in my posts! But they do have their limits (my tweens would be horrified if I ever wrote about their ever changing bodies or something uber personal like that). So I take it as I go. Sometimes something super personal is appreciated by readers and sometimes it’s better not to. Finding that fine line can be tricky sometimes.
I agree 100%. I often have the most response from readers when I do decide to let my guard down and post something more personal and allow some of that vulnerability but those posts are usually about my feelings directly so I feel like I can make that call but I try to be respectful about not sharing the feelings and experiences of my husband and family without permission. I want them to be in control of their privacy.
Though I will make exceptions, I try to keep romantic relationship information from my blog. Since they are few and far between, I also try not to talk about being single. (Though, since it is very much part of my life right now, there may be an upcoming series about the challenges of being a single adult in a college town).
I also try not to blog about work. I have six jobs so they dominate a lot of my name (nearly all) and situations do make appearances but since I use my real name (and some of coworkers/bosses do read my blog), I don’t want to blog (or worse, vent-blog) about a situation, only to find out they read it.
I’m also trying to remove my friends’ names. This is for their own protection and because no one really cares. Obviously, if they have a blog/Twitter, I’ll link to them, but they’re not social media people, they’re anonymous. I feel like it’s a respect them for them as well.
I don’t have good boundaries for blogging topics so I’m trying to define them more.
Katie, I think you have great boundaries in place! I also try to keep work out of it (especially the venting part). I mention working but not the specifics about my workplace. I think the friends thing is a great rule of thumb. You don’t want to create a social media presence for someone who doesn’t already choose to have one. I always ask family members for permission to mention them as well. I feel the same way about my doctors too in that I don’t want to create an online presence that they may not want. I will gladly recommend my doctors by name offline if emailed but unless I know they are already online or I have direct permission, I do not use their names.
I am generally hesitant to write about others – even if my interactions with others might be helpful to those living with rare disease. This hesitation has an interesting effect on my blog – I worry that I come across as overly introspective (I am introspective, but I don’t ENTIRELY live inside my own head!) and extremely self-centered. I also am part of an incredibly fractured community (sadly) and in my sincere and heartfelt desire not to offend anyone, I avoid anything controversial or opinionated. Usually I am proud of this avoidance, but at times, hiding my own opinion makes for some very wishy washy blog posts.
It’s so important to draw limits. I’m still feeling my way around what mine should be, but I will certainly never be talking about any job I ever have or the ins and outs of my relationships; there are some things that are not done best in a public forum.
Politics and sex are my off-limits subjects, and I won’t even comment on political blog posts. It’s too polarizing of a topic.