So many people in today’s culture seem to post everything online, from large life events all the way down to simple details, like what they had for lunch. This was becoming common as far back as a decade ago, but in the past several years it has even become the norm, especially with apps like Snapchat, on which some people record and post their days moment by moment.
This has led to a lack of personal privacy. In today’s culture, people freely give up personal information about themselves for all the world to see. The only work that others need to do in order to gain this information is to send a friend request. In some cases, this isn’t even necessary. In the past, in order to know personal information about someone, you likely would have just had to actually get to know them through relationship, and it would’ve had to be earned through time and trust. Today, however, people give away personal information as if it never needed to be earned by anyone at all.
I’ve been off of social media for six months. At first, it took time for me to adjust to not having a platform to instantly share things. I was no longer able to receive attention by posting details about my life. With time, this resulted in a couple of things:
- I began to believe that the details of my life are valuable and to be cherished. They are far more than tools for attention.
- I began to see who my true friends are, as I shared important details only with the people who actually keep up with me and sincerely care about me.
Now when life events happen, I have the opportunity to cherish them in my heart, and to share them in person with the people I value. Those who are not close to me may never know the details that I would have shared online back in my Facebook days, but this is okay, because these acquaintances have not earned these details about me. They don’t have my trust.
Oversharing on social media has led people to believe that they are entitled to others’ lives in ways that they are not actually entitled. Real relationships take time and effort and trust. “Keeping up” with someone by following them on Facebook is not actually keeping up with them at all. It is when you reveal yourself as trustworthy that someone should consider entrusting you with the details of their life.
When I left social media, some people were offended and wondered how we would continue to keep up. However, in my mind, I never had much of a real relationship with these people at all. Besides, there are several other ways to contact me, including text, email, phone call, letters, and even… face-to-face conversation *gasp*. The difference is that these methods actually require some amount of effort.
For the attention that comes along with sharing personal details, I feel it is unnecessary. If an enjoyable event happens in your life, is it not enough to simply enjoy that event? However, it is that craving for attention that causes people to voluntarily give up their privacy. This is one of the things that social media thrives on. In exchange for your valuable privacy (which they will most likely exploit), they will provide you with the attention that you desire from other people.
I write this without the intention of offending anyone, but rather with the desire to tell you that the events of your life and your privacy are actually of great value, and that you shouldn’t give these things away as if they were cheap.
Do you share too much online? It’s worth thinking about.