How much sharing is too much?
This bounces around my head all the time. I have certain boundaries regarding my husband and children, though will shamelessly share everything about my cat.
Recently, I found out one of my college classmates was this year’s commencement speaker at our alma mater. Since we graduated 9 years ago, she has become an insanely successful person (and she deserves every bit of it). But I also recently learned she became engaged to a longtime boyfriend her followers didn’t even know existed.
Which makes me wonder: how much sharing is too much?
Did she keep him private to give herself an oasis of privacy? Did she do it just in case of a bad split? Did she do it to respect his privacy? Did she do it because it had nothing to do with the empire she is building?
Am I sharing too much about this remarkable acquaintance from years ago?
I shamelessly read many, many, many mom blogs. So many that sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong by not sharing my children’s names and pictures.
It really comes down to two things: privacy and consent.
Does what you share infringe on your or someone else’s privacy?
Everyone has a right to be protected, especially online. Sure, there are people who will literally share everything about themselves and their families with the whole world. But how much is too much?
I am a highly private person. I weigh everything I write. You might notice I talk more about me and what I do with my kids instead of what they do and how they behave. You might notice I never talk about my marriage or give relationship pointers. Wait, aren’t I a highly private person? Why, yes, I am. That’s why I weigh everything.
Will what I write out me to someone on the street? Will someone who reads my post then know enough about me to say “oh, over there, I see her?” If yes, I scrape it and maybe start over if I still have a message to get across. If no, I publish it.
I will not write anything identifiable about me or my family. Thank goodness there are only about a million short Chinese women in Southern California! Too much? Nope. Because it’s true. You don’t know enough about me to be able to find me.
Consent isn’t just for sex.
I was trained to be a psychologist. I had to do consent forms to do therapy, give questionnaires, and run experiments with people. Consent forms were a big part of my education and professional life.
Consent here refers to my husband and children.
Anything I write that has anything to do with my husband is run by him. If he approves, I publish. If he wants changes, I revise. If he says no, I trash it. His opinion is more important than anyone else’s. He must consent to publication, or it won’t happen.
My children are under 18. It is my job to sign consent forms for them. Does that give me permission to share anything I want about them?
My children are private people. They are my responsibility. As their mother, it is my duty to protect them. I’m not saying you should do the same. I’m saying this is my line. I will not toe the line with over sharing about them. When they are 18, they can sign the consent forms.
My Boundaries, Your Boundaries
Every blogger has their own boundaries. Mine are above. Perhaps I am guilty of under sharing. Perhaps I don’t share enough to get more people interested in me. But I like it that way.
You have your boundaries. You know what is okay with you and the people in your life. You make the call.
How to Know If It’s Over Sharing
If you already under share like me, you’re probably not over sharing.
If you’re not sure, maybe be a little more conservative if you’re worried or a little more liberal if you’re not.
But the best rule of thumb is probably: when someone you’re writing about says you are.
It’s probably a good idea to ask if they’re old enough. Otherwise, you need to judge for yourself. Ask if what you’re writing has the potential to hurt or embarrass them. Ask if you really need to write it. Ask why you are even writing it. I’m not even going to touch social media because 1) that’s a whole other monster and 2) I’m barely on it so I barely know how to use it.
And be careful. You never know who’s out there.
Now that I’ve scared you, just use your best judgement and have caution. Consider what you write and why.
What are your boundaries?