The share necessities

There’s a scare campaign to stop oversharing. But it’ll never work.


In What I Wore, a recurring feature on the local fashion/society-themed Bras And Ranties, the site’s blogger dresses for her night out – always immaculately – and painstakingly itemizes her wardrobe for readers.[rssbreak]

In the accompanying glamour shot, though, she refuses to show her face. She hides it each and every time.

She’s clearly oversharing already, but draws an arbitrary line above the neckline. Why?

It reflects a widespread misconception that what you post online could come back to haunt you.

But what would happen if the faceless fashionista behind Bras And Ranties flashed her smile? She’d probably be more recognizable, which, in turn, would make her more Internet-famous and her site more popular.

Or, at worst, her picture would be online for those who cared to sift through her blog to find it.

There’s a concerted and confused push to stop people from oversharing – an effort that goes all the way to the upper echelons of power.

Barack Obama offically recognized oversharing paranoia when earlier this year he warned schoolchildren about posting too many details on Facebook. Retain a degree of privacy online, the message was, and you’ll be more successful.

But Obama is a classic oversharer himself, with two memoirs before he turned 50. In his first book, he openly discussed drug use. Having his skeletons already out of the closet may have helped him win the presidency.

The tragedy of the oversharer is almost always told as a cautionary tale, but it’s rarely the life-ending event it’s made out to be.

Take the recent sad experience of the Quebec woman who had her disability benefits revoked after her insurer spied photos of her vacationing, posted to her Facebook profile. Sounds frightening!

Left off the story, however, is that she’s suing her insurer and has a decent chance of winning a potentially lucrative settlement. The publicity may serve as an advantage.

And remember David George-Cosh, the National Post reporter who openly lost his temper on Twitter in a so-called Twitter meltdown?

After the initial schadenfreude from sites like Torontoist and Gawker, this episode was quickly forgotten – lost in the data glut. He’s now working overseas and is more successful than he was before the incident.

Raymi the Minx, a long-time oversharing Toronto blogger, recently broke up with her boyfriend and posted the news and aftermath online. It may be a source of tumult in her personal life and a Roman holiday for her detractors, but she’s experienced a resurgence in popularity as a result.

So despite tragic accounts of oversharing, society seems to reward it. It’s endearing, humanizing, interesting and, most importantly, not going away.

joshuae@nowtoronto.com

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