Oversharing in Social Media

oversharing in social media

How much is too much?

What would you think if a friend posted a message about the death of a family member or her lingering depression?

Would you think, “Ew. I wish she wouldn’t overshare.”

Somehow, I doubt it.

You would offer your condolences. You would check up on her, maybe send a card or flowers. You would say prayers for her.

Women’s Health magazine polled 500 women about oversharing in social media and shared the results on their website.oversharing on facebook

According to those polled, posting “an emotional message” is oversharing, TMI in a space apparently meant only for pleasantries.

According to this study, women prefer seeing their friends through rosy glasses. They prefer to pretend that their friends have perfect lives with perfect children and perfect spouses and ample finances.

I think this poll is a lot of crap.

Women in social media don’t want to pretend that they’re perfect. The appearance of perfection is too hard to maintain. The appearance of perfection leads only to disappointment as patched up cracks inevitably show through.

The appearance of perfection is flat out dishonest.

Women want their friends to be real, authentic, and honest. We want them to get mad and get over it. We want them to feel sad and sorry and lonely. We want them to make mistakes and own up to them. We want them to say, “Really? Me, too.” when we bare our emotional selves.

We want them to be as much a mess as we think we are.

We don’t want to be the only disheveled island in a sea of put together perfection. We would rather link arms and lean on each other in uniform chaos, stronger together than alone.

There’s already too much pressure to measure up, too much inferiority, too much inadequacy and insecurity between us – and that’s as we admit our flaws and wrecks and parenting fails.

No one wants a Stepford friend.

What we do want is community, encouragement, and camaraderie. We want to be understood in our brokenness because our friends are broken, too.  We want to accepted, even though we’re inadequate, by friends who are also flawed.

None of that – community, encouragement, camaraderie, acceptance, friendship – comes when we pretend everything is great.

None of it.

If being real in social media is oversharing, let’s do it together.

What do you think of this poll?

 

© 2013, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’ve always thought “oversharing” meant talking too much about your bodily functions. That’s where I draw the line. I am careful about which people see which things, I guess, but sometimes those online friends are the only people you can get at 2 a.m. :-)

    • says

      I once told a Twitter friend about a certain itching that was driving me crazy. O_o I can’t believe I did that. THAT is TMI.

      But I think the opinion that anything remotely personal (emotions, arguments, etc) is oversharing is absurd. The point of social media is to connect with real people, not to pretend to be cheerier, more appealing versions of ourselves. Do I have this wrong?

  2. says

    No, I think you’re right. Everybody has their own comfort level, I guess, but I don’t think those things are oversharing. Unless maybe you have a lot business contacts on your personal pages. That might might cause problems.

    • says

      That’s a really good point. I guess you would have different levels of realness with your personal friends versus your business contacts. I have always kept Facebook for just my personal contacts (with less than 5 exceptions), so I post things that I would say to my friends in person.

  3. Tina Reich says

    Amen! I don’t want Stepford friends! I agree that I beat myself up enough about how well I do my job as wife and mother that it truly helps to see that my fellow moms feel like they are as screwed up as I do. I resent the “perfect” lives of the friends that only post their happy, clean, fun moments in life… It is hard to remind myself they too deal with messes and cranky kids. There is a fine line in some if that overshare… “Details of a fight w your spouse”: I don’t mind hearing you are having a tough time, but it isn’t healthy for you to tell the world exactly what you fought about or what name you called him. “Details of a date”: is love to hear you had fun (or did not) and what nice dinner you ate, but if your date ends in the bedroom, keep it to yourself! I think a lot of it has to do with how many contacts you have and how well you know them. People with 1000+ “Friends” can’t really know all those people, you have to consider if you would tell this to these people if you saw them in person… My last thought is how much I hate the vague overshare… If you don’t want the world to know what your problem is, please don’t toss out a “this is so hard, I wih it would get better” or “please pray for a terrible situation I cannot share…” I find these annoying and it leads my mind down a bad path – ill be thinking your husband left or you have cancer, when really it’s just a matter of your cat threw up on your favorite carpet. Wow, I rambled! But this was an excellent blog. <3 you Tara!!

  4. says

    I personally have seen the posts on blogs that share difficulties that a person is going through get the most comments so obviously certain kinds of sharing makes people feel connected to them.

  5. SHELLI says

    I agree with your perspective. For myself, I have a lot of ‘friends’ on SM that are not privy to my personal life. I share intimate details with a select mature group. Only that which i would share at a social gathering, would I share on SM. thus the Social aspect. broadcasting intimacies is not always safe with our hearts. I agree NO stepford friends, but SM should be the conduit to other forms of fellowship not replace it.

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