Transparency vs. TMI

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In the blogging world, we talk a lot about  being “real”.  Vulnerability is praised.  Authenticity is a big key to success.  Creating a shiny, flawless facade or fabricating a more interesting persona?  Not good ideas.  We all know this.  The big buzz word?




And transparency is a lovely thing.  The ability to show who you truly are in a senstive, enlightening way is valuable to your readers.  It is the writer who can convey realness, truth, and fallibility who can capture an audience.  I first have to believe your story is genuine before I can get engaged.  If I think your stories of a perfect house and marriage don’t ring true, I’m not going to be one bit interested in your advice.  Transparency means letting your readers see flawed truth rather than a touched-up reflection.


There is danger, however, in this desire to be ever-more transparent.  All too often lately, I read posts and articles that make me squirm a little bit.  I don’t think (though I could be wrong) that I’m particularly prudish.  Still, there are times when “transparency” becomes over-sharing… or, quite simply, TMI.


    –Revealing that you have to work hard to keep your marriage lively and fun is transparency… revealing that you danced in black lace for your man last night is TMI.
    –Revealing that you’ve struggled with facial or body hair since your teen years can be transparency… providing explicit details of your Brazilian wax is TMI.
    –Revealing that your relationship with your mother-in-law is challenging and strained is transparency… giving a detailed account of all her many flaws is TMI.


… do you see where I’m going with this?


I’m just not sure that this breed of “transparency” is such a good thing.  Honestly?  I don’t want to read things that make me blush furiously.  I don’t want to read venomous posts that would likely devastate the person about whom they were written.  And I don’t need to know all the details about your bodily fluids and cycles.


I realize that, ultimately, the choice is mine.  I simply don’t have to read the “over-sharing” if I don’t enjoy it.  And that’s fine.  But I just wonder if I’m the only one who worries that new bloggers looking for success might think that sharing every excrutiating detail is essential in a quest to be genuine?  Am I the only one who sees a line between transparency and TMI?  Am I the only one who feels that too many people are trying to be “unique” through shock and over-sharing?


Let me know your thoughts.

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7 comments to Transparency vs. TMI

  • Kelly

    No, you are not the only one! I completely agree!

  • I couldn’t agree more! I’ve stumbled upon many posts recently, that make me blush–or my jaw drops to the ground. All I can do is shake my head, and say..Really?! Was this necessary? Those are NOT the posts I want to read! Oftentimes the point of those posts are lost on me. I’m too busy shaking my head and picking up my jaw. :)

  • Celine

    I totally and completely agree. I guess I am very selective of the blogs I read as I can’t recall having come across any on my regular reads though I have a time or two when reading a new blog. It is a definite turn off.

    I understand it’s important to be “real” with people but the key is knowing how “real” is appropriate for the relationship. What you post on your blog or Facebook is going to be different then what you tell your best friend over coffee.

    It’s kind of funny that you brought this up as it was part of a message our pastor gave a few weeks back.

    It is definitely something I think all bloggers struggle with at some point.

    • “What you post on your blog or Facebook is going to be different then what you tell your best friend over coffee.” Yes! This is it to a T, Celine. We feel very close to many people on social media and I think that’s a wonderful thing, but, really, putting something in print for the world to see is a big departure from chatting with a pal. I think it’s something important for all of us to remember before we hit “publish”!

  • Katie

    As usual, you have eloquently articulated what the rest of us are thinking :) Along the same lines, I think in this day and age of social media people sometimes tend to over share everything; from their thoughts, to every little thing they do during the day, where they are going, what they are eating, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading about about those things to a certain extent but sometimes you get people who take it too far.

    • You be sure to let me know, Katie, if I start doing that! I DO share my menu plans, which I guess is everything I’m eating, but hopefully people can just gloss right over those if they become obnoxious. ;)

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