Being yourself online

When it comes to tweeting and blogging, don’t try to be someone or something you’re not

When it comes to Twitter and blogging it seems that one of the most commonly repeated rules is that you should stay on topic. Pick a topic and stick to it, we’re told. Honestly, I would love to be able to do this. But it’s not me. I’m not a one topic kind of guy. My interests are simply too diverse and varied and I’d find myself so frustrated if I didn’t have the freedom to write about any of the subjects or parts of my life that I want to.

I realise that the consequence of this is that I will have less followers and readers. But I’m OK with this. First and foremost, I write for myself. It’s a hobby; I don’t get paid to write, so why would I restrict myself? If I was offered a writing gig where I was employed to write about, say, technology, that’s a whole different thing. But when it comes to my personal writing, I just want to be me and write about whatever inspires me on any given day.

If I was a professional writer, people would follow me for my professional writing on the particular subject area that I write about. But since I’m not, people, in order to follow me and my writing, are buying into me personally, not just my views on an area they’re interested in. Inevitably, as a result of this, everything that I write about isn’t going to suit everyone and so, for people to follow me, they have to like me enough to keep reading and following, even though I quite often write or tweet about topics that may well bore them.

(If you are a regular reader and follower, thank you! You’ve managed to stick with me through all my ramblings about technology, sport, politics, religion, human potential, and more. And I’m grateful.)

But that brings me back to what I said earlier: I write, primarily, for myself. It’s a means of expressing something I’m thinking about.

I’m not trying to please anyone else with what I write; I’m not writing for page views. I’m writing as a means of self-expression.

That said, I do try to write in a way that is interesting and engaging and that is helpful or insightful for those who do want to read along.

I love it when people read what I write and find it helpful or informative. And I’m OK too when people completely disagree with an opinion of mine! If something I write causes a reaction—whether positive or negative—I consider that my writing is doing something useful. And that is definitely important to me. It’s just not the most important thing.

If I was to give any advice to people wanting to do more writing or blogging, I would simply say, ‘be yourself’. Don’t try to be someone or something you’re not. If being yourself is having a topic that you own and that’s the only thing you really write about, that’s great. Give it your all and go for it. But if, like me, you need the freedom to write about multiple topics, don’t be put off from doing that. The right people will warm to you, find the subjects that they’re interested in hearing from you about, and put up with your other interests because they value you in all your glorious uniqueness.

‘Mmm huh’

How many times must I forgive?