TMI: Cutting Back on Social Media Hyper-Sharing
Share your life so I know it's real
The views expressed in this Op-Ed do not reflect that of Loop 21
In a daily debate with my co-worker, he expressed his frustrations about the difficulty of finding out the latest social events after deactivating his Facebook page temporarily. This technology savvy, connected guy said he couldn’t even call any of his fraternity brothers or friends to get the scoop because they all directed him to social media.
He said something that struck me: If it’s not on Facebook or Twitter, it’s like it didn’t really happen. I smirked and thought about how, if you want details on events and sometimes even family gatherings (birthday parties, housewarming, baby showers, etc.), it requires you to click the ‘Events’ tab on your Facebook dashboard or scan your timeline for retweets, rather than opening your mailbox for hard copy invitations or an actual telephone call.
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The emergence of the Internet and social media sites has created a community of Internet gangsters, keyboard thugs and outright delusional people whose lives are much more exciting online than they are in reality, so much so that now we have to show and prove. In a short span of time, we’ve become brainwashed to believe that we are required to give everyone every detail of our lives 24 hours a day.
Oh, you’re in a relationship? Prove it. Update your relationship status and post an album of pictures with your boo. Did you really go out on the town last weekend? Tweet about it and post pictures of you and your crew taking shots at the bar. Did you really just purchase a ridiculous pair of shoes that everyone has to see? Let me see your feet in them. Now.
When former Republican presidential nominee hopeful, Herman Cain’s extramarital affair was exposed, Jezebel, named his mistress, Ginger White, the “Most Boring Mistress Ever” in a story headline. Why? She had no dirty laundry to air, literally. During a candid interview with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, she shared that she didn’t keep receipts from gifts from Cain and her phone records of their exchanges were less than exciting. White had nothing, and that made her a snooze fest.
We are participating in a daily game of “Show and Tell: The Adult Version.” The world expects … something -- anything from us.
We’ve got something to prove to our friends, family and people we don’t even know, or maybe just ourselves. We’re real, doing real and exciting things, not one of those online perpetrators at whom we love to shake our heads. We want others to envy us, be proud of us or even aspire to achieve what we’ve achieved in our lives as we've depicted online. Or maybe we just like capturing moments and taking people along for the ride. There’s nothing wrong with that, right?
I’m one to talk. I’m a certified social media junkie. I update my status and profile picture, blog, tweet incessantly, and yes, I’ve even been one of those lames who’s Twitpic’d my home cooked dinner on the rare occasion that it actually looks edible. A couple of years ago, a friend called me and suggested that I take down pictures I’d posted of my new home in a Facebook photo album. After I scanned the album I was thankful for his concern. I was so caught up in the hype of this hyper-sharing that I didn’t take precautions for my own safety. Reports show that a high number of burglars check their victims’ Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare pages.
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I decided it was time to pull in the reigns a little. Now, I still update my Facebook status daily, but if I have the urge to share what I’m doing exactly and with whom I’m doing it, I refrain. I have never and will never “check-in” at any venue on Foursquare, and I rarely use my Instagram app. It’s just too much.
I don’t need the Internet to prove that I am loved or that I live my life to its fullest potential. I have no problem with sharing a read-worthy link with “friends” or followers or telling them that I have a bad case of the Mondays, but there are some pieces of me that I’d like to keep to myself, and I’m going to do just that.