Friday, May 01, 2015

Concepts of Oversharing

On Facebook, I have an acquaintance (someone from my town, her son used to be in Boy Scouts so I'm friends with most of the moms who have gone through the program). She has several kids from a couple different marriages. Some of those kids are adults now, older than my own. She posts stuff about them, how difficult they are, how they say and do things that upset her. I know a lot of people do this... but ... I always notice that her posts are public posts and that these adult children are on her friends list.

So they can read her badmouthing them. Which is unfortunate. She does the same thing with her husband's family, and goes on and on and on about how they treat her. And they are public posts, which anyone can see if they look. I pointed that out to her once and she actually told me to mind my business. Okay. Just trying to give you some helpful advice, and I'm not surprised that they respond to you the way you describe if you don't care what you post in a public forum. "It's my wall," she says. Yeah, but you're broadcasting like an FM station with 700,000 watts across a major metropolitan area. But... carry on.

Recently, one of her kids (one of the adult kids) had a medical emergency. A cancer scare. She posted to the TOWN page all about his medical situation. She didn't just post it publicly on her personal page, she went to the town gossip/news/gripe page...

She was asking for prayer, which is something I am okay with.  When people do it on their own walls, and it is a friends only post.

Instead of posting something, discreet shall we say, she posted long detailed descriptions of his pre-diagnosis.  She included a direct link to his Facebook profile, and encouraged people in town to send him messages of support.

I sat there reading, cringing, thinking "Oh I would kill my mom for posting this..." I read on in horror as hundreds of comments flowed in on her post with support, emojis of fingers pointing up (I guess that's... something like prayer) and weird hearts and angels and gifs of prayers (oh, MySpace...) from people all over town.

A follow up post said something along the lines that her son took his Facebook profile down, "probably because he was depressed..." she theorized.  No, probably because you unleashed the hounds of town onto him to send him unsolicited messages of love and support. And I bet you a million dollars that was something he didn't appreciate.

She just posted another update to the town page about how his surgery went well, and he was recovering, and thank you everyone for support... again, all sorts of responses about how that is great and wonderful.

And I am thinking "Am I the only one who thinks that she's way out of line? Am I the only one who finds this a horrible overstep in their relationship?" I mentioned something to a friend of mine in town in an email about how uncomfortable this family drama unfolding on the page was making me, and she agreed fully about the hot bag of nuts this is... and I asked "well, should we politely point out that ... it's not cool?" And my friend said "No way. I'm waiting for her kid to say something... pull up a seat and dig into the popcorn..."

But then I think about this blog. Is it any different here? I've way overshared on my kids here before, and while they were very young, without the ability to respond or confront me if they think I'm wrong... And I think that while I was blogging here and being open and honest, if they went back and read some of this very "secret public journal" content (hat tip to Mike Birbiglia) they may be offended or aghast. Heck, I may be offended or aghast at some of my feelings and responses to situations at the time.

I kind of feel that it is good to self-censor, that over sharing (especially someone else's story) is uncalled for. I think before I point out that I think that someone else is not using social media correctly I should think about my paths through the tech.

And maybe just blog about dogs that are cool.

1 comment:

  1. She sounds like a nut. The attention whoring people who post asking for prayers drive me batty (sorry), but posting about your son's cancer scare on the TOWN PAGE? That's nutty. I really would like to teach a "social media for olds" class so people can learn to not do these things, but then again, she apparently thinks she's fine since she tol you to mind your own business.