The cost of being real

Last week I read this post by Vanessa on her new site Bloggers and Bacon.  It was about finding your boundaries as a blogger and how much is too much.  It’s something that I worry about with Mr 5 and seeing the rawness written here, but I am also not ashamed of my past.

There are a plethora of blog posts talking about social media and how it is often so contrived, that the things shared are only a highlight reel, forgetting the bad stuff that has happened.  However I do wonder if being real, about letting everything out warts and all, is beneficial to anyone.

On one hand we are telling our children that everything that they post online is forever.  We tell them that those drunken selfies could reflect badly on them.  On the other hand we are berating other adults because they aren’t being ‘real’ enough.  Where is the line?  Is there one at all?

I don’t think that being real, that rawness that comes with a purge of emotions, is something that needs to be shared constantly on social media.  It’s not about hiding how you are feeling, or censoring but I think it’s more about allowing ourselves to sit with our emotions and letting them settle.  It’s about making sure that the words you share are the words that you want people to read.

I have a rule for anything that I feel a strong emotional reaction to online.  If I absolutely need to write out my feelings then I do, but I don’t do it online straight away.  I let myself sit with it, and come back to it a couple of hours later, after my emotional reaction has simmered.  Using this helps me to see the facts and not just red.  It’s a work in progress though and things do still slip out.

We all use social media in so many different ways.  I think that putting our own boundaries and rules on others is only going to cause angst.  I don’t know if people need to be more real or less, that really is up to them.  I just think that maybe we need to think about the motivations for being real, or not.

Writing online in a no holds barred, raw, heart on your sleeve, isn’t for everyone and that is OK.  Reading words that feel personal isn’t for everyone either and that’s OK too.  I think that if you set your own rules, and at the end of the day you are happy with the persona you put forward online, that is all that matters.  After all, it’s you who has to live with yourself in the silence.

Do you think being too real on social media is a bad thing?

How much do you share online?


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20 thoughts on “The cost of being real

  1. Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    This is something I think about a lot. Blogging makes me feel so vulnerable at times, especially when I have creepy looking guys follow me on my Facebook page. I feel like shutting everything down as soon as I get one of them because I don’t want them looking at pics of me or my kids. At those times, I remind myself to peel back. I think I can over share at times and it’s something I try to be very wary of. I do the same if I write a post that is a little intense. I sit on it for a few days. I have several posts that will never see the light of day. Drafting them though helped me through whatever issue I was experiencing at the time.

  2. Lydia C. Lee

    It’s interesting – I’m very mindful of not telling stories about my kids or partner, only what happens to me (or my thoughts on things – thus why I talk a lot about movies and books and the issues & emotions raised in those, rather than a big romantic gesture that happened or an argument that went sour.) That said, I’m sure people piece together a ‘version’ of me that may not even be me at all…who knows.

  3. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    To be honest, I don’t like going onto Facebook and seeing people ranting about this or that. I like to see the positive in my day and I get burdoned by another person’s crankiness. Being cranky is so exhausting …
    But when it come to the realness of health, that’s a different thing. The rawness of those emotions is different.
    If someone is not feeling well, I would like to know about it so that I can let them know they are not alone, they have support and that they are loved.
    I guess social media is just like real life. I prefer not to be around people who yell and scream and rant and rave and focus on the negatives.
    But at the same time life is not all bells and whistles, so I think we should communicate when things aren’t going so well so that we can get the support we need to get through.
    As usual you’ve made me have to think with your post.
    You must be doing something right.
    x o x o

  4. Josefa @always Josefa

    Absolutely, your space, your life, your soul, your stories and so – your rules. I have drafts sitting waiting to be finished waiting to be published and the hold back? Boundaries. Maybe those boundaries will shift one day. But you need rules, otherwise you can leave yourself open to judegment and regret – from yoruself 😉

  5. Raych aka Mystery Case

    I think it’s a simple matter of what works for you. I sometimes feel like I’ve crossed my line. Although, I’m honestly still trying to work out where that line should be. I think you can still be real online without the need for oversharing. The problem lies, for me, when someone shares only the picture perfect moments and they have ALL been figuratively and possibly literally photo shopped.

  6. JM Peace

    Great conversation! I am very wary about putting too much of ‘myself’ out on the internet because I have no control over what happens once it is out there. I think it would be very hard to take back something if you change your mind about it.

  7. Jess

    This is something I think about on a weekly basis! I am in a job where I could be very vulnerable if clients found me online, so I am constantly aware of the material I post, not putting full names up, limited self photos etc. But at the same time, my blog is my little oasis from the rest of my life and I sometimes resent being so restricted. Its a difficult balance to find!

  8. rachel_ourtownbrisbane

    I’m an internal processor of emotions and feelings so the idea of putting all that out on Facebook is absolutely abhorrent! That’s not to say I’m fake though (as I think you would know!) it’s just that I choose not to share that sort of stuff with 500 of my “closest” Facebook friends. As for the boys and Brook I made it a policy never to post anything that could embarrass them or be construed negatively, mainly because I’d be devo if they did it to me!

  9. Maxabella

    I think “real” is different for everyone. I’m not a big ‘out there’ kind of blogger, but I’m just not like that as a person. It wouldn’t be me to ‘blog raw’. I think one of the nicest things about blogging is that all kinds of people do it for all kinds of different reasons. It’s a brave soul who bears all, but that’s true in all of life. I guess the internet just magnifies real life – more people = louder reaction. x

  10. Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages

    I am real on social media – if I burn something it is there, if I make something beautiful its there, if I am struggling it is there, if I am deliriously happy its there. But I agree with your process of stepping away when you feel a very emotional response and waiting to make sure you really want to say it.

  11. Amy @ handbagmafia

    I think setting up these boundaries is all about what you feel comfortable sharing and your blog is a great example, I think, of sharing a lot in an effort to educate and raise awareness, but still maintaining your privacy

  12. EssentiallyJess

    I’ve been thinking about this too Tegan, because the kids have been talking cyber safety at school. There’s a lot of ‘me’ out there, that I probably wouldn’t want them to emulate right now. So does that make me a hypocrite, or cautious? And is it just because I know my lines, but they are still discovering there’s? I think I’m going to blog on this too.

  13. Michelle@myslowlivingadventure

    I think it’s such a personal decision as to how much you choose to share on any forum. I find myself writing stuff online that I wouldn’t have dreamed of hitting the publish button on even 6 months ago. Your own boundaries change and evolve depending upon where you’re at and what’s going on inside of you.

  14. Alison

    If you can imagine yourself in a court of law facing admitting that yep, you said that, or to your nearest and dearest relative, you’re good. I don’t shame, embarrass or care easily 🙂

  15. Vanessa

    Real is hard to define. I think our own personal boundaries is really what’s important – and you hit on the key here, not imposing our boundaries on anyone else.

  16. Janet @ Middle Aged Mama

    I’m all about “keeping it real” (which is why I hashtag all my fashion posts on IG and FB as #fashionfromtherealworld!) but I do think some things are not for sharing … including online and on social media. It’s nothing to do with not being real; it’s about keeping private things private. I know, a bit of an oxymoron for a blogger but there you go 😉

  17. Emily

    I like your approach. I’m similar. If I write a post on a sensitive topic, I’ll sit on it and reread it later when I’ve calmed down or had a think and make sure it’s something I want to post. And any post that mentions other people, even if it’s not by name but by general description (a friend said this, my younger brother etc) I’ll ask that person if they’re okay with it before I post.
    I’ve got one coming up that I’m nervous about. And I checked with my brother and mum as they’re mentioned, but they’re fine with it. Now it’s just down to whether I want to share it or not. Still deciding.
    With cyber safety, I use my children’s names from time to time but don’t if I can get away without them. And I never mention birth dates, middle names, details about where we live. Won’t be including pics of my daughter in her school uniform or anywhere recognisable.

  18. Kathy

    Tegan – I reckon your approach is great. You record the rawness for your own reflection and if it still feels like what you want to share, then share. Otherwise keep the record for yourself. I think we have to remember about the ‘old days’ when we there was a bigger gap between what came (and sometimes spewed) out of our head and what we committed to paper, to people. We need to allow ourselves this time for reflection in a digital age.

  19. Bec @ The Plumbette

    I need to read Vanessa’s blog post now! In regards to being real and raw online, I have thought about this a lot and I agree that some things need not be shared online. Everybody’s level of rawness will be different to others. Being real can make you more relatable but it can also set you up for judgement on the internet too. You have to protect yourself by knowing when to stop sharing.


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