(Fun fact before you read: As I was writing this piece in early March, I decided that there was a bigger story on the horizon. I scrapped this one to write about my grandmother’s experience with the 1918 Spanish Flu. I talked about how it related to the idea of flattening the curve of this virus that was starting to interrupt our lives. 5 months later with that virus still hanging around- here’s the post!)💞
I share a lot, but there is so much more to my life that I don’t share…good and bad. If you read my self-help book, you learned a lot about me. Guess what? You didn’t learn everything. ☺I chose what I wanted to share in that book. I took moments from my adventure through life that I hoped could help others in their journeys. 👍I carefully cultivated the nuggets that I included on those pages to illustrate my points. I didn’t share every little thing. My life didn’t literally become an open📖 book.
I held back a lot. Sacred moments. Private thoughts. Things I’m 😬embarrassed or ashamed of. I’ve had plenty of experiences and introspection that I didn’t choose to share. Some things are meant to be held close- until and unless we are ready to share. Maybe we only share certain things with 💞loved ones or trained professionals. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We don’t have to become open 📖books.
As I scroll through my social media pages, I often see the opposite. Oversharing is common. We know WAAYYY more about people now than we used to know before the days of Facebook and Instagram. I smile as I check out posts with ✈vacation photos or details of kids’ 🎳activities. I giggle along with the silly videos. My husband LOVES the silly videos- to the point that he 😂cries from laughing so hard, especially if they involve goofy 🐶animals! I feel sad when I read about someone’s 💔heartbreak, offering prayers- not simply posting the prayer emoji, but truly 🙏praying for the persons involved. I also love posts that have 😍motivational quotes or teach some new information. (Have you ever seen @historyphotographed on Instagram? Check it out. 🌟)
There are a few things I don’t like to see.🙈 Things that bust another person in a public forum, for example. My face actually crinkles up when I read posts that go for the jugular. Just talk to the person- or forgive and forget.💞 Leave Facebook out of it! My dad used to ask if we would “want that printed in the newspaper.” Times have changed, but the message still remains.💯
Another thing that drives me 😳crazy is known as the “subtweet”- or as a co-worker calls it- “Vague-book.” You know what I’m talking about, right? Those veiled references to something that has gone wrong with another person- posted with the hope that the person reads it.😯 Memes that are directed at someone for some specific reason that the rest of us who are just looking for 🐶puppy videos or photos of kids playing 🏀 basketball don’t understand. How about those posts that don’t ever get to the point, but say just enough to let readers know there’s a major issue happening.😶 C’mon- grab a📝 journal! Talk to a friend. 🏃Walk it off. Talk to the person you’re upset with. Find someone else to talk with that you trust. Deal with your problem or move beyond it. Social media isn’t the place to hash it out.💥
As a teacher for 30-years (yep- you read that right!) and a parent to five kids, I’m here to tell you that our kids are sharing too much as well.😳 Just in case you didn’t know. I’ve seen enough to know that there is no “type” of kid who shares too much. It’s ALL types of kiddos. Trust me on that one. ✅They may not share with a general audience on Snapchat or Instagram or Twitter. Maybe it’s just a DM (Direct Message) to one other person or a couple of friends. Or posted on their private stories (did you know about the private stories?). But- they’re sharing!😱
To take away a little of the uncomfortable feeling I gave you, let’s just say it’s not your kid sharing. I guarantee you that your kid is seeing👀 things that shouldn’t be shared! Words. Photos. Videos. Want to know another fact about teens?❓ They know the ins-and-outs of social media platforms far better than we do! Teens and pre-teens are smart creatures.💯 You know what that means, right? They aren’t going to put things out there in the open on all of the places they know we check on the 📲phones. They’re two steps ahead- at least.✅
So, how do we handle the oversharing culture? I have a question that I often ask my students.
Is it helpful or hurtful?
That’s a pretty good place to start.💖 If a post is going to spread a little 🌞sunshine or teach some interesting information, go for it. If it includes a tough subject that might help others through similar situations- open that 🚪door. If it is just plain 😝silly, YES- please post! If it could hurt someone- or even yourself? Keep your fingers off the keyboard.😞 And- for goodness sake- talk to your teens about the reasons for keeping parts of their lives off of their 📲social media! They have selective hearing, so say it loud.✅ Say it often.✅ And- offer some words of wisdom when they realize they may have shared too much.💞
What if…we didn’t share everything? We’d all be just fine. ✨Think before we share. ✨Think about our subjects. ✨Think about our audience. Perhaps the things we choose to post would become launching pads for authentic conversations instead of merely quick glances.💖