the BLOG of stuart mcdonald

How Much Is Too Much To Share?
January 5, 2010, 2:02 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Living in a world inundated with Facebook, Twitter, Posterous, Tumblr, and blogs every which way (I would have mentioned MySpace, but I don’t think anyone legitimately uses that anymore) people lives are constantly being put on display for all the world to see.

People show their true selves online.

If you know me exclusively online (via blog, Twitter, Facebook) you probably know more about me than a person who never checks any of those venues. Why?

For one, it’s an easy way to communicate with a lot of people simultaneously. It eliminates the need to tell the same story about what happened to me last weekend over and over and over again. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know the story because I tweeted about it live?

You can learn a lot about people just by checking their Facebook page or by reading their blog or following them on Twitter. You learn who is dating whom, who got married, divorced, or separated, and who’s having a baby. These are things some people may never call and tell you, but they’ll put on their Facebook page for the world to see.

Secondly, a lot of people (myself included) find a degree of anonymity in sitting behind a computer screen. Granted, I may still be sharing all kinds of things, some very personal, but there’s comfort in not having to look in a person’s face when you say something. This is perhaps the reason people break off relationships and quit their jobs via text messages and emails.

Admittedly, I am a very open about the events of my life to a certain extent, yet I still maintain a degree of privacy. I know you might find that hard to believe me but I guarantee I could find a a few “common” questions that you wouldn’t know the answers to.

I know not everyone shares as much of their life as I do with mine, and that’s fine. But here’s my question: How much is too much to share? What do you consider personal and “sacred” and what would you put out there for the world to see? And what is your motivation? Is it to make money? To promote yourself? To bring focus to a cause? Or to help others learn and gain knowledge? If you don’t know why you’re doing it, why are you doing it? I’ll leave it to you to answer those questions.

Personally, I share my life with people so they can learn. Not because I’m perfect and everyone should do what I do and be like me — rather far from it. No, I want people to learn from everything I do, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or somewhere in between. If I am successful, I want people to learn from that. If I have a failure, I want people to learn from that as well.

I also share to so that I can promote a cause — the cause of Christ. Everyone is given a platform. Perhaps not everyone has a blog, but we all have different spheres of influence of which we’re apart. What are you promoting in those spheres? What will people remember you for?

So why do you share? What do you share? Do you share on the good and never the bad? Or only the bad and never the good (seems far fetched, but for some it’s all they do)?


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Love this post! What better cause to promote than that of Christ. Amen!

I use social media for many reasons, primarily to keep in contact w/ fam & friends I don’t see often, but also a wonderful way for me to connect w/ folks who share common interests, ie. writing, poetry, relationships, music, parenting, blogging, etc.

I never imagined I’d benefit as much as I have sharing in this realm, but God has blessed me with some wonderful folks who have been a pillar during some recent storms. For example, when my husband was diagnosed with cancer last year, when my uncle died and even when I was having difficulty with a fellow church member .

Why do I share you ask? I share because you share…because they share. Thanks for sharing!


Comment by Tomi

Thanks for this post, it helps me to analyze motivations I have and the ones I should have and to realize what I post can have impact.

I share some more personal things not as a way to say look at me, but to encourage others and help them realize that none of us are perfect. I share so people can laugh at themselves when they laugh at me being willing to be transparent.

I share mistakes in the hopes like yours – that someone else can benefit from my struggles and it will hopefully help them, either through a hard time, or to help them avoid making a mistake I have made. When there is benefit to someone else, then my struggle had value, it was worth going through to help someone else.

Thank you for sharing.

Comment by nelsonbmcdonald

I stumbled across your blog and I love your insight. It offers a direction in grey areas and helps me to dig deeper and analyze some of my behavior and thoughts. I am a 28 year old female with a long list of life experiences, some good and some bad. All the same I have grown and learned to find comfort in who I am and I feel really in tune with myself emotionally.

My motivation in my “reveal” is often inspired by my desire to help those younger than me recognize the effect of poor decision making and how it is often connected to some lack of emotional security. There is a desire to help, to yield a listening ear, to offer help and spiritual guidance.

However, when it comes to dating my need to reveal who I am is not quite so clear and I struggle to understand my motive for being so overtly honest. Especially when I am told that it is because I reveal so much of myself that I often push individuals away.

At times I find myself revealing “all of myself” (factually/situationally) when I date. My initial thought was because I wanted to put everyone on “notice” of things that they may not find appealing. I believe this was my subconscious way of “weeding out” those men who may not be able to deal with my past. However, as I have gotten older, I also recognize that as transparent as I am, I still have difficulty sharing the essence of who I am. So while I may expose my experiences for varying reasons; I fail to expose who I am emotionally which has resulted in me never having an emotional attachment. So with your blog in mind…I have challenged myself to think…that maybe I share “all of me” factually as a substitute for sharing who I truly am “emotionally” out of fear.

Thanks for challenging me to think on a deeper level.

Comment by Chani Seals

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