As a blogger, I’m aware that sometimes people tend to overshare on social media. What constitute oversharing can vary depending upon who’s talking. There are some things people may think of as oversharing that the poster is posting in an attempt to help someone else who might be going through the same trials in their lives. So where do we draw the line, and how do we stop damaging relationships and reputations with our post/publish/tweet/send buttons?
This issue has come to my attention again in a couple different ways, one in my own life and one in the life of a friend on a social media site. This friend decided to post about a situation between her and her husband that was going on at the time. My first thought upon reading the back and forth was, “No! Why are you posting this?” The situation did seem to require that she reach out to someone for help and not just go to a corner and pray about it, but I didn’t think social media was the place to reach those people. Now you have people who aren’t close to you or your relationship now knowing the intimate details of it. I am praying for her and the situation, but I also feel like I should know NOTHING about the situation. I’m not close enough to physically be there and help, nor do I have any knowledge of their relationship or marriage that would qualify me to do anything but pray about it, yet here I am knowing about it. I feel uncomfortable knowing about it, too.
Mr. Perfect and I had a discussion about blogging recently where he asked me about another blogger that I follow. This particular blogger lives in our area, and he was saying how this person knows nothing about him, but he knows (through me) their name, their children’s names, their occupations, and some of what goes on in their marriages. How does this person’s spouse feel about this? I happen to know that this person has their spouse read everything they post before they post it and gives them veto power, but how many people are posting things that involve more than themselves and not consulting the other person? I know I’ve been guilty of airing frustrations or relaying conversations without asking permission to do so from the other party involved.
I once had to take down a post that people took the wrong way. I was in my last year of college, at a new school in a new state. I wasn’t on campus for long before I realized that the transition wasn’t going to go as smoothly as I thought. I was involved with a group back at my original college and was having problems getting paperwork sent to me from them. I wasn’t really able to connect with the group at my new school, either. So, as I usually did at that time, I wrote a post about how I felt a little caught in the middle. The group at my new school was livid! They felt that they had been portrayed unfairly (a friend at the time told me that it didn’t read that way to her, and she understood exactly what I was saying, but that’s beside the point) and wanted me to take it down, so I did. But the damage was already done. I never did join the local chapter of the group, I never did make connections with the group here, and in the end, it didn’t matter at all. I graduated and moved on in a few months.
There are often things that happen that I would love to rant about or share on social media, but that’s what prayer and a paper journal are for. Everyone can’t handle knowing everything about you; they just can’t. Everyone can’t give you good advice or offer support. Some people are gleefully awaiting an opportunity to read some unflattering things about you, to see that there’s trouble in your relationships or on your job. It’s becoming increasingly important to teach young people how to make decisions on what’s appropriate to share and with whom it’s appropriate to share it. Discretion and privacy management are going by the wayside.
This was not the post I intended to write when I sat down. I was intending to update you on all of the things that have been going on in my life since August, but I got sidetracked by a social media post that blindsided me. I’ll be back to tell you all about my adventures in writing, work, life and so on…