Oversharing

According to the ever-definitive Urban Dictionary, oversharing is “providing more personal information than is absolutely necessary.” Named word of the year in 2008, its a phenomenom of modern times, brought to us by texting, twittering, blogging, Facebook and other social networking mediums. In popular culture so far, we’ve seen oversharing expose inner-most thoughts about relationships, ruin perfectly normal days at the office, and otherwise run amok throughout society. But what effect does oversharing have on Youth Voice?

Back in 2004 the ever-insightful Anastacia Goodstein at YPulse suggested young people might be oversharing on their blogs. She says, “Personally I think if teens want to use blogs as full blown diaries where they are sharing everything about their lives (especially incriminating info), they should probably do it under a pseudonym.” In this sense, oversharing may be a sort of trojan horse that takes Youth Voice and encourages otherwise well-meaning adults to advocate for anonymity among young people struggling to make their voices, ideas, experiences and wisdom relevant to the world. Perhaps a different angle on this would be to promote actively educating young people about the opportunities and challenges of writing online, as Goodstein herself knows well. This would empower young people to maintain their identity, as any good journalist strives to, while reporting on the issues that matter to them most- which in many cases seem to be their own lives.
Still others have warned about the dangers of oversharing on the futures of young people, as they seek to be taken seriously in job interviews, college applications and other scenarios. Some see oversharing as a blight upon the lands, while others laud oversharing as a way to break the ice in otherwise awkward social situations.
This has been an overview of oversharing. Let me think about this, and I’ll revist the actual impacts of oversharing on youth voice soon.
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

3 thoughts on “Oversharing

  1. I thought the pseudononymous idea was a really good one. The more people blogging against agism, the better.

  2. Writing under pseudonym is a decent idea. But how many teens can actually guarantee that they are writing in anonymity… It doesn’t take much to match bits of information to actual events to discover a persons identity.

    That and youth are more and more computer savvy. It’s gotten much less difficult to trace information back to a computer or person these days.

    There are plenty of mediums that allow for private dairy writing. Personally I think that when writing personal entries to something you should wait a day to publish them and re-read them before doing so.

  3. I do have an issue with the term. Oversharing in this context deals with sharing of personal information that can perhaps be seen in negatively light.

    I can agree with that but I know I as an educator, I’m encouraging the sharing of rough drafts, works in progress to understand process. Sometimes that may be seen as oversharing. I think about Shirky’s “publish then filter” idea.

    In another context, the use of twitter to chronicle the minutia of life might be considered oversharing. Here again, the value of those types of presence tools help paint a picture of people that deepens connections and provides a better context when dealing with more significant issues.

    I’m not disagreeing with the premise but cautioning the use of the term in such a broad sense.

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