Blogging transparency is mostly BS. And that’s good.

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Edit note: I know some folks are going to say I’m missing the point or I’m redefining the term.

I’m writing this because I feel like it has to be said. Blogger transparency is mostly bull squeeze.

Fellow bloggers, you may feel open and transparent but you can’t escape who you are – a person. And that means you’re a complicated mess of contradictions, illogical instincts, and sub-conscious emotions.

Sure, we all put on our blogs where we work, who are clients are, and that we’ve got Amazon affiliate links here or there. That’s all dandy. But it’s all pretty damn obvious that you work at places that have clients and if you link a book or review a camera, you might wanna make 50 cents.

What I’m writing about now are prejudices that we all have that are not so obvious. The stuff we can’t escape because of who we are and how we’ve lived our lives. How we were raised, the economic conditions we face, our families, race and religion. Or even the things other people have done to us. These things shape our perspective on life and the world around us. That also shape how we think.

Sometimes this is negative. What happens to us makes us narrow minded, inflexible in our thinking and intolerant of other’s perspectives. Just try reading a political blog or two.

But sometimes it’s great. It creates the edge we have that makes what we write more interesting than a fact-only piece written by the AP. And it fills a blog’s content with passion, insights and maybe a few curse words. Let’s face it, if you weren’t different than me, with your own biases and peculiarities, I probably wouldn’t be all that interested in what you had to say.

This gooey stuff is what makes people who they are. But is it really none of anyone else’s business? On a professional blog? And should every blog post with “I was born to a South Carolina share cropper and robbed a convenience store when I was 14”? Or “I had a daddy who was an alcoholic but I was a cheerleader and captain of the debate team”? It’s personal, but it’s also the stuff that could informs the way someone writes and the opinions they have – which is what blogging is all about.

And what about politics, religion, parenting and social affectations. Does stuff belong in the workplace? Opinions differ on this, so it differs on whether it belongs on and appears on one’s blog.

To be transparent and truly understand one’s motives, is this stuff is important? I think it is on many issues. And do you really think people would discuss issues as freely if they were completely and totally open about their pasts and their burdens? I doubt it. And that’s why I’m OK with opaque.

I’m not saying basic disclosure shouldn’t be defacto – I should know if you’re speaking about your client. I’m just getting a little sick of people telling me how transparent and unbiased they are and how I can trust everything they say to be fact because they let me know who they take money from. You know what? I should be able to trust you that you’re telling the truth. And advertisers generally get sued when they say something that isn’t true or intentionally misleading. So get over it already.

What do you think?

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Posted on: February 12, 2010, by :