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Finding Out the Difference Between Personal and Private

All of us that are active in some respect on social networks will sooner or later end up in a situation where we don’t know if we should publish an update or not, so did I, back in September.

Let me first start with saying how grateful and fantastic the interaction with my followers and friends is, you’re always there whenever one needs to talk, ask or just chatt. And this is what attracted me from the beginning with social media, as the
very social person I am. I simply moved most of my activities online instead of only networking IRL. For me it has also been important (as for many of us) to meet the people IRL, to get the more vivid persona behind the avatar and online persona. Many of these people have become close personal friends to me and I treasure that friendship tremendously.

When I started out in social media 4 years ago, I was going through a rough time in my life and my online network helped me to balance  life with good advice, comforting words and so on. All this and later meeting my online friends started to build my confidence, skills, experience and my persona back to a good place again. So when I got into a rough time again, I reached out to my both new and old friends in a closed group on Facebook in the hope to once again get support, but only to realize the rules had changed and people weren’t willing to be understanding and helpful anymore. And maybe in a way I already knew it, that the openess I have experienced through out the years didn’t apply anymore, so instead my plead got me into a worse situation than the one I had started in.

So now a couple of months away from what happened I can now use my experience from what happened there into this post, and share it with you.

The only way is to cross

There’s only one thing, how to know what’s the difference between private and personal, and that is:

  • You know it when you crossed it! And

Can you tell it to your neighbor in the elevator?

If not then:

To avoid it, think before you press publish
For my own experience, I had to step over that invisible line to see how far I could be personal without being private. There’s a huge difference between it and I quote Chris Brogan here:

“Depression is tricky. People seeking to connect and get solace online, it’s not really going to help. You can’t count on your Twitter following to pull you out of a depression. You can’t feel floored when your online friends don’t hear you loud and clear. Remember that everyone is living out their own biography, and they might not be as aware of what’s been going on with you. Seek help offline. Visit a priest or a rabbi or whatever religious person makes sense. Visit a shrink. Talk to your doctor. Often times, depression is a medical problem that is exacerbated by experiences happening in your environment.

You’re not alone, but the online world makes it really hard to see your pain. Things move too fast, are too shiny, and we are all hurrying around. The online world can make you feel more alone when you’re feeling sad.”

Lessons learned

I know where my fine line is between private and personal, this probably will not apply to you but if you follow my advice above here you will not have to cross your fine line, because I can tell you it’s a painful and unnecessary experience. An experience you sure can be without.

I now know who my true online friends are, some of them I already knew and some were a bit of a surprise to me when they came to my aid. And again, others that I was sure would stick up for me, but didn’t. The last one in a couple of cases really painful and disappointing.


(And now I’m a bit private here…) Healing takes time so don’t be impatient let it take time, that’s maybe my own biggest lesson to learn. 

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