Do your friends know that you blog?

When I started my blog, my husband was the only one outside of the blogosphere to know. I wasn’t sure where this new adventure would take me, so I decided to keep it to myself. As time went on I started to tell a few good friends, unsure of their reaction or interest. Most were receptive and asked for the URL, a few said the equivalent of “oh, that’s nice… let’s talk about something else.” Now, after seven years, no more than ten non-blogging friends read my blog, or are even aware of it.

And that’s just fine.

Who is the woman behind this blog?

I became curious about what others do when I noticed that many of my blogging friends link to their posts on Facebook. Some had blog-specific Facebook accounts, but most just linked from their personal page. I imagine many do the same thing from other social media accounts.  

Most of the friends I have on Facebook are people I’ve known from my childhood or from my work life. Although many of them are actual friends – even close friends – not all are. Many are really just friendly acquaintances in practical terms.

I have made the choice not to link my posts. In fact, just the idea of it makes me very uncomfortable.

So, what gives? Why are some people happy to let anyone and everyone know about their blog, and others are happier keeping the worlds separate?

On a recent Zoom meeting, I asked this question of five blogger friends, and got a variety of answers. Although most of them didn’t share their blogs on social media initially, they now link their posts without hesitation. A few mentioned that their blog helps them keep in touch with friends and family, but all said that they write what they want (with some minor self-censorship if, for example, their mother reads their blog) and share freely.

This discussion made me wonder how other non-monetized, “lifestyle” bloggers feel about sharing with friends and family. Do most keep their worlds separate or are they comfortable sharing their blog… or maybe a little of both?

So, how about you?

  • Do you freely tell your friends and family about your blog? If you do, what has been the general response?
  • Have you ever censored or altered what you have written in a post knowing a specific person reads your blog?
  • Do you link your posts to social media? If so, do you use your personal account, or do you have a blog-specific account? What social media platforms do you use?
  • If you do share on social media, what has been your experience?
  • Has your sharing philosophy changed over the life of your blog?

Obviously, these are decisions that everyone gets to make for themselves, but I find the different approaches so interesting. I hope you’ll join the discussion and share your experiences – good or bad.

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

190 thoughts on “Do your friends know that you blog?”

    1. I like the idea of a blog-specific FB page. That way you can not only link to your blog, but also share articles, information, or other people’s blog posts if you think they would be of interest to your readers. And, I agree about self-censorship. I think I’d do that more a lot of friends and family read my blog.

  1. I have an author Facebook page that I link my blog to. From there I share to groups that may be interested depending on the topic. It is an adquate means to gain readers.

  2. I recently started a blog and only one person that knows me knows about it. I do not want to link it to anything else. I had a blog before for 10 years, linked it to Facebook and no one read it from Facebook. I wanted a fresh start with blog and followers.

  3. I have shared that I have a blog with family and friends. Most have not asked about how to find it or subscribe to it. I have shared that I have a blog with perfect strangers, when I feel it is a appropriate to do so. Case in point, a nurse in my doctor’s office follows my blog. I do have a drafted post discussing family heirlooms; but I am not comfortable releasing it, so yes, I have held back from sharing some information. And lastly, I DO have a FB page linked to my blog. Except that I never seem to remember to share my posts on FB. But Pinterest….?…it’s practically my 2nd career.

    1. That’s funny, I usually feel comfortable sharing the existence of my blog with (appropriate) strangers too. I guess it’s not much different from having perfect strangers sign up to receive notices of my blog posts. I love that your nurse reads your blog! I’d probably forget to link my posts too, so it’s probably just as well that I don’t have a blog-specific FB page 🙂 Just one more thing to think about.

  4. Initially there were only a few close work friends who knew I started a blog. Then I told a few family members. I was surprised that most family members read and will occasionally comment. When I started at the gym I chose not to mention it because the gym is full of funny stories and I didn’t want to sensor like I do with my family. I got the nicest comment from my niece who said that I write in a way that doesn’t identify people because every time I attended a family function someone would ask if they were going to end up on my blog. I post it on FB but I don’t get much traffic from there or if I do I can’t tell. It goes out on Twitter automatically and I don’t do any other social media. Every once in a while I wish I had a completely anonymous blog because I have some really great stories! 🙂

    1. I love your gym – and mall walker – stories so I hope those people never find out about your blog. I guess your cats know but they don’t seem to care as long as they get equal billing. That is so funny that family members ask if they will end up on your blog (and, I assume some already have been there but didn’t recognize themselves). Maybe you need to start another blog so you can share those juicy stories. I’ll be the first to sign up!

  5. My immediate family and some of my friends know that I blog. My family members want to stay private so I don’t write anything specific about them on my blog.

    1. I would imagine that most people wouldn’t appreciate ending up in a blog post unless they had some control. I always try to get permission if I post a picture of someone that I know. If my mother was still alive, I know that I would tell her about my blog. She was a writer and editor, so I would have loved to get her input.

  6. Your questions posed a challenge for me. Blogging ain’t such a big thing here in Tasmania. My initial response is that I blog for the future, my kids future, so that perhaps sometime in their future when they are my age now, they wonder what their old man was thinking back then forty or so years before, they might read about me, my times, my feelings, my humour, my friends, maybe even what I thought; or then again maybe not

  7. I’ve always told everyone I know that I have a public personal blog. They know it is here, if they pay attention to what I’ve said, of course. I figure I don’t say anything on the blog that I wouldn’t say in real life around people I know, so why be secretive?

    More interesting to me is that you have Zoom meetings with other bloggers. To me that seems incredible, considering we usually only know each other via the written page. Fascinating.

    1. In my case, it’s not about being secretive in the sense of not wanting people I know read my words. Like you, I don’t write anything that I wouldn’t say in real life. I think it’s more the desire to keep the worlds separate. I’ll have to think more about why I feel that way.

      The bloggers I Zoom with were once just blog friends. They are now what I’d consider real life friends. I’ve met all but one in person.

  8. Hi, Janis – I love this post. It reminds me that there is a vast diversity of bloggers, with different drivers and highly different styles. You already know my answers to these questions, but I will include them to add to this diversity.
    1. “Do you tell your friends/family about your blog?” Yes – I always have – but I never push it. Some people are more interested than others. In the past, some eyes did glaze over before I completed one sentence about blogging. I don’t remember this happening recently — perhaps I’m just less sensitive to it.
    2. “Have you ever censored or altered what you have written?” I never, ever wish to offend or embarrass anyone, so I always censor as I write.
    3. “Do you link your posts to social media?” Yes – I link to both my personal and blog Facebook accounts. I think my posts also go out to LinkedIn and Twitter, but I need to double-check if that still happens. I seldom look at my stats.
    4. “Has your sharing philosophy changed over the life of your blog?” I’ve definitely become more relaxed and casual about blogging. I also think that blogging is now part of my self-identity, and family and friends now recognize and support this. It’s a very comfortable place to be (but it did take a while to get here). 😀

    1. Thank you for your great answers, Donna! My question that started with our Zoom chat has generated some really thoughtful responses here, so I’m glad you added your responses. I agree about never wanting to offend or embarrass anyone so I don’t write about people like that either. I guess that’s self-censoring, but it’s also because I like to maintain an upbeat tone on my blog.

  9. This is me to a T Janis. My neighbor persuaded me to start a blog and she was the only one for a very long time who read my blog/commented. Very reluctantly did I tell people about it and with the exception of fellow walker from Council Point Park, Ann Marie, no one else comments. I wonder about the 10 or so people who signed up when I finally mentioned my blog – do they simply delete it from their e-mail inbox, direct it to SPAM etc.? I have written posts about a friend of mine twice and when published I sent to her and she says “I’ll look at it when I get time.” I never heard from her again if she read it or not, so I no longer send it. I was very excited when I first began my blog and spent an entire weekend writing my initial post and setting up the site. I told my boss on the Monday after: “I’m excited, I have created a blog.” His response was NOT “great, what it is about?” or “What made you decide to do that?” His response was “do you get paid for it?” I gave him an icy “no” and he never asked more. That was it and I’ve never mentioned it to him again. That was in 2013. I don’t share it on Facebook either. I don’t put anything on my timeline anyway.
    Thanks for sharing your feelings about blogging Janis.

    1. It’s interesting how people respond to learning about a blog. Some (very few) are receptive and sign up. Some of those actually continue to read posts. Very, very few ever comment. Your boss’s question and response is classic!

      I didn’t realize that Ann Marie (who I always see commenting on your posts) was a fellow walker. I have always thought getting comments from non-bloggers was rare and special. How nice that she follows and responds to your posts!

      1. That’s exactly the same with me Janis. I’ve had people say “what is a blog?” I think those e-mail subscribers felt obligated to follow, yet don’t comment. I even looked to see if those folks are still there – they have not unsubscribed … yet.

        As to Ann Marie, she used to live about a mile from me. I never knew her until she retired. She was an elementary school teacher in a Catholic school – before that she was a nun. She never speaks about being a nun, just a teacher. Ann Marie starting walking at Council Point Park after she retired and I met her there – I was taking a photo of a Woolly Bear caterpillar to write a post about the folklore surrounding it rings = a good/bad Winter. She asked me what I was doing. I mentioned the blog and she has followed me ever since. She and her husband moved to an apartment in another city – he is older than she is and could no longer manage the stairs. They moved about 4 years ago. We have walked together sometimes after her move, but not in a few years. Ann Marie is a faithful commenter and is a nature lover as well, so she enjoys seeing the local attractions. She and her husband drive to the bigger parks where I go and picnic at them.

  10. I love this conversation. 🙂 When I first started blogging and would possibly mention it, there was this glazed look that almost made me laugh out loud so I definitely stopped telling people. I have a few friends who follow and they have mentioned it to other friends, but mostly it is the blogging community I ‘talk’ to. I use to link to my FB page not my personal one but I pulled that a while back and even spent some time deleting previous links. I just came to a point where I wanted to continue to communicate in the blogging community but not necessarily on FB. Yes, I definitely censor some things so that I don’t get too personal or offend anyone. When I started it was about family but it has changed to be more about life at a ‘mature’ age I guess. Seeing posts show up from the blogging community is as welcome as the old days of going to the mailbox and finding a letter from a good friend. 🙂

    1. You sound so much like me! I love my blogging community and enjoy the interaction so much. That several of them have become real life friends is a bonus that I never anticipated and it means so much to me. I also feel like I have virtual friends around the world who I could probably get together with if I ever traveled to their area, or they traveled to mine.

      I think that after we’ve blogged for a whole, we get into a rhythm we are comfortable with. I doubt that I will ever link to my FB page because I’m happy with my blogging world the way it is. 🙂

  11. Interesting question. I don’t fit into the “lifestyle” blogger category, though I do occasionally post a travel feature or opinion piece. Mostly I write about family history or history in general. My friends don’t follow my blog, and very few family seem to, either. It’s amazing I have any followers at all!

    How interesting that you Zoom with other bloggers.

    1. I would think that the rich family history you write about would be a goldmine for other family members. But, I understand that blogs aren’t for everyone.

      Our blogger Zooms started as a response to Covid isolation and have continued to be a welcome catch-up with friends. A lot of our discussions don’t even involve blogging topics at all.

  12. I started “our” first blog as a record of our restoration of an old catalogue house. We shared it widely and had lots of people make comments and read; many of them featured in the photots also when they came out to “work for free” for us. I often got encouragment about my writing and I wanted a blog that didn’t have to be tied to projects and a specific theme. So I started what I call my main blog and I shared it widely at first on FB and Twitter but there were several things I disliked about that so I quit that about 2 years ago. My readership when down but I came to be ok with that. I have a few friends, a couple of cousins and my editoral staff (my other half) who read regularly. I do have one post that sits in draft because I can never publish it even though it is well written. I am originally from a small town of 200 people and the cousin who reads this could and would identify everyone and it could cause a family rift. If I feel like I need to think about the post before I publish the editoral staff looks at it and gives me his honest opinion. I had a post called “Rant” about life in the health care system and it went mini viral at 10,000+ reads in about 3 days so one has always to be prepared that someone may be offended by what you write. But I write from the heart and as someone else said; I would say it in real life (but then it wouldn’t come across as funny just snarky because it’s only with time that I can see the funny side of things). On my third blog I started it for just a daily photo and haiku and to challenge myself to sometimes think outside the box. Great post and sorry (not sorry) for the really long comment!

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful – and long 🙂 – response! I’m sorry that you can’t publish your small town story, but I understand the desire not to cause a family rift. No post would be worth that!

      I’m going to go back into your archives to find your Rant. I haven’t had any of my posts go viral like that! I imagine it must have been exhilarating, and a little scary when it happened.

      I love that you have an editorial staff… wait, I have one too! I think it’s good to have someone to bounce ideas and certain post topics off of. They can see things we don’t (and, hopefully, find typos and grammatical errors).

  13. Hi Janis, this is a great post and touches on something I often wonder about. I have been blogging for a while and at first I was reluctant to share post on social media. I started a separate blog page on facebook and use that to share posts rather than my personal page. I think by now most people know it’s me writing the blog although I tried to keep them apart.

    1. Do you freely tell your friends and family about your blog? Most of my friends and family know about my blog and are interested to a certain degree. It helped that my sister and one of my daughters blog too. People seem to be accepting and supportive of those who paint or create something solid not just deal in words.
    2. Have you ever censored or altered what you have written in a post knowing a specific person reads your blog? Yes I am careful about what I write and always ask permission before using anything too personal or photos of grandchildren.
    3. Do you link your posts to social media? If so, do you use your personal account, or do you have a blog-specific account? What social media platforms do you use? I have a blog-specific account on most social media platforms in the name of my blog – Twitter, Pinterest, Flipboard, Mix, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram but I rarely use most of them!!
    4. If you do share on social media, what has been your experience? I’ve had a lot of people visit after I’ve shared a link but not many ever leave a comment, which is what I’d prefer. Maybe it’s too hard to go through the rigmarole of leaving a comment. I make sure I check spam for comments regularly and have made two more personal posts private because of undue attention from people who I didn’t know. I rarely have negative comments made to my face or left on my blog thank goodness!
    5. Has your sharing philosophy changed over the life of your blog? Yes I’m much more relaxed than I was when I first started.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts 🙂

    1. Although my blog is a labor of love, I don’t think I’d have the bandwidth to also manage all those other social media platforms. I do have an Instagram account, but I only use it to post (what I think are) pretty or interesting pictures I’ve taken. I do have my blog URL listed on my IG page, but I’m not aware of anyone finding my blog that way (I have no idea if they have).

      I love that your sister and daughter blogs. I have a friend who started a blog after I did and I enjoy talking about blogging with her. It’s nice when others understand the platform and the care and feeding that goes into maintaining it.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  14. My family, friends, and neighbors know I blog. Some read; few comment. I share on Facebook, because that’s where a few want to see it. I haven’t made any basic changes since I started the blog.

    1. I think most bloggers who have friends and family reading their posts find that they seldom comment. I’m not sure what a non-blogger has to go through to sign up to comment so maybe that’s a barrier? Probably it’s just that MOST people who read blogs don’t comment, and if a non-blogger is reading, there is less incentive to connect. Have you ever asked them?

      1. No, I don’t want to ask people why they don’t comment. They might take it as a complaint or a begging for attention. John thinks people are intimidated by good writers, and I’m including all of us bloggers in that category. I think people enjoy knowing what is going on, but they are busy and don’t care to write. Daughter Lise said she feels very connected to me and the family through the blog. I gently told her it was a one-way street, that I had no idea what was going on in her life.

  15. I’ve been keeping it to myself, with the exception of my daughter. Now I’ve asked a handful of family and friends if they would have a look at my blog and let me know what they think. I’m still uncomfortable to let everybody know, though…

  16. I do share links to my blog, both on Facebook and WhatsApp, meaning that both old friends, family but also colleagues and potential dates I give my number have access to it. If they so choose.

    And though I do not alter my content (I know my ex reads along, but I’ll still write heartbreak posts) for potential readers, I do worry now and then. But that is, in its own way, exciting.

    I guess all attention is…attention. Be it positive or negative. So even weird, bad or confronting – I like the discussion my blog opens up.

    But it’s a choice. And I do sometimes regret it. But on the whole I love the sharing and see the positive outweigh the negative.

    Interesting to see how others handle it!

    1. Interesting comment about attention. I love the “attention” of gaining new readers and having people comment. The “attention” that I imagine I’d get if I suddenly marketed my blog on my FB page feels very uncomfortable. Perhaps it’s the introverted side of me. I never thought about sharing posts on WhatsApp. I only use it to make calls when traveling… I don’t think of it as a social media platform. The things I learn from this blog 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

  17. Dear Janis and Friends, i mentioned keeping a blog to a co-worker, a friend and maybe a stranger – then left it go at that. i figure if people are interested, they’ll ask – which none of the two or three have. And that’s okay, people are more than enough busy with their own lives.

    1. That is such a great point. Bloggers obviously love blogs so they are enthusiastic followers. Others aren’t used to that platform so it could feel like just one more thing that is vying for their attention. I once had cards made up with my blog URL that I give out now-and-then (when traveling mostly) but who knows if they generate readers at all.

  18. In the beginning no one I knew knew I blogged. I’ve since relaxed that rule, but I’m not open about it. I don’t share on facebook or other social media. I think my friends all know they’re fair game if they do something particularly stupid. After I initially told my husband and daughter, my daughter said to him…”we better dial down the stupid because otherwise she’ll blog about it”

  19. Janis, not really given some of the political commentary. The emails I send out weekly are edited versions of blog posts that seem to resonate. Keith

    1. Interesting, Keith. Do you send those emails to your non-blogging friends too? I agree that, given the political leanings of your posts, it’s best not to let everyone know about your blog. You don’t necessarily want an echo chamber, but you also don’t want your comment section to be full of vitriol.

      1. Janis, the emails go out to about 200 folks, some are public officials and reporters. The mix is likely 50% Dem, 20% Rep and 30% Ind. Sometimes I will edit out something I know will be too inflammatory, but not always. Keith

  20. Fascinating discussion. I think in future social studies texts, we will find essays on this exact topic. I’ll answer your questions as listed.

    Do you freely tell your friends and family about your blog? If you do, what has been the general response?

    At first, I told people about the blog. Some, mind you, not all – the general response was lukewarm to patronizing to somewhat hostile. The negative response was from someone who has issues about braggy people. Interestingly, she is my closest friend.

    Have you ever censored or altered what you have written in a post knowing a specific person reads your blog?

    Yes – as a matter of fact, many of my posts I reserve for one on one letter writing rather than social media.

    Do you link your posts to social media? If so, do you use your personal account, or do you have a blog-specific account? What social media platforms do you use?

    I used to link to my personal posts to Facebook, but since an upgrade to either WP, FB or both, that functionality has been lost. So now, I don’t bother. That said, when I write a post that I feel will interest the local historians, then I share the link on the pertinent groups. Plus, I have a couple of history related blogs that are supposedly linked directly to FB, but who knows if that still works?

    If you do share on social media, what has been your experience?

    I have yet to experience the severely negative flaming that social media is known for. [touch wood] That said, I avoid controversial subjects. Generally, the response is positive and even enjoyable. People have commented with enthusiasm and gratitude and that is encouraging.

    Has your sharing philosophy changed over the life of your blog?

    Yes – not so much how I share, but what I share. I regret the me-me-me-ness of most of my earlier content. I’m tempted to delete the “over-sharing”.

    1. I think your habit of sharing particular posts is a good one. Although I don’t write historical posts, I do write about travel and local spots that might be of interest to certain groups. I should think about that more.

      Funny about your friend. I guess she views blogging as a form of bragging? Although there certainly are blogs that could be labeled as braggy, most are not (and, certainly yours isn’t). Maybe she equates blogs with platforms that “social influencers” use.

  21. To answer your questions it is important to consider the content of the blog. On my blog, I have only two themes. One is the history of our family with a quite limited audience. The other one is showing the natural splendour of the Arrow Lakes, where I live. There occasionally I post the link on my FB page for everyone to see the beauty of our area.

    1. I think it makes sense to share your blog freely. Although I don’t write anything controversial (that I’m aware of, anyway), I do write things that, for instance, I might not want to share with my neighbor. I’m glad you share stories and pictures of your home; it really is beautiful!

  22. 1. “Do you tell your friends/family about your blog?” Actually, only a few people know ~ my husband, children, my sister, my BFF, and about 4 – 5 other friends and that is it. Only one of these actually reads my posts.
    2. “Have you ever censored or altered what you have written?” I stay away from certain topics, such as politics or controversial content. Although I always proofread my submissions I rarely feel as if I have to censor or alter what I have written.
    3. “Do you link your posts to social media?” No, not interested in doing this at all. I am just enough of an introvert to find this uncomfortable. If they happen to find out through someone else that I blog then that is fine.
    4. “Has your sharing philosophy changed over the life of your blog?” I’ve definitely become more relaxed and more comfortable revealing my thoughts with others even if they are people I have never met. The support base and any responses to my writing is truly appreciated. I like to express myself in writing so I see this as an outlet for myself and not as a means to gain followers and rarely look at my stats.

    Great post! I loved reading everyone’s responses!

    1. For some reason, I had to fish your comment out of spam jail… sorry.

      I could have written your responses myself. Isn’t it interesting how so many approach blogging – and sharing – differently. I’m pretty happy how I have things set up so I probably won’t change but several of the comments have giving me ideas to ponder. Your comment about being “just enough of an introvert” resonated with me. Putting a link to my blog on my FB page would feel like standing on a chair in a room full of people, waving my arms, and shouting “look at me!” Ummmm… nope.

  23. I’m happy to know I was among the first friends to know you were starting a blog.
    I’ve enjoyed every blog I’ve read of yours but don’t often comment.
    Keep writing, Janis!

  24. I started a blog on Vistaprint in the beginning because I wanted a platform where I could hopefully lead people to my Etsy shop. I got a TON of spam comments and Vistaprint did not have proper blockers so I left them and moved to Blogger, but by that time I was not doing as much promoting of my Etsy shop and more just writing about things that were happening to me or I found interesting. I think I’ve secretly always wanted to be some kind of writer. I do tell my friends and family that I have a blog but they don’t read it on a regular basis. I especially point it out to them if I have mentioned them or put their picture in a post. I believe in telling the truth so I do censor or I don’t write about some things.

    When I started doing the A to Z Challenge I made a WP blog because it seemed like that’s where everyone was. Now I have it set up so that when I post on WP, it automatically posts on Blogger and my business Facebook page. Then I share it from the business page to my personal FB page. It also automatically posts to Pinterest. When I do post about something new I made to sell or anything related to my craft work, I also add separate pins on different Pinterest boards.

    I, too, find it interesting you are doing Zoom meets with other bloggers but then again, you have been on several meet-ups in person so it shouldn’t surprise me.

    1. Wow, you are really linked up to a lot of platforms. I’m very impressed… and exhausted just thinking about it 🙂 Are you able to trace Etsy sales generated from your blog?

      I don’t think a certain amount of self-censoring is a bad thing. We do it in real life too because saying exactly what’s on our minds isn’t necessarily kind or helpful.

      1. Yes, I can tell where the people come from who look at my Etsy site. It looks like I have to do a lot to get on all those platforms but most of it is automatically done either from the site itself or from the IFTTT applet. Actually, if I really want to generate more sales, I should be doing lots more.

  25. When I did FB I used to link, but then I stopped using FB and haven’t missed it really. I used to link my blog to my Twitter account but stopped doing that years ago too. My family and friends know I blog and they read it from time to time. Now they only thing I do is hand out calling cards with the blog address, and other photo sites I use when someone asks me how to view my images.

  26. Hi, Janis — I’m amazed that people DON’T tell their friends and family! If you’re doing a “lifestyle” blog with no product to see, where else does your audience come from? I gather that some people just read blogs. This is quite a learning experience for me! Thanks for getting the conversation rolling! Best, Nancy

    1. It’s an interesting conversation, isn’t it? I don’t know about others, but I slowly built up readership by following – and commenting on – other blogs that I found interesting. Not everyone “gets” blogs so maybe that’s why it’s mostly bloggers who follow bloggers. I’m curious, are most of your readers and commenters bloggers or non-bloggers?

  27. Hi Janis – Interesting question. I enjoyed reading through the responses, also 😉 I am not a fan of social media, and decided to take my sail out of that wind quite a while ago. I adore the blogging world, where things are mostly civil, where people are signed-in in a fashion, and most of the content is written. Since my blog writing is primarily me recording my experiences, and my blog reading is me reading other people’s experiences, this platform is all I need :))) Hope your day is wonderful – Susan

    1. I have often thought I should get off FB but, instead, I just culled my “friends” down to those who help me keep it a happy place (especially during this election). Blogging is way more civil. Other than the “I hate Boomers” spam comment (and the other nonsense spam WP intercepts) I have avoided nastiness too. Yay blogs!

  28. This is an intriguing topic, Janis, and it’s interesting to read the comments and see the practices and perspectives of others. I launched a blog because (1) I enjoy creative writing; (2) I love traveling and wanted to document our camping and RV experiences; and (3) I was hoping to connect with others (readers and bloggers) who enjoy a similar lifestyle. I started publishing in the early winter of one year, and included news about my blog, as well as a couple of business cards, with our holiday newsletter that goes out to about 100 family members and friends. I can tell that some of them read the blog via my email subscriptions, but have no idea beyond that which friends and family members are interested. (I regularly read a lot of blogs, but don’t subscribe to any.) Alan and I are both introverts and very private people, so I’m cautious about what I post only because I value privacy so much myself. If I include photos of anyone, I always clear it with them first as a courtesy, so my husband and kids don’t stress about my documenting our family travels. Being a “social hermit,” I’m not into any social media, so no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts to deal with. I absolutely love the fact that others are interested in my blog, and I enjoy the comments because that’s part of the connecting with like-minded people that I was hoping to accomplish. Sharing my thoughts and experiences with others who have found my content or writing style appealing in some way brightens my day and has proven to be extremely rewarding.

    1. Privacy is key for me (and my husband) too. Funny how one can feel private on a blog, but you can always choose to share or not, and how much and when to share. For instance, I never post when we travel (I schedule posts in advance or have guest bloggers). Part of that is for privacy, part is that I want to enjoy the travel experience and not worry about blogging. I also clear it with others if I post about, or include pictures of, them. It seems courteous and I would expect the same.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!

  29. Wow, Janis, what a great post with good questions. My blog is 10 years old now, but I actively began blogging in 2011. So, next year will be “my” actual celebration. My son who was 15 at the time nudged me into starting a poetry blog, which I did. Throughout the years, I took several breaks, but my last break lasted almost 2 years. When I returned, I realized that I didn’t want to be only restricted to poetry. So, I share short memoirs, create discussions on topics such as comparing that you commented on, and I write short memoirs. I’m also dabbling in fiction, but haven’t shared anything yet.

    My family supports me 100% and visits now and then. They help edit my writing, too, so they always know what I’m going to post about. If they don’t visit all the time, I’m okay with that. 🙂 I also have a few friends who visit, but not many. I think just having to log in or enter an email address, etc. i.e. the whole process of blogging just doesn’t appeal to most people who don’t already blog. It’s a whole new world!

    As to linking my site, in the beginning I had a page that I shared all posts on. But because of Facebook’s algorithm settings that I’m not too knowledgeable about, there just wasn’t that much activity. I closed the page and now link my posts to my personal FB account. However, all of my posts are creative writing or short memoirs that aren’t personal to offend anyone. The discussions are general like the comparing topic. I won’t post anything too personal; that’s just not me. My friends are more likely to engage on FB than on the blog.

    In the end, I hope to give my readers something that resonates enough with them to return again. My blog is a hobby, and the fact that I do have a core group of friends stopping by on a regular basis makes me happy and blessed. And I in turn reciprocate. Reading other blogs is an online classroom in itself. Sorry for the lengthy reply (the writer in me), but I hope this helps you…have a great day, Lauren

    1. Oh, I hope you share your fiction! I’ve just started writing fiction and enjoy it so much. Next, I want to tackle poetry.

      My discomfort with having a lot of friends and family follow me isn’t because I’d worry about offending (I’m sure I’d be careful not to post anything that might be offensive… but I think I do that anyway) it’s more about keeping my worlds separate. Of course, judging from most people’s experiences, most friends wouldn’t follow me even if they knew about my blog.

      Thanks for your comment. I’m enjoying reading about everyone’s sharing decisions and blogging philosophies.

      1. I love your fiction, and mine is coming along slowly. 🙂 I’m actually working on a children’s book idea, too, so we shall see. Anything new and challenging is good for the brain. 🙂 And I hope I didn’t offend YOU when I mentioned offending others. I just wrote that because if our posts are shared, it’s amazing how quickly things can circulate. Take care!

  30. Hi Janis, I can count on one hand the number of friends who read my blog. Two of them occasionally leave a comment on the blog and two of them email their comments directly to me. With the exception of Malcolm, no one in the family reads it. They are aware, but not interested. I used to post a link on my personal FB page, but received absolutely no feedback, from friends or family, so I stopped doing that. I think that social blogs, like ours, attract people who have a blog and understand that it is a hobby. They sincerely want to connect with others who share that interest. For me, blogging is about interacting with people from all walks of life; learning and sharing along the way. For the record, my non-tennis playing friends also glaze over when I bring up tennis!

  31. I don’t post anything on Facebook and my family and friends know about my blog…some read it and some don’t. Either is fine. I started blogging in 2007…posting twice a week at first, then daily since 2013. I started blogging when I read that some people blog even though only one or two people read their posts. That sounded great to me. I wrote in my daily journal for years, now I blog instead. Blogging is sending my little voice out into the universe and I would probably keep doing it even if no one ever commented. It’s my personal journal with pictures and neatly organized so I can find things when I want to look back. It makes me happy. 🙂

    1. You definitely have the key to happy blogging: do whatever pleases you. Since you have been blogging for a long, long time, I imagine you’ve made several tweaks along the way to make it fit your life. Posting daily sounds daunting to me but it works for you. Thanks for your comment!

  32. Hi, Janice, I enjoy your blog posts and thought provoking questions. I have a few friends who read my blog, but mostly people I don’t know. I found out my son’s girlfriend’s family all read it regularly and that knowledge does cause me to censor my words and stories. I do have a separate Facebook account and automatically post there as well as to my personal Twitter account. I also write parenting tips for a swimming website hoping to help newer parents avoid the mistakes I’ve made. Some of the comments can be hostile and my daughter was horribly hurt by comments on one story. She was angry with me! I explained to her that the story wasn’t specific about her, but was more a compilation of many of her teammates and the parents I know. But that experience makes me think twice about what experiences I’ll share.

    1. I’m sorry your daughter had such a bad experience. People can be really terrible when they are hidden behind a screen and keyboard.

      Although I don’t write about controversial subjects on my blog, I do think I would always be concerned about how something I wrote would be perceived if I knew certain people read my blog. Your son’s girlfriend’s family… yikes!

  33. I assumed no one else was like me! I, too, started my blog with no fanfare and no family or friends aware of it. Finally, after 5-10 posts or so, I told my older son who had his own blog. Only after that did I even tell my husband! I do not link to Facebook (which I do not post on anyway) and have told very few real-life friends I have a travel blog. To this day (6+ years later), my real-life friends and blogging friends are (almost) totally different groups. I have made a couple of connections to bloggers in real life, and they are fantastic, but it has never been my goal to do that. Likewise, I feel no need to “sell” my blog to people I know in person. I rarely post a photo of myself (and it’s usually from behind!), and I have never totally identified myself or certainly my family members. I’m happy with things the way they are … so far, at least!

    1. Never assume 🙂 It sounds like we are very similar in our approach. It appears, from my very non-scientific survey, that most people are comfortable combining their worlds, but not all.

      I love that your son has a blog too! I don’t know how technical you are but I would love having someone younger to help me out if I got bogged down with some new “feature” WP throws out at us now-and-then.

  34. 1) Do you freely tell your friends and family about your blog? If you do, what has been the general response?
    – It’s not a secret, but I generally don’t mention it unless something in a conversation prompts it. I have friends/family who faithfully read/comment, and some who don’t appear to have ever looked at it. I’m more likely to tell a stranger about it, especially if they are an artist.
    2)Have you ever censored or altered what you have written in a post knowing a specific person reads your blog?
    – So far, not consciously, but what a great question!
    3) Do you link your posts to social media? If so, do you use your personal account, or do you have a blog-specific account? What social media platforms do you use?
    – I link to FaceBook, LinkedIn and Instagram. The Instagram account is blog-specific. I’m still working on the later.
    4) If you do share on social media, what has been your experience?
    – I’ve been pleased to hear from former class mates (FaceBook) and colleagues (LinkedIn) when I post something that resonates with them. Instagram, which I’m relatively new at, has attracted more strangers/fellow art lovers, but from around the world which I think is kind of neat. One of my goals is to be an arts advocate and I’ve had at least one artist directly attribute a large sale to one of my blog posts. That was very rewarding.
    5) Has your sharing philosophy changed over the life of your blog?
    – Yes, although the blog is ArtisticPension, it has expanded to include a broader range of creative activities, travel and the occasional random thought.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post. Stay well!

    1. Hi, Tracy! Thanks for your comments. For some reason, I had to rescue them out of spam jail.

      I’m going to check out your blog-specific Insta page and follow. I’m curious how you have it set up. And, wow, how nice that your blog post led to a sale! That must have been so satisfying!

  35. I’m a little of both. Very few of my friends are interested in my blog or my books. I do have a Facebook business page where I share author posts and (when I remember) recipe posts but I don’t do it as well as I should. I rarely link up anything personal. Having said that, Instagram is my favoured platform and again I don’t do that as well as I should.

    1. Since you are a published author, I’m not surprised that you have a special FB page. Recipes are great too since (almost, there’s always someone) no one would find them controversial. When I started with Instagram, it was mostly just a place to post pictures. Now, it’s a whole new platform, but I will probably stick with posting just pictures.

  36. I don’t go out of my way to tell people, nor do I avoid it. If it seems relevant to the conversation I will mention it. I post to Facebook (personal account, I don’t have a blog page) and Twitter. I don’t think either of those generates much traffic though occasionally somebody unexpected will say something that shows they have been reading. My mother is a regular reader – in fact, when I started blogging it was so that she and Dad could follow our trips and know where we were and what we were doing. I can’t believe I used to blog in real time! That means I do self-censor a bit with her in mind. She got quite upset with me around the Scottish Independence referendum because I made clear my preference for Yes and she was a staunch No! I’m not writing opinion pieces though, so that sort of thing rarely arises.

    1. Haha! You don’t want to upset your mother! I really wish my mother was still around and reading my blog. I’m not sure I’d write any differently but she would have been a great editor. I’m a little surprised how many comments have mentioned Twitter. So far I’ve resisted that platform, but I wonder what I’m missing (or, is it just more arguing and flame-throwing?). I think I made an account years ago but it’s been dormant since then.

      1. I used Twitter a lot when I was working – there’s a great community of libraries and librarians to tap into. I have gradually lapsed into just using it as a news feed and posting my blog and a few other bits and pieces. I avoid the cess-pit part of it like the plague!

  37. I’ve mentioned to various folks that I blog, but the “meh” reaction seems to be popular. I have shared my relevant blog links with my family. I don’t post to my Facebook profile but I do have my own FB page mostly because I share all the Sunday Stills posts on that page and Twitter. Some of my friends do read those posts! I had my blog URL attached to my email signature and my pastor read a post and really enjoyed it! My niece was researching something a few years ago and stumbled across my blog post since it was at the top of the google search! Otherwise, no one really reads my blog that I know and that’s fine! Great question, Janis!

    1. You were one of those bloggers that I noticed linking to their FB pages. I really like that your niece found your post via the googles… how great is that!?

      Do you ever mention your blog to your students? Since they are mostly (all?) younger, I wonder how they view blogging. Is it for “older people” like Facebook is starting to be? I was talking to someone recently who mentioned that she thought the younger generations were probably more into faster, easier to consume media. Take the time to read a 500-word post… never!!

      1. For some reason, I rarely mention my blog to my students. I think they have enough writing assignments to deal with. I had toyed with the idea of having them start a blog for a class project, then didn’t go through with it. They are more into the latest SM fad like TikTok or nothing at all. I do see students on LinkedIn which makes sense.

  38. Many non-blogging friends know about my blog, but readership is light among them. I have a Facebook page for my blog, because I didn’t want to post it to my personal account. I share other people’s blogs to my personal account, but only rarely do I share my own.

      1. I have a few friends who like to follow my blog, but they don’t want to have a WordPress account to comment. I also have a few friends and family members who simply read the post in the email.

        I was going to use Facebook to add some follow-up information, but frankly, I don’t like Facebook and I decided not to put any more effort into it. As your page gets popular, they start scaling back who sees it without your paying to “boost” the post – I won’t do that, so sometimes, my followers there don’t see a new post unless they go looking for it.

  39. Hi Janis, Your topic is one that is often brought up when bloggers get together. I am surprised how writing/blogging is downplayed or ignored by non bloggers. Yet, we avidly listen and watch friend’s creative ventures. Pottery, painting, travel tales…. I learned within a couple of months of blogging to not bring it up and accept this is how non bloggers feel.

    The other side to this is social media. I do sometimes share a post on FB. I have people privately message me to share thoughts, input and how a story resonated with them in some way. This is under the category how we do not always know the impact and ripple effect of something we share. We can see how many people have opened up the post on FB, yet often very rare for someone to admit they have read it.

    It sounds like I have missed some great discussions. I look forward to connecting again, soon.🙂

    1. Interesting point. Maybe because it’s easier to view painting, pottery, etc. than to actually sit down and read a post. That’s probably a good incentive to keep our word-count short so it can be digested quickly and easily.

      I’m sorry you missed this chat but I really appreciate you adding your input here!

  40. Interesting question! Only my sister and a close friend know about my blog and I’d like to keep it this way. I feel less pressure for some reason that I can write about whatever more freely. I’ve just had personal experiences where not everyone is happy for you so prefer to keep what I do low key in my real life circle. I made specific social media accounts (twitter and instagram) for my blog as I don’t have personal accounts. I really like twitter on connecting with other likeminded blogger/individuals. I think the best part of having a blog is being able to control how much and what you share- I’ve recently been thinking about the direction I want to take my blog. There’s just so many definitions of what a blog can be.

    1. I’m starting to wonder if I should give Twitter another chance (maybe not for my blog but just to see what all the hoopla is about). I think you are smart to set-up your blog, including controlling as much as you can who follows you, with care. I would never want to feel that I had to censor myself so much that I couldn’t write freely. Thank you for joining the discussion!

  41. A very interesting subject and like Anabel, I do tend to take into account that my elderly parents on occasions read my posts and my favourite Aunties 🙂 Plus, other close family and friends. They all started reading while we were travelling, I have never bothered to ask if they still do. Sometimes I prefer not to know if they have read it. Sometimes a lovely aunt, cousin or close friend will make a comment. Mostly just lovely other bloggers who have done so for years

    1. When you and your husband were traveling all over the world, your blog probably was a lifeline to your friends and family at home. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they still follow you now that you have a home base. Blogs really are a great way to keep in touch with a large group of people. Better than a phone call, and you can share pictures!

      1. Yes, they still read it. Even my brothers who loathe social media read it occasionally 🙂 I really do enjoy following you and a few others, it keeps me sane (I think it does 😉). Blogging is my no.1 creative release. Impossible to keep up and in contact with a large group of people; it’s harder enough to do it with immediate family!

  42. PS I am not into overly advertising via FB, though do have a blog FB page, I very rarely use my private FB page, instead use private messaging or email. My favourite place to use is Instagram as viewing images is preferable than the rubbish people share on FB! I have thought of not doing FB for quite a while, then thought how I would communicate with people we have met via travelling etc!

      1. Haha at the not asking you 🙂 Yes, there seems no way of getting away from FB. Unless I delete it! Tempting. A close cousin’s daughter puts photos of her children and I have her and others who are artists which I love to follow.

  43. Looks like I get to be comment #100! Woo! That’s a lot of comments (and I had to do a lot of scrolling to get here)! I generally do not talk about my blog or my published books or articles with my friends. They seem to not care, or I may even get negative vibes that I can only assume are the result of them thinking I’m bragging or they’re jealous. So, I keep this stuff to myself, mostly. My best friend and my family are super supportive of my writing, but even my bff doesn’t read my blog, nor my latest published book. She does admit to not being much of a reader, however, so I love her still. 😉
    I do link my posts to Facebook, both personal and a blog page, as well as to my Twitter account. The reception is minimal. But, I don’t particularly care. It seems like only fellow bloggers really get the whole blogging/liking/commenting shtick. A couple of times I’ve gotten an email from my father-in-law, whom I did NOT know read my blog (how often, I have no idea), and I felt a little uncomfortable knowing that, esp. since one of those posts involved me sharing the middle finger with another driver! I wound up deleting that post!

    1. I had a draft of this post sitting in my files for quite a while. Now that I’ve finally finished and published it, I’m amazed at all of the thoughtful comments. Another commenter pointed out how, for some reason, people are often more supportive of friends and family members who paint, craft, or throw pots then they are of bloggers and writers. I’m not sure why exactly but it rings true to me.

      I would never write anything negative about family members (or anyone) but I’m just as happy the my sweet mother-in-law doesn’t read my blog. I hope the emails from your father-in-law were supportive (despite you writing about using your middle finger). 🙂

      1. Interesting about the art vs blogging. I wonder if it’s because blogging requires reading, and no one wants to commit to reading? No idea, really.

        I’m never mean on my blog, but I was a little embarrassed about that incident. I ended up deleting that post, and the reason I posted about it at all, was because I was so shaken by the whole experience, I needed the comfort of my blog buddies to help me get through it. I honestly don’t remember what my FIL said in response. Nothing negative. More understanding, I think.

  44. When I first started my blog, I had no idea there was such a thing as a WordPress blogging community. I just assumed that the people who would read my posts would all be friends and family. I put a link to my blog on Facebook mainly so that the friend who talked me into starting it could see that I finally did it!
    What I learned very quickly is that not all of my friends were interested in reading my blog, which sort of surprised me. I was also surprised when bloggers I didn’t know started reading and following it. But I was glad that I linked it to Facebook, because a lot of my old high school and college friends (who I only connect with on Facebook) started reading my blog and really liked it. It was a way to connect with them on a deeper level, as we discussed the issues in my blog. I also found that casual friends, neighbors and acquaintances started following my blog too, even though some good friends didn’t. (Many of those good friends are also not on Facebook.) So eventually, I realized that people who enjoy reading blogs were going to read mine and those who didn’t weren’t going to read it, and that was fine. Finally, yes, I have censored myself more than once, knowing that something I would write could cause hurt feelings to a friend or family member. I don’t ever want to use my blog to hurt someone.

    1. To paraphrase the old saying: You can lead your friends to your blog page, but you can’t make them read. I agree, there are blog types and everyone else. When I started, I assume that most of my readers would be in the “everyone else” camp. I never imagined this whole, big blogging world out there and how supportive they would be.

      I love how you are able to stay connected with high school and college friends through your blog. If your only connection otherwise would be through Facebook, your interaction would be much more limited. You can say so much more on your blog.

      Thank you for your comment!

  45. Great questions! All my friends and family know about my blog. I link to most of the posts on Facebook, both my personal Facebook (which I only use for close family and friends) and my Facebook page (which can be seen by anyone.)
    I’d say that after 10 years of blogging, I have very few friends or family who regularly read my blog. I have lots of ‘followers’, but most of them are from years ago and are no longer part of the blogging community. So all in all, my regular readership is miniscule. That leaves me pretty free to just say what I want, when I want!

      1. If I look at just my stats for referrers from the WordPress Reader and Facebook, 30% of the volume comes from Facebook. WordPress Reader is other bloggers, Facebook is friends and family. Works for me!

  46. Great questions Janis. I’m interested to read through the comments and see what others are doing. I told family and close friends when I started my blog five years ago. Most didn’t know what a blog was, but I was sure they’d all be dying to read mine once they found out. 😁 In reality, only a few of them regularly read and comment. I do share on social media. I have a Facebook page specifically for my blog, but I also share on my personal FB, Twitter, and Instagram. I am pretty open in my writing, but I have edited myself a few times, not so much for family and friends, but because I know coworkers may read it. Thank you for starting an interesting conversation.

    1. Haha! I think many of us were surprised at certain friends’ reactions… why wouldn’t they want to follow our blog?? 🙂 I find it interesting that many, like you, have a blog FB page, but also link from their personal FB page. I’m curious why you have a blog FB page. Do you post something on that on that you don’t on your personal page?

  47. It’s interesting to see which parts of their lives people try to separate. For me, it’s work and personal life. Thus, only a few people at work (mostly on my teaching team) know about the blog. As for Facebook, which is not related to my blog at all, I was always a sparse user of the platform for personal stuff (and probably will be even more,now that I’ve seen the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma – yikes!) but I do post my blog and podcasts on FB every week. I know as either friends or acquaintances every FB “friend” I have, so it’s not going out to total strangers. Finally, I do tell my friends, family, and the odd stranger (when appropriate) about my blog. The husband does this for me, too. (See Blog Bully in my Dictionary of Blog Terms. 😉 ) We have to find some use for our blog/podcast business cards – ha ha!

    1. We watched The Social Dilemma last week… yikes is right! That’s another good reason to not link my blog to Facebook (not that I needed one). I have calling cards for my blog too (in addition to our regular cards). It’s a handy way to give someone the URL without having to find a pencil or paper. I have no idea how often people actually follow up, but it feels very grown up 🙂

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