Here’s a question we’ve had a lot over the last few weeks. (Fellow blogger writer consultant types – have you noticed how these things tend to cluster? Is that just me?)
Somebody with a small to moderate following and a small to moderately popular blog has something happen in their personal life. Experience says this is almost always a divorce, but this month’s examples also include a pregnancy and a significant change in personal direction.
Because this event seems like – and in reality, often is – the biggest thing to happen in recent memory, we want to tell the people we know. This is what a few million years of living in tribes will do to you. When you get pregnant, every other cave woman wants to know why she hasn’t been told already.
When you run an online business, there’s a very good chance that a large part of your social interaction comes from the internet. The intimacy you have with your clients, your customers, and even your blog readers or newsletter subscribers often surpasses the intimacy you share with people you know locally.
Because of this, holding on to a “secret” feels… weird.
Adding to that, we are often pseudo-social with people, online or otherwise, in ways that are not particularly authentic. If you haven’t seen somebody around in a while, you’re likely to ask where they’ve been, regardless of whether or not you’re actually interested. We were raised to believe it is the polite thing to do.
You, to group: Hi.
Relative stranger in group: Oh my GOD!!! I haven’t seen you in forever! Where have you been? What’s going on?
If this is your best friend from high school, they probably do actually care about where you’ve been and what’s going on in your life. But in most cases, we say these things to people whether we have an affection for them or not. It’s a social contract.
Because of all of this, if you leave social media for a few days, or you stop blogging as frequently for a few months, you’re going to get emails or Facebook notifications that read something like this:
“Oh my GOD!!! I haven’t seen you in forever! Where have you been? What’s going on?”
As you go through this significant change in your life – your divorce, your crisis of faith, your infertility treatments and subsequent pregnancy, whatever – you’re going to get a handful of those emails. And then, the next time you and I are on the phone, you’re going to ask me…
“When should I tell my list?”
Here is the answer.