Authors Being Visible and Staying Safe Online

authors sharing but staying safe online

I have often spoken about my initial career in radio broadcasting, where I learned through the process of trial and error how to develop a “public private self.” This is a curated persona that includes elements of your personal life you feel comfortable sharing publicly without feeling overexposed.

For anyone with an online presence, maintaining this balance is crucial. You want to share some personal information about yourself because it makes you a more rounded, relatable human being, but it certainly isn’t necessary to share your deepest, darkest secrets! (Some people did not get the memo on that last part, however.) Presenting more than just your professional facade can enrich your connection with your audience. Still, it’s essential to discern what to share and what to keep private, as oversharing can lead to vulnerabilities.

Strategies for developing a public private self online

Define Your Boundaries: As mentioned above, it is essential to define clear boundaries. Decide what aspects of your personal life you are comfortable sharing and what you prefer to keep private. This could relate to your family, relationships, health, financial details, or other sensitive topics.

Postpone Sharing Travel Details: Avoid sharing real-time updates about vacations or trips. Instead, share your experiences after you’ve safely returned home.

Manage Personal Content: While sharing personal milestones or challenges might be tempting, consider how this could impact your privacy or be misused.

Consistent Persona Across Platforms: Ensure that the persona you project is consistent across different platforms. This doesn’t mean sharing the same content everywhere but maintaining a coherent image that aligns with your professional identity and personal brand.

Control Your Narrative: Actively manage and control your narrative by being mindful of the tone, style, and content of your posts. Share stories, insights, or experiences that can resonate with your audience without compromising your privacy.

Use Privacy Settings: Take full advantage of the privacy settings on each platform. Customize who can see your posts, who can tag you, and manage the visibility of your personal information.

Regular Content Reviews: Periodically review your online content. This includes checking your past posts and updating or deleting anything that no longer represents who you are or crosses your privacy boundaries.

Educate Yourself on Platform Policies: Many people ignore doing this because the terms are not much fun to read. However, it’s important to stay informed about the privacy policies and terms of service of the platforms you use. Understanding how your data is handled can help you make informed decisions about what to share and where to share it.

Reflect Your Values: Let your values and ethics guide what you share online. This helps you maintain authenticity while building a persona that truly represents you.

Digital Literacy: Stay updated with digital skills and online privacy trends. Knowing the latest in digital use and security can significantly enhance how you manage your online presence.

A word about “being authentic”. The term is often misconstrued to mean revealing your most intimate secrets and dreams. Instead, authenticity should represent a genuine expression of yourself that does not compromise your comfort or safety. Read that again.

Lastly, dealing with online negativity, especially from trolls, is inevitable. Recognize that trolls troll because they have no life. Where possible, ignore them, do not engage, and delete harmful comments.

Bottom line

Understanding what you’re comfortable with sharing online is the cornerstone of developing your public private self. Use this knowledge to navigate your online interactions wisely, avoiding oversharing personal and sensitive information. You know best what works for you, so listen to yourself, and hopefully some of these tips will help too.

To your success!


P.S. You don’t have to give all your secrets away no matter what some social media experts might tell you.

P.P.S. Again, thrilled to be giving the closing presentation at the Nonfiction Authors Writers Conference May 8, 9, and 10. This is a fabulous event for authors. You can join us here.







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