Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Are business blogs self-revelation zones?
Are business blogs self-revelation zones?
It seems that some business and marketing bloggers are maybe running out of things to talk about.
It seems that maybe they are groping for juicy material.
Or perhaps they're just lonely.
At any rate, some of them are suddenly crying out for the freedom to post very private material on their blogs. Some are even starting "Personal Blogs" as an outlet for such trivia.
I probably seem "old fashioned", "overly professional", or "repressed".
Because I don't think a business blog is the place to discuss your sexual orientation or appetite.
I don't think a business blogger should add private clutter to their blog.
Private, family, sexual, political, medical, mental health, religious, ethnic, or racial material just gets in the way of the meat of your blog.
If I can't blog for a few days, due to a back problem, I might mention this medical problem. But only because this problem is having an impact on my blogging activity, not because I want everyone to know me on a deeply personal level.
Remember now: I'm talking about Business or Marketing Blogs.
What I say is probably also true for Academic, Scholarly, Scientific, Philosophical, Industrial, and other professional type blogs.
A business blogger, for whom I have extremely high levels of respect and trust, is now campaigning in favor of Perso-Pro blogging. "Perso-Pro" means Personal-Professional, the mixing of private, extraneous material with relevant, practical business information.
I am...freaked out.
I am...very perplexed as to What On Earth could be the Purpose of such drivel?
Oh, I'm going to be accused of having a stern, stoic, un-fun, stuffy approach to blogging.
Friends, if you've been reading my blogs for any length of time, you know that's not true. However, if you think I'm some kind of uptight business zealot, trying to force bloggers to strip all personality out of their blogs, kindly email me or post a comment explaining your opinion.
Do I have a personal life? Sort of, I suppose. Not much, though. I spend 70 to 90% of my awake time at the computer.
Let me make this perfectly clear:
I am a business blog consultant and a web usability analyst.
I am not a personal blogger.
My wife (who's a web user observation test administrator, my company's business manager, and an accountant), and I are attending a web development meeting tonight at an architectural firm.
These folks do not want to hear about our house hunting, our family problems, our tastes in music or film. They simply want us to spend the time alloted in discussing improvements to a web site. Period.
It's not that they are old fashioned fuddy duddies. It's simply that they are Professional and have limited time. If I want to blabber about irrelevant personal details, well...
...that's what bars, country clubs, hairdressers, barber shops, friends, and social organizations are for. Right?
I don't even tell my closest friends or family every excruciating detail of my private life.
Why would you post private material in your blog, when the same private material would be inappropriate in a business meeting? It would be a waste of everyone's time.
Your business blog is similar to a business meeting. Readers visit your blog to learn things that might apply to their own blogging or business practices.
Let me ask my readers right now: is a business blog a self-revelation zone?
Do you want me to divulge my tastes in music, food, religion, politics, fashion, films? How would such irrelevant revelations enable you to "feel more comfortable"? How would such revelations assist you in your business, your blogging, or your life?
Am I offended or horrified when a business blogger reveals sexual, dietary, musical, family, or medical details? No.
Do I need to know any of this? Probably not.
Here's my comment that I just posted at the blog of this business blogger who advocates self-revelatory "freedom":
All this talk of "Berlin Walls" between personal and professional life betrays a bias in favor of "gushing". I think women may be more prone culturally to do this in a business context.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that when male business people get together, nearly no personal information is divulged. The private material that might be touched upon would be sports team allegiances or a new truck recently purchased.
The moment a man begins to speak of private, emotional, sexual matters, it is generally considered irrelevant, vulgar, or inappropriate. Plus: weak, insecure, and self-obsessed.
It is not "old fashioned" or "repressive" to be reserved when it comes to such matters, especially in a business context. In fact, it is questionable, to my mind, when a person implies that unless you spill your guts about all your personal tastes and private affairs, you are somehow not honest or credible.
I really have no need to know, nor any interest in, a business blogger's taste in sex, politics, diet, music, films, food, sports, family values, or any other private matters.
If a business blogger has a strong need to express and share these things, I don't condemn them, but I have to wonder why this need exists.
On my blogs, I started displaying a list of music CDs I was listening to, but after about a month, I deleted this list, considering it frivolous, irrelevant, and being a potential turn-off to some potential clients or current readers.
In the military there is a wise "Need to Know" policy. If you have no "Need to Know", you are not going to know. I approve of this. Too many personal details are simply clutter and they dilute the meat of your message. (Strangely mixed metaphors, huh?)
Your opinions, as usual, are appreciated.
Let me know your Personal Detail Policy as a BUSINESS BLOGGER.
Email me today, or post a comment.
Take the "Online Professional/Personal Overlap Survey" at:
[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate
Posted by steven edward streight at 8/16/2005 03:20:00 PM