We are known as the over-sharing society. With social media and many other platforms, people are able to share what they’re eating, wearing, seeing and doing. There are many moments that are captured and shared, which can make us feel that we are seeing inside a little part of someones life. As someone who loves to write and share my thoughts online, I feel that there is an important aspect of knowing where to draw the line in order to protect your own privacy. I am quite a private person in general, however when we look at youtubers who openly share parts of their lives – even then we cannot fully know who they are. We can have the pleasure of sharing common interests and relating to them in many ways, however there are many parts of every person we don’t see.
I recently read an article that was so absolutely true. In the post she mentioned how “It is so easy to think you know everything about a person purely because of the 5% of their life that they choose to share with you.” Although, I cannot relate to this as I don’t film or share as many images of my life, I can really understand this from an online perspective. It’s easy for people to see images and videos and judge how someone may be. The thing with online and digital, is that the creator is able to choose what they wish to display and what they don’t. There is far more that is not displayed. I remember watching somewhere, a girl said “Don’t be fooled by a lot of images online”, she was openly talking about how she edits her images. Whether it was the lighting or adding a bit of makeup, she wanted to address that not everything you see online is real.
We know more about other people than ever, yet there is so much we don’t know as well. Most of the time, the portrayal that many of us want to share online, is to share our positive moments. Which is fair, when we want to remember the positive parts of ourselves. However, in this sense there is an over exposure of what is deemed to be perfect and perceived beautiful. There are less images that are like the ones back in the day, where the family would buy a small camera to capture holiday moments or birthday parties and print them out to place in the photo albums. There are now more pictures that are seen as picture perfect.
I would never deny that I have stared at an image of myself for quite some time to decide whether I use it as an image or post it online. I would start criticising it. Do my eye bags look too heavy, does my arms look a bit bigger or is the lighting good enough? It seems so shallow, and it really is, but the over exposure to images that seem ‘perfect’ even had myself pinpointing every detail of my own self. It’s interesting isn’t it. There is this built up idea of what a good image looks like online. This is why there is such harsh judgment on many people’s bodies and self image, when it should not be the case, because no body is perfect.
From sharing online, we are more connected and disconnected than ever as a society. On the other hand, sometimes technology is the ultimate use of who will stay in your life or who won’t. It’s simple to delete, unfollow or unlike someone online and vanish them from your life, as much as it is to add them. For myself, I love to share art. I believe that art is one of the greatest things to share because it speaks so much and it’s something so beautiful, because it comes from the heart and the mind of the creator. Those two are connected when someone shares the image. However, there are images that are less authentic, real or honest.
A lot of the times it’s nicer to enjoy something in your own mind and your own space, or simply with the ones you love. A birthday, a quiet moment, a delicious meal or a walk at the park. Without the need to capture the moments, and receive validation for it in some way. In other aspects it’s lovely to share recipes, holiday images and pictures that make one smile, but I always feel when we over share baby photos or selfies – what is the purpose of it? Don’t you ever feel that the deepest connection you have with a person is when you learn something about them that you never knew? Or perhaps, when you become close friends, it’s those parts that they choose to unfold to you.
I saw this wonderful drawing from INFJoe which speaks so much truth. He wrote: Please converse with or talk to me. Not at me. Very often this happens in person, especially as someone who is mostly a listener in a conversation. However this is what the online world has become. There are so many voices, but so few that truly listen or share a conversation together. I feel that keeping mystery online, is also by talking about topics we can all relate to, rather than always talking about ourselves or talking about what is trending. No doubt that it is the selfie age, and at the same time we are all absorbed into it in some way big or small. Just remember to stay true to yourself if you ever feel you are oversharing or unsure of whether to share something or not. It’s okay to share images, stories, pictures and videos, but make sure they are true to you, rather than showing what you feel others will like.
Last year I deleted my personal Facebook (and only use a private one ever since to keep in touch with family) because I didn’t see the value in it anymore. I didn’t see how seeing images of memes and videos that only made me feel sad was important. I didn’t see how seeing images of others lunch or night out partying was of value to me. And I didn’t understand why some people showed off their materials, their recent prize, their baby photos or what they recently bought so often. Call me old school, but a part of me just didn’t care too much. Perhaps if they were baby photos of someone I was close to, I would love to keep updated, but many people we may be friends with online, are not necessarily very close to us and frankly, do not care for us.
I believe keeping mystery online will allow us to all cherish the deep connections we hold with our loved ones. They are the part of ourselves that make us interesting and different. If we post what we think everyone else would love, like and comment, then we’ve fallen into the trap of not being our true self. Share what you love, write about what you like and most of all, don’t sell yourself out online. Don’t feel the need to share every detail of your life. It’s okay to share images with one another, but keep that private part of you locked away and only opened for certain people you trust.