There is an epidemic going on in this world that I feel obligated to address. It's spreading like wildfire, helped along by the Internet and social networking sites. We need to do something about it before it gets any worse. What is this phenomenon?
Really, people, give it a rest. Guess what. While I don't mind knowing that you were sick today, I don't need to know how many times you puked, as well as the color and consistency. I don't need to know all the sordid details about your hookup or breakup. The relationship status will do, thankyouverymuch. While I love you, my friends, and care about what's important to you, and I am ecstatic when my friends have babies...I don't need to see pictures of the bloody lil one. How about the cute ones after he's at least wiped down. And no nudey pix of your kiddos. That's just wrong.
This also leads to a subgroup of people who are constantly putting up statuses involving how sad and depressed they are all the time...I worry about those people. I want to help my friends who are feeling down, but is Facebook really the best medium to discuss your depression?? Half the time I feel like they are just attention-seekers. I know when I have put things up it's usually to get a reaction or at least get people to know something's going on. But let's face it, all my statuses are to get a reaction ;)
Now it seems that what started online has begun to leak into every day lives. Now I'm talking about those people who like to share every minute detail of their lives with anyone who will listen, and even those who don't want to. They are trapped by propriety and the desire to avoid coming across as rude. So they stand and smile as they are bombarded with details about anything from how exactly to cook that special dish to a detailed report of finances. Then they are pulled unwittingly (and unwillingly) into a competition about who has more or less of any given possession or time or love or...well...anything!
What happened to the days of keeping personal things to ourselves? When did it become okay to share everything with everyone? Even I have caught myself doing this exact thing. It's contagious, I swear.
On a more serious note, one thing that I think is really scary about over sharing is the fact that we've forgotten how to listen. We are so intent on getting our own information out there for others to enjoy (scrutinize) that we forget to listen to other people. We have become so wrapped up in ourselves that we miss the important things that are going on in the lives of those we love. The following is an excerpt from an email devotional I received today, and then posted on Facebook ;)
“The first service that we can perform for anyone is to listen,” says Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Most of us don’t listen well. “I know just how you feel,” we say, and then we launch into a personal story to prove it. What have we just done? We’ve moved to center stage and made the other person listen to us! When we talk too much and listen too little, we communicate to others that we think our ideas or experiences are more important than theirs.
Interesting thoughts. Something we would all do well to think about.
This has been a public service announcement, brought to you by my brain.
Thank you and goodnight.