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We Really Don’t Want to Share Our Lives June 26, 2012

Posted by Peter Varhol in Technology and Culture.

I have a proposition.  It states that we don’t want to share our lives and experiences any more than we did fifty years ago.  Facebook was fun for a little while, as we got to experiment with connecting with people we knew in high school 20 years ago.  But it is ultimately going to go the way of the hula hoop. (Remember those?  I didn’t think so).

Why do I say that?

While sharing is a natural part of humanity, it is a conscious act.  It isn’t meant to be seamless.  Sharing is about our making a decision to reach out to others, not having it done automatically.  We don’t share with everyone; sharing is a personal act, rather than a public one.

So we are currently oversharing.  Facebook and those apps that integrate with Facebook push us along, and we’ve largely acquiesced to date, but as we go through our lives we’ll lose interest in letting others from our past know just what we are doing at any particular time.  And others will lose interest in our activities and interests.

Yes, I’m old when measured in Facebook years (perhaps I have just coined a new measure of time here).  Perhaps those in their formative years are used to sharing without actually making a decision about it, or that one umbrella decision applies to all aspects of sharing.

But I don’t think so.



1. Ed Dodds - June 26, 2012

My madey up hypothesis is that you’re probably on the Asbergers side of the continuum (just ’cause so many techies appear to be) and I think it may be likely that not sharing much is a trait that many Aspies share. I think they may be drawn to the combination of authority and authenticity ’cause they want to get stuff done (if it has to be collaboratively [life-sharing] then so be it–but its probably not a comfort zone kind of endeavor). To an Aspie, sharing just for sharing sake would seem silly and a waste of time–but if done as a form of “forced serendipity” in order to probe the networks like risomes trying to find connections with other “resources” who can help them with meaningful projects, that would be different. It, to me, explains why some people “get” LinkedIn groups, IRCs, github, codeplex, sourceforge, etc. and some do not.

2. Peter Varhol - June 26, 2012

Ed, you raise an interesting question, in terms of what is normal. Normal in the sense of “around the norms”, taking into account both current and historical contexts.

But I don’t think you answer the question as to whether sharing is a conscious and purposeful act, or an unconscious and undirected one, except to indicate the belief that the former is associated with a syndrome. That seems like circular reasoning to me.

I confess to not knowing the answer, but I rather thought the question itself was an interesting thought game.

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