…but Jane thinks…
Jane wishes like hell that she sometimes looked before she leapt. And especially before she sends Dan running down some cyberalley with his hair on fire all jazzed up about the newest form of social networking. Jane recently….Halt.
No more third person.
I recently wrote something at this other place about the difficulty I’m having with oversharing as a cultural phenomenon, and not just virtual culture but real and by real I mean ON TV culture.
This issue about personal disclosure is problematic for me. I write a blog. Hell, I write on four different blogs. And I’m a chronic oversharer in my personal life. My edit function is faulty; not much gets stuck in the trap and I say things other people do not. Sometimes, this is good. It’s hard for people to argue that I’m not genuine. Sometimes, less good. It’s easy for people to argue that I’m exhausting and have boundary issues such that “boundary issues” equals lack of couth.
I am disturbed by the fact that popular culture seems to be brainwashing us into believing that it’s normal and relevant and useful to televise the rehab experiences of celebrities or the, however manufactured and artificial, desperate pursuit of true love and a happily-ever-after. Back in the day, the Real World on MTV was, in fact, of sociological and entertainment interest: a glimpse into the lives of people unlike you. But that snowball just kept rolling down hill and suddenly I’m contending with Tila Tequila and people tweeting about their genitalia.
I readily acknowledge that I am also a bit of a tough audience, in terms of reasonable critical thinking about personal disclosure in the media (social or otherwise). I am both outrageously liberal and a terrific snob. So my judgment about what I think is acceptable is colored by whether or not I think the person disclosing is a) intelligent and “gets it” and b) not gross and tacky. If I were to say, unequivocally, I don’t want to hear about your bodily functions because that’s too much disclosure, I’d be lying. Because then I’d miss stuff like this gem from Mr. Lady, which I love. Further muddying the waters is that I have the sense of humor of a twelve year old boy. I love me a good fart joke as much as the next middle schooler.
I can’t draw a clear line in the sand, then, about what I think is TMI and what I think is Just Right Information. I think it comes down to motivation. If someone’s motivation is to inspire, support, entertain, educate, or even to force us all to bear witness, then self-disclosure of the kind that someone else might construe as oversharing is OK with me. If an oversharer’s motivation is to present a false facade, manipulate, shock, or elicit praise or sympathy? Not so much. I feel like so much that people are putting out there – in a kind of miniaturized version of the Bachelor wherein dumber-than-average girls contort themselves into what they think some douchey guy wants – is show-offy and sort of pathetic. Also, if you make me throw up in my mouth, I am not pleased.
The only other point I think it’s critical I make here is this: If Dan thinks something is OK and I think it’s skeevy? Maybe I’m just PMSing (overshare, ah, sweet irony), but chances are it’s skeevy.