Is It Time To Quit Over-Sharing?

Is It Time To Quit Over-Sharing?

This was posted to Twitter back in 2008 by Twitter user @MissRFTC. But as oversharing becomes rife on our social networks, you've got to ask, does it get more personal than this?

In my day job (covering consumer technology and Internet culture for CNET), you would think that I had seen it all when it comes to social networking, but I've pretty much got to the point where almost nothing surprises me. I expect Demi Moore to be motivated to overshare and broadcast the details of her dental visits. She is an actress after all. However, I don't expect to see Facebook photos of my teenage cousins smoking crack pipes. Or to learn about deaths in my family on Twitter. Or rather, I would not have expected it once upon a more logical time. These days I do expect it, which seems sad and just not right.

Like most people, I like to think that I have drawn lines about what I will and will not share on social networks. My career: within the lines. My vagina: not within the lines. (Which is probably just as well because having just had a baby, I have A LOT to say on the matter.) Yet the Tweet above is something I am ambivalent about, proving that what you share online is a slippery slope.

If there were a formula for writing a successful social networking post, it might go something like this: take a universally shared experience and make it comical. By this formulation, the aforementioned Tweet is social networking gold. It certainly made me do an LOL. Yet I wouldn't post it, and not just because of my vagina rule.

Many people erroneously think of their postings as ephemeral. They are not. Even if you could erase all traces of your less desirable postings, (which you can't), they still set a tone for the digital representation of you.

I once heard it described this way: every posting to your social networks is like a point on a pointillist painting. So how revealing is your painting? How risqué?

My painting is not very risqué. That is not who I am. I don't condemn those with more risqué paintings but I do admonish them to take pause. The Internet does not easily forgive and forget and once the brushstrokes of your digital representation have been laid, it is hard to change the genre.

In all fairness, I don't follow Twitter user @MissRFTC. I saw the Tweet about her unfortunately timed doctor's visit when it was re-Tweeted. It could very well be that she does not make it a habit to discuss her private parts online but in doing so once, and doing it so comically, she makes that a part of her online identity. So think twice before you post, for fear of becoming "the girl whose vagina posted that hilarious Tweet."

Read a funny 'over-share' recently, or posted one yourself? Confess below...

Natali Del Conte is the technology contributor for The CBS Early Show and WCBS in the states as well as a host on CNET TV. You can also check her out on her daily newscast on CNET TV called Loaded.


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