Quick reminder that I've been blogging since 2004 and have been in and out of fandoms as both lurker and moderator since 1994. I've seen it all. All the blow ups, all the hurt, all the stats. I'm obsessed with search engines, distraction, and headphones. I have special lurkers that go way way back and we play little games like 'find me now', but since I won't risk my lappy's crippled life in the dark underground, I have to be satisfied with knowing only that one of my very favorites is a gamer overlord living in a posh neighborhood.
There's this thing going around social media articles now questioning 'over-sharing'.
Urban dictionary- oversharing I have seen a LOT of that. I've been privately contacted so many times by people genuinely worried about their sex lives and mental illnesses that I finally just turned comments off, stopped checking my email for a week or more at a time, stopped hanging out in forums. Everyone wants to spill. It's NORMAL. Sadly, I'm aspie with a strict time limit on social sharing tolerance, and I should be making at the very minimum $80 a pop just talking to you guys. Ok, I'm not certified, but I've been trained to professionally assess. My professional assessment to the world is I love you and we're all going to be ok, just keep finding people to talk to. Sooner or later we click somewhere, so keep trying.
Wiktionary- overshare I guess we're supposed to click on deeper discussions of 'inappropriate' and 'disclosure' there, kind of a cop out, but you get the picture. This goes beyond describing one's sexual fantasies into places like 'I really like knives, is something wrong with me?'. I've had some very interesting discussions with people who may or may not have done harm to or terminated other people, told a couple of them that they'd probably make excellent forensic scientists. It really is ok to be weird. You guys need to figure that out. (I'm not saying it's ok to harm or terminate other people.)
wiseGEEK- What Is Oversharing? I don't necessarily agree with this. The whole social filter thing is a new concept and until we learn to deal with a spectrum of people with a variety of brain types, you can't just bind everyone down to 'stop talking now'. It's vital that some keep talking, and I'll get into that in a minute.
Social filtering- this is actually a computer term that has to do with user stats being gleaned during search engine analytics and cookies and all that whatnot and is now being used as psychological and educational slang. If you really want to get into this with me, we need to jump to social cognition and discuss this like grown ups, which means I'll expect you to have done your research before you start flapping your lips. This is a ridiculous summary that means very little- Why Some People Have No Boundaries Online
To wit, I just overshared a bunch of junk that probably wasn't necessary. Let's point this specifically to bloggers discussing oversharing as a social media faux pas, because people have been oversharing since time out of mind and it's ridiculous to go there.
My blog is my blog is my blog. I can say anything I want on my blog. If someone doesn't like it they can stop reading my blog.
Bloggers who are using blogging to make money or push sales or create a launch platform for future goals are very different from bloggers who are using blogs as a daily journal or a writing exercise. Professional bloggers are becoming typecast as savvy technoweenies who know how to monetize, and they are mixing freely on twitter with amateur bloggers who just want to wrangle some thoughts out. Both are equally welcome to link their posts on twitter using special hashtags designed to increase exposure and reach more readers.
I can tell that bloggers who are blogging real stuff (by that I mean regular people who post pix of kids and pets and talk about their own families and neighborhoods) are feeling intimidated by bloggers who use and create hashtag feeds to hustle. It's bad enough feeling lost in a crowd, it's even worse realizing that one's content can be turned into a feed generator for someone else. The feeling of competition is getting wildly out of hand. It's not a competition. There are no winners and losers in blogging, I don't care how Forbes ranks mommy bloggers. It's not real.
Blogging is a huge thing right now. When I started, it was to keep in touch with my kid in college. Blogging was a fun way to say This is my day, and then pop over and comment on someone else's day. It's more fun than emailing, takes the pressure off timing phone calls, and has an added bonus of being there for any and all friends and loved ones who have the time to flip through and see how it's been going for someone in particular. Ten years later, blogging has morphed into this huge spectacle, and even professional journalists are jumping over to blogging vs writing articles. Everywhere we turn, there is a sea of blogging.
One of my more popular posts is called Blogging Saves Lives. It was kind of a tongue in cheek joke about using blogging to pull myself away from dumping my reactions all over innocents sharing elsewhere, but it's a real thing, guys. Put "blogging saved my life" into a search engine bar. There are people out there who credit having a way to share being what they hung onto during the hardest stuff they ever had to go through. It's human nature to need to feel connected, all through human history. Very few people enjoy feeling isolated. We live in an age where the most isolated people can now join the gangs online and feel like they're part of the human race.
I've mildly argued with my psychologist about suicide being a social disease, based on Erik Erikson's idea of how our self identity fits into one or more groups we are part of. He died before social media blew up into this huge thing. I'm one of those 'Freud is dead' people. Yes, we all have our anomalies and quirks, but I believe whether we feel rejected by groups is what tips the scales for some of the more drastic actions we take. We can drag Stan Lee into this for another professional opinion. Has there ever been an evil villain that didn't have an outside motive for becoming a dominating force? We can talk psychopaths all day long, but all it takes is one scoffed human determined to show someone they can not only do something, but do it awesomely, and bing, the world changes. How many of the success stories we hear about come from people who overcame odds? What if they had shut up when social media told them to shut up?
There's no such thing as oversharing on one's own personal blog. It's your blog. One of my faves from several years back was a delightful romp through cool and beautiful graphics, like flipping through someone's scrapbook, while the general content was a continual woe is me for this or that, and then politely asking for donations to a paypal account, and even direct links to retail gift lists. While I agree some people need help and this is a cute way to solicit funds, I felt the woe is me part could have been a little brushed up with not confessing how so much limited money is wasted in the first place on pets, clothes, recreational substances and whatnot while electric bills missed getting paid among claims of starvation, but is this any different from vague anonymous contributions to food bins and various big charities that must use part of your money to keep office management going? Not at all. So why judge?
Social media is HERE. It's not going away. We are all being watched, and criminals are actually being caught because they share real stuff on real blogs. Then there's the other side of the coin- that kid (pick one) who blew away part of a school and no one had any idea that was even possible. Wouldn't you rather that kid had overshared on a blog?
Do. Not. Tell. People. To. Shut. Up.
NEVER tell someone in comments that what they write on their own blog is a waste of time, or that they are a waste of space. I believe that the words spoken to someone before a suicide are just as heavy a weapon as a gun. If you're the sort who believes in accountability or karma, you stain your own soul with words.
I believe in freedom of speech. I don't believe in strangling those who don't agree with a reader's viewpoint or belief system.
I'm speaking from experience. Because I've been on the internet so long, and because I've used so many different names, you guys do not know how many threats I've received, how many times I've been attacked, and how afraid I used to be. I know people who are still afraid to be themselves on social media because of the past or the way they've behaved to others.
We live in an age where it's becoming increasingly cool to stand up and be OURSELVES.
One more thing. There is no such thing as confidence. I've never been confident. I'm not blogging because I feel confident. I hit that publish button and cringe every. single. time. I have learned that it doesn't kill me. Yeah, I still have a few panic attacks, once in awhile one will last a couple of hours and you don't see me being cartoony around my house, but I believe this is important. We are all important. I believe that feeling confident is a lack of feeling something else, just like my lack of stage fright due to an extreme lack of self awareness because I'm a little deeper on the Asperger's spectrum cannot be called confidence.
I think oversharing is a cool thing. It's about time we told each other what's really in our heads. If people want to read it, fine. If they don't, they can click to something else. It's your blog. Do what you want on your own blog within reasonable legal limits.