Perennial Faves: Separating Blog You from You You

With so many new bloggers and people ramping up their blogs, let’s take another look at a popular post from…

With so many new bloggers and people ramping up their blogs, let’s take another look at a popular post from the archives on online boundaries — how to keep the real you separate from the blog you.

No matter what kind of blog you publish, you’re sharing some information about yourself. Yet even if you write a purely personal blog or are completely comfortable peppering posts with details about your life, you may want to shield some things from the internet’s prying eyes.

We often encourage you to use social networks and other online tools to help grow your blog — it’s a key part of growing traffic, and it brings in motivating feedback — but not every online space you frequent has to be connected to your blog. It’s time to think critically about managing your online identity.

Wait just one minute…

You’ve joined Twitter, set up a Facebook fan page for your blog, and are publicizing your posts to LinkedIn. Harness the power of social media: that’s what we keep telling you, isn’t it? Yeah, it is. Look, we’re linking to those posts right now — you should be harnessing the power of social media.

Harnesses notwithstanding, there may be limits to how highly networked you want be. Do you smell a cautionary tale? I do! Learn from my mistakes:

In 2008 I started a blog named Thursday Night Smackdown. (Yes, it sounds like a the name of a professional wrestling show. No, it was not about wrestling.) I had a lot of fun with it, and after writing it for a while, identified with it completely and assumed that I’d write it until the end of my days.

I bought a domain and created an email address with it. When I joined services like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Skype, I joined as Thursday Night Smackdown, using variants of the blog’s title as usernames to create a unified online persona.

The blog chugged along happily for five years, but in 2013, it was time to call it quits and start a new one. I still wanted to use Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Skype and keep all my followers — but I wanted to use them as me, not as “the Thursday Night Smackdown Blogger.”

Problem: creating new accounts meant starting from scratch. Changing usernames meant confusing lots of people, and wasn’t an option in some cases. What to do?

Ultimately, I made different decisions for different services. Some I couldn’t change without creating new accounts, so now I’m stuck with the Skype handle of a professional wrestler.

Don’t let this be you! Friends don’t let friends impersonate wrestlers on Skype. On all other social networks, I now participate as me; I’ve connected my new blog to sites like Twitter, too, to make sharing posts easier — I just don’t participate as the blog.

Social networks are absolutely useful tools for growing your blog, and making use of them is key to getting the word out about your site. However, it’s not difficult to think of situations where collapsing your online identity with your blog’s isn’t ideal:

  • A fitness blogger uses Pinterest to highlight gear, clothes, workouts, and inspirational photos. She’s also renovating her house and collecting lots of ideas, but doesn’t really want to share potential bedroom paint colors or guest bathroom toilet options with all her fit friends.
  • You write a personal blog that uses some, um, salty language. While LinkedIn can be a useful tool to use with your blog, your posting style may raise questions of professionalism with potential employers — “blog you” may not jive with “work you.”
  • You’re a Renaissance Faire lover, but are wary of bombarding your uninterested family on Facebook or work pals on Twitter with links to your new posts on medieval cookery. (Their loss.)
Sometimes it's okay for the carrots to touch the potatoes; other times not. How do you want your virtual carrots and potatoes to interact? (Also, is there gravy?)

Sometimes it’s okay for the carrots to touch the potatoes; other times not. How do you want your virtual carrots and potatoes to interact? (Also, is there any gravy? I love gravy.)

Great, what now?

How do you use online tools effectively to meet your blogging goals while also carving out the space you need for you, your family, or your career?

Here are a few approaches. These aren’t definitive, since your choices will be functions of your personal, professional, and blog goals, but it’s a starting place for thinking through how connected you want your online selves to be:

  • Dueling accounts. On some services, it might make sense to have a “you” account and a “blog” account. Some, like Facebook, have a service geared toward that situation; for others, you may have two totally separate accounts — Twitter and Pinterest especially.
  • Private accounts. If there’s something you know you’d like to keep separate, don’t link to it from your blog. Or, if you’d still like to connect with die-hard readers, link to your profile but require approval for the connection; most services now have privacy settings that support this.
  • Blog-specific email. It’s cheap as free to create a new email address with services like Gmail and Yahoo. Create a simple address to use for blog-related things and as a contact address, and keep your personal email address off the blog.
  • Profile and feed maintenance. You can keep some links off your blog altogether, and you’ll also want to watch what you mention, feature, and link to on the sites and services you do connect — your Gravatar profile might have professional info included because you also use it for work, or your Flickr feed may feature family photos you don’t want to share. Be mindful of how all your accounts are working together.
  • Pseudonyms. Blog under a pseudonym (or anonymously), and join related services and networks using that name. You’ll end up maintaining dual accounts in some cases, but the demarcation between blog you and you you will be razor sharp.

None of this is meant to deter you from using social networks and linking them to your blog — that’s a key part of ushering visitors into your online house. It’s simply worth thinking about how far you want to extend your blog’s brand, and how you want to manage that.

Maintaining the line between you and your blog doesn’t actually have to be much work if you put in a little up-front thought about how much you’d like to integrate your blog with the rest of “online you.” Once your have your blog and social networks set up in a way that works for you, you’re off to the races.


Featured image: perennial “Fatal Attraction” echinacea by F.D. Richards (CC BY-SA 2.0).

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  1. I love this! I wrote a little self test (humorous one) and called it “Do You Have Blog Blur?” which addresses exactly what you mean about the boundaries between Blog You and YOU You. But I so wish I thought up using that TV dinner graphic! Just love that visual! I went with a bottle of Windex. Anyhow, very interesting topic and great advice. So reminds me of George Castanza in Seinfeld and his “two worlds colliding” theory! Relationship George and Independent George. Lol.

  2. Thanks for the post I’ve used this to help me reach more social media plarforms like tumblr and insragram both connected to my blog.

    However, I’m careful with what I post and always proofread it twice to make sure its not to revealing :)

  3. Nice post Michelle.

    That’s what I was doing in the past, and I found out it’s best to separate my business accs and my personal ones. But in some cases it help to combine them, like, if you always talk about your business side in your personal accounts.

  4. Loved this post. First time blogger and a new eyes are being open to great thoughts on here. Thank you for sharing.

      1. I am using google chrome. it doesn’t have that kind of button. it only has two buttons after the typing and editing of posts.. the second to the most right says “preview” and the right most button “draft”.
        I really dont know what to do. A pop-up message keeps on appearing on my page saying that i have to confirm my email address and that they have sent the confirmation message on my yahoo account. unfortunately, when i opened my account, there were no new messages coming from wordpress.

      2. hmm weird. its OK take it step by step you have time. click on “MY BLOG”, dashboard. register and fix everything. setup and all. go it trough again. people are very friendly here at WordPress try to do what you can and ask when you get stuck :D

      3. Hi Danielle!

        You wrote:

        “A pop-up message keeps on appearing on my page saying that i have to confirm my email address and that they have sent the confirmation message on my yahoo account. unfortunately, when i opened my account, there were no new messages coming from wordpress.”

        Have you checked your spam folder for the confirmation e-mail from WordPress? Sometimes messages from new addresses end up in the spam folder even if they don’t belong there…

        Much love.

  5. Thank-you. Interesting post. I still consider myself new to blogging and have done that with Facebook. I have a personal FB page for family and friends and a FB page connected to my blog. :)

  6. Question: If a blogger with an established name decides to set up a separate, pseudonym (anonymous) blog, does that blog link back to one’s primary blog?

  7. I started blogging in January, which is also when I joined Facebook and Pinterest – jumped in with both feet! I have a friends and family fb page and an author page linked to my blog. I try to keep my author comments/references on my private fb page to a minimum, as I don’t want to bombard friends with book related info and turn them off; a public page lets them choose how much, or whether, they engage with my writing. However, I was just about to change my cover photo on my private page, and this blog post has made me think twice about what I was contemplating. I guess my mother was right when she used to say ‘think before you speak”! Sums up the advice in this post. Thank you! Straightforward common sense.

  8. Nothing at all for me in the social networks, Michelle. Tried both Twitter and Facebook – for about three days each. Just nothing there for me, and that’s it.
    I honestly don’t understand why WordPress wants its bloggers there, too: I positively enjoy being a blogger only …
    And last but far from least, my blog takes up as much of my time as is sensible – and then some. Seems to me that to get involved in all that other stuff would involve 24/7 attention, no?

  9. I keep things simple, all of my social media accounts are associated with me, Nathan Young. I do have a Geek Alabama Facebook fan page, Google + Page, and Twitter handle where I share those posts. And my own social media accounts is about stuff in my life, along with the blog posts I write!

  10. Very interesting! I see blogging mostly as an extension of my professional development so I’m careful with the things I write (although I do talk about personal things). I used to blog anonymously and found that liberating and exciting, but I prefer to use my name now so I can stay consistent as an author.

  11. I had a twitter account I didn’t use so when I started blogging, I linked to my twitter account and started using it to supplement my WordPress blog. My Facebook account is for my friends and family without my writing. So for me, Twitter = blog me, Facebook = real me.

  12. What worries me more than this is Gravatar. I have yet to know how to use it. I can never get information or blogs on Gravatar when a person follow me, basically only their name.

  13. QUESTION: I have a question regarding something you said in two of your lectures available on YouTube. The first is entitled: “Deen & Culture: Conflict or Compromise” and the other: “Steps to strengthen Aqida in times of doubt.” You said that all the Imams of the Muslims agree that if someone does not pray Salat continuously and systematically and takes the matter lightly and does not even care about praying, then he is a kafir according even to the hanafis and shafiis. Is this true and what does this mean? Why then would someone, who did not pray for 20 years or so, have to make all those prayers up, if he was considered a kafir anyway? Please clarify your position. Jazak Allah.

  14. I have a semi-annoymous blog under a pseudonym and it’s the same pseudonym I used for Tumblr, Twitter, and Pinterest. All I really care about is that my employers won’t find anything about me if they Google my name.

  15. thanks for the post!:) I just started blogging and being new at it , your post was certainly and eye opener.

  16. I am fresh and new to blogging, I used to be an avid journal writer in my younger days & thats the only way I can relate to content in my life =) other than my college papers. So when I created my blog, the question I asked myself was” how do I separate my business posts from who I am as a person?” so What I did is I created categories. AM I on the the right track here?

  17. Profound information, indeed, Michelle. Thank you for bringing awareness to this topic and for sharing ideas on how to deal with “blog you” and “you you”.

    Actually I opted for “private” and “official” accounts a while ago. They do interlink at some point but make a clear distinction on what kind of interaction you may expect from me. And although I love the awesome community I have found online there is also still an “offline me” as there is some information which I only share with people I have actually met.

    Much love and happy blogging,

  18. I started a few blogging projects in the past under anonymous titles, but I was envious of those who were able to add a personal touch by revealing more information about themselves. I have just started a new blog that is more autobiographical and exploratory in nature. This post has been useful in putting into perspective the priorities of a blogger.

  19. Michelle, I think your post gives starters to social a lot of good stuff to plan for. Partly for privacy, partly for branding and identity reasons, I’ve now got 3 twitter accounts (one for a brand, one for my art and photography, one for professional services) with connecting Facebook and LinkedIn pages, a blog for each and 2 websites–none of them using my real name. Except that my real name IS, of course, associated with them all, my gravitas has my real picture and it’s a joke to think I could maintain privacy these days even I’d I really really tried. Times have shifted. Given the exhausting maintenance of all this, I’m working towards bringing it all back together eventually under my own name: It will be a process. Hope this helps anyone who’s starting out now: be careful of what you can so easily start!

  20. Anyone desperately in need of advice? Come check out my new blog, Ask Chelsea! You can ask me anything, and I assure you I will answer :)
    <3 Have a lovely day!

  21. Within lounge walls, Hemi’s cast his first blog into the unknown. Computers are new territory for him, nervous novice, but he’s astounded by the friendship nibbles swimming out there. Thanks

  22. Can someone please help? I’m so confused…
    I am in the process of creating my first blog. I want to be able to use my own personal photos and talk about personal things that most people (except my husband) don’t know about me. That being said, I started to use a pen name. But without the influence of my social networks, where will my traffic come from? I don’t have a Twitter account, so I could set one up that’s blog specific.
    If I do choose to write under a pseudonym or pen name, can I still use the first names of the people I write about, such as those in my family, etc.? I’m not sure where to draw the line even with a pen name/pseudonym.

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