The Three Lives of a Celebrity

I read an interview by Neil Patrick Harris in Entertainment Weekly the other day that made me really respect him as a celebrity. He touched upon something that I’ve talked about in the past, but he was way more eloquent.

The subject is about blogging–how do I decide what to share and what not to share? How much information is too much? What can I say about women I’ve dated?

NPH is talking about being a celebrity, which I am not at all, but this quote directly relates to my philosophy on blogging:

I feel like it’s important to have three lives. Your professional life, your personal life, and your private life.

As someone in the entertainment industry, you need to be as forthcoming about your personal life as you can be, because if people are intrigued by you, then they’ll want to know more about you. If you suddenly clam up and say “No comment” on who you’re dating, you’re just a bad guest on Letterman.

I’m in the Howard Stern camp of full disclosure. He doesn’t talk about how he had sex with his wife that night, but he talks about having sex with his wife. I think that’s where the distinction lies. You want to be able to have some transparency with people who are watching you tell stories.

I really like his distinction between professional life, personal life, and private life. The purpose of this blog is to generate conversation, and I don’t need to specifically cite a date I had three weeks ago. I can speak of dating in general or, if I need to be specific to make my point, I can change insignificant details about the date to protect the woman who didn’t sign up to be blog fodder. And it’s not just about dating–it’s insights that I learn on the job too.

George Bernard Shaw said that “The secret to success is to offend the greatest number of people.” Sometimes I see that on the blog–if I write about something that people have a knee-jerk reaction too (remember the entry about distrusting panhandlers?), it might generate a lot of comments. But I’ll never intentionally offend someone here.

To all of you writers out there, take heed of NPH’s advice. Find a forum (blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc) to share your personal and professional lives with the world while respecting the privacy of those in your private life. That’s how people can relate to you and connect with you.