No One On the Internet Cares About Your Date Last Night

A life spent consumed by sharing one’s own life on the internet can completely erode the very sense of “the self” as something separate and apart from the reaction that one’s own actions get from others. Life is pure performance; outside validation is everything; contemplation of the self is merely a pose designed to elicit comments of sympathy, respect, or even disagreement or dissent.

This has the effect of destroying not just privacy—all this oversharing is voluntary, after all—but also of diluting the river of public dialogue with endless quantities of worthless self-absorption. I’m not talking about Twitter and Facebook; they’re made for worthless oversharing and self-absorption, and wading through it is the price you pay for choosing to partake. I’m talking about writing. Stuff that is published, for others to read. Again, I won’t argue that narcissism and a garish lack of self awareness is anything new among writers; I’m just arguing that if I keep reading posts on Thought Catalog, I am probably going to hurl myself in front of an oncoming subway train in despair sometime this winter.

– From a 2011 post on Gawker. Since then, however, it seems like they’ve jumped on the oversharing, navel-gazing bandwagon.

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3 comments

  1. Disagree. A blog is a personal diary, write whatever the hell you want and if people don’t want to read it no one’s putting a gun to their head. Why can’t people share about their experiences with each other instead of leaving it stuffed inside their heads to rot? If you’re looking for validation it’s one thing, but if you’re looking to express yourself and relate to others, it’s another…

    • I think the Gawker writer is talking more about commercial publications than like LiveJournals. But even then, diaries that were once meant to be kept private are automatically indexed in a search engine, kind of erasing the concept of a “personal diary” by default making them for public consumption – changing the way you process how you write about it. You have every right to overshare, but then we have the right to judge it and call it out as insipid.

      Personally, I find that getting too gritty with details about my life demeans the actual experience.

  2. It’s possible that it demeans the experience but, at the same time, it is an experience in and of itself. And what we read, this personal consumption, is often not quite what happens, more an airing of what we wish, rather like talking through something after it has happened and just tweaking a few of the details…

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