The first time I ever took a picture while facilitating!

When the announcement came out asking for speaker proposals for WordCamp Victoria 2012 last fall, I knew I wanted to put in a proposal. But I really struggled with what my contribution to the one-day conference on WordPress could be. I use WordPress to contribute to three blogs (two solely my own) but I am far from a WordPress expert. So it took me a while to have the ‘aha’ moment about what topic I could credibly bring forward. I realized over time that I could speak about Genuine Blogging, about bringing an authentic voice to our blogs and deciding how much of ourselves to share. And I started to get really excited about what this talk could look like.

I actually had been mulling over this issue for a while. Last year I read Susannah Conway’s posts1 about being honest in blogs and I had taken Kelly Rae Roberts’s Flying Lessons e-course which touched on bringing an authentic voice to everything you do with social media. I have admired both women for doing just that, and I knew that finding some combination of honesty and reservedness on my blog had always been the way to go.

So I took a chance and submitted the proposal for Genuine Blogging, and hoped like mad that the WordCamp organizers wouldn’t think I was some touchy-feely kook that wouldn’t be taken seriously by serious WordPress developer-types! But what do you know? They accepted my proposal. And last Saturday I went and delivered the session … and felt pretty great about what happened in that room.

I started by telling the participants a little bit of my embarrassing story of meeting the one-handed woman that I wrote about in this blog post six years ago. That was me, blogging from the heart and it was the fifth blog post that I ever wrote. Now, having published more than 500 blog posts in the last six years, I can honestly say that although I still probably don’t have it down to a science, I think I’ve treaded the line between sharing a little and sharing too much on my blogs pretty well. Unlike a friend of mine I talked to recently, I’ve never had any major family (or other kind of) drama unfold over what I’ve written! Although I do admit that my purpose was never to stir up controversy. For me, my blogs – especially my personal one – have always been an outlet to help me explore my way positively in the world.

This was actually a key point that I made in my session, that it’s necessary to get really clear on the purpose of your blog before you start gauging how much of yourself to share. You will always go back to this. For example, you may divulge more about yourself – the true challenges you face in your life as well as your successes – on a personal blog about your experience living with Lyme disease than on a business blog that highlights the work of your organization.

I’ll write another post soon about the questions I suggest people ask themselves when deciding how much to share on their blogs and finding their authentic voice. I’ll touch on what readers of blogs want to see and how it’s tempting to let fear stand in the way of sharing who we really are. And I’ll tell you how the conversation in the room really started to spark when I brought all this up. (I’ll share a copy of my presentation too.)

Until that time, tell me…how do you share who you really are on your blog? I’d love to hear about your most honest moments and the response you got.

1Can we just be honest? and The many flavours of blogging