Jennifer Lawrence is the poster child of charming authenticity. She’s adorably awkward. Incredibly self-aware. And arrests our attention with her unselfconscious honesty.
That’s because Jennifer Lawrence may know something you don’t.
That transparency is the wave of the future. And bloggers everywhere who’ve spotted the trend are attracting audiences using the technique.
I figured it out by accident. How?
Last week, I gave an interview to Yahoo Finance reporter, Mandi Woodruff, where I shared my experience as a millennial navigating the new US economy. In other words, I complained about how shitty it is to swim in student debt and how these murky economic waters make starting a family scary.
I spoke out on the topic because I’m passionate about it. So of course I was excited when the reporter called me. But I wouldn’t be me if ten seconds after hanging up the phone I didn’t go into freak out mode.
What if I said something wrong? What if I revealed too much? What if my husband gets fired because I said where he works? What if I sound like a whiner?
It was then that I realized I live in two different worlds. One where transparency—being open about my personal life as a blogger and writer—is a requirement of the job. And the other is a relic of the pre-internet age where people think individual privacy still exists.
Here’s what I mean by that.
Privacy in The Post-Internet World Is An Illusion
We live in a society in transition. Many of us still don’t know that individual privacy doesn’t exist anymore.
Your internet searches are logged for market research. Passwords are just a minor challenge for the clever and bored. Information you keep in the cloud is open to hackers. There’s a back door into everything online.
Credit card numbers and nude photos get leaked. Comments you leave on a blog post can never really be erased. Wayback Machine remembers all. Facebook can change their policies anytime and expose what you shared with friends in your feed. And who knows what the NSA is up to?
Pretty soon, Google Glass will evolve into an easy-to-conceal contact lenses you wear all day. Which means anyone will be able to search “your name + climaxes” and get the picture of you that your asshole ex’s contact lens took while he nailed you from behind.
Will you be embarrassed? Eh, maybe. The first people it happens to will be. But the inevitable end is it will happen to everyone. And we’ll be forced to accept a certain level of “been there, seen that” every time we see a politician’s leaked cock shot before we get on with our day.
My point is, privacy doesn’t exist anymore. We’ve already reached critical mass. You just haven’t noticed yet.
So what do we do about it?
Get Ahead of The Trend: Blog Transparently Now To Capture The Widest Audience Before The Rest of The World Catches On
As a blogger, you can leverage the transparency trend before it mainstreams.
Knowing where the culture is headed is great for you. It means you can position your net before the fish know the tide has changed. You’ll be in the prime spot before anyone else even knows it’s the place to be.
How does that translate to a bigger audience? See how the pro bloggers do it.
Bloggers Who Break Culture Taboos (And Are More Successful For It)
The problem is we were raised in a culture with taboo topics. These will sound familiar even to millennials.
We’re told not to talk about money. So sharing my annual income with Yahoo Finance made me queasy. Yet some of the most successful online businesses share their monthly income reports. Blogs like Pinch of Yum attract huge audiences to their income reports, which they then funnel into their income stream through links.
We’re told not to talk about sex. Yet one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Penelope Trunk, shares some of her most hilarious or heart-breaking sexual experiences. And her readers feel more connected to her. So they share her work and build her audience without her having to ask.
Don’t talk about depression or anxiety? Millions of your readers suffer from both and are looking for someone, anyone, to normalize the experience. Why shouldn’t it be you?
Don’t talk about death. Even though we’ve all lost someone. And sharing your loss can help someone make sense of theirs.
Be only positive? Talk about happy things? Did you know that in the first weeks of starting this blog, I was part of a critique group that told me no one would like my couchsurfing tips article because it was too negative? That article went on to bring in 15k pins and 29k pageviews to this fledgling site so far.
The point is, the world is changing. And what worked before doesn’t work anymore. Bloggers and writers who take advantage of the transparency trend now will be more successful than bloggers who don’t.
But you have to do it the right way. I’m sure you guessed that already.
In part two of this mini-series, I share 5 ways writers and bloggers can achieve online transparency (without committing TMI).
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