Over-sharing, Facebook, and my e-Life
For the first time ever, I actually blocked someone that I considered a friend (at one point) on Facebook. He shared information from conversations (that did not occur on Facebook) both on Facebook and with his coworkers, and he shared a bunch of private conversations that he had (with date stamps and names) from an altercation with other people several months ago as part of a Facebook note.
The information he discussed with his coworkers bothered me, because he was talking about a friend of mine (specifically about her looks) that he has had absolutely no direct contact with on or offline, and the way he described his dialog with the coworkers was just damned creepy. Shortly after that happened, he decided to share a bit of information about my career plans on Facebook in a completely unrelated thread. Talking about my friend with strangers made me uncomfortable, but sharing details that could impact my career, my future employability, and my status at my current job is uncalled for.
I was dealing with his proclivity to over-share by distancing myself from him online, unsubscribing from his updates, and putting him in the Restricted list on Facebook. Today I decided to check on him, and I saw this long, elaborate Note he posted about that altercation he had several months ago before I met him. There were names and date stamps as well as actual dialog from Facebook chats, emails, and text messages. That’s just taking things too far.
What I read was way beyond just putting people on blast. It was vile.
Everyone shares a detail or two about their relationships with people outside of those relationships. Sometimes you need to vent, or you need to ask for advice, and you can’t always do that in hypotheticals. Sharing entire private conversations verbatim in a public forum on the web is an egregious breach of confidence. This is what convinced me to end my personal relationship with this person permanently, because anything that I say could later become available for public consumption. I can’t be friends with someone that I can’t trust.
I share a lot online, and sometimes I think I share too much. There are certain things that I will not share publicly (without permission), including text messages and chat dialogue. If you enter a one-on-one chat with someone or send them a text, it is inherently implied that the conversation is just between you and that other person. I shouldn’t feel compelled to start every conversation I have with someone by saying, “this is just between you and me.” This former friend is not a journalist. I should not have to indicate whether or not I am speaking off the record.
At any rate, I don’t think this incident warrants me tightening up on what I share with people on or offline. It does, however, compel me to keep a closer eye on the webscapades of people that I share personal information with, so that I can nip this kind of thing in the bud like I did today.