I was flitting around the internet, busy doing nothing, when I saw the quote ‘You are what you share’.
Gosh, what does that say about me? I thought to myself. I had just shared a sign on a social media website of a notice hanging off a door handle. It was an alternative to the classic ‘Do not disturb’ sign and read ‘Come in I’m already disturbed’.
Oddly the quote claiming you are what you share came from a writer named Charles W Leadbeater, who died in 1934, long before the internet was invented.
I’d found Leadbeater’s quote on a webpage containing sayings about the internet. Leadbeater also said: ‘‘Many of the big changes of the next 25 years will come from unknowns working in their bedrooms and offices.” And he was right.
Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook in his Harvard University dorm room and Larry Page and Sergery Brin invented Google in a garage! Leadbeater was clearly ahead of his time. He spookily wrote about clairvoyance, amongst other things. Though I doubt when it came to sharing, old Charlie could ever have imagined a time like ours, when we can share a thought worldwide in a nanosecond. In fact we share so much in our cyber society that the word ‘overshare’ has emerged describing the copious details we post on social media sites.
I’m not really a fan of Twitter and Facebook. I dabble occasionally then suddenly begin to find people’s musings and postings beyond monotonous (including my own!).
Scrolling through social media postings and tweets is almost like listening to someone talking to themselves. For many social media network users postings are like a form of therapy.
The saying, ‘would you care to share with the rest of the group?’ used to be and probably still is used in group therapy. And a therapeutic sharing of thoughts with their cyber chat group of choice seems to be what many people’s postings are all about.
A recent study revealed that people who overshare on Facebook just want to belong. The research discovered some people find it easier to be their true selves online, but disclosing too much information about their emotions, frustrations and dramas just left people lonelier.
Oversharing doesn’t seem to elicit the warm and comforting reaction the posters are looking for. The motivation behind posts proved to be mostly self-orientated. People are looking for attention and a feeling of being included, rather than having any great interest in anyone else or expressing care for others.
Also oversharers reaching out for a human connection can be ignored by others, because their neediness can make others uncomfortable.
It was found people dip in and out of Facebook using it as a sort of cyber emotional pick-me-up.
Twitter on the other hand is a whole different ball game. Facebook networks people, where as Twitter networks ideas and topics.
Twitter allows followers, whereas Facebook is all about likes and friends. You can’t exactly overshare your emotions in a tweet as you are limited to 140 characters.
I’m not an ardent social media user but I admit my viewing of Strictly Come Dancing was enhanced on Saturday by Twitter.
I was following former Strictly dancer James Jordan’s commentary on what he thought of the dancers and judges’ marks.
He announced his opinions like a Strictly judge, a position he obviously feels he could fill after his sacking from the show last year. He also pointed out that Jamelia’s partner Tristan pulled her by the hair to get her head to go into a drop. When I watched it back, he did give her locks a good old yank, ouch! Jordan’s tweets exude an air of self-importance.
There is no doubt self-obsession permeates social media sites. The users crave attention. People seek self-fulfilment through other’s validation.
Twitter seems to become a little addictive to many users. Some tweet incessantly, as though they feel their followers wait with bated breath to know their every thought and movement. You wonder if their brain begins to think in tweets as they rush to inform us of their latest movements. Facebook seems just as addictive, with some users desperate to connect by oversharing everything about themselves. I found myself sniggering at an e-card posted on an oversharer’s Facebook wall before being un-friended by the poster. It summed up well the tedium of over-sharing posts and read:
‘Thank you for updating again with what you had for dinner, the suspense was killing me’.