There have been some interesting discussions online lately about people being too open, or too frank, or too abrasive on the web, whether that be on twitter, on facebook, or on their blog. John wrote a post on it, Mac wrote a post on it, so clearly I had to write a post on it.
But my thought is very simple and straightforward: Opening yourself up on any online medium risks offending someone. Be prepared for the fallout, or shut up.
The answer to all of your worries may in fact be to limit your interaction – to be wary of opening yourself up. To prevent yourself from being truly authentic. But I’m going to assume that this idea is distasteful to you since your presence online is actually an attempt to be available and forthright.
Your answer may, instead, be to give someone moderating rights over your activity, whether that be a friend or family member. My wife knows that she has the right to tell me when I’ve gone too far. She has told me more than once that I’ve crossed the line and that I need to delete that particular sentence, or even post.
When you make the attempt to minimize the filter between your thoughts, words, and posts you will immediately open yourself up to attacks, both professional and personal. You will say things that you can’t imagine being inflammatory that will offend so many. You will off-hand make a seemingly unimportant comment that will attract the ire and anger of many.
Be ready for that or shut up, delete your account, and go home. Just don’t be a coward and disable your comments. (How’s that for inflammatory?)