Sharing is not just a pre-school problem.
My daughter is about to turn four, which means that preschool is only a few weeks away. We’ve really been trying to prepare her by getting her to bed earlier and waking up earlier as well. This is not going well. We are getting more traction in other areas though, like manners and low-assistance pottying. However, she still struggles with sharing toys, even—or even especially—when they aren’t hers.
This has been a fairly hot-button issue around our house the past few weeks, just as I was reading the very helpful Manage Your Day-to-Day. One particular chapter popped out to me and ties well into this issue of sharing. In her chapter entitled “Using Social Media Mindfully,” Lori Deschene asks a series of questions about how we use social media and whether or not we’ve established proper boundaries regarding how we use it and how we share our lives with it. I immediately felt that these questions deserved to be seriously pondered, even memorized, so that we can ask them of ourselves several times a day. Let me just present you with two:
Is it necessary to share this? Will it add value to my life and for other people?
Can I share this experience later so I can focus on living now?
Two-Fold Sharing Problem
I think we have a two-fold issue with social media sharing.
No, wait, that’s an oversimplification, but this is just one blog post, so we’ll stick with it.
Many people, especially those eager to build a platform or make a name for themselves, share far too much online. I’m not talking about that late 50’s women in your church who is constantly sharing awkward “Share if you love Jesus” stuff on Facebook. She’s not a discerning user of social media anyway. I’m talking about the people who see themselves, subconsciously, as so insightful or so important that they share and share and share to the point that no one really cares what they have to say.
I struggle with this myself, though mostly in real life. If we get started on a topic, I’ll give every single nuance of my opinion to you until you not only regret bringing the issue up but also begin to bemoan the sheer fact that you have ears capable of hearing me rant. It’s arrogance, really. It’s feeling that, on some level, what I have to say is so important that I need to put it out there for everyone to read/hear/learn from, or else they’ll continue to live mediocre lives, ignorant of my….[insert whatever it is that you think you’ve got going for you].
Secondly, there are way too many of us who are constantly sharing on social media about what is happening in their lives that the question has to be asked, “How do they have time to actually live?” This is an issue that I have intermittent struggles with. I’ll be fine, sharing at a reasonable time with reasonable amounts, and then someone will retweet me or favorite a tweet, and I’ll start sharing everything like a junkie who just got a fix after a long sober spell. It’s not a pretty site.
What I need to do—and maybe you as well—is to force ourselves to wait before we share what we’re living. This allows us to continue living in that moment, which is great cause the story could get better/funnier/more profound—whatever angle you were looking for in your social media sharing. Secondly, this will help us weed out stupid stuff that shouldn’t have been shared in the first place. How so? Because if you can’t remember what you wanted to share at the end of the day, it probably wasn’t worth sharing. Thirdly, this gives you time to figure out if what you wanted to share is cleared for sharing by those involved. Too many times I’ve tweeted a quote from my wife because I thought it was funny and endearing only for her to tell me that she thought it was embarrassing. Oops. Trust me on this: give it time before you share.
Sharing funny or uplifting stories or thoughts on social media is great, and I encourage you to do that. But let’s not forget that the heart of social media is being social. Sharing a constant stream of nonsense isn’t social. No one would put up with a that in real life. And for that matter, if you truly want to be social, put your smart phone away and live life with those around you. If something cool happens, you can share about it later.
Do you have a problem with oversharing?
How about low-assistance pottying?