Let’s talk about authentic blogging. Authenticity is like the newest blogging buzzword, but what does it mean exactly?
I admire bloggers who show the messy side of life. Last year my blogging friend Jess from Jessica Lynn Writes shared this amazing blog post, “A Beautiful Mess,” about the realities of motherhood.
I love bloggers who can poke fun of themselves and at the blogging life. Bonnie at The Life of Bon is a great example–her tips on fashion blogging crack me up!
I primarily read lifestyle blogs for a reason. I like the realness. I want to read about the ups and downs of someone else’s life. Some of bloggers willing to be vulnerable online have even become my friends.
I still remember how happy I felt when Carolynn of Kitty Adventures told me she was pregnant, after she’d shared her three miscarriages on her blog, and how overjoyed I felt when her son was born last year. Carolynn isn’t just another blogger to me–she’s my friend.
With these preferences in mind, I used to love the blog posts about “getting real” or being “vulnerable” on the blog. I cheered at every call for more authentic blogging. After all, getting into the nitty gritty on the blog is what I do.
Even those of you who once called me Belle and not Brita know that I’ve always been honest about my life. I’ve written about sex, Crohn’s Disease, my own experiences with sexual harassment and sexual assault, and, more recently, my ongoing grief after my mother’s death.
Writing about the messy and beautiful details is what I do. Authentic blogging is my jam! And yet, I’m no longer comfortable with some of the blog posts I read on authenticity.
Criticizing anything deemed inauthentic seems to be on the rise, and these calls for “authenticity” are starting to sound like just another demand on bloggers to be imperfectly perfect. The language has moved from, “Let’s be real with each other” to “I’m tired of beautiful photos of fake moments.”
Yes, I have a beautiful Instagram feed. #humblebrag I’ve spent the last few months working hard to create a colorful aesthetic that still reflects my personality. But does a beautiful Instagram account somehow mean I’m inauthentic? If I love flowers and everything pink, then aren’t beautiful photos still an authentic way to express myself?
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I laugh in the face of danger… If danger is health insurance companies who make my life with Crohn's Disease even more difficult. On snapchat today (I'm belle_brita there too), I'm sharing a day in my life with Crohn's. Check it out! #LaBelleBlog P.S. This top from @shopthemint will be on the blog soon! Link in profile.
But not everyone grieves publicly. Not everyone wants to write about politics or religion.
Not all bloggers blog or post to social media for the same reason. Just because some bloggers don’t want to write on sensitive topics doesn’t mean they’re fake or trying to front a perfect life.
I choose to tell my own story, even when that story involves other people in my life. But just like I’ve drawn the boundary not to write (much) about other people’s children, other bloggers draw their own boundaries about what to share online. That is their prerogative, and no one should judge them for that.
I am all about encouraging each other to have the hard conversations. But let’s stop shaming those who don’t want to be part of those hard conversations online.
What is your opinion on authentic blogging? Do you have boundaries for what you do and do not share online? I’d love to hear your thoughts on authenticity!