Strip Blogging: how naked will you go?

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strip blogging

Did you ever write a deeply personal letter, one that revealed your insecurities, your desires, your triumphs and paper-thin humanity? Knowing the whole time you’d never send it, but wondering what might happen if, one day, you just let that sucker loose?

Well, there seems to be a new generation of bloggers who are doing just that, but instead of mailing it to one person…

They’re laying bare their lives to the world!

A few months back I was reading Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist blog and my jaw dropped when I hit a post entitled, “My First Day Of Marriage Counseling” with the following line…

“We park the car and walk into the building of the couples’ therapist. I remember one couples therapist telling us that we are in good shape because we drove there together. Today I know that we would have driven in separate cars if we had two cars.

I delegated finding a therapist to my husband. After all, my first book just came out and I blog almost every day. I am busy. I know my penchant for delegating is part of the problem, but I thought this would be one last hurrah.

We get to the office. The sign on the door says “Divorce Law Offices” and there is a list of people with Esq’s at the end.”

That post generated 178 comments as of this writing and powerful, emotionally-charged debate and attracted a lot of attention.

Soonafter, I was perusing Heather Armstrong’s Dooce.com, when a post entitled “Because I couldn’t say it on the phone” riveted me, as it revealed

“I never should have gone off that drug. I know this now, having suffered terrible postpartum depression that could have been avoided had I seen the red flags in my third trimester, had I taken early steps to deal with the symptoms. But three months after Leta’s birth I was an inconsolable, suicidal mess. I was beyond repair, and all the drugs I tried in the following months would only make things worse: Risperdal, Ativan, Trazadone, Lamictal, Effexor, Abilify, Strattera, Klonopin, Seroquel. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t unclench my jaw or hands, couldn’t imagine how I would get through another ten minutes. After weeks of threatening to leave Jon if he had me committed to a hospital, I finally gave in and committed myself.”

A few months later, I stumbled onto Naomi Dunford’s IttyBiz.com blog, ostensibly about marketing, but clearly, by the number of times she drops the F-bomb in any given post, it’s not your mama’s marketing blog.

But, it’s not the shock-and-awe language that reels readers into Naomi’s world…

It’s the extraordinary exposure of her personal life, her willingness to strip-naked and her wicked sense of humor and humanity, as we see in this recent excerpt from a post entitled, “Moral Of The Story: Violent Snuggling Edition:”

“Again, if you know anything about pregnancy, you know that you spend a lot of time peeing in cups. Once a month, then once a fortnight, and finally once a week, throughout your whole pregnancy, you’re peeing in cup after cup after cup. I look at the cups and think very hard about peeing in one of them. After three seconds, I realize this is ridiculous. Not because it’s unhygienic and disgusting, but because there’s not enough room in a cup. I’m pregnant, people. Pregnant ladies make a lot of pee.

I’ll spare you the details of how the situation physically came to be but I’ll tell you this much. I realized that the true glamor of entrepreneurship had sparkled into my life.

I was hiding from my children in the kitchen, squatting under the table between an iMac and a car seat, and peeing into a juice pitcher.

And that’s when my husband walked in.”

And, it seems, our “strip-bloggers” have pretty good noses for finding others like them.

In fact, Following a link from one of Naomi’s recent posts, I landed on Caroline Middlebrook’s post last week entitled, “Yesterday’s Podcast Was a Lie,” where in the space of a few hundreds words, she not only revealed she was gay, but also that she’d recently been dumped, suffered devastating emotional withdrawal and then lied about the decline of her blog quality before finally laying bare her life. And, last I checked, that post had 82 comments, almost all hugely supportive and thankful for her candor.

Which all got me wondering…

What’s the deal with everyone stripping naked on their blogs?

Are they doing it out of an odd sense of voyeurism, therapy, masachism or a desperate need to connect. Are they looking to fill in gaps in their “offline” support networks? Are they looking to help others by revealing heir humanity and letting people know we are all human in the end?

Or, are they just whoring out their personal lives to build bucks, buddies and buzz?

While others have suggested this to me (and to them in their comments), having had the chance to get to know a few high-profile strip-bloggers, I don’t think so.

Sure, being naked, crude or disarmingly transparent can be hugely effective at engaging readers. It can build traffic and word of mouth lightning-fast.

But, you really get the sense that their blogs are like their version of talk therapy and the decision to take public what, for most people, is deeply private is more about a desire to connect, find community and comradery than to drive page-views and revenue.

Further proof of a purer motive is the fact that Penelope’s blog doesn’t even serve ads. Naomi’s is supposed to be fundamentally about marketing and her personal tirades likely don’t do much for her marketing biz. And, Caroline’s recent expose came completely out of the blue on a blog about making money online.

No doubt, though, Dooce.com has benefited substantially from traffic and ad-revenue. But, reading the posts, you still get the feeling it’s about something more.

So, rather than speculate, I just asked.

In fact, I put four simple questions to a few and here’s what they said:

Penelope Trunk:

  1. How do you decide how personal to get? I just focus on writing about whatever is on my mind and feels important. I also try to tell good stories.
  2. Why do you get so personal? I just want to be me and make real connections with people. I am creating a community so that I can investigate the intersection of work and life with other people. Doing it alone is not as fun. And there is no point in being part of a community if i can’t be my true self.
  3. Is there a line in the sand you won’t cross and, if so, what is it? I take out peoples’ names if they felt they were talking off the record and they don’t want a conversation recorded on the blog. (I actually did that today, in this post.
  4. Have you ever felt you revealed too much and regretted it after the fact? No. I have regretted the years and years that I kept big secrets. Keeping secrets has not helped my life. I can’t remember when I regretted telling something about myself..

Naomi Dunford:

  1. How do you decide how personal to get? Whatever I’m saying has to meet two criteria: it has to provide some kind of value to my readers, and it can’t hurt anybody I love. Sometimes value to my readers comes in the form of a horrible warning — for the love of God, don’t do what I just did and here’s why — or a funny story or something actually instructional. And I don’t embarrass my loved ones. It’s not their fault I’m such a raging exhibitionist, and besides, I’m too busy embarrassing myself.
  2. Why do you get so personal? Because non-personal blogs bore me senseless and I don’t want to be boring. Even on the big “expert” blogs, my favorite posts are the ones in which the authors get really personal.
  3. Is there a line in the sand you won’t cross and, if so, what is it? If it would be more trouble for me than valuable to my readers, I don’t do it. My mother-in-law reads my blog, and she’s… sensitive. If what I say is going to come back and bite me in the ass at Christmas and ruin everybody’s party — and trust me, this has happened — that’s when I draw the line.
  4. Have you ever felt you revealed too much and regretted it after the fact? No. My husband comes from a much more conservative background than I do and he can sometimes get concerned about what people might read into what I say, but it’s been fine so far. I ran a piece recently wherein I lamented my lack of capacity to be Superwoman — and I half-jokingly included the feeling I should be having sex with my husband 6 times a week. He’s like, “They know that it’s you that thinks you should be doing that, right? They know that’s not me?” Yes, honey. My readers are very well aware that I’m the neurotic one.

I also wanted to get the perspective of a male, but had a lot more trouble finding anyone who’d gotten as naked as the women and cultivated a sizable audience as a result. That alone, I found pretty fascinating. And, I’d love to hear you theories on why this might be in the comments…

So, I turned to my friend Leo Babauta from ZenHabits.net, who’s is known as being a very open blogger who often brings in stories about his life and his family. I wouldn’t classify Leo as a serious strip-blogger, though he does get into his psychic-undies here and there and getting personal as been a hallmark of his extraordinary journey from launch to A-list in less than a year.

Here’s what Leo shared:

  1. How do you decide how personal to get? It’s really a gut feeling, I think, but it’s based on factors such as how much info people need in order to decide whether my tips/advice is worth taking. Why should we listen to Leo about how to wake up early? Well, if I tell them that I wake at 4:00 a.m., and have shaved a few hours off my wake-up time, that helps them decide that I’m worth listening to. Another factor is whether I can share what has worked for me — it’s much better advice if you’ve actually done it, rather than just something you’ve come up with on the spot. And if you’ve done it, people want to know about that. So I share my experiences — it makes my advice much more realistic. I try to give real-world experiences, rather than vague stuff, and that means that I have to share things that have happened to me, that I’ve gone through.
  2. Why do you get personal? It’s important for people to relate to the blogger. We always want to know more about an author (I not only look at the back inside cover for the author bio and photo, but I google them too). So if you share stuff about yourself, people can relate to you more, and that really makes a difference.
  3. Is there a line in the sand you won’t cross and, if so, what is it? I don’t have a hard line … my basic test is whether my wife would kill me if I shared this info with the world. She doesn’t mind if I tell people about blisters I get from running … but if I got them from our sex life, she probably wouldn’t want me to share that. That’s not a true story, btw.
  4. Have you ever felt you revealed too much and regretted it after the fact? Not yet. I think people genuinely appreciate you sharing your life with them. So far people have been very kind about what I’ve shared. My “wife test” has served me well so far!

In the end, it seems effective strip-blogging comes down to a few essential principles.

  • Be able to write. Like any other great blogger, you still need to be able to write. If you’ve got great stories, but can’t share them in a way that’s compelling, game over.
  • Be authentic. You cannot write off-the-wall stuff solely for the purpose of creating shock and awe or in a quest to drive traffic. Readers will sense that and abandon both you and your blog.
  • Embrace life. In order to have good stories and experiences to share, you need to get away from your computer and embrace what Tevye from Fiddler On The Roof called life’s “full-catastrophe.” Engage in the world around you and immerse yourself in relationships, actions and consequences. Dance where the good stuff happens. This is where the stories and revelations that make for compelling strip-blogging are birthed.
  • Be honest. Don’t lie or make stuff up in the name of freaking people out. People can smell a lie and you’ll be done in the blink of an eye.
  • Consider the impact on others. If you blog about the people closest to you, understand it will have an impact on their lives and be ready to deal with that. Think seriously about the effect on those around you and decide what is and is not sacred…if anything.
  • Lean on the community. Strip bloggers often reveal their lives as an example of what to do and what not to do, but as much as people draw solace and inspiration from them, you also get the feeling they tend to rely on their reader-community for support, conversation, solutions and inspiration, too. And, they acknowledge and converse with everyone in the comments.
  • Edutain. Whether your voice is authoritative, funny, wicked or raw, find it, cultivate it, make it clear and strong, so that you can deliver your message in a way that only informs, but somehow also entertains.
  • Be thick-skinned. Some people will love you for stripping, others will hate you. Be ready for strong, potentially aggressive comments and be prepared to handle and engage them. No doubt, they will come.

If I’ve left any out, please feel free to add more below…

Violate these fundamental principles and you risk trashing your reputation, losing your audience, inflaming and inspiring attackers, creating a public record of things you’d rather have private later in life and tearing apart certain personal relationships.

I have to admit to being somewhat awed by really good strip-bloggers.

I could never do what they do, I’m just not nearly that transparent. For me, I set clear boundaries. I offer bits and pieces, glimpses into my personal life if they are relevant to what I enjoy writing about and sharing. But, I also tend toward being overly cautious about the effect of whatever I write on the people closest to me. Admittedly, this limits what and when I write. But, I can live with that. So, I occasionally go topless, but buck-naked, not quite yet…if ever.

So, what about you?

What you think about strip-blogging?

Do you secretly lust to read it? Do you strip-blog yourself? Are you mortified by it?

Let me know in the comments below…

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59 responses

59 responses to “Strip Blogging: how naked will you go?”

  1. I have had a higher than average openness about my personal life on my business blog, I find it helps people connect, trust and understand. Fear can stop you from being yourself, and I am very much me when I blog.

  2. My ‘naked’ posts are consistently the most popular ones on my blog. That being said, I just can’t write them all of the time, they are hard.

    I think the key is not to vent nor to be transparent for the sake of being transparent. You still have to add value and have a ‘lesson’ or ‘moral to the story’.

    I don’t normally drop links, but I did talk about this in a post fairly recently, Moving Your Readers to Tears :: How to Get Personal on a Business Blog

  3. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Lyndon – Yeah, I hear you. It’s always a dance between really revealing what’s in my head and maintaining some sense of boundaries. But, that likely comes from me being a control freak most of my life.

    @ Wendy – Great point about looking at what it takes emotionally to go naked. I guess that’s why I am so amazed when a blogger or writer does it effectively on such a consistent basis. Not convined I could pull that off, even if I was willing to reveal all. Hey thanks for the link, too, some great insights!

  4. Thank you for displaying my photo so prominently, although it would be cooler if you`d identify it as such. 🙂

    Seriously, though, thanks for including me in this. It`s a hell of a list to be a part of. Tres awesome.

  5. CatherineL says:

    Hi Jonathon – Naomi’s urinating in the cup post is probably the most shocking one I’ve read – ever. I suppose it’s just not the kind of thing anyone would admit to doing.

    But, I think it does endear people to her – maybe not everyone, but she’s not out to please everyone.

    I think it’s just amazing that she’s brave enough to admit something like that.

  6. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Naomi – so sorry about not giving you credit for being the model for the stripping woman photo, I just didn’t want anybody to be jealous of your washboard abs while pregnant! It’s bad enough you’re so damn funny all the time! hehehehe! 😉

  7. I guess you can call me a strip blogger. I started my first blog to help other families dealing with the diagnosis of a child with autism. At the time I was working from home as an Early Intervention Coordinator. I had a lot of information people needed. I’m brutally honest as an individual and that’s how I blog on http://www.pdd-nosmemoirs.com . I’ve blogged about my emotionally abusive relationship, my diagnosis of early stages of cancer and my daughter’s miraculous healing of meningitis. Twenty-two sites later, I learned things were different in the realm of personal finance bloggers. I find many personal finance bloggers are stuffy, arrogant and unforgiving. I stopped commenting on many of their blogs because of unwelcome, ugly comments. I removed the ability for people to comment on http://www.getting-out-of-debt.info for about a year due to trolls. People don’t read the whole story, they just jump to conclusions. I have 7 kids of which 2 are non bios. There were people telling me to stop having kids and other unwanted, cruel comments. I’ve gotten into a few verbal scuffles with trolls on a few of my blogs because no one’s kids are fair game (especially mine). I don’t attack anyone in the blogosphere. I simply give my account of what I’VE experienced.

    I think like Dooce. (She’s one of my favorite mommy bloggers.) In the end, it’s my blog and I can write whatever I want. If you don’t like it, don’t visit. I can’t make everyone happy…

  8. Mark Dykeman says:

    Some of us like to share more than others… 🙂

  9. Notice that most of the ‘bare-all’ bloggers are women.

    Sharing those details is how women communicate with each other. It’s part of how a woman is authentic and honest. A woman sits down and thinks, ‘this blog is me’, so she shares things that explain how she is or where she is coming from.

    Men, let’s face it, could go days before they discuss anything really personal. Women, however, can barely go an hour.

    It has been EXTREMELY HARD for me to blog without laying bare my soul and motivations. I am constantly reining myself in. It is not easy to say BAM, ‘this is what you need to do’ without the qualifying explanation of where you are coming from.

  10. Nez says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    It’s also interesting that I happened to have read 3 of the 5 posts you mentioned. Somehow, some way, those soul-baring posts really draw people in, “reality show” – like, I suppose. (There must be a six-degree of separation between bloggers as well.)

    If someone strip-blogged every single post, I’m not so sure it would be as effective.

  11. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ supermom – sounds like you definitely fit into the strip blogger camp. Sometimes I wonder if you ever wonder if it’s really worth it or whether it’s even really a choice or more of an imperative.

    @ Hayden – It really is pretty fascinating that nearly all well-known strip bloggers are women, that’s a great point about this maybe being a reflection of a bigger picture communication preference.

    @ Nez – Wow, great insight, I think you’re right, though, if everyone was so naked online, it very likely would be less strikingly different and less impactful.

  12. Jarkko says:

    I think a key to strip blogging is the ability to write – really write.

    I have read some posts from strip bloggers who share everything they can think of, but fail miserably in their writing skills. When that happens, the blog gets just terrible to read. If a normal blogger writes ok, that’s just ok (as long as the content is useful).

    But for someone who pours out her/his soul and shares every little detail with the readers, the criteria for the quality of the text is much higher. A great writer like Naomi blogging butt naked leads to a remarkable reading experience whereas an average / lower than average writer should stick to not so open blogging…

    I’m still thinking about why I feel like this. I’m not sure… But what do you think? Would you agree?

  13. Jarkko’s so nice, isn’t he? Thank you, Jarkko. You’re lovely.

  14. Nicole says:

    I haven’t shared unbelievably personal information. Instead I write from a perspective that some may not agree with or find offensive.

    I guess it’s all because when you speak the truth you sometimes get a few tomatoes thrown from the crowd.

  15. My take on this? It backfires badly unless you’re a woman. The one time in my life that I posted a personal experience on my blog in the hopes of simply sharing my thoughts and passing on the lessons of my moment, I received a SLEW of jazz about how I’m a real sh**, a complete jerk, a senseless bastard, etc etc.

    Who raked me over the coals? A bunch of people who’d picked up the blog link from a Christan blog – of all places. They walk in faith and they judge like my next-door neighbor.

    So while I’ll empathize with Dooce, sympathize with Caroline and laugh my ass off with Naomi, I’ll be very hesitant to drop my pants on Men with Pens.

  16. On a small side note, I think people read and enjoy personal posts because they’re tired of the anonymity of the Internet. They’re looking for a connection in a faceless world. Peeing in a pitcher under the table puts a face (or at least a hilarious mental image) to it all.

  17. @Stephen says:

    I don’t like to blog naked because my butt sticks to the chair.

    Seriously, though, I just did a survey about what my readers were looking for, and 50% of the readers that took it listed the personal life posts as “Poor” or “Fair Value”. They want more technical posts and more real-life examples. I definitely do not think that they want to read about the time I peed in a sink at McDonalds.

  18. Shai Coggins says:

    Thanks for a good read. Interesting points. I also like that part about the ‘wife test’ and the ‘mother-in-law’ test. Mine’s a ‘husband test’. Even though he doesn’t usually read my blog. 😉

    Anyway, I just look at this the way I do in ‘real life’ – some people are really just more transparent than others. I’m always amazed whenever I meet someone new and they can just blurt their life story with me. I’m cool with that, even if I can’t reciprocate.

    People who’re open tend to put folks at ease. That’s why they’re interesting… riveting, even, if they have a knack for storytelling. But, sometimes, they can also make other people uncomfortable.

    All I know is that it’s always best to stay true to your real personality when blogging. People will respond that authentic side of you no matter what.

  19. Jonathan,

    I admire the strip-bloggers and am fascinated by their self-disclosure. Sharing real stories about ourselves is what gives life, meaning and credibility to our blogs, no matter what the subject. I include real experiences from life, family and career as much as possible.

    My self-revelations are nowhere near as juicy as those of the bloggers you cited, but if my mother and husband were alive to read my blogs they’d be horrified. As for my friends and children, they need stirring up.

    Compelling content comes first for me, but I welcome cash too.

    In my blogs I’ve bared my shoulders, but never stripped.

  20. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Jarkko – no doubt, great writing can make the difference between a jumbled annoying rant and a fun, cavorting romp!

    @ Naomi – that’s why we like Jarkko, he’s the nice guy!

    @ Nicole – whether it’s personal or just a really strong opinion, a thick skin is definitely a requirement

    @ James – yes, still trying to wrap my head around the seemingly women-dominated arena of strip-blogging. If anyone knows of a successful make strip-blogger, please chime in! Oh, and we all thank you for keeping your pants on while playing over at my house!

    @ Stephen – it definitely depends on the nature of the blog you’re writing. Then again, with what we’re seeing unfold here, it may also depend on whether you’ve got two y’s or an xy.

    @ Shai – yeah, I think we all have some sort of husband, wife, partner, mother-in-law test. But, it seems that test is the deciding factor for some and just one piece of the puzzle for others. I like your comment about meeting someone in real face to face life who blurts out their entire life story. I think, for me, I tend to feel somewhat disarmed before those people, but, most of the time, it doesn’t endear me toward them either.

    @ Flora – ha ha! it starts with the shoulders, then the arms, then, before ya know it…look out world!

  21. Fiar says:

    I agree with Naomi when she says, “non-personal blogs bore me senseless.”

  22. First thing I thought was: You’re just describing women communicating 🙂

    Second thing I thought was: Maybe it’s a cultural thing that Americans are a bit more prude and anal retentive, because none of the things I read struck me as ‘shocking’. I, of course, come from a country that is very liberal (we tolerate the use of canabis, gay people can get married and nudity is not very shocking, I’m from the Netherlands, and no, that is not a province of Sweden!) so I’m like, yeah, what’s the big deal?
    Also, after shows like Sex In The City I think many people lose their inhibitions to speak about urine, sex and mental conditions that are socially undesirable.
    If you listen to current pop artists from America it’s not even ‘highly suggestive’ anymore, it’s all about sex, and very explicit, too! In a sense, that’s liberating. In another way I think it does not do the collective consciousness a lot of good, but that might be too abstract a topic.

    Another thought that crossed my mind is that it may be the exhibitionist in some of us. For some it’s cultivating a woundology and requestion attention. For others it’s a healing thing. And for a few, it’s total abandon and freedom, because they know the person they are writing about is just a construction, a story, an agreement with a nametag on it. Did you know that it’s a Buddhist meditation to visualise all the sh*t in your body? It’s supposed to remind you of what your physical body really is, and to help you not have too much ego about that sh*t processing unit 😉

    It just makes us all the more real people- it can be a relief to be frank about things. Personal branding and blogging can act as ‘personality traps’, creating a track that becomes deeper and deeper, the longer we cultivate it. So maybe the openness is also a way to break the mould.

  23. Jarkko says:

    @James: That’s a great point about anonymity on the internet. I’ve never really understood why to some people it’s so important to be able to stay anonymous online, so I’m really happy to see that the world is changing as more and more people lose their anonymity and present themselves with their real names and identities.

    This will make the internet a safer and nicer place to spend time at. Just think about how much less offending posts would be written if people would be forced to share their identities…

    @Jonathan, @Naomi: I guess that’s my fate, to be called the nice guy. Not quite as sexy as being the snarky naked blogger or the super human – but I like it. Thanks! 🙂

  24. I blog naked all the time after all it is the beauty of working from home…. 🙂

    Oops did you mean the other naked, oh well never mind.

  25. For me, I had no desire to be sharing any personal details on the blog at first – I had always kept it very on topic and never divulged anything to do with my personal life. It was business all the way but the split with my partner affected me so much that I just couldn’t write, I couldn’t work and of course the blog suffered. I was having to make up crap on the blog to try and explain why I wasn’t posting and after about a month of this pretense I simply couldn’t take it any more so I just let it all out to let myself of the hook. At that point I didn’t even know whether or not I would continue with the blog – I just wanted to be honest so if I went awol then people would know why.

  26. But the question, Caroline, is whether you’ll continue to include personal stories or only wrote that one instance to vent and let people know what was going on?

    (glad you did, btw. I subscribed)

    @ Anniedien – That’s something too. Here in Canada, we’re almost as tolerant as people in the Netherlands (we still have to hide our pot and only women in Ontario can go topless, though), but far more than the U.S – from my experience. Please don’t hit the Canadian.

    However, most of these are business blogs. I’m not sure that in the Netherlands, people strip, grab their partner and walk into an office smoking a spliff. I think this is what creates shock about the cases Jonathan brought up – the pee in a pitcher, the devastated depression… these were on business blogs. Dooce isn’t a business blog, so I’m not sure where that comes in…

    Hm. I need more coffee.

  27. Chris Cree says:

    I agree with the general sentiment here that it is easier for women to pull off the mixing of business with the personal. As guys we naturally tend to focus down more. I keep my personal stuff on my personal blog but as I got busier with work my personal blog got neglected to the point of near abandonment.

    Thanks for writing this post up for us, Jonathan. It was good timing for me as I was planning on starting a more personal series on my business blog today. Letting my hair down a bit, so to speak. This was good encouragement for me.

  28. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Fiar – I actually read mostly professional-interest blogs to learn, which is why it’s so fun to see something really juicy in that arena.

    @ Annedien – Yes, it really seems strip blogging taps something that women really seem to be able to pull of in a way most men can’t. And, you’re likely right, it’s probably tied to the way women communicate in general. Great insights about cultural differences and what’s shocking to some is mainstream to others! Thanks!

    @ Jarkko – so, we know your “public” persona is the nice/chill/interested guy…but what’s your strip persona? Hmmmm…I always had a theory that the nice, regular people lived secret, insanely complex, sometimes even deviant hidden lives. So, feel like coming clean??? Heehee! 😉

    @ Monika – Hey, blog buck naked all you want and, if you really want to skyrocket your traffic, blog naked on your web-cam! hehe! 🙂

    @ Caroline – Hey, C, thanks for dropping by! And, thanks for your amazingly candid post, it definitely pulled drew me in and revealed a level of humanity you pretty much never find on a make money online blog. I guess, I have the same question James had, which is, do you think you’ll still plan on dropping some more personal posts, updates going forward or was it a one shot deal? Curious to know your thoughts!

    @ James – Man, do yo HAVE to keep reading my mind all the time?! Are you saying us NYers are all stuffy? That’s the final straw, I’m going to have to formulate a response for your uber-open Canadian butt and publish it…as soon as I sit on it or a week or so to make sure it’s not too shocking and pass it by my publishing lawyer to make sure it’s not going to raise any feathers or break any laws, then once I have it adequately watered down…watch out! Oh, btw, you win a vegan, organic ham for first use of the word “spliff” on my blog!

    @ Chris – What? Us guys keep things inside? Never!

  29. Naomi Niles says:

    I’d be much too chicken to write anything so personal on my site, but I really admire people who do it. It’s true, the internet always feels so anonymous. It’s great to feel that there are real people out there. I do think it depends on what kind of blog you are running though. If you blog about Apple or something like that, people probably wouldn’t like to hear personal stuff.

    Naomi’s site is a good exception though. I always get amazed how she writes both marketing and personal stuff with the same candor.

  30. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Everyone – how, you guys have me thinking and I have a question for you all…

    If any of the strip-blogging posts I linked to above had been written by men, would you have felt any different about them?

    Does just knowing the sex of the writer change how you would have received the info?

    Are you more likely to want to just bop them in the head and say, “stop whining, be a man!” or does it still have the same impact? Does it still connect on the same level?

    It’s kind of hard to revisit them like this, but give it a try and then share your thoughts…

  31. The perception of gender plays a huge roll. Women get away with a lot of emotion – but also tend to lose a lot of respect in the business world because of it. Men garner a lot of respect in the business world to start with, just because they’re male, but displays of emotion are a no-no.

    I’m not sure how I would’ve felt about receiving the info on a business level. On a personal level, I still would’ve felt empathetic. Not sure if I would’ve dropped them all comments, though – don’t men suffer alone?

  32. Josephine says:

    I agree with Annedien…I’m so used to reading these kinds of blogs that I don’t find them shocking or offensive in the slightest. I’m from the UK so maybe it is a cultural thing. After all our biggest selling newspaper features a lady with her jugs openly on display on the third page.

    I enjoy reading ‘strip-blogs’ because the writers are usually talking straight from the heart and that’s a really powerful and attractive thing. It’s like having a chat with a mate. Would love for there to be more bloggers ‘keeping it real’ like that!

    Jonnathan – i love when you say ‘it’s not your momma’s blog’! Although you presume that my momma’s blog wouldn’t be littered with the f-word too! Haha!

  33. esther says:

    great topic. can i toss in creativity and passion? i believe many bloggers are writing nakedly about themselves because they can be passionate about their subject matter (“write what you know” as they say), and because self expression, as an act of creativity, is so deeply satisfying.

    oh, can i also toss in talent? i do sometimes cringe at the bare-all, look-at-me feel to some blogs, but i think i may cringe mainly at the ones that are poorly written. with the more well-written ones, i tend to applaud the courage, creativity, wit, slick turns of phrase, etc. can it be quality that’s a big divider? i mean, how different is all this from a memoir?

    which makes me wonder, are there more memoirs written by women than men?

  34. […] If you don’t think politics has any place on this site, then look at this. […]

  35. abby says:

    i love the gender question – is it more palatable to hear women reveal themselves than men? do we expect women to be more vulnerable? i don’t mean that in a poor-us-wah-wah sense either, just wondering why men have a rougher time, actually.
    and also i wanted to ask a question to this inspiring posse…my greatest fear about my writing is that it’s self-pitying and navel gazing.
    what do you think makes a story resonate with your readers?
    thanks as always for an incredible discussion….
    abby

  36. […] sites), but that’s probably not a subject for this post.   I will say that Jonathan Field’s recent post  on Awake at the Wheel is relevant to that […]

  37. […] Strip Blogging: how naked will you go? – Do you reveal too much personal details to the blogosphere? Interesting article from Jonathan about strip-blogging. […]

  38. @ Jonathan: webcam, now that’s an idea to cash in big. 🙂

    But seriously, I also love the naked blogging we see more and more these days. There is actually one from a bunch of blokes that comes close to this too. Mens with Pens blog about pretty personal stuff. They even let out that one of them is an avid knitter.

    If that is not naked blogging?!

    Getting in touch with the innermost (or close to) person on a blog makes her/him all the more lovable since we can identify with them because non of us is perfect.

    I never thought that I would share personal stuff like I have done as of late and for me it is just a natural progression of getting comfortable with my readers.

  39. Knitting in the nude?! Crazy. Those Men with Pens are such hacks… 😉

  40. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Monika and James – yeah, those Men With Pens guys are a nutty bunch. Hey, James, you live in Canadia, you must know them…eh?!

  41. One of them’s from Quebec – even worse! And the other? Las Vegas. Crazy bugger. Always out in the casinos. Sheesh.

  42. […] with a pair of “compost” kickers and ten gallon tip of the hat to Jonathan Fields Strip Blogging: how naked will you go?, and a grinning honorific to my talented friend Miriam and her encouragement for my […]

  43. Gaje Master says:

    I try not to get too personal in my blogs and I would defiantly never talk about how I peed in weird locations. this is defiantly a bit ridiculous even for bloggers.

    This was defiantly a post to think about.

  44. Anton says:

    Welcome to Jerry Springer culture everybody! The only difference between these bloggers and Springer, Oprah, or whoever else you care to name is the medium.

    Yawn…..

  45. […] a really ass kicking post (and I’d say that even if I wasn’t in it) coining the term “naked blogging”. I was included, as was Heather Armstrong from Dooce, Penelope Trunk from Brazen Careerist, Leo […]

  46. Dave C. says:

    @ Anton – Cynical much? I would hardly put Naomi’s posts in the same category as Jerry Springer. She’s much funnier, but I’m guessing you don’t read IttyBiz to know that she’s the real deal. Same with Dooce and the others.

    On the DOOCE note, even though Heather makes a good income off her hugely popular site now, there was a time where it wasn’t so good. She lost her job because of it. Now when folks get fired for blogging, it’s called being Dooced.

    Heather gets railed on constantly by folks that disagree with her point of view. People tear into her constantly and yet she keeps coming back to write about the nuances of her life. I know I couldn’t do it.

    Finally, contrary to what James said, I don’t think this is gender specific. Granted, I don’t have his subscriber base, but I once opened up about how much of an ass I was to my wife once on my personal blog and it garnered quite a bit of adoration. I didn’t do it for that reason. I just wanted to find a way to make ammends beyond a lame apology. I figured I would wash my sins in the waters of public opinion. I’ve since been a much better husband… I hope.

  47. […] guess this is my turn to go strip blogging then, […]

  48. The reason I blog, and the reason I’ve always blogged is to be honest. I don’t see the point of hiding anything in my blog. HerEveryCentCounts is somewhat anonymous, though, which gives me more freedom than ever before to be open about things. I’ve never been ashamed of the truth. If I’m ashamed of anything, it’s my income, my poor spending habits, and my ability to invest at such a young age. But writing my blog is like therapy to get over the guilt and to help others through being honest.

  49. Téa Brennan says:

    It’s not something I have ever really thought about until now. For me, I am cnscious of the “public record” nature of blogging, and as such, am mindful of my grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc that will be able to see my life through my eyes — warts and all.

    Every year I write to my kids on their birthday, and I share the funny things they say, even on the “business blog” — I guess because my blog started before my business did, that it is a little less “business-like” — it’s actually very interesting to go back to 2002 archives and see how miserable I was infull time work, trying to find my “place” in the world.

    My blog has literally grown with me, and like Naomi said, more often than not, it drives a point home. I really love Naomi’s candid tales — and as a marketing person it also makes her human.

    I don’t know whether it really is a matter of getting traffic, but some people have naturally open personalities, whilst others are just naturally more guarded.

    I for one love sharing my disastrous birthday cakes and heartfelt letters to my kids alongside my latest projects… I really don’t think I would have it any other way… noone is just one-dimension, and the web has allowed for people like me to feel like they have an outlet for their many interests and talents, and the ability to carve my own little niche out there.

    (mind you, those whole 150 people a day that read my blog doesnt compare to any of those ;))

  50. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Anton – funny, I was thinking about the comparison with Jerry Springer when I was writing this> A friend who worked in the industry once told me most of the guests just did it for the free plane ticket and hotel in the big city and much of what was on the show was fabricated/orchestrated. I get the feeling our strip bloggers are much less in it for the money and fame. There seems to be something else going on here…

    @ Dave C – Agree that, at least the strip bloggers I mentioned, seem to be much “realer” than wht you see done for shock value and bucks on TV. On the gender issue, I am still leaning James’ way, largely because almost every popular strip blogger with a substantial following is a woman. There’s got be something to that.

    @ her every cent counts – I get the need to be honest. But, what I don’t get is – if that is truly your primary motivation, why is it necessary for you to be honest in public? Wouldn’t private journaling have a similar effect. What else does doing it in public give you? Genuinely curious.

    @ Tea – Yeah, the public record is one thing that stops me from getting too naked, myself. I sometimes wonder if, even though I am ok leeting something loose today, would I someday come to regret it years down the road? And, I am not someone who lives with much regret in my life, but, I have to admit to that thought lingering while I write.

  51. @ Dave – If you show that you’re a man worth loving because you’re an ass and admitted it, every woman in the world will sigh and love you back.

    If you – as a man – write down that you pissed in your neighbor’s car through the window, had a meltdown and yelled at the cashier in the local depanneur when she charged you too much for beer, and then went home and burst into tears because your cat ate the cheese you left on the counter…

    You would get nothing. Zip. Zilch.

    Change your name to Danicka instead of Dave, and you suddenly have a huge outpouring of sympathy, love, links, and shared laughter.

    It’s a gender thing. I swear.

    I only bare my arse if there’s a lesson in it that others can use. It’s not about baring just to bare. It’s about baring and saying, “Don’t do what I did, and here’s why.”

    I also never seem to realize I’m baring a thing until people say that I am. Oblivious male, I guess!

  52. @ James: now you got my imagination sparked. Never seen a naked knitter blogger man – crazy for mens with pens. What a combo

    *she tries to picture this* but fails miserably. And then laughs until her belly aches.

  53. leslie d. says:

    One basic fact overlooked in this post is that women have been considered more transparent with their emotions for most if not all of recorded history. Much of the time we’ve been disrespected for it as well. So, it is no surprise that more women blog “nakedly” than men. I used to hear that men died earlier than women because they “held things in” too much. In our quest for equality, we women now die equally as fast as our male counterparts.We hold it in, on the job and die from strokes/heart attacks at the same ratio as men.

    I tend to write very personally and candidly about my life. As my mother once put it, “You always did tell me more than I wanted to know”! (thanks Mom!) One reason I do that is I believe the slogan which says, “You are only as sick as your secrets”. Candor is incredibly freeing! I do have a sense of boundaries that keep me from making an a$$ of myself and from making anyone I love want to commit murder!

    I always appreciate the personal comments that keep blogs from being dry dissertations. If I had to specify how “bare” I take things I’d have to say I show no more than discreet cleavage on intimacy issues and I pull a total strip on my personal, inner/psychological life.

  54. […] the recent strip blogging extravaganza, I thought some of you guys might be into […]

  55. […] Trunk is a Strip Blogger. At least according to Jonathan Fields. (So are a few other folks, including Naomi Dunford over at IzzyBiz, which I so […]

  56. […] Strip Blogging: how naked will you go? | Awake At The Wheel | 5 steps, ajax, blog, google, images, interested prospects, marketing mix, money, oldschool, phone card, research technique, search engines, search engine hits, search engine optimization, search post, social media, socialmedia, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, social networking, social networking sites, star wars movies, stumblers, stumbleupon, stumbleupon toolbar, stumble button, SU, wordpress pluginsPopularity: 1% [?]If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! Technology […]

  57. […] Thanks to Jonathon Fields who wrote about Strip-blogging – that’s what inspired this post. His blog is one of my favorite ones right […]

  58. Good post. I have been blogging my journey for a couple of years, and I’ve been surprised at the interest in what I write about myself, my struggles, ups and downs.

  59. annakat says:

    At my age I’m not sure everyone would be ready for this mom to strip. When you reach the ripe age of 60+ you get out of bed, step on the floor, out comes a scream. “Darn, forgot to throw the darn things over my shoulders again”, you pick up your boobs, throw them over your shoulders, shuffle to the bathroom, praying you make it. With that chore completed you then look for your glasses to make sure you don’t eat the dogs food by mistake. Now how personal do you want me to get.