Are you oversharing online?

We all have come across that person on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, comment sections, etc. who freely shares an uncomfortable amount of their life with the internet. Some posts may even make you stop and say, “whoa! I did not need to know that!”

Why is there such a pull to tell too much online?

It’s in our broken human nature to want the world to know about us…we all want to be liked. 

Emotional intimacy is one of the greatest joys of human existence. Still, it's best to let it develop gradually, with each party revealing more as confidence and mutual trust increase.

Instead of becoming a pathway to relationship, vulnerability, it seems is being used to gain attention, praise, and even power in the public square.

Dr Brene Brown spent years researching shame and connectivity, and her resulting TED talk The Power of Vulnerability is one of the most watched TED talks of all-time.

Here’s how Brown differentiates vulnerability and oversharing:

Using vulnerability is not the same as being vulnerable; it’s the opposite—it’s armour,” says Dr. Brene Brown.

Brown describes the kind of oversharing —where we use vulnerability as a manipulation tool.

“When we use vulnerability to floodlight our listener, the response is disconnection,” says Brown in her book, Daring Greatly. Closely linked, she says, is the smash and grab, in which you “smash through people’s social boundaries with intimate information, then grab whatever attention and energy you can get your hands on…in our social media world, it’s increasingly difficult to determine what’s a real attempt to connect and what’s performance.”

Brown says,

"Vulnerability is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. It’s not oversharing , it’s not purging, it’s not indiscriminate disclosure, and it’s not celebrity-style social media information dumps. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process".

She continues to say, "our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: "Who has earned the right to hear my story?" If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.”

It is time Christians think more seriously about when, what, where, how and to whom we should share ourselves. 

Don’t use your testimony or accountability as an excuse to over-share.  Testimonies and confession shouldn’t be misused to create some kind of fake bond between people.

It's time to examine whether our vulnerability has a clear purpose. If it doesn’t, it’s probably best to keep our mouth shut.