Monday, 20 July 2009

Oversharing?

In the past I have written about this subject before ......but, lately a few events have caused me to want to ramble about this subject again.....

I often stumble upon blogs that, in my opinion, are too personal. As much as I may be a little curious to read about other people's supposed stupid boss, latest conquest, kinky drunken night, evil ex and run in with the cops - It does make me wonder if some people think before they blog? (Dont get me wrong, I love personal blogs,I have one...but some people dont leave any details out)
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The ever growing popularity of social networking sites and blogs seems to have made it overly acceptable to be "too personal" and "overshare"(note to self: must remember to go twitter that I need to wash my hair). In fact, its so acceptable now that its odd if you are not oversharing online.
While some people may not care about your life, loves and interests (Yup, some of us are just not that interesting), there are some people who do actually want to find out about you and your online activities (stalker, boss, partner, exes, etc..)....

Despite my best efforts (which clearly were not that good-*grins*) to keep my blog "anonymous" when I started it, I came to realise a while ago that people I know have or will eventually read my blog. Since having this realization, I have tried to never write about anything I wouldn't want my friends and loved ones to read (lets call it "sensitivity selecting" rather than censoring).

Clearly alot of people feel completely comfortable with being too personal and oversharing -but Im not one of them. While I will never be able to not share personal things with y'all (obviously), I think im going to keep being a bit selective and keep certain things un -blogged :)
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I would love to hear your opinions and thoughts on this: How personal is too personal? Do you overshare alot? Have you ever overshared and maybe should not have?
(Cartoon found on cartoonstock.com)

31 comments:

  1. I don't use my real name on my blog and I made my blog un-google-able. I no longer bitch about my friends, enemies and bosses on my blog. But ... it's all very difficult striking a balance. Some are more sensitive than others.

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  2. I write mostly about myself and J. Most never about family or friends...if I wanted to do that I always think that if they want their business out there THEY would start a blog. It's just not my place.

    I don't care when people overshare...in the end it's their decision and I actually admire them putting it all out there. I like REAL people and real thoughts and feelings and opinions and not just fluff to keep the blog going. I want to know that there is an actual person sitting behind the computer. That said, juvenile and mean things just for the hell of it, doesn't appeal to me.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is to each his own. :)

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  3. I try to be VERY careful to not write anything that could get me in trouble, or hurt anyone I know, or blog about work and attract some kind of lawsuit. I have shared my blog with a few people,a nd although I amde them swear not to tell anyone, you can never be sure.

    I think people share to much, it is almost like a pandemic of self importance, where we think we are more interesting and important than we really are. Some things are meant to be kept to yourself.

    I think!

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  4. Mmm...good question! My blog is not anonymous at all - I prefer it that way. I want my kids one day to read it and read about my real life. With pictures and what did day to day. That said I do watch i what i write, I try not to write about other people.
    I have thought about going private, but I love the idea of meeting new people, and that makes it harder. Anyway we will see.

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  5. I have actually never really thought about this... I dont think i write anything thats overly personal on my blog twitter etc... I do have loads of pics of myself though so def not anon! :P i actually dont mind who reads my blog as i dont write any bad things about people xx

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  6. BB - Agree with you in some respects. Blogs can, and will hurt peoples feelings at some point, depending on how and what you blog. And it's all very easy to hide behind a false name. But don't be too quick to judge...some blogs are a relfections of peoples lives and it gives them great comfort to be able to express themselves how they wish. I don't expect you to enjoy my posts about my drunken social life, but I seem to remember reading a post not too long ago about your very own hangover. As your readers, we've even been able to ask you questions about your personal life and answer polls.

    My point is, we're not forced to read peoples blogs, we choose too. And the blogger must suffer any consequence therewith, just like in life.

    PS. Just be glad I never posted videos of my hip-hop dance lessons. ;)

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  7. I am totally myself on my blog, but I figure if I wouldn't talk about it to a group of people at a party, I won't talk about it on my blog.

    That said, I want to bust wide open some taboos, like depression, fat discrimination, faith etc, sexual assault so I will get pretty detailed with those, because I think it's important to speak up.

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  8. This is a strange difficult balance to strike.
    I find that especially with the subject matter of my blog ( interpersonal relationships ).
    If I got too personal, I would increase the potential of people getting hurt.
    To remedy this I decided to keep the blog relatively anonymous and only those who know me well would know who I’m talking about.
    I think it’s the individual bloggers choice on how personal to get. It’s also the choice of the reader.
    If you don’t fear the backlash, ( and there always is something ) of bashing your friends, boss on your blog or on twitter, well then go for it.
    But as general rule of thumb, er to the side of safety if you are unsure where your balance is.

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  9. BB - Understood, and I'm sorry. It was meant in a broader sense and not directly at you.

    I was just highlighting on your point that 'in your opinion, some blogs are too personal' and you have every right to that, as well as making a very valid argument. I did, however, miss read your next sentence and for that, I apologise.

    If I truly believed that you didn't enjoy reading about drunken exploints, my lastest shag and running from police dogs, you wouldn't be the first person to comment on my blog, everyday, for the last year.

    Again, didn't mean to be unfair.

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  10. I don't like to get too personal but I feel like some times I just get emotionally wrapped up in something and let it all out. Sometimes I even end up going back and erasing my post because I re read it and it was way too much. Good post

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  11. I read a blog called “dooce”. Her blog is very personal. When she first started it she was employed by a web design company in LA and got fired for writing about her job. Her blog is so well know it now supports her family - neither her nor her husband have to work. She has advertisers begging for a banner across her page, piles of books all over her house from publishers and authors, makeup, clothes you name it wanting some form of mention. I recon we can attribute this to her being so open, brutally honest and not afraid to speak of very personal matters and experiences. I also think she has helped a lot of woman by writing about her experience of nearly offing herself and landing in a mental institution after giving birth to her first daughter and how she got through it. She has just had her second baby and has written about how she couldn’t come off her meds (an educational read, especially for moms who, like herself, suffered from postpartum depression) and how this time around it was a hell of a lot easier. I think it’s great to share personal experience if you can. It makes other people, who might be experiencing the same thing, feel not so alone in this world and maybe help them understand how to deal with whatever they may be going through or point them in the right direction. She is very crude and straight forward and can have me rolling around on the floor clutching at my sides with laughter.
    BUT my blog is about my adventures, what inspires me, and the things I love. These stories sometimes encompass a friend or family member and the memory of that moment shared but I would never say anything derogatory about someone close to me and there are many aspects of myself and my life that are not ever going to splashed across the internet for the world to see. For instance, I have written a post about my Gran but I won’t put the inspiration behind the post on my blog because it is a private matter. I also cannot post about my boyfriend. It just feels to intimate a topic to share with complete strangers.
    So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like to read about other peoples personal lives but would not post about my own.

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  12. I am certain that people stumbling upon / readers of my blog will say that I overshare. My intention was never for me to be known in person or for any of my blog readers to find out my identity, so it was 'safe' in a way. Of course, as time goes on, you get to know people through blogging / social networking and you let them know your name, see a photo thats not just a teaser, etc. My blog, however is my outlet and I do write my innermost feelings and fears, all my heartaches and share my truest joys. For those who now know me personally, it certainly does seem like oversharing.
    I guess its all about how much of your identity you reveal for it to be oversharing?

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  13. I'm sure you'd consider my blog in the "oversharing" category. I keep my blog anonymous so that I feel free to share personal things with my readers. But my rule is to write so that if someone I know does find my blog it might embarass me but not hurt anyone else. I don't write to insult or belittle people. It's just me, telling my stories. And those stories right now often center around our trying to start a family.

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  14. i use pseudonymn online. but i promote my blog to my friends and students. so, i know that what i write is open and i am totally accountable to people around me. that is why i have a personal diary blog (i keep to myself) to write about the more sensitive issues.

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  15. Interesting question...one that I (and I'm sure anyone who has a blog) has thought about a bit. I have done quite a bit of sharing of emotional struggles, goals, musings, interesting conversations, and bad dates! But I try to keep details vague or outright change them. I never use names. And sometimes I post things out of chronological order in my life so they aren't fresh in the actualy people's minds (or hearts)

    I understand what you are saying about oversharing. I have a friend who posts very suggestive pictures of herself on her facebook and updates it several times a day with such gems as: "wondering if Christian Bale would be that domineering in bed." It gets a bit uncomfortable. Especially seeing her in person and having her ask about her latest pic. Plus, I wonder what her kids think of this?

    I guess it really comes down to personal preference, but I certainly hope nobody has ever read my blog and squirmed with embarassment!

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  16. Interesting debate but i guess it comes down to the motivation behind blogging.
    I blog because it "exercises" my writing. It ensures that I write frequently which is important to me. Secondly, i really really enjoy it. I find it so therapeutic to have this online voice and community. BB perhaps whats disappointing is the actual exploits of some bloggers rather than the fact that they share them? I'm hypothesizing here (yep - it's true I'm a geek) but perhaps it's the people themselves and their actions which are offensive.
    Anyway, as for me and my blog, i reckon if you met me you'd feel you know me - No online alterego. No secret personality. What you read is me!
    PS - you now HAVE to comment on my latest post... the post idea detailed there could well be considered an overshare and I'd like your view on it, but know this much - I'm sure as hell not one for detailing blood and gore so that's NOT what it would be!!
    ok lady have a fantabulous monday!
    adios x

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  17. only when I got fired for my blog

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  18. I agree to an extent. It really depends. My last blog (that I accidentally deleted) was my outlet during a VERY difficult time in my life. My sister, who I am very close to, was the only person I personally know who knew of my blog.

    If it wasn't for me being able to write about some very very private things (I'm sure you can remember some of the things) then I don't think I would be where I am emotionally today.

    However, I would like a blog that is not so personal now. So I do (or am in the process of, at least)!

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  19. Oh how I agree with you! There are definitely some which I think are a little too much. Although I like not being anonymous. I don't advertise my blog to my friends but I think it's nice they can read it when they want. I do have to say though, there are definitely times when you want an anonymous blog, just to get things off your chest as it were...

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  20. I like the probing question Brazen!!

    In my opinion, It's an "each to their own" thing. Until we've read another person's piece of writing, it's all just a bunch of words floating in cyber space. The reader may provide a label for them, a label that will undoubtedly be based on subjective views. So only at that point can it be considered over-sharing, or not.

    I'm not afraid to share, given the right circumstances. You still have to respect other people's feelings but if people don't want to read what you write on your personal blog space, they shouldn't. If they do, they should respect your honesty. We all have very different ideas of what over-sharing is so who is to judge???

    I shared my views on sharing recently:
    http://lotsofdifferentstuff.blogspot.com/2009/07/exploration-of-self-and-other-stuff.html

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  21. I like the probing question Brazen!!

    In my opinion, It's an "each to their own" thing. Until we've read another person's piece of writing, it's all just a bunch of words floating in cyber space. The reader may provide a label for them, a label that will undoubtedly be based on subjective views. So only at that point can it be considered over-sharing, or not.

    I'm not afraid to share, given the right circumstances. You still have to respect other people's feelings but if people don't want to read what you write on your personal blog space, they shouldn't. If they do, they should respect your honesty. But we all have very different ideas of what over-sharing is so who is to judge???

    I'm not exempt from being catty at times though and criticizing people for saying (or showing) too much but I think I'm a pretty good judge of what is honesty and what is just plain, old, attention seeking...

    I shared my views on sharing recently:
    http://lotsofdifferentstuff.blogspot.com/2009/07/exploration-of-self-and-other-stuff.html

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  22. I overshare about stuff that concerns me - my feelings, stuff I have done etc.

    Eventho I write about the people in my life there real names arent really used and I dont post pics of them unless I have their permission!

    I posted a post last week that was overshare! Wasnt the tight time to share it so I have made it private. Is the first time it has happened tho!

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  23. I overshared once and my daughter's friend and her mother read it!

    Whoops!

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  24. This is an interesting subject. Blogging has evolved fairly rapidly over the past 5 years as have most social networking functions (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc....). The personal nature of some blogs stems from its every growing acceptance by the masses, part as communications tool and partly as on line psycho-therapy. I have probably been guilty of this as well, oftem times ranting about my employer in the past (which was a form of stress therapy...you are all my psychiatrists, didn't you know that?). But I have sort of put the skids on that now.

    My primary reason for blogging these days is to try and find an artistic escape and to relate personal recollections of the expeirences in our lives that tend to bind us all together. A sort of 'what we have learned' theme running throughout.

    While some 'personal' blogs are interesting, they tend to read like an online diary, and like you said, most peoples lives just aren't that interesting in the long run.

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  25. I've found few blogs that are way too personal. Perhaps only one, and that one lasted a few weeks. I agree, there's a fine balancing act to play in this blogging world.

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  26. >How personal is too personal?

    Positions. lol!

    >Do you overshare alot?

    Not a lot, but I'm sure I have. No one I know in RL knows I have a blog and my friends aren't as into the Internet as I am either, so I'm not all that worried about it.

    Have you ever overshared and maybe should not have?

    Of course. I was pissed off at my dad recently and let it rip in the comments. I try to have a little restraint in the post itself.

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  27. There are SO MANY blogs that are too personal. And I gotta say... apologies if mine is overshare... to anyone out there... but according to me the blog is about me and for me. No one else. I'm not there to please anyone. If you don't wanna read it, don't. If you read it, you're curiosity got the better of you. Nothing wrong with that.

    But no, I don't go advertising my mishaps and my sexlife on my blog though.

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  28. I agree that many people overshare online. Not that I don't like reading personal stories -- I really do, and am trying to make a concerted effort to be a bit more personal on my blog. But I think the worst culprit in oversharing online is Facebook. I have friends who use it religiously and 2 in particular who can't believe they didn't land jobs because their potential employer Facebooked them and saw an inappropriate photo or "funny" group made about the person.

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  29. I have no thoughts on blogs that are "too personal" becuase it's up to the bloggers how much they share. All I worry about is keeping a balance of my blog so that it can be what I need it to be - a place to vent, get thoughts out of my head, ask questions and dialogue with people - without it hurting those I love. So I may mention a fight I've had with someone, but won't give the name or the person or get into specifics, if that makes sense? sometimes I wish I could bitch about my job without restraint or post about things that happen between TSc and I, but I wouldn't feel right about that, so that's my line that I won't cross.

    I think your blog is the same - you talk about real thinsg, but you make sure that your writing won't impact negatively on anyone you know and love. And I respect that about you.

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  30. I have no thoughts on blogs that are "too personal" becuase it's up to the bloggers how much they share. All I worry about is keeping a balance of my blog so that it can be what I need it to be - a place to vent, get thoughts out of my head, ask questions and dialogue with people - without it hurting those I love. So I may mention a fight I've had with someone, but won't give the name or the person or get into specifics, if that makes sense? sometimes I wish I could bitch about my job without restraint or post about things that happen between TSc and I, but I wouldn't feel right about that, so that's my line that I won't cross.

    I think your blog is the same - you talk about real thinsg, but you make sure that your writing won't impact negatively on anyone you know and love. And I respect that about you.

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  31. I originally started my blog to keep track of my vacation journals. What we did, where we went, points of interest...etc, etc.

    Since then, I've started writing about my life. But, I have my limits. I'm not slamming on people, or explaining my sex life, or bathroom behavior.

    I write knowing that anyone could happen upon my blog. I might vent about the stupid lady at the grocery store that morning, but I try to watch what I do write. Sticking my foot in my mouth isn't a hobby I'd like to take up. :-)

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