A group of friends from back home and I have an email chain going. We all have different backgrounds, are on different career paths and some of us live in different cities and countries. What we have in common though is our friendship, our desire for intellectual (and not-so-intellectual) conversation and healthy debate.
This week the topic of sharing news through social media came up: how much is oversharing?
One of my friends made a comment about a status update he saw show up on his news feed about somone who just received some terrible news about a family member. And he noticed over 30 people had commented on the status with their sympathies, support and prayers. While he agreed that it was horrible news, this started the conversation of, “Is it okay to share this news via a social network?”
The nays said…
No–it’s over sharing. While it’s horrible news, why would you want the whole world (or your social network and their social network) seeing such personal news? It makes people feel uncomfortable because they don’t know what to say or how to react. Whether it’s a sick family member or news that you’ve been laid off or hearing that you’re not going to be able to have children, is Facebook really where you should be yelling it from the rooftops? (Because essentially that is what a status update is, right?)
The yeas said….
Yes–you can post it. Social media is just another channel for us to communicate and share our thoughts, opinions and updates. Isn’t the reason why our network online so large because it’s how we keep in touch with people? Instead of having to go through a conversation with everyone I know over and over to rehash the horrible news, posting it on a social network let’s me get it over with in one instance. The news will usually travel and go viral which means you can go back to dealing with the situation instead of wondering and struggling with how to break to the news. After all, one of the reasons you see my updates is because you’re choosing to be connected to me: so through the good, the bad and the trivial updates, you’ll see them all. I’m just being honest and authentic.
And the neutrals said…
It’s fine–maybe I would post it, maybe I wouldn’t–it would depend on the situation. While the update could be uncomfortable to one person, it could be therapeutic to the poster. Depending on their personality and how transparent and open they are, this is just them venting and sharing. Anyone can analyze and comment and judge what someone else says, but is it helpful or relevant? Probably not. The way we see it is that he just got some really crappy news and isn’t sure how to deal with it so he’s reaching out to his Facebook family for support. Does it make others feel uncomfortable? Possibly. But is the discomfort that some people will feel disproportionate to the number of people who will reach out and support him as he goes through this terrible news? Possibly.