Another blast from the past: originally published on July 25, 2003. Interestingly, copywriter Michael Fortin said the same thing recently in a post titled: Don’t Be Transparent, Be Authentic Instead.

In the 2nd anniversary issue of my e-newsletter, WordBiz Report, I included a note to readers that opined:

“Authenticity is key. And by that I mean authentic voice. I often struggle to find just the right tone. When I do, you respond. You even make a purchase. When I lapse into marketing speak, you tend to ignore me. And why not? I don’t respond to sales-y copy either.”

To be candid, I didn’t flesh out the topic of authenticity as a full-blown article because I was up against the deadline and ran out of time. Well, along comes WordBiz reader Stan Halse (note: I think this is the same Stan Halse, but I’m not positive) to point out an article on The Power of Self Disclosure, in MarketingProfs.

Author Randy Siegel writes that “Communicating without disclosing self is like trying to play tennis without a ball.” You gotta reveal some personal stuff, he’s saying, in order to be a strong communicator.

If I tell you that my dog is sick – or that I’ve procrastinated (more likely) – are you more apt to be swayed by what I write?

There’s a fine line between being authentic and revealing too much personal information. Too much candor is not necessarily interesting.

I see this line crossed all the time in other e-newsletters. Who cares what the editor thought when she rolled out of bed that morning. Unless the editor or publisher is a well-known figure.

Enough rambling… what do you think about being candid and disclosing the self in online business communications?

Cartoon created by Brad Fitzpatrick and used with permission.