Blogging: class, crass or just plain TMI

October 22, 2013

This is a post every blogger should read.


There was a day when kissing and telling was impolite.  Apparently, those days are long gone, along with so many other aspects of good taste.

This week (and I am writing this months in advance of posting) I read two blog posts that I think exceeded the bounds of good taste in blogging. The question is really this:  does “being authentic” require you to disclose every personal or unsavory detail of your life? Even if it involves others?

First, a few caveats, just to head off  comments from people accusing me of being unwilling to share my personal life.   Let me assure you that my life’s been virtually an open book for a very long time. To my friends. I’ve never seen the need to write about every problem that comes up–that’s what my friends are for.

And to those who think I’m a prude:  If you knew how much I’m not a prude I’d have to kill you, but a select few people know that I. Am. Definitely. Not. A. Prude.

Now you know, too. Take my word for it, because I’m not going to ever post details.

So let’s start.


Discretion is a good thing.

Blogger A decided to post a detailed and quite well-written piece about her husband’s failings as a gift giver. In the post, she set forth some impossible-to-meet requirements for successful gift giving, discussed her husband’s epic fails in gift-giving and posted photos of gifts her husband had given her that failed to meet her standards. It’s probably no surprise that this does not appear to be a particularly healthy marriage (but who really knows for sure) and this wife has more than a few issues with entitlement.  This isn’t the first time she’s posted unflattering and mean things about her husband. It just didn’t sit right with me. It was way too personal.

She claims she’s being “vulnerable” and “authentic.”  I think it’s more like “inappropriate.” It’s the difference between “class” and “crass.”

Marital issues need to be resolved within the couple. Sure, blog about the topic if you’re compelled to. But do so in general terms,  talk about yourself or use a “fictional friend”.  Or talk in theory. Don’t publicly cut your mate in the process, especially if you have a big-time blog with thousands of readers worldwide. Some things are more appropriately kept private. Why hurt your husband in that way? I don’t get it.

I just don’t see how casting someone else in a bad light is being “vulnerable.”   Even if you’re casting yourself in a bad light by doing so.

I Googled "Missionary Position" and got "Mormon Missionary Position" instead

I Googled “Missionary Position” and got “Mormon Missionary Position” instead

Blogger B wrote an entire giddy post about a discussion she had with her husband about the state of their marriage and closed with an in-living-color description of a sexual romp they had.

The whole post just pushed my buttons.  It reeked of “isn’t sex grand? and “aren’t I hot?”

First of all, I discovered sex a long time ago and have had my share of sexual adventures. Maybe even more than my share.


I would no more blog about them than I’d kick one of my dogs.  I wouldn’t invade my husband’s privacy that way –or any partner’s— and I certainly have no need for others to envision me and another in the heat of the moment.

It’s just Too. Much. Information.

Hey, if you’re a sex blogger? Go for it. There’s context. History. It’s topical for you. I get it.

If you’re writing porn? Send me the URL — who knows,  I might like it.

But seriously. If you want any credibility at all as a plain old blogger, do not subject your readers to your unfiltered marital issues, detailed discussions you’ve had with your spouse about extramarital affairs or the gory details of the last time you got laid. In fact, don’t do it at all, even if you’re a sex blogger.

I’m THRILLED that you have a robust sex life.

By all means,  tell me you donned your corset and fuck-me pumps.

And stop there.

Please do not make me envision you with your mouth wrapped around your hubby’s pole or your legs around his hips.

Too. Much. Information.

Here’s a good rule of thumb:

Just because you can write about something, doesn’t mean you should.


31 comments on “Blogging: class, crass or just plain TMI
  1. I wrote about TMI on my dating blog just the other day…it seems to be a badge of honor (sorta) to spill your guts. I so agree with you on the subject of authentic. And, vulnerable. I do read the occasional blog where stories are shared and have relevance. The blogger is putting herself out there (because it’s almost always a woman) with a message that’s important. Very different from spilling the whole train wreck.
    I’m watching a marriage unravel right now in a blog and as much as I want to remain impartial it is causing me to question the writer’s capabilities in other areas of his/her life. In a way that could have an impact on our working relationship!

    • admin says:

      Walker, the thing I love about your blogging is that you talk about sex in a very matter of fact way, never giddy and never as if you invented it. It’s the perfect tone. And you always close the curtain before it’s so personal it overtakes your message. I think bloggers who reveal too much about their relationships show poor judgment. I get that it’s attention-seeking behavior, but at the point at which a marriage begins to unravel, you do have to question the writer’s capabilities.

  2. Thank you SO much. I recently read a TMI post from Blogger C. I really, really, really didn’t want that mental image.

  3. Carol, your post should appear in a wordpress / blogger guidelines section. It’s right on point! Lee and I were just talking about this…when you stumble onto a blog that is evident of a dysfunctional relationship, you never want to return to that site and it leaves you feeling a little dirty. Blogging is like having children; you don’t need a license, and you see lot of bad examples when you start looking around. It’s our responsibility to create something that can live on without us.

    • admin says:

      You raise good points. The sticky wicket is “censorship”. To me, it’s a matter of good taste, but not a matter for too many rules, because, well, there’s that slippery slope. I’ve also had that “don’t want to return” feeling, and I’d like to hope that will be a good governing too. But probably not, because for some it’s like a car wreck–can’t look away. Why tabloids are popular. Still, I just had to say it.

  4. Boy howdy, do I ever agree. It’s not that I don’t appreciate that others have difficulties, so do I. I just don’t think the world can gain much value in hearing my gory details. Just my thoughts.

    • admin says:

      We own our stories, but if we are in relationship with another, we do have a responsibility to consider the relationship, which is an entity of its own.

  5. Karen says:

    Carol, this is spot-on.

    When I read Blogger B’s post, my first feeling was of discomfort–not because I’m uncomfortable with the subject matter, but because I thought it showed poor judgment. Not to mention poor taste.

    I do suspect that as bloggers vie for the attention of sponsors and the like, posts like the kind you mention will disqualify many–even if the sponsor’s main products are corsets and stiletto heels.

    Your post really should be required reading for all bloggers.

    • admin says:

      Some of Blogger B’s followers took exception with my opinion, but my hunch is that at some point their marriage will crash and burn. I Hope not, but it sure seems obvious. It’s especially shocking since the husband has had serious health challenges..I would’ve thought the blogger would have respected that and him more..but…

  6. Ruth Curran says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now…may we talk about self censorship in other personal matters too? There is this pressure to “reveal” and to write the “why” in the name of “helping / inspiring others”…. There are somethings about me that, yes, might make you more interested in learning more about my games and why my focus on brain health is important not just to me but you, but they are deeply personal. Every time I share through that damned tear stained lens I have to ask myself why I am sharing — will someone else live a better life because I shared something so from the bottom of my soul? On rare occasions, when the answer is yes, I put on my big girl panties and spill it. Most days, those things stay in the bottom of my soul, where they belong. Thanks for opening this really valuable conversation Carol!

    • admin says:

      I am a fan of the “strategically-opened kimono,” which is to say revealing only enough to make a point and always being aware of the impact of what I write on others. I am absolutely not shirking from writing my truth about certain relationships in my book, in which the actions speak volumes, but I hope that I am doing so in a way that shows my insight into why it happened.

  7. Barb Best says:

    Excellent! Writers who blog can model a respect for language, grammar, quality, and good taste. The bloggers who represent the lowest common denominator in the culture are often rewarded for their supreme tackiness because their voices are blaring and brash. Ultimately, perhaps the quiet cream will rise to the top?

  8. lee aldrich says:

    Carol – your post is music to my ears!! Right there with ya! I posted a while back about etiquette which touches on some of the same issues. I likened it to a cocktail party…..if you wouldn’t walk in and start talking like that at a cocktail party, you probably shouldn’t be discussing it. You gave ’em what for in quite a lovely way. Thank you!

  9. Sue says:

    I have had these thoughts and appreciate the elegant way you put it. Thank you for that. It is never a good idea to sling your own mud around in the public arena.

  10. You have taken my thoughts and written what I have been thinking. I consider myself an open book, but there are areas of my life that I keep private. And to say negative or hurtful things about your significant other…I’m simply not interested in reading that.

  11. Hi there: as a former sex and relationships editor (elephant journal) and a someone who writes frequently about sexuality and relationship, I don’t see the TMI argument as viable. Editorially, we add a NSFW (not safe for work) rating to alert readers that this might be more R than G rated.

    As a writer (Huff Po, Good Men Project, elephant journal), I have been told by some other writers (partcularly those who call themselves bloggers) that my material has been to explicit or intimate.

    Yet, I write from the truth of what is happening for me in the hopes it supports others in their journeys. When it comes to relationship details, then it is up to the writer to have permission of her partner first–which I do. When it comes to sexually explicit content, that kind of content is sometimes necessary if the article is about sex!

    • admin says:

      I completely hear you,Lori–and let me make my point of view even clearer, since it really is not about sexual explicitness. It’s about context. A blogger who describes performing fellatio on her husband has exceeded the bounds of good taste. A blogger who describes how to perform the act of fellatio in general? No issue with that. A blogger who describes how her husband has failed her in specific ways has exceeded the bounds of good taste and common kindness. A blogger who describes how a spouse might fail in that specific way or asks readers questions about that general topic or even specifics about it? No problem.

      The issue I have is not sexually explicit content. It’s revealing specifics about one’s own partner/mate. It’s the context and how that relates to being crass. I hope that makes it clearer. Blog on!

  12. And then of course there’s the issue of whether the blogger who is writing about things that may or may not cross the line is a writer who is talented enough to pull it off. There are bloggers who write about their marriages and the intimacies of what goes on who have such a strong voice and are such skilled writers that it doesn’t embarass me at all. Others are less talented and are unable to write with any finesse.

    I write about my husband and kids in only the most kind and surface way – their lives are not my stories to tell.

  13. donna says:

    :0)…’nuf said.

  14. Haralee says:

    I am with you Carol. I am just not that interested in bashing or exploits. I think many bloggers feel they must be provocative to get readers or they must be like a Queen Bee and envied? TMI is just too much for me!

  15. Well written!! Very well written. I guess I don’t follow any bloggers who offer TMI and I am glad because I would not follow them any longer. There are definite filters that need to be in place when we write—-sometimes i will write a post, save it as a draft and then delete it later because the tone is just not what I want to put out there into the world. I think we all need to monitor ourselves and who needs to hear all about someone’s exploits? Whether it is a rant about something personal or a relationship —-for goodness sakes—think before you hit publish!!! Once it is out there it is out there !!!
    Really enjoyed your post today! Thanks!

    • admin says:

      I think that’s a good policy. I schedule posts a month or two out and then revisit them just before publish date to make sure I really want to say what I said. Glad you came by!

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