First read this. My comments won’t make much sense if you haven’t read New York Times’ opinion piece by Roger Cohen on over-sharing, and it’s hilarious and well written so come back when you’re done.
This is, as much as I enjoyed the article, I am not so sure of the hypothesis. Not because I disagree, but because it’s testable, I see no evidence, just humorous opinion, and I can’t really manage to guess using my usual single datapoint: myself.
The hypothesis is “we share useless crap for fear of being forgotten.” Sounds pretty reasonable and having an hypothesis is the first step toward fixing the problem, (and, as the rest of the article soundly demonstrates, it is a problem), but I am not so sure fear of being forgotten is why people share this stuff or that if it’s just that simple.
I can’t tell myself is probably because I don’t appear to suffer from this anxiety. I am just self deluded enough to be comfortable with my existence and status. Hell, I think the best friends to have in your life are those friends, we all have a few, whom you can pick up with after months of not talking, as if it were only yesterday. Since those are the friends I value, I feel no urge to keep them updated every second on the minutiae of my life. Blithely going along on this assumption, it’s difficult for me to picture others who may be compelled to do so. The only difference is, in spite of how plausible it all sounds, I don’t have the confidence to assume fear is the motivator for over-sharing.
Like I said, it’s really quite testable: we need only ask a few people and at least have an idea whether this hypothesis is worth pursuing. I imagine my tiny selection of audience is hardly a scientific sample, but please, don’t hesitate to tell us why you share, or don’t , in the comments below. In the meantime, at least you read a funny article and now you have another reason to feel smugly superior to your over-sharing friends. Unless, um, you’re one of them….