Discussion: Real Life

Posted October 22, 2018 by Nicky in General / 8 Comments

So both last week’s post and my question about prompts for discussion posts raised similar issues: how much do you share about yourself on your blog, and how much are you interested in other people sharing?

Personally, I’m relatively open about identity things (mental illness, being queer, being Welsh, etc) and share some snippets about my life (e.g. the bunnies, a couple of my wedding photos), while keeping it fairly low-key — just the intro to my Weekly Roundups or an aside during a review. I figure you’re here for the books, and though it’s useful to know that I have two English lit degrees in the bag and a biology degree pending, or that I’m queer, or whatever, because it informs what I read and how I review things, it’s not like you want to know what I ate for breakfast or the details of my gym routine.

On the other hand, some people think that even what I share is too much — that one should let their reviews speak for themselves, and not reveal identity, political affiliations, etc.

There’s a few different aspects of that for me: one is that I’ve never had much luck hiding my orientation or my interests. I was forcibly outed when I was thirteen and the cat’s never gone back into the bag, and I think I prefer it that way — there’s no emotional blackmail if I don’t have secrets. (The relief when I told my grandmother I was married, my goodness!) Another aspect of that is that I want people to know I’m queer because it normalises it, for people who’ve never knowingly encountered queer people and for younger queer people who might think they’re alone.

And finally, I think it’s important to know where someone stands in order to properly contextualise their reactions to books. If someone reviews a book that happens to include a gay couple and they give it two stars for “disgusting content”, then if you know they’re homophobic you know that it may not actually be about the quality of the book. Likewise, if I review a book with a serial killer and say that I found it annoying because the serial killer had OCD and that was meant to be a “warning sign” of their mental state, you know that I have OCD and this kind of thing is bound to infuriate me. If that’s not a bugbear of yours, you know that you might well enjoy the book more than I did.

Anyway, so I think I’m likely to keep on as I am in terms of personal commentary. You’ll get to know me a little through what I say about books, and you’ll know when I have an amazingly cute bunny picture — but I’m unlikely to do a weekly feature on what’s up in Nikkiland. The blog is primarily about books, after all. But if you feel super strongly about wanting to know more about me as a person and how I’m doing, maybe I can make a point of including a little more detail in my weekly roundups.

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8 responses to “Discussion: Real Life

  1. It’s a difficult balance, isn’t it, how much to reveal when divulging personal details, conserving some privacy but making it clear where you’re coming from.

    I tend not to talk about friends and family for all the obvious reasons about their privacy or not upsetting them, but I’m not averse to letting everyone know my age, my broad political stance, my aesthetic preferences and so on, especially when it comes to books but not always. Like me you’re upfront about your views and I think that should allow readers to make decisions about whether to follow, ‘like’ or comment on posts.

    Where I draw the line is in giving away personal details that might be used by someone with criminal intentions, like declaring when I’m abroad for an extended holiday for example, which I’ve seen some bloggers do.

    • It’s something I’ve always felt I had very little control over, since outing me and finding out other such private details was a school-wide sport. I think I have a fairly relaxed view of it because I just don’t believe my precautions will work…

      I used to talk about where I was in the world a lot more when I was staying with other people so there was no unattended house to be looted, but that’s something I definitely won’t be talking about now I have my own establishment!

  2. I’m all for people sharing what they want about themselves online, as long as they also understand what they could be inviting if they do so. Like calmgrove says above, it’s a difficult balance, and I also draw the line in giving away personal details because they can be used against for you for ill, whether it be harassment or criminal intentions. I personally don’t like to take the risk, though I admit I also might be overly cautious because of some of my past experiences. I used to work for a corporate staffing agency, and in that business I’ve seen too many people lose out on a good opportunity or have their careers destroyed because of something they put on the net – even if they thought it was totally innocuous at the time. It led me to my decision wipe my Facebook account of all details and photos. Like I said, I’m probably over paranoid but you just never know what might come back to haunt you 5-10 years down the line, I’ve seen too many cases of that sadly.
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Novella Review: Exit Strategy by Martha WellsMy Profile

    • I’m the opposite way because of my past experiences — I’m so bloody sick of having things I’m keeping from people that can be revealed. The internet was never my biggest problem with that. It helps that I have both my current jobs because I’m also a user of the sites, so they know perfectly well who I am, online more so than off!

  3. I think you strike a good balance – and who doesn’t love a photo of bunnies?! – although I’m with Mogsy and calmgrove in being quite reticent about what I share for the most part. I don’t try to make any secret of my general attitudes / affiliations; and I don’t honestly believe there’s any such thing as an entirely objective review, so I’d much rather have some idea of the reviewer so I can read their thoughts in context.
    imyril recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: reasons to love a villainMy Profile

  4. I reckon there is nothing wrong with the amount of sharing that you do, and if other people don’t like it it’s their problem! I tend to talk about my week in general terms and share a bit about myself, but try not to have frequent political rants and other things that most people don’t want to read! Like you say, book blogs are mainly about the books!
    chucklesthescot recently posted…Chuckles Chat #90 Horror Month-Situation HorrorMy Profile

    • Exactly! I stay myself and am fairly open, but at the same time, people are here for the books and not my opinions on politics. Unless I’m reviewing a book on politics, I guess!

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