Your secrets are safe with me…and all my friends. Uh, oh. Do you value privacy? If you do, then social media and reality TV have a rude awakening for you. Posting personal problems on Facebook and sharing intimate photos of your fam on Instagram are just a day in the life.
But, but I’m only being genuine and true and oh-so-authentic, Caroline. What’s wrong with that? While it’s lovely to see that you value honesty and openness; does this mean the entire Free World has the right or privilege to know your deepest, darkest secrets or the comings and goings of your daily life? You say that it is bonding and brings people closer together? In order to gain a sense of intimacy, we need to build trust. And let’s be honest. We do not truly place that kind of confidence in most of our acquaintances.
Before you post that latest pic or share those profound thoughts, do you ever pause and ask yourself why you are doing it? Is this digital footprint really one you want to leave behind for posterity? If your aim is altruistic, and a need to help others, please pursue.
But since when did it become acceptable for parents to share personal details of their children’s lives just to generate buzz? We start with that cute video of our puppy and end with a blow by blow of our latest surgery. Too much info. Anyone? Where are the mile markers on this road? Sending those selfies to NASA because you think you’re a star? A bit of self-awareness might be in order before you expose what used to be considered private information, and live-tweet it.
Perhaps you post all those pics and updates because you want to be envied or simply noticed by others. If we’re being totally sincere, some of us love to peep and peek into the homes and lives of our neighbors or friends. In the meantime, we’re wondering if that never-ending flood of selfies will ever end. You went to the gym and did three sets of selfies. Yup, you had a banana for lunch. We’re on the edge of our seats. Do tell us more.
Whether we admit it or not, we humans are quite troubled by what others think of us. So why not try to make yourself look flawless and faultless online? Present that strong version of yourself who can handle just about anything. No vulnerabilities or weak points here. What a charming, filtered rendition of yourself. You know what they say: There are only two reasons some folks don’t mind their own business: 1–No Mind, or 2–No Business.
Don’t misunderstand, sweet friends. Sharing can help others who are suffering, and enhance and intensify a relationship deeply. But only if it’s with the right person, right place, and right time.
What about the folks who offer way too much info about things you really would rather not know? Many issues are so utterly mundane, while others are way too private; and some are just plain offensive. Details of your recent flu, or dental visit? No thanks. Speaking of which, a good dentist never gets on your nerves. Heh. But seriously, how many times a day can you change your status anyway?
Sure, it’s great to let people get to know you. When someone has earned your trust, perhaps nothing is off limits. Go ahead and share that incredibly awkward, embarrassing experience. You can all laugh at yourselves or commiserate together. Revealing your limitations can surely make others feel better about themselves and less alone in the world. No doubt.
Learn to respect your own personal space. Don’t allow just anyone to step in without permission, and do not leave that door wide open. Cherish your thoughts and feelings, and only bestow them upon friends and loved ones who have earned that space in your life. Sometimes leaking your personal struggles can have bad consequences for you. Not everyone has your best interest at heart, sweet friends. With all of the hyperconnectivity around us, it’s hard to remember that some things should simply remain secret. Less is more (more or less).
Perhaps the best parts of your life should not make it to the Internet. Go ahead and keep some of the chapters of your life unpublished. Remember: Not every friend request is a friend request. Some are just surveillance cameras.