Facebook and Twitter were among the first social networking sites to appear and they were definitely the first ones to become so popular around many countries and even continents. They emerged in 2004 and 2006 respectively so it’s already been more than 15 years at least. Nowadays numerous social networking sites fulfil the need in communication, they allow people to stay in touch even when they are far away from each other. There are a lot of benefits and drawbacks of using these websites so there is still much debate going on in society. There is also an amusing phenomenon connected to the pros and cons of social media that I called “the paradox of sharing” and I would like to share this discovery with you (yes, the repetition was intentional).
My mother always tells me that she does not want to have a social media account because she does not see any point in sharing something. She believes that people can become envious or indifferent, that they cannot be sincerely happy for you, and she does not want everyone to be able to see her life. It can also sometimes be difficult for her to use social media because of a pretty complicated interface, but that’s another story. Ironically, the moment something happens in her life, she sends a photo or a video of it to everyone she knows: relatives, friends, colleagues, different group chats. Of course, only close people are on this list but still, I find it funny.
I am sure that my mum is not the only one who does this, many other people think like that. I guess most of them are from previous generations, the ones who didn’t grow up with the Internet (but that is not necessarily true, just my guess). And I can understand them. People become so open when they have an account on social media. There is so much information about you and also so much hate and creepy people that it can lead to really awful consequences.
Nevertheless, I think there is a natural urge to share some good (and also even bad) moments of your life with someone. People want to share, but for some of them having 3 persons is enough and for others, 3 thousand is too little. Instagram, Facebook, and many other social networking sites have made it so easy to inform others about your life, but still, a lot of people around the world choose not to use them. This is where the paradox can appear: people like my mum do not want to use social media for various reasons but in the end, they use basically the same mechanism of sharing because they need it anyway.
It might seem unreasonable and silly but I think there is some logic behind it. At least when you share something privately in direct messages, you definitely feel safer and you can be sure that no unwanted person will see what you send (well, to some extent, if you know what I mean). Also, as I mentioned you can share only with close people, those who can actually be happy for you (or truly sympathise). So it is a bit strange to send photos and videos privately to many people in order to share when you have social networks but this paradox is totally understandable in my opinion.
Such a nice post! To share or not to share must be one of the most time-and-energy-consuming dilemmas on social media. I have found myself hovering my thumb over the “Post” button for at least 5 minutes after spending at least 15 minutes before that on choosing the perfect 10 pictures for my “photo dumps”.
It’s gotten harder for me share on my main social media platforms because my social cirlce is slowly expanding, with quite lot of new loose ties. The urge to share really drives me into posting on my Finsta instead.
I have never been big into personal social media, to call them that. Like your mum, I don’t really feel a need to share things online in the way I see others do so. I do feel like a lot of social media posts are super curated which for me takes away the spontaneity of what’s being shared, especially when I sued to have Instagram and even the people who would only share with the 5 family members who followed them would seemingly over curate their posts.
I understand sharing privately with a lot of people since whatever their reaction is, will be a private one as well. No need to worry about the many others who can also read your reaction. I think it’s a nice way to get a more genuine response!
I can sympathise with your mother. I’m also not the most open social media user, but I found that ever since the pandemic started I became more and open to sharing everything with everyone. I think that it probably stems from losing a lot of contact that you have with people. But looking at my posts they do seem to be more on the superficial side and the really personal stuff is something that does tend to stay only within close circles