As you may or may not know, I am pleased and honored to be one of the blog mentors for a new, free online course led by Rebecca Hogue and dedicated to helping those interested in starting a cancer blog. My first assignment was to tackle the question, should you blog? In a word, my answer is yes! To read more than one word, click here. This week the topic is, where do you draw the line? – or in other words when cancer blogging, how much information is too much?
One of the most important considerations when you’re blogging about anything, but especially when you’re blogging about your cancer experience, is deciding how much information about yourself (and others) you want to (or should) share.
When you blog (or leave comments on blogs) about such personal matters as your health and your cancer, it can be more than a bit intimidating. You are showing some vulnerability which means there can be some risk involved. Sometimes I can’t believe what I have put out there on the internet content-wise. And as I’ve mentioned before, I consider myself to be an introvert. In the real world, I don’t share a lot about myself. Here, I’m pretty darn open. Do I hide behind a keyboard? Maybe. But for me, this works well and it just might for you too. While sharing your cancer truths “with the world” might make you (and others) squirm a bit now and then, it’s also remarkably healing, empowering and cathartic.
Determining your comfort zone is something only you can do.
One thing I always remind myself of when blogging (and when commenting) is that yes, I am throwing my words out into the world-wide web, but not that many people will actually find their way to my blog and/or my comments. Cancer blogs are a tiny niche in the blogosphere. When you think about it, unless you work in the healthcare field, would you have been interested in reading a cancer blog before your (or your loved one’s) diagnosis? Probably not.
Having said this, it’s still imperative to remember that what you share is available for one and all to see and read and once it’s out there, you can’t reel it back in, not completely anyway. And in this image driven world, photos and YouTube videos and such require the same kind of deliberate consideration.
So yes, think about what you want to share and what your family is comfortable with you sharing as well. Only you can determine what those boundaries should be for you.
Blogging is a balancing act of sorts.
You want to be candid and share from your heart. After all, you are likely sharing in the first place in order to help others on similar paths. You want to instigate honest and helpful discussions about issues and aspects of your cancer experience that you care about. You want to provide sound information.
But at the same time, you also have to think of yourself, your family and those boundaries.
So my best advice on this topic is before you push that publish button for the first time, in fact every time, think about your boundaries. Figure out your comfort zone and then go with it. Tell your story.
Because everyone’s story matters, including yours.
If you’re a cancer blogger (or one who leaves comments regularly), where do you draw the line?
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, what are you feeling most hesitant about?
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