Online it happens all the time. People claim to be someone their not.

You’ve heard the stories. Perverts pretend they’re teenagers and befriend young children. Scammers send emails to unsuspecting people and tell them they’ve won a million dollars or are heir to a fortune. Those with an online presence are warned their Paypal, Ebay and/or credit card account needs updating.

In some cases, online relationships have lead to stalking and even death.

It’s behind their computer screen where they hide, typing words that may not always be true.

Today’s Lesson

Blogging is no different. We’re online. It’s inevitable we’ll “meet” someone who is not who they say they are.

Last week when Diana Freedman of U Stand Out commented on “The Unseen Benefit Of Commenting” post, she said, in part,

You can learn even more about people from their blog posts/comments than in person, too. I have friends who still keep LiveJournals, and it’s amazing how emotional people can get in their blogs when they NEVER would have made themselves seem so “vulnerable” during in-person conversations.

Diana’s comment reminded me of the recent political race. Blogs were filled with hateful, mean and disgusting comments. Many were written by people who chose to not use their real names.

The emotions were boiling over.

What about bloggers and blog visitors?

Are blogs an outlet? A place where they can honestly express their emotions? A safe place where they can first “test” what a reaction will be? A place where they can share their true feelings with others and not feel they’re being judged? A place where they can read what others are saying and when they feel comfortable, “come out” and share their thoughts, too?

Or do some feel their online presence gives them permission to lurk in blogosphere? Prey on unsuspecting individuals? Hide their true personality?

What if we were to meet other bloggers in real life? Would we be convinced they are the same person whose blog we read? How would they come across? Kind, well mannered, and/or caring? Angry, negative and/or filled with hatred? Or would they be exactly the same as they project themselves to be online?

I fall into the category of being transparent. What you “see” is what you get.

What about you?

Today’s Assignment

How transparent are you?

Have you ever befriended someone online only to find out they’re not who they said they were?

Have you ever used the internet to voice an opinion you would never speak of in real life?

If so, did it aid in your growing process?

Blogging has the potential to expose us to thousands of people. Feel free to share how your online presence has opened your eyes to the realities of the internet.

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Look Who's Talking
  1. I’m who I am in blog world, the real world and AlexWorld (my private inner retreat). I share almost everything with almost everyone.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..A Lab-Rat Looking for Paris: Carrie McK Interview

  2. Dave FowlerNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, I’ve often felt disappointed with people I’ve ‘met’ through the internet. The problem is the same as in ‘real life’ where expectations of others are just too high.

    I try not to pretend to be anything other than I am because I just couldn’t keep it up. That said there are different sides to my personality and often these come out at different times. Most of the time I’m light hearted and looking for fun, but sometimes I’m serious. It depends what’s going on.

    I like what Alex had to say (and how succinctly he said it – as opposed to my rambling on 😉 ) I’m not far from what Alex said, but I’m keeping some stuff in reserve until I figure out how the online world works.

    😀

  3. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I like to be just who I am… I personally found having different personas or fronts (I think there’s a better word for this but I can’t think of it right now) to be tiring, because you need to keep track of your character history, so to speak.

    Kelvin Kao´s last blog post..Forget Citigroup, Puppet Show Needs a Bailout

  4. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I’ve found that I’ve become more open and sharing the longer I’ve blogged and commented. And, it’s played over into my off-line world as well. Although, I do still think that I am better at communicating via written word, so sometimes I am more open online – just because that facilitates itself to my stronger written vs. spoken communication. Still, though, I am who I am – online and offline I am the same person – just that sometimes I may express myself slightly differently…

    Lance´s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  5. I feel I am a little more transparent on some issues online than off line. In religion, for example.

    However I am not completely transparent. Partly because I use my real name and I don’t always like that people who know me off line would know where I stand on some issues.

  6. I’m pretty much an open book. But since I blog about issues facing the budding entrepreneur both emotional and business, I often don’t get the opportunity to totally open up. That’s by choice, only because my blogging focus is other than pure self-development.

    Interestingly I do open up on personal issues more when I’ve commented on other blogs.

    Regarding others. If they won’t share an identity on their about page I won’t comment or otherwise support them. It’s all about connection and I’d rather not connect to a robot brand.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Grounding Your Small Business Vision

  7. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Generally, I’m fairly transparent online for a person with innate introvert tendencies — what you see is what you get.

    I do sometimes write on things online that I would never speak of with most of my associates — and, yes, it does help me grow.

    Mike Goad´s last blog post..Broken Overpass in the Overgrowth

  8. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    All the things I have chosen to blog about, I talk about as well. The only difference is the audience.

    I sometimes appeal to parents when talking about education. On my blog I am blunt, but in person I need to be a bit more diplomatic.

    I would like to think that I am transparent in my blog. Anyone who has read me for a while knows where I stand and how I feel about a variety of issues.

    That being said, I don’t share everything with my audience in the blogosphere. Some things are better left to real life and not cyberspace.

    Chase March´s last blog post..Thanks for Being Honest

  9. Hi Barbara – For a highly public yet anonymous entity, the Internet can seem very intimate. This leads to people not being as judicious as they might. I participate in a few political forums where I use a pseudonym (which is still pretty transparent – if you wanted to stalk me, it wouldn’t be hard). This isn’t because I wouldn’t say anything differently under my own name, but because, as you say, passions run high and sometimes cause people to do things they’d think better of.

    The online dating cliches – the person who “forgot” they were married, or “forgot” they gained a hundred pounds – caused my friend Judy to demand a photo taken “in this decade.” Judy and I have often thought we should write a book. One time she dated a man who told her his wife was dead, and then she got “a call from the grave.” 😀

    Pete and I “met” in a chatroom in 1999. We each had disappointing experiences meeting other people online, and I resisted meeting him in person. Luckily, he kept pestering and I finally agreed to have lunch just so he would quit. We’re pretty transparent now, using our own names, not particular about if people know in what town we live, but we still try not to compromise family members, etc. It’s a fluid line, but it is there.

    Spirited discussion and disagreements are fine, but I’ve seen the dark side, also. Being purposefully more neutral and respectful of differing opinions allows people the opportunity to access their inner grown-up. So far that’s working fine for us. Thanks, Barbara, for another great subject.

    Betsy and Pete´s last blog post..LOYALTY

  10. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    Betsy: I love what you said, and enjoyed your story about meeting Pete.

    Barbara: I’m transparent online and so far I’ve met only one person who was nowhere near who I thought they were.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post..Writer Dad in Rough Draft

  11. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I would venture I’m pretty much who you think I am. But I’m guessing everyone censors parts of themselves to some degree so you might be surprised to learn that I can hold a grudge or have an explosive temper that I have to try very hard to control. I can control it easily on the internet by simply not commenting or waiting till I calm down and gather my thoughts.

    However, I do not believe the internet gives you the right to hide behind the keyboard and say hurtful things just to voice an opinion. I believe not everyone will agree and I have no problem with a healthy debate, but I do not approve of those that attack others. No matter what you think, you most likely don’t have the whole story. Some comments I have seen or heard about have been horrible and there is no excuse for this. Whether on the computer or in person, we must give others respect. We cannot educate with hate and attacks. It might make us feel better at the moment, but it will only alienate the other person more. The old adage: “You get more bees with honey than vinegar” holds as true today as when it was first invented.

    Debbie Yost´s last blog post..Are We Texting Away Our Compassion

  12. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I am transparent … what you see is what you get. I use my real name and write accordingly.

    I am with Debbie, you get more bees with honey than vinegar.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! :)

    Linda´s last blog post..Vu1 Technology

  13. NickNo Gravatar says:

    I am probably too transparent in my own dealings. I tend to give away a lot of myself in my various blogs – but starting a company and talking about my sporting passions (the two things I have a couple of blogs about) are quite emotional/personal anyway.

    I think I have been lucky in that I have never really had huge issues with people not being who they said they’d be. I have met a few people who have become friends online and i have had two relationships from online meetings that then went into ‘real life’. It is a worry but you just have to trust your judgement i think.

    but then as I am a 6ft4 bloke thats easy for me to say. I would be worried about any female friends of mine meeting people in real life that they ‘know’ online, never mind children.

    Nick´s last blog post..Use your own network when starting a business

  14. I’m pretty much the same online and off. I swear less online – I think I’m a little rougher around the edges in person – must be the Philly part of me.

    I haven’t encountered anyone who was different that what they said they were. Even way back when I did online dating the people I met were who they said they were. Maybe I’ve just been lucky…

    Kim Woodbridge´s last blog post..How to Get Freelance Work with Twitter

  15. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    Being the introvert that I am, my feelings are very much kept internally. Most people, including my family, believe that I’m not emotional at all, when the opposite is actually true. I’m very, very emotional. Usually the only place that emotion is expressed is in my writing. While you don’t see it in my professional blog, you will at times see it in my personal blog, and even more in various forums I post to. You’ll actually see more of the real me on-line than you will in person.

    With one exception. I rarely swear on-line. In real life, I swear like a sailor *laughs*. That always surprises people about me.

    The anonymity of the internet gives people the sense of freedom to be more themselves on-line (especially for the geeky introverts like me). However, that does have it’s dark side, with people taking advantage of that same anonymity to attack and scam other people.

    On my EQ guild, we had a person who was a long time guild member who we thought was a woman. Then one day out of the blue, we get this post on our forum claiming to be her boyfriend and that the woman had been killed in a car wreck. Needless to say, people were devastated. Although we hadn’t met her in real life, we had spent a huge amount of time with her on-line. As we asked questions, though, the answers got murkier and murkier and it finally came out that this person was quite alive and well, a man, and told the story to amuse himself.

    These kinds of things will happen on-line because there are people who will take advantage of the medium to manipulate people emotionally.

    I don’t have an answer for this. It’s part and parcel with the medium. The attacks, the manipulations, they can certainly make you want to never trust anyone. On the other hand, there is the potential for the development of strong relatinships (I met my husband on-line, after all). If we protect ourselves too much, we lose the opportunity to make the true connections that can mean so much in our lives.

    Like anything else, you must have a balance in using the internet, a balance between trust and self-protection. That balance point will be different for everyone.

    Jodith´s last blog post..Easily Manage Time Zones

  16. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    I still pick and choose what I write about but at the same time, my comments and articles are not fiction. I guess whether online or not, people will still find a way to deceive other people. That’s just the way things are. We all have different faces.

    chris´s last blog post..I Shall Return

  17. I’m me on the internet. I use my real name. I’m pretty much as reserved online as I am offline. I’m generally not a very trusting person and blogging hasn’t changed that.

    I have learned to filter out anonymous comments/ emails. When someone is using anonymity to be nasty, they’re being cowards and are not really worthy of my attention.

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Are Blogs And eBooks Inferior To Printed Books?

  18. ValNo Gravatar says:

    I am the same person online as offline. However I’m more open online. That is simply because I’m more articulate in writing than I am talking. Writing, I can more easily formulate my thoughts to represent what I really mean. When I talk, I often jumble things badly so I’ve learned to be quieter.

    Val´s last blog post..Secret Santa

  19. JannieNo Gravatar says:

    As much as I joke around on my blog, I think people realize that. I’m the same in person you’d meet in real life, but 10 lbs thinner here than in person!

    Like Kim, I swear a lot less online too. I think it’s a Northern thing to curse like a longshoreman with friends.

    In my poems I can show the more serious stuff, such a great place to hide, deflect and reflect on things that are not so funster-ish.

    So far I think everyone I blog with is who I believe them to be.

    For some people, moms of young children especially, blogging is a sacred life-line to maintain sanity and feel connected, validated and appreciated – talk about an outlet!

    Jannie´s last blog post..Ten Honest Things

  20. Very interesting topic! So far, most folks I’ve connected with online seem to be legit. Think of folks like Marelisa and Vered–their genuineness just shines through in everything they do. I’m positive I’ll be duped a few times, but overall, I think fake personalities and general creepiness tends to sneak in even when folks do their best to cover it up.

    I would hate to think that people who leave vicious anonymous comments are revealing their “true” personality. We’re all so multi-faceted that I can only hope that those statements are just a tiny portion of who they are overall.

    For myself, I’ve enjoyed the transparency. I keep my work life out of my blogging life, but other than that, I love having a platform where I can just be myself.

    Sara at On Simplicity´s last blog post..Lower Expectations Can Sometimes Be a Good Thing

  21. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Alex – I like how you put that. I also like how you called your private inner retreat, “AlexWorld”. :)

    Hi Dave – Like you, I couldn’t keep up “pretending” to be someone I’m not. Can you imagine trying to remember what you said to whom? Yikes! That sounds like too much work.

    Hi Kelvin – Absolutely. Using different personas could be very tiring.

    Hi Lance – Yes. The written word is often an easier medium. It gives us time to think before we “speak”, and no one is interrupting nor rushing us to finish a thought.

    Hi Miguel – That’s a great point. We do have to remember our online acquaintances may be reading our blogs and that could start an unwanted controversy.

    Hi Tom – I hear you. When “About” pages are blank, it makes me wonder, especially if it appears to be an established blog. If it’s a brand new blogger, I realize they may not have had time to develop the page, so I’ll cut them more slack.

    Hi Mike – Opening up online does help to make us grow, doesn’t it?

    Hi Chase – That’s true. “Some things are better left to real life and not cyberspace.”

    Hi Betsy – I love the story of how you and Pete met online. That’s sweet, and had a happy ending. However, the story of your friend Judy and those she met online goes to show how deceitful some can be. Writing a book would be a fabulous idea.

    Hi Writer Dad – When you said the person you met was nowhere near who you thought they were, makes me wonder, did they misrepresent themselves? Or were they better than you thought?

    Hi Debbie – I agree, comments are often written in haste and the commenter does not have the whole story. Sometimes it’s a matter of selective reading and they “hear” what they want to hear.

    Hi Linda – Yes, Debbie’s comment about getting more bees with honey than vinegar is very true.

    Hi Nick – Welcome to the BWAB community. Like you, I also worry about women and children meeting online “friends”. Taking precautions and being safe is of utmost importance.

    Hi Kim – With all of the horror stories I’ve heard about online dating, you’re right. You were lucky to have good experiences.

    Hi Jodith – What an interesting story of the person in your EQ guild. For someone to amuse themselves by manipulating others is sad. Like you said, there is that dark side to being online and exposing ourselves.

    You’re the second one today to say you met your husband online. I love happy endings. :)

    Hi Chris – You’re right, online experiences are not much different than offline.

    Hi Vered – Isn’t it great that we have the opportunity to delete those comments and/or emails that are written anonymously? Like you said, they are not worthy of our attention.

    Hi Val – I hear you. When we talk it’s easy to jumble our words, especially if we’re trying to answer someone quickly. When writing we can take more time and like you said, “formulate our thoughts”.

    Hi Jannie – Like you, I like to believe everyone I blog with are being transparent. However, if I start seeing inconsistencies in their writings I begin to question their motives.

    What you said about blogging moms is right on. Their online presence can be a wonderful outlet.

    Hi Sara – Yes, we’ll all be duped from time to time, but hopefully that doesn’t stop us or others from sharing. Just like Marelisa and Vered, your authenticity shines through, as well.

  22. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I am fairly close to what you see is what you get or what you read is what you get. My internet persona is a bit more professional than my in person persona – and I feel that I communicate better in written form than in person.

    I am often the quietest one in the room in person….my questions rise after contemplation not in the heat of the conversation.

    I hate it when folks send me stuff that is disguised…I am studying about how to keep from getting diabetes and I am being sent lots of spam/hoax/ urban legends stuff that seems to collect onto your research tracks….I don’t like this stuff and emails

    On the other hand…my mind can integrate ideas so quickly and I can lose people in conversations because I have connected 45 ideas while they were thinking through 1 or 2 and I have left them behind – where as with writing I can stay on track on the page….and draw people into my thinking and that is better.

    I hated all the 1000s of awful comments I received after using the word ab….ion in one of my posts which was part of the title of an article I made reference too. I was amazed at how many people called me a murderer or wanted to have me murdered…..

    I would not want to put my children on the internet or share their addresses on my blog.

    Good to keep safety in the back of your mind when writing.

    Patricia´s last blog post..Beautiful

  23. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    I am the same person online and off in my blog.

    I’ve never voiced an opinion online that wasn’t truly what I believed.

    While I am completely open about my parents (due to the nature of my blog), I am protective of other family members (in-laws, cousins, aunts & uncles) and don’t identify them on the web. I am also protective to some degree of my husband’s and son’s identities, although I’m pretty sure people could “find” them without a lot of hard digging.

    There is only one online person that I met that may (or may not) have been who they said they were. Remains a mystery to this day — but they’ve disappeared so I’ve stopped wondering about them.

    After participating in the Thirty Day Challenge in 2006, I met many participants at a real conference in San Diego a few months later. We had all met online and then had a great time getting to know each other in person! I’m still friends with several of them and we hope to reunite again in the future.

    Linda Abbit´s last blog post..I’m an Official SOB and I Couldn’t Be Happier!

  24. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. I’m the real article behind my blog. I open up easier through writing and sharing online. It’s easier for me to express myself through the written word. But, I’m careful about what I share too. A person has to be selective; not to be secretive, but to protect oneself.

    Davina´s last blog post..Step Out Of Crisis And Into Power

  25. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I think it depends largely on the ambiance of the blog.

    For example, I’ve had folks that read my work blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/) say they’re surprised when they meet me that I’m way more personable than my blog comes across. Then again, it is a work blog. Sometimes it’s just tough for me to shift gears from books to blog.

    At the end of the day, I’m more of an interaction-in-person kind of a guy.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Lessons Learned from Peaceful Warrior

  26. ScottNo Gravatar says:

    For most of my life I have been an introvert. Always afraid of saying something offensive to someone. I would soon keep my thoughts and my feelings inside. Until….

    I started blogging and all that has been changing. I’m trying to not be transparent. What you read on my blog is who I am. Though it takes a bit of something extra still to voice thoughts and feelings in public. But I’m finding that it is much easier now, than it was 3 months ago.

    As a result, a lot of “stuff” doesn’t stay inside and fester into an ulcer :)

    It’s really cool, for lack of a better word. A much better life!

    No, I still try not to voice my opinions on controversial topics. Still not one to offend.

    Scott´s last blog post..Not Worth A Dime But It’s Worth More Than You’ve Got

  27. I see a lot of selfish people who are only trying to drive traffic to their blog, but I’ve never really encountered a bad person. That’s not to say that I haven’t come across misguided people I have, but never evil.

    I don’t hang out at questionable blogs that are looking to stir a hateful message. I stay in the blog communities that are kind and giving.

    Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last blog post..Day 8 of 30 – No Complaining

  28. Dr. NicoleNo Gravatar says:

    Boy I have been under the hot seat with this one, and this is the exact reason why I stopped hanging out at Blog Catalog in the discussions that I so loved. I made a new policy to not interact with people that are not blogging under their real names and pictures anymore, I know people can still be dishonest but it is amazing how cruel people can be when they can hide behind a fake avatar or website.

    It really has been enough to almost make me quit blogging and quit leaving comments on other people’s blogs. But, I have hired an attorney and am trying to sort it out. This is the first comment I have even left in a while.

    Blogging can be really scary in this aspect, and it is important to remember that just like in real life, there are bad people everywhere. Proceed with caution and if someone gives you a bad vibe trust your instincts. It is better to be safe than sorry.

    There will always be slanderous hecklers everywhere you go I guess, but it is a shame when people attack you just because your blog ranks high or is popular. I felt like I was suddenly back in HS again the past few months. Ugh.

    Dr. Nicole´s last blog post..3 Reasons to Care About Excess Sugar Consumption

  29. I used to be more anonymous online, and in a way, I think people can get nastier. So I just hope and pray like in real life, if I deal with people straight, people will deal with me straight. And I feel that so far, I have been lucky.

    Sometimes people hide behind some kind of persona, and you know what, I think it’s okay. I do too, sometimes, even with family and friends, on any given day. What more with complete strangers? It’s our protection from things that might be embarassing or hurtful.

    I do know that ‘midst all that bravado, we all are the same underneath those layers, wanting acceptance, wanting to be validated.

    Jewel/Pink Ink´s last blog post..An Unexpected Gift

  30. I’m extemely transparent (well, up to the point of not revealing my full name anyway). I have on occasion on one particular blog in the realm of sex/dating/relationships posted comments under a different name when the information I was revealing was of a very intimate nature. I’m more mindful of what I post on that blog since I met many of the regular commenters and don’t want them to know absolutely everything about me.

    I have met a lot of people via the above blog and also via my own blog and most of the time – but not always – I have found people to be as I expected, which is nice.

    I have also recently been on the receiving end of nasty comments posted on the dating blog I mentioned above by people not using their regular blog name and purporting to have met me. It’s bad enough knowing that someone has taken against me (when I have no idea why) and they feel the need to say so publicly. But it’s quite unsettling when it seems to be someone who has met me and they are hiding under the anonymity of a fake name (well, a different fake name to their usual one).

    I think most people on blogs are genuine – there’s just a few bad apples that spoil things. Like life in general really.

    Frisky Librarian (formerly known as Glee Girl)´s last blog post..Another solo outing and dumplings and dimples

  31. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Patricia – I know what you mean about being “the quiet one” in the room. I’ve always been that way in a crowd, and from listening found I learned a lot of valuable information. It’s really not a bad position to be in.

    Hi Linda – The Thirty Day Challenge sounds like a great way to meet like minded people. It’s wonderful you’re still in contact with several of them.

    Hi Davina – You’re right. We do have to be selective and have a layer or two of protection.

    Hi J.D. – I’ve been on your work blog. Your brilliance shines through, so it’s not surprising others might peg you as being less sociable. Switching gears after working on a job that’s intense can be difficult.

    Hi Scott – Isn’t it great how a blog can bring out those thoughts and feelings and result in better communication in real life? Keeping “stuff” inside could be detrimental to us. Thank goodness we blog. :)

    Hi Karl – You’re right. Hanging out in questionable blogs could lead to problems. Some bloggers love to be controversial and to draw others in. Like you, I prefer ones that are more genuine.

    Hi Dr. Nicole – So…that explains your lack of commenting. I am saddened by the fact you’ve had to hire an attorney to deal with blogging problems. I know your blog has taken off and has gained a tremendous following. Myself, I’m trilled for you, but it’s unfortunate others are trying to knock you down. I wish you the best. Stay strong, my friend! This too shall pass.

    Hi Jewel – Well said, “we all are the same underneath those layers, wanting acceptance, wanting to be validated.”

    Hi Frisky Librarian – It appears the more we put ourselves “out there”, the more we’re going to encounter others who will want to cause trouble. Obviously you’ve developed a positive persona and those who are slamming you are just jealous. Consider the source and continue being you.

  32. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I regularly remind my spirit guides that I would only like to attract like-minded bloggers or friends on the web only. I’ve been pretty lucky so far!! On the 1-2 rare occasion when I receive something that vaguely alludes to something negative, I just delete away the email or comment.

    I also do make it a point to practice what I preach. I’m far from perfect. But I feel very inspired when I write about higher goals like letting go of ego, not saying harsh things about others, etc.

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Whose Pain Is This?

  33. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    well i always said that the writer me is a different person than the regular me. sometimes with writing, it’s almost like performing…depending what i’m writing about…i become another person to do what i do: on stage.

    i probably joke a lot more in real life, but i’m pretty much the same. most people call me crazy. :)

    Natural´s last blog post..The Day of the Fight

  34. Hi Barbara,

    I don’t think I could hide me if I tried. Putting on an act would be too hard as some of the other commenters said. I think before I comment and when I read comments on my own newspaper or on YouTube, I think, wow, I would never say that! I’ve been in business so long and hooked to non-profits so long as the spokesperson that I know that mouthing off online or in person is rarely beneficial to anyone.

    Does everything I say come out perfect? No, Because I don’t try to be ever-wise — I’m not… I am drawn to authentic people but people who use wisdom in their communication and are sensitive that what they say could hurt someone.

    Overall, I probably care a little too much…

    Julie Walraven´s last blog post..Postcards from the road

  35. Since April 1996, I’ve been writing articles and conducting interviews at my blog, which has taught me to be as transparent as I possibly can be because you become more real that way. People trust transparent people more than those who aren’t.

    The issue I’m constantly grappling with is, just how transparent should I be? While I’ve been told by my subscribers that I am transparent, I’m not exactly going to tell every little detail of my life, past, current or future. Boundaries do have to be drawn, right?

    So, really, the issue is how much can you be transparent? Once you imprint what you write, it stays there forever.

    One of the people I interviewed months ago admitted he had once considered suicide and even described what he attempted to do. Once I published that, it remains there forever. You cannot possibly delete even if the original interivew were deleted. Goggle will still find bits and pieces of it strewn throughout the blogosphere.

    So it pays to ask yourself if you are okay with the world knowing about certain aspects of yourself that is considered private information and not for public consumption.

    Very interesting food for thought!

    Stephen Hopson´s last blog post..Stephen Hopson Interview with Himself….Again

  36. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I had to go and think about it and come back. This post scared me. There could be some real nutters online, who are not who they say they are. And we should always be cautious.

    That said, I am more careful of the folk who don’t use their real names and don’t blog frequently. I think that if you’re blogging every day, it would be difficult to hide the real you over a long period of time.

  37. What an insightful post! I’m definitely transparent online and on my blog. Then again, my blog is about social media, so there’s no political/religious/emotional/etc. topic I feel I need to hide from.

    I’ve met people who were different in person than they were online. My main experience with that was just prior to starting college, when Facebook was brand new. There were a couple people I exchanged IMs and emails with before the semester started who were so talkative, so full of positive energy and excitement. When I finally got to know the in person, they were sulky, moody, and complained about anything. This is another example of people using the internet to hide who they are; by acting/speaking the way they think people will like them. It wasn’t malicious or anything; they just wanted friends, to feel liked, to not be lonely. And it’s easier to say the right things online because you have more time to think about what you’re going to say than in conversation.

    P.S. Thanks for the quote. :-)

    Diana Freedman´s last blog post..Snip URL is Better Than Tiny URL… By Far

  38. Barbara –

    I echo pretty much what Vered said – I could have written it myself, word for word. 😉 LOL

    Anyway, I do use my real name but not the names of most people in my family like my husband and children, etc. I use aliases for them. And part of that is I’m rather reserved but more of it is because of my abusive ex-husband.

    Aside from the aliases for my family, everything else is real and is exactly what you’d get in person.

    ~ Annie

    Annie Anderson´s last blog post..Best present ever

  39. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Evelyn – I like how you put that; you remind your spirit guides to attract like minded bloggers…. That’s a great way of approaching life as well.

    Hi Natural – Have you missed your calling? Should you be an actress? I do know what you mean though. Depending on what we write, a different “muse” may surface.

    Hi Julie – Authenticity is important, isn’t it? But, can we care TOO much? I think that’s a sign of true compassion and empathy which is a good trait to have.

    Hi Stephen – I know what you’re saying. Transparency is good, but like you said, we do need to draw a line in the sand and say, “no, this needs to be kept private”. I don’t think anyone would expect a blogger to reveal every detail of their life, just as we don’t expect our friends to, but we do expect each other to “walk their talk”.

    Hi Catherine – That’s right. 1) there are some real nutters online, and 2) anyone who blogs consistently would have a hard time hiding behind their blog. It would be too easy for them to slip up, either in a post or in comments on other blogs.

    Hi Diana – You’re welcome, and thank you for the inspiration.

    I like your example, and what you say appears to be very common – “they just wanted friends, to feel liked, to not be lonely”, so they say what they think others want to hear. It’s sad they don’t feel comfortable being themselves and reveal they are lonely and are looking to make friends.

    Hi Annie – Having read your blog, I guessed you are very much real. It shows in your writings.

  40. […] to the comments on “Come Out, Come Out, Where Ever You Are”, most bloggers admit they are quite transparent. However, does that mean we need to expose our […]