Making the Case for “Undersharing”

If our old friends the Carebears could see us now, they’d be disappointed. In 2011, sharing is not necessarily caring.

What seems to have began in the era when AIM was king has now morphed into a free-for-all sharefest fueled by social media like Twitter and Facebook in which everyone blabs, but nobody cares. That is, until the moment someone decides not to blab.

When everything is deemed broadcast-worthy, including illnesses, marital problems and bowel movements (not necessarily your own), the desire to keep some details about oneself under wraps can be cause for concern in some circles. “What – you don’t want to share intimate details of your life/personal hygiene/emotional wellbeing?! Why ever not?”

Is the 21st-century definition of “prude” ‘a person who chooses to maintain some level of privacy and decorum’?

It certainly seems like it.

The problem with this “share-everything” culture is that it begets “ask-everything.” Advice columnists like Dear Prudence and Social Qs’ Philip Galanes would see their inquiry load dry up in short order.

If people understood that major life decisions, like marriage, having children, birth control, salary, etc. are also intensely personal ones, they wouldn’t just assume that everyone wants the same things in life and would refrain from asking impertinent questions about someone’s uterus, ring finger or living arrangements.

I’m not suggesting we go back to 1871, but a bit more discretion would benefit all of us.

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