Opening Up Online: How I Tackle Personal Topics On My Blog & Social Media

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Blogging about personal topics can really help to bond bloggers with their readership. After all, vulnerability is one of the best ways to foster trust. And who doesn’t love to learn a little more about the people behind a blog or social channel? I know I do!

Despite blogging for 8+ years, I still find it fascinating to learn more about people!

Especially when I feel like I ‘know them’ – at least a little already – through their online channels. Give me a home tour, personal essay or *insert personal topic of choice* any day.

But on the flip side, there’s a question of where, as a blogger, you draw the line on what’s comfortable for you to share. Where is your privacy boundary?

Through my own curiosities and experience, I thought it’d be fun to open up about how I choose what to share online, and some of the boundaries I have in place.

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On Being A Private ‘Public’ Person

In a way I think it’s quite funny that I’ve become a lifestyle blogger. I’m generally quite private, and it takes me a good while to open up to people.

Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I internalise things, have a small circle of loved ones and easily suffer an introvert’s hangover ha!

So sharing online, and living a vaguely ‘public’ life may seem at odds.

That being said, I’ve always loved magazines and people-watching. So when I found out what a blog was (back in 2010) my mind. was. blown. And I couldn’t wait to get started with my own little corner of the internet.

Blogging marries lots of my interests: writing, styling, creative direction . . . so I’m very grateful it exists – and even more so – that I’ve made a career of it.

Since I went down the road of lifestyle blogging, I naturally share elements of my personal life online.

In fact, if you’re an OG reader (are you?!) then you may remember that The Elgin Avenue started as an online outfit diary. I shared a photo per day of what I wore to Uni (aka ‘Fash Pack School’).

Nowadays my blogging style is more considered. And so whilst I open up about personal things, I do so in a way which I hope(!) is helpful to you.

I tailor my content to be educational or inspirational.

Be it how I style my home, some of the trips I’ve taken, and even how I’m preparing for my wedding.

In terms of what’s ‘public’ and what’s ‘private’ for me, I’ve drawn my own boundaries.

I’ll rarely share photos of my friends and family. Down time, is down time. And if I’m going through something challenging, I’ll wait it out before sharing it on social or here on the blog (more on that further down).

Keeping (Some) Highlights

Off Of Your ‘Highlight Reel’

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“The best moments of my life don’t make it to social media”, wrote Marianna Hewitt recently.

Sometimes, holding something back makes it feel even more precious.

Do you agree? (I do!)

Since I update some form of online content most days, I wear my ‘content creator’ hat a lot.

Every good outfit, pretty vista or perfectly-poured coffee is potential content.

If I’m not careful, I start to see in ‘Instagram squares’ – ha!

But if working in the online world, and in content creation generally, has taught me anything, it’s to truly appreciate beautiful moments for what they are. Then and there.

After all, when we’re sharing something awesome online, we’re trying to recreate that feeling for others. But if you’re there, you’re THERE.

Enjoy!

Nowadays I have two approaches to ‘capture-able’ moments, depending on if I want to share them or not:

Approach #1 – I want to share the moment: I snap a photo quickly, then put my phone away. I’ll allocate some time later in the day to editing and scheduling it in.

Approach #2 – I’m keeping the moment for me: I leave my phone buried in my bag, and just soak it all in.

How about you?!

Vulnerability Can Create Connection, But When’s The Right Time To Share?

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Great strength can be found in sharing a hardship online. Afterall, vulnerability can create connection in a way nothing else can.

If you’re like me, and you like to work through something yourself before sharing, then it’s worth keeping this advice from Kate Arends, from this brilliant podcast episode with Jenna Kutcher, to mind:

“There’s a moment of pause that needs to happen between us and our phones, that I think we’ve lost as we see authenticity as a great way to connect.

We need to make sure we have boundaries with ourselves first.

That authenticity piece, if it’s about connecting with your audience and having a discussion around a topic, and it’s not going to affect you in the space that you hold for yourself, then go for it.

But if you are feeling raw and soft and your ego is triggered, and one negative comment could put you into a ‘sneaky shame spiral’ it’s really important to give yourself time to heal”

It’s Kate’s belief (and mine too) that most of us need to work through our ‘wounds’ privately, without the input of outside sources. Once something is a ‘scar’ and healed, you’re ready to share. 

If you want to remember how you’re feeling during an experience, I suggest keeping a journal as you go, or writing notes down, which you can then amalgamate into a post.

Christina from New Darlings did this recently, sharing her first few weeks of parenting, and it’s such a lovely way to round up an experience.

On my end, I wrote down my story of leaving London a year or so after I did so. By then the dust had settled and I could reflect on things in a way I wouldn’t have been able to if I’d jumped into sharing too soon.

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WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?

I’m so curious to know your thoughts on this!

When you’re interacting with people on their blogs, or online, how much of their personal lives do you want to see?

How do you consciously use social media? Do you share everything, or hold some memories back too?

I’d love to hear from you!

Love, Monica x

Photography by Charlotte Bryer-Ash

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