Personal voice in blogs is a hotly debated item of late. Where does a blogger draw the line on becoming personal? It is true that a reader can more easily relate to a writer that's sharing personal things about their life, but clearly some readers might shy away from a writer who gets too personal. Reading a person's most inner thoughts and secrets, while satisfying a voyeuristic compulsion, is inherently awkward and weird. A reader might become fascinated with a very personal blog for a little while, but they also may begin feeling as if they are getting too close and back off. We all need space.
I'm forced to admit that this entire week I've been seriously toeing the line. Keeping up with my blog, most of you have been reading about my trials and tribulations with dating a certain female dark sith lord. I've been kind of bad about keeping the personal away from my blog.
Except, well, I'm not sure if I crossed the line entirely. There were times when I was tempted to write a posting ala Sarah Green but found that prospect entirely creepy. I did write something expressing my own deep personal feelings about whatever it was that happened. It's safely being kept in ashes somewhere at the bottom of a dumpster.
The idea is to balance on the line like Heather does. At Dooce, Heather gets personal enough to relate to, while never going into that uncomfortable zone where the reader feels they are getting too close. She is an excellent model of what a personal blog should be.
Being autobiographical does not mean you need to get deep and personal. Indeed, several semesters ago in a memoir class, we discussed how a writers uses many lenses to discuss how his or her life. So to does a blogger have lenses and filters at his or her disposal. Some bloggers have heavy filters, preferring to keep themselves entirely out of their writing. These blogs are failures because a casual reader has way too many impersonal outlets of media. An alternative form of media like blogging shouldn't bother trying to emulate the impersonal mainstream media.
Of course Colin, Irene is entirely correct that your column and the way you write inherently defines you in a personal way. I look at this column, which is about another person entirely, and see your emotional voice shining through. Okay, maybe I'm, just trying to bump my grade back up to a reasonable level. Still, it's a good column that helps prove my point that a good columnist and blogger will keep a necessary equilibrium between personal and impersonal.