O is for Oversharing

So. There you are. You’re on Twitter, chatting away, having a nice time, maybe looking at some pictures of some kittens wearing bobble hats when suddenly a tweet comes past telling you that someone’s grandma has died.

The stream of consciousness style of Twitter means that we get to see everything that goes through someone’s head, so of course some of those things are gong to be bad. People are either the kind of people who talk about everything on social media, or they’re not. I tend not to share really personal stuff but that’s not to say that I think you’re wrong if you do, people deal with things differently. But people who share too much make me feel a bit uncomfortable.

 Maybe I’m just being very British and need to loosen up but a few things go through my head when I see these death tweets. First of all, if someone close to you dies, it worries me that the first thing you think of is to announce it on Twitter/Facebook. Go and cry or something, we can wait. I’m sure you’re lovely but you’re not so important that we need to know every detail of your life, including the death of close family members. Don’t dilute their memory by spreading them across Twitter.

It also makes me feel awkward. What do I do? Everyone else is @-ing like crazy, sending sympathy, hugs, words of wisdom. If I join in and send something it just seems insincere, like I’m jumping on a bandwagon, it feels really fake. If I don’t say anything though, I feel heartless. I just end up doing nothing and feeling a bit rubbish. I don’t really know what people expect though, when they post something like that.

I think my problems with it partly come down to not liking the feeling of being emotionally manipulated. I’m expected to react a certain way. This is why I hate those reality tv shows, the Britain’s got the X Factor on Ice Get Me Out of Here type of programme. They bring someone on who’s a bit funny looking, or whose dad has just died and they play a slow Coldplay song and we all cry. I don’t want to be forced to react a certain way. But it gets worse. We see so much now in films and on television that nothing is sacred, not birth or sex or death, and we need to be pushed further and further until we produce a reaction.

So please, don’t put everything out there. Unless of course you have a gang of kittens in bobble hats, then share away. (Or a wombat in a teacup)




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15 responses to “O is for Oversharing

  1. I haven’t seen anyone I follow on twitter posting about a death in the family, but that doesn’t shock me. Personally, I wouldn’t. I would call the people who I thought needed to know. If I said anything on twitter it would be I had personal matters to attend to and would be quiet for the next few days. That seems like the only appropriate thing to do in my opinion.

    • Any time that something big has happened I tend to just go offline for a few days. People close to me know what’s happened. It doesn’t feel right to broadcast it all to everybody.

  2. You’re right. Some things are too personal for sharing…Nice wombat though Annette 🙂

  3. Colin

    Sorry, I would have commented earlier… had to use the potty, you know…:D Just kidding! 😉

    I know what you mean,Tracy. I can only suppose that the person tweeting such a thing must have lots of close friends on Twitter, and this was the easiest way to tell them all at one time. If it was me, I would have sent them a group email, or called/texted them all individually. Especially if you’re someone who follows back anyone who follows you on Twitter, I think you need to remember that not everyone who follows you cares about you equally. Some are following you just because you followed them, and frankly sees you as nothing more than one of their many, many followers. Your feelings are wasted on them.

    Whenever I blog or tweet, I ask myself: is this a thought or conversation I don’t mind inviting the world into, and think they might enjoy? If the answer’s no, then I go to email or direct message.

    Another thought-provoking post! 🙂

    • That’s a good point, about thinking about whether you want to invite people into that thought. I wish other people would do that. And you’re right, not everyone cares about you equally, it’s easy to forget that just because they pressed follow on twitter they want to hear about every detail of your life.

  4. Really people do that? No I’m far too British for doing that. I just retweet things I like in someway and tweet my posts, in fairness I have no idea at all what I should be doing on twitter. I like google+ you get nice images on there:)

  5. This is one of my pet peevs – people Tweeting, FBing and making public some really personal stuff. I wonder if they have close people they can share this with and surely calling a close friend is the way to pour your heart out. Maybe we should feel sorry for people who feel the need to Tweet about everything. Oh, and I hate it when people send FB messages and Tweets to say they just saw a person at a bus stop. Come on people. OK I’ll stop now.

  6. Kate Boardman

    Absolutely guilty as charged m’lud! Please slap on the handcuffs and send me darn for life. I do tend to tweet/FB stuff that others may construe as personal and/or mundane (#foodporn anyone)? Trouble is I don’t believe anyone bothers to read them anyway, a therapist costs a blooming fortune and my six year old just gives me a blank stare when I start to rant about the state of the economy. As for posting that someone has died, haven’t done that one yet but I’m up for the challenge. 😉

    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of yours that I would class as oevrsharing though. Entertaining, yes, TMI? No. You’re honest, that’s different to oversharing.

  7. I would rather see a tweet that someone has died than an “something terrible has happened, I don’t want to talk about it” tweet. My biggest tweeting/FB mistake is asking people’s advice or suggestions about things. Then I always hate everyone’s suggestions. I still do it. I never learn.

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