I am so very glad that the blogsophere didn’t yet exist when I was a teenager/ twentysomething. Reading the New York Times magazine essay about blogger Emily Gould only amplified this feeling. I’m quite sure if I had acceses to a blog when I was 20 all of the stupid details of my youth would be forever digitally chronicled the way Emily’s are.
Here’s one brief excerpt from her long, long essay Exposed:
One of the strangest and most enthralling aspects of personal blogs is just how intensely personal they can be. I’m talking “specific details about someone’s S.T.D.’s” personal, “my infertility treatments” personal. There are nongynecological overshares, too: “My dog has cancer” overshares, “my abusive relationship” overshares.
It’s easy to draw parallels between what’s going on online and what’s going on in the rest of our media: the death of scripted TV, the endless parade of ordinary, heavily made-up faces that become vaguely familiar to us as they grin through their 15 minutes of reality-show fame. No wonder we’re ready to confess our innermost thoughts to everyone: we’re constantly being shown that the surest route to recognition is via humiliation in front of a panel of judges.
But is that really what’s making people blog? After all, online, you’re not even competing for 10 grand and a Kia. I think most people who maintain blogs are doing it for some of the same reasons I do: they like the idea that there’s a place where a record of their existence is kept — a house with an always-open door where people who are looking for you can check on you, compare notes with you and tell you what they think of you. Sometimes that house is messy, sometimes horrifyingly so. In real life, we wouldn’t invite any passing stranger into these situations, but the remove of the Internet makes it seem O.K.
This essay is a cautionary tale about the dangers of “oversharing” as Emily says. Writers, bloggers—especially you young ones—remember to be cautious when you’re writing online about your private life. This isn’t the way you want to be famous.
Have you ever over-shared on a blog? Did you regret it?