Online ‘self-disclosing’ has a creepy vibe but it can also be a revelatory experience.
April 4, 2012
According to a recent story in USA Today, more and more people are disclosing what used to be considered very private and personal information via social media precisely because of social media. The example given was of a woman who posted the happy but early news of her pregnancy (too soon?) followed by the sad news of her miscarriage (too much?), both on Facebook. She claimed to have received considerable relief from the outpouring of comments from all of her ‘friends.’
I don’t doubt it. I’m a big sharer as well; that is on Facebook, Twitter and, in particular, this blog. I derive considerable satisfaction from (your) support, compassion or just plain laughing along to popular culture’s flotsam and jetsam.
But that’s not me in real life. I’m an introvert. I like reading, writing, running and fishing. You do the math. Before social media, I pretty much kept to myself. I had more acquaintances than friends and I didn’t communicate with my extended family on a regular basis. And I most certainly did not share personal information with anyone other than maybe my wife or shrink. Even then I held on to stuff. Still do.
We’ve all heard how the Internet is supposedly keeping us from real interaction with our fellows, intimacy with our loved ones, et-cetera… But for me it’s kind of the opposite; I find it easier to share online than I ever did and do in real life. As a writer and an introvert, blogging and micro-blogging are a godsend.
I know what you’re thinking: lots of nerdy introverts find relief on the Internet, some of them pathologically. And I agree that this can be a dangerous rabbit hole. We all have read those stories. Or know people…
That’s why I appreciated the USA Today story: because it went the other way. It showed a real ‘live’ benefit to socializing online, as opposed to yet another screed about the perils of Facebook.