If you’re a blogger, do your friends and family know you write? Do they follow your site and show their support, maybe even leaving a like or comment occasionally? Or do you prefer not to tell them, making your blog something only for yourself and a side of your life they’re not a part of?
This was the subject of conversation in a channel on The Support Role Discord server recently after someone suggested connecting on LinkedIn. Another member responded by explaining how they keep their online persona and real-life very separate: although they’re happy to share what’s going on in the real world, they prefer to leave out details which could be used to easily make the link. Several others then echoed the same sentiment and revealed they keep their blogging and real selves apart.
At first I was quite surprised by this. Blogging is usually a very social activity and many writers are extremely proud of their sites, so it makes sense they’d want to share their work with those close to them. I’ve published posts and where other bloggers have commented before their sibling has joined in with the conversation too; and when my other-half and I completed our 24-hour stream last month, one even tuned in with their mother (who ended up making a very kind donation herself!).
But then I realised: I keep my blog and personal life separate so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that others do too. In fact, of the nine people who responded to that comment about LinkedIn on the Discord server, all of them said they do the same. Explanations ranged from being wary about work colleagues finding out about hobbies, to professional responsibilities or conflicts of interest, to parents disapproving of gaming habits. So what are my own reasons?
Let’s start with family first. Although my brother and sister-in-law recently stumbled across the Later Levels Instagram, no other relatives on my side of the family know about the site. Although my parents don’t have a problem with video games, I’ve never made the move to tell them because I don’t want the blog to be used as some kind of ‘bragging right’. My dad has a tendency to stay into overly-proud-father territory and with that can come a lot of pressure when he tells people about his kids’ achievements.
Most of my real-life friends nowadays are people I’ve met through blogging and they tend to have similar hobbies. But those I’ve grown to know through other channels have no interest in video games whatsoever and they view the fact I play as a ‘quirk’. I’ve therefore never had any incentive to tell them about Later Levels and I’m not entirely sure what they’d make of it if I did; maybe they’d be surprised but I doubt they’d want to know more. It seems a bit pointless starting the conversation so I don’t think it’s one I’m ever likely to have.
And now we come to colleagues. Prior to switching jobs last July, I worked for a manager who was disdainful of video games. It was safer never to never mention the blog because if I did, he would have immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was using company resources to maintain it. My current team is more open to gaming and actually include me in conversations; but again, I’ve never told them about what I do. It just feels weird bringing it up at work and I’d rather keep it as something only for my personal life.
Naithin from Time to Loot recently published a post on a similar subject, and he summed it up perfectly: “I’ve just never felt comfortable talking about it in the professional environment. Perhaps an acknowledgement of the shared interest with another known gamer. But never would I reveal this whole ‘other’ part of me — this guy who has an internet blog and prefers the collection of hobbies surrounding gaming more than any other hobby.”
I really can’t see myself announcing Later Levels to these groups any time soon. The thought of having family, friends and work colleagues read the posts I’ve published makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, although I struggle to find the words to explain why. Perhaps it’s because these people are ‘too close’ and it’s easier to respond to comments on a blog page rather than in person? I’m not entirely sure, but what I do know is that the site will be a secret for as long as I decide to continue blogging.
So what about you? Do those around you know you blog or is it something you keep to yourself?