Sunday, 18 July 2010

TMI?

How much information is too much? Do we think that we are entitled to share every detail of our lives, every thought in our heads?


This thing [blogging] has so many rules, so many complicated facets to it that sometimes I wonder about giving up and reading a book. There are websites dedicated to becoming a successful blogger, a paid blogger, on blogging etiquette on blogging genres. I've come across blogs that tell you every facet of a persons day (usually a parent - so when exactly do they 'parent'?) and blogs that tell you very little and just report general news from the world. I'm still struggling with the whole concept of information sharing, how much is too much, how much is too little? Too little information makes a blog impersonal and too much, is just well too much. It's like Facebook, which quite frankly has been getting on my nerves since I've started pondering information sharing. I have dear friends who are lovely people in real life but since the invention of mobile Facebook insist on updating their status about ten times a day usually involving something on the lines of 'so-and-so is doing the ironing and watching Wipe Swap USA' (lol, yes you know who you are!). Another friend who has two kids has updated her status with the phrase 'I'm sooo bored' about five times now since the beginning of the summer holidays (yes, you too! Plan some activities for Gods sake). More friends only update their status when they feel they have something particular that they can be smug about and some update with intelligent musing. Others like to share little tidbits they find on the internet for the education/amusement of others. Some friends/family insist on airing their dirty linen on line, in front of their family members, their children who happen to be their friends online. Their little jibes, fights and mini dramas are being broadcast to their combined 300+ friends on Facebook when really their hurtful comments are meant for a very select few. The dreadful types who make your news feed appear like a script from Eastenders. Only this morning I awoke to discover over my morning coffee (I log into social media at the same time as reading proper news)  that because it's the weekend and as at varying points over the weekend they have all been drinking their little dramas have kicked off again. We all do it to some degree and but do we forget to be aware of how our 'audience' will receive this information? 

I'm sure I've moaned/deliberated about this before but its something that seems to come up in quite a lot of blogs I read. Especially parent blogs, when the information that you share is seldom about yourself. I've seen (read) people being scolded by other readers on the information that they share about their kids. I've been following some blogs for a while only to be told a secret facet about their lives after a while. One particularly successful and paid Mummy-blogger recently revealed that her eldest son is disabled. This women had been writing a blog and a review site for a number of years and getting paid for it, only to admit recently that she had left this pretty significant detail out of the story of their lives. I admire her reasoning. She fully admitted that admitting to the world, or a type of 'coming-out' if you will, with the revelation that all is not rosy, that life when you have a disabled child can be at times sad was a very brave admission indeed and it got me thinking about the information I share and subsequently do not share. This other blogger doesn't want to lose readers if she suddenly floods her blog with posts regarding life with a disabled child or how she despairs some days at either the hand she has been dealt or how tough life can be. I was a bit shocked to be honest. While I do admire her reasoning, you can't help but feel that there is an ulterior motive in holding back this information and then revealing all, in a news scoop and so will remain sceptical of future information. This blogger blogs a few times a day so with the amount of information being shared I felt that we, the readers had been given full disclosure and was taken back to find that there was an aspect to her life that she kept for herself. I don't feel like I've been lied to or that I, as a reader was entitled to that information but why not say in the first place? Life is different bringing up a disabled child and I think its something that colours your writing as it almost certainly colours your life. Whether it is through the professional media or the amateur, do we realise and fully comprehend that once we put something, some piece of information however personal, out there, we can't take it back? In this day and age where information, whatever the gloss on it, is readily available at our fingertips do we think that we have a right to the most personal information regarding a persons life? Do we take too lightly the fact that we are 'writing' our lives, our thoughts and opinions for the world to see?


So the question I would put to you is: Are we entitled to full disclosure?

4 comments:

  1. My simple answer would be no; people are entitled to blog about whatever they like, true or untrue and I have found on occasion, the information given has been flawed or totally made up. That was a shock at first but one that, although I don't subscribe too, I could understand.

    I pondered on the very question you raise and I decided that no, full disclosure wasn't required. The writer can write and the reader can read and ultimately withdraw if no value is given or unhappy with disclosure, content or morals.

    Great post! xx

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  2. Thanks for your comment Helen. I can't seem to get past pondering the politics of posting rather than posting at the moment. I'm a very frank and forthright person (my best and worst qualities) and I need to sort out how this will translate onto my blog. xx

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  3. I query whether we even want full disclosure. I have finally started reading my Twitter feed and hate the fact that I now feel like I'm spying on people's lives - even though they put all the minutiae up there for all and sundry to find......

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  4. BwB: so very true I think. The minutiae is what bugs me, I think. People often post inappropriate comments and the drama of it all annoys me.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment!