As I mentioned the other day, when the call for speaking proposals came out for WordCamp Victoria 2012, I didn’t know how my proposal for to facilitate “Genuine Blogging” would be received. And even though my proposal was accepted, I was still a little bit nervous as to how the presentation would go with who I thought were going to be mostly “techie types” in the room.

Well, the truth was that in the end I didn’t have to be worried at all. In fact, when I mentioned at the beginning of the presentation that this was going to likely be the least techie of the presentations they had attended all day, they broke into applause! That’s when I knew the right people were in the room. They heard what I had to say, questioned me and added their own viewpoints, and the discussion that took place – all about blogging in an authentic way – was pretty great.

I brought up issues such as the fear we feel when starting our blogs and putting ourselves “out there”, and how we sometimes let that fear get in our way of showing who we really are to our online community. Susannah Conway (and maybe others) call this the “PR version” of ourselves. You know, the shiny, brightest version of ourselves that we put forward to the world on our blog, while hiding all the crud away that we don’t want people to know about.

Now I’m not saying that we all have to share every smidgel of ourselves on our blogs and lay it all out there bare for the world to see. No. Definitely no. But I think there is something to be said for being as honest as we can, sharing pieces of all sides of ourselves and letting the dark sides see light sometimes. Showing our humanity. That we are fallible too. (Hey, an example is when I wrote about rejection – that struck a chord with people!) Blog readers want to see a realistic slice of our lives, and they want to see that they are not the only ones sometimes who are afraid or sick or crazy or silly or weird.

Showing who we are on our blog helps build community. We can experience closeness and even friendship with others through our blogs if we allow it to happen.

The trick is to find the balance between how much to share and how much to keep private. Of the many things we need to ask ourselves before we post, two are about 1) the purpose of our blog and 2) if anyone or anything else is at risk. We need to get clear on the purpose of our blog – this is key. And we need to ensure that we are only telling stories that we are allowed to tell. In short, will anyone or anything be impacted by what we are about to share? We all have to find our own comfort level with where to draw the line, while still putting forward our authentic voice.

Our authentic voice may take some time to find, but it will come with practice. Post about some of the challenges you face as well as your successes, your feelings as well as your actions, and you’ll be heading in the right direction. (If you need to get inspired to show your vulnerable side, go check out Brene Brown who is delving deep into these issues – and has a wonderful blog herself.)

Remember that the internet is a great place to find your tribe. (I was gleeful when Mac brought up this term before I did in the session!) And you can only find your tribe if you’re being who you are on your blog.

This was one presentation when I really wished we had an extra half an hour (or more) to go deep into the discussion as the conversation was really getting great when we had to stop. If there were a time and a place to discuss these ideas and strategies more deeply, I’d like to have it. In the meantime, let’s continue it online.

Here’s a link to my presentation: