crowley party

crowley party

an oversharer...

Posted on: 12.12.2012

Social media is such a fascinating phenomenon and whenever something becomes a phenomenon people are always going to try and "understand" or explain it.

I learned early on that not all people were made the same, and with that comes that not all families were made the same. My family talks about anything and everything with each other, ranging from the gross to the funny, which to be honest, usually is the same thing in our house. 

The conversations I would have at my house would be very different at someone else's house because to them that subject matter might be "gross" or "inappropriate" or simply "too much information." You pick up early on what is "too much" for other people and you tend to edit yourself accordingly when you are around them. I for one have always had a problem editing myself to make others feel more comfortable. Heck, I just wrote whole blog post about scratching my own mole off! - I did warn readers before they continued, you know, for those sensitive to oversharing ;)

But who gets to decide what too much information is? What is too much for one person is fine for another. The other day my friend shared an article on facebook from the the opinion section of the New York Times, it was written by Roger Cohen, and it was a great article about oversharing online.

He goes on to explain how he thinks as a society we have a status anxiety problem that is what prompts us to overshare online with each other. That we think that if we continue to overshare that it results in "more followers" or "more likes" online.

While he makes some good points about the idea of it being somewhat of a popularity contest, because at the end of the day who doesn't want to be liked? I think the idea was a little too overarching. 

Personally I think that no matter how hard we try we can't possibly understand the social media world yet. It still feels too new to "get it." But if we are going to try, here I go. While I think Cohen makes some great points about what drives some people to overshare online, I felt he was missing a huge key point about what social media is for.

Yes, we have all read the facebook status of a love sick teenager, or the tweet that went into details about something we found disgusting and gross to share online, but at the end of the day what is gross to you might not be gross to someone else. Social media is all about sharing, so that fact that you can possibly "overshare" on it is a tad ironic. We all have a different idea of what oversharing is, so why should one edit oneself for you?

I personally think that the main reason people get so involved in social media is because people love to share in the common human experiences, not because they have status anxiety. In fact, Cohen's whole point was that people overshare to increase popularity etc. on social media, but usually if someone is posting stuff I don't like online, I unfollow them. They have a right to post whatever they want, and I have a right to read whatever I want. 

People go to social media to read about what other people are doing and to share what they are doing. If they appreciate good food and want to post a picture of their dinner that night, great! If they want to write about how they have to go see their OBGYN later that afternoon, well they can do that to, and I don't think it has anything to do with them freaking out that they don't have enough of a popular following online that they need to. The whole notion of being popular is something that seeps its way into every aspect of life, it is not special to social media.

Social media is an outlet for people to connect and share. I for one like to think that most people get involved in it to keep and make connections, and to share whatever they want with each other. There is a time and place for everything, and shouldn't your personal social media outlets be a place for you, at least? 

It is one of those situations where you can't please everyone, and if you get a laugh about writing about the one time you crapped your pants, go for it. Because the second someone starts deciding what should be deemed "appropriate" or not for you to be sharing, is the day that all the fun and joy gets sucked out of this amazing, intricate world of social media. So from one "oversharer" to another, keep it coming, because I for one sure am enjoying it, cringes and all.


25 little notes:

  1. I think there is a point when it's oversharing and for attention. There is a girl on my FB who tells when she AND her baby have the shits. Seriously? Do I need to picture you having shitting issues? No. Everyone who has had a baby knows that babies poo a lot too. It's a fact. It's not OMG hilarious when they poo out of their diaper when your husband is holding them or whatever. It makes no sense to me.

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    1. Oh yes! People share all the time for attention, BUT what is funny to them might be disgusting to you - so if someone posts stuff like that all the time you could just hide them from your timeline? haha

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  2. Well said, and I totally agree with you. I'm also from a totally open family and we find a lot of stuff funny that others wouldn't. If you're annoyed with someone oversharing (or just generally annoyed with them) - hide them from your newsfeed, delete them, unfollow them. It's not that hard!

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  3. Interesting thoughts. Something I might add, though, is that people need to remember that although social media can often be regarded as trivial, once they've posted something to the internet, it can be nearly impossible to remove completely. So maybe think twice about sharing intimate details of your life. Especially when many employers search the internet for any red flags before hiring.

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    1. I totally agree about not being stupid online! I meant more over sharing when it comes to grossing people out, over sharing personal information is something everyone needs to be acutely aware of!

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  4. I am constantly hiding people from my feed b/c of overhsaring, annoying or disrespectful posts, etc. I couldn't agree more!

    http://coffeebeansandbobbypins.blogspot.com/

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    1. haha yeah the line is a fine one, people have a right, but so do you!

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  5. I'm a very open person in general. My friends and family know I'm an open book. I tell my mom things she probably could do without hearing. I edit myself A LOT of fb these days because now my parents friends are my friends as well. Which can make for awkward comment threads where my college friends say hilarious though inappropriate things and my mom's friends comment how they are praying for us all. (All prayer always appreciated though :P)
    I'm a little less censored on twitter, because most of the people that follow me on there are from my blog, and if you read my blog you know I'm a little silly. I do remain conscious of the fact that once its on the internet its out there FOREVER. I try my best not to tweet or blog in anger, or to 'call people out', or anything like that. Id hate for it to come back later and bite me in the butt.

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    1. Yes! Saying stuff in the moment can be something you regret later! "Calling people out" and addressing people in that manner is something your entitled to I guess, but once it is out there online there is not taking it back!

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  6. I'm with ya! Social media is all about sharing. And a big part of the reason we share is to find people with common experiences that we can relate to.

    Your family sounds a lot like my family- oversharers. Some how bodily functions always come up at the dinner table during dinner.

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    1. yup yup :) haha oh man, people would roll their eyes and choke if they knew some of the stuff my family openly talks about, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

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  7. Well said. From an "undersharer" (? ha) I still totally agree with you. I might think certain things are too much to be put out there on the web but hello, no one is forcing me to read it! I feel like people need to use some commonsense/censorship. I especially noticed this during the elections. People would get so bothered and worked up about someone elses opinions! Why would you ever let something silly like that get to you?

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  8. I agree with you Alycia. Social media IS sharing. So who's to say what is over sharing and what is regular sharing? I believe in the unfollow/hide-from-my-feed philosophy. If someone's posting things I don't enjoy or appreciate, well, no one's forcing me to read it are they? :) Thats the other beautiful thing about social media. It's all about choice!

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  9. I love this. People get their undies in the tightest wad on social media and I'm like, "Hey. It's social media. You signed up for it so you should be able to hang."

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  10. Social media fascinates me because I get to see how a billion other people live compared to my life. It's so interesting! And somewhere, in those billion people, I find someone similar to myself. I just adore social media. And girl, your fam sounds like my fam. We don't hold anything back.

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    1. I am with you! Social media is a people watcher's dream land as I call it :) haha

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  11. I think you have to think about your audience too. I know I don't share intimate details about my relationship because my mom reads my blog. And although she LOVES to share intimate details about her relationships, I think it makes for an awkward dinner table ;-)

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    1. audience is KEY! I feel you on that one. Sometimes I find myself having to be very careful trying to figure out what and who my blog audience is because while a bunch of young 20 somethings read my blog, so do my parents and grandparents... i might not want them hearing some stories I have to share haha :)

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  12. One time I hid an oversharing friend's posts from fb, but I missed the drama too much :) I need to know when she's getting in the bath & fighting w/ her boyfriend and is having cramps!

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    1. seriously?! when she is fighting with her boyfriend? gosh I love when people want to share those details of personal relationships online, trevor would kill me! haha

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  13. i'm not a big fan of the person that only posts on FB just negative things. one thing after another! drives me crazy! i don't have a perfect life but when there is negative i always look for positives. nobody had an all negative life. at first i feel bad for them but then after a few more times, i think it's time for an attitude ajustment. don't worry, be happy. :)

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    1. Oh I feel you on that Erica! I guess that wouldn't be an oversharer but a total DOWNER! haha

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  14. I have some thoughts on this but I'm not going to post them :)

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  15. "I learned early on that not all people were made the same, and with that comes that not all families were made the same. My family talks about anything and everything with each other, ranging from the gross to the funny, which to be honest, usually is the same thing in our house.

    The conversations I would have at my house would be very different at someone else's house because to them that subject matter might be "gross" or "inappropriate" or simply "too much information." "

    YES. I had to quote this whole thing because it is beyond true for my family. It sounds just like us! And while I am pretty good about not oversharing unless it is with people I've known for ages or that I'm really close to, I still get some of the "that's weird/gross" reactions from even those people.

    Like I have this close group of online friends, there are three of them and we've known each other for 5 years but I talk about everything with them. But when I tell them stories from family get togethers and how we talked about poop or some other inappropriate dinner conversation topic, they get so disturbed that they just don't understand how any family could be that way. And that it isn't normal but I think it just really depends on how you grow up. Some families have the humor and straight up honesty that everything is funny, like mine and other families are raised that some things should never be talked about ever and are not funny and that is okay too.

    I don't agree with oversharing too much. I think people sometimes take it too far. Like you can tell a funny crap your pants story just please do not go into great detail of everything in it. And relationship oversharing I really do not agree with. If you post all your arguments and drama about someone you are in a relationship with, that is just wrong. It should be between you two and not the whole world.

    But otherwise I don't care if you overshare sometimes. It also kind of connects people more when they do.

    Sorry for a novel length comment! I have a problem with babbling haha

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    1. LOVE that you relate Katie! and yes, everyone has a line and that should be respected to a point!

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