OVERSHARING ONLINE IS DANGEROUS.

I started doing Instagram lives one year ago; they were fun and funny, followed by a few people, mainly my friends and family. It felt like a zoom call between friends and family. It felt good seeing and interacting with so many people in a live session. It was a small affair so to speak and it was filled with jokes, joy, laughs and smiles.

Frankly, it was a way of dealing with the confinement, the anxiety, the fear, and the isolation brought by this coronavirus. I couldn’t go out and see people, so I used Instagram to see others and for others to see me. It was quite awesome the first few weeks. Then, with time, it became something entirely different from what I intended it to be.

My Instagram account is open so anyone can follow me and have access to my lives. Before I knew it, I had gotten more followers than I cared to have. With the followers, a certain albeit small notoriety came along. I got more readers for my blog which was a blessing. I got more followers who weren’t interested in my writing, simply in my lives. So, slowly but surely, this live thing became bigger and bigger.

Soon after gaining those followers, the applause, compliments, and the praise followed. People kept telling me how much they appreciated my energy, my point of views on certain subjects, my writing, my way of expressing myself, and so much more. I was new at this so, my ego got tickled and I responded to the praise by being more consistent and doing more and more lives. I became a prisoner of that praise and applause. I was doing lives for others not for me. I lost myself in this new world I had created, and I started becoming quite uncomfortable with the lives. The tone and the ambiance had changed. The genuine laughter was gone. It felt like work, not like fun. As fate would have it, other signs came along to help me out of this predicament.

It wasn’t long before human nature kicked in slowly but surely. People started being mean to each other. Fights erupted in the comments, insults flew left and right. Harmful, racist, sexist things were uttered, and some agitators with the sole mission of spreading chaos and dissent, kept stirring shit up. The fun and funny ambiance started evaporating inexorably. The mood had officially become sour.

Then, finally, much to my surprise and dismay, someone created a bogus story with the sole intention of hurting me. It hurt for a day, but I saw it more of a lesson. It reminded me of how we can always count on human nature to bring the best and worst out of us. Please understand, I am not a victim here. Fuck no! How could I ever be a victim? At least I never felt like one. Crazy ass people are a dime a dozen. I simply had never been the target of an anonymous person’s animus. If someone says preposterous and untrue things about you, it doesn’t bug you that much anyway.

All those disgusting things put together made me stop doing lives. I lost interest in being this daily MC for people. Moreover, I must admit I felt like a buffoon at some point, especially towards the end. People were expecting this and that, others were already tired of the recipe, and I felt weird about doing lives. I am sitting in my living room and I am hosting a show where people expect me to make them laugh or whatever the fuck else, they are expecting? People are sending me messages expecting me to do this and that during my live. “Hey talk about this, that! I care about this so you should care too!”. It felt like a job, not fun anymore.

I am writer first and foremost; this live thing was simply an accident born out of the special circumstances of this god-forsaken pandemic. I do appreciate the genuine souls that still follow me and appreciate my content. I could never thank them enough. I won’t sit here and claim it was all bad. I gained readers for my blog, I got new genuine friends, I was able to reach more people than ever with my texts. People were texting me and thanking me about how I bring some good energy in their gloomy days. It was humbling. Overall, as a writer, it was great. As a person, it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

During my tenure as a “liveur”, I realized I kept sharing details about my life. Basically, I believe I had no business sharing those details. I can confidently say I overshared on a few instances. Hindsight being 20-20, I now understand what a terrible mistake oversharing was. The person who hurt me, used details of my life to create their own fake story. So, I know firsthand the perils of oversharing, being transparent, and being authentic. It’s crap somehow. You must have limits when you share, otherwise, you will find yourself in some quite dark places.

Humans are social beings. Therefore, we long for community, acceptance, love, applause. We want to be but mostly we want to exist; we want to matter. We desire to be seen. Those natural cravings can now be fulfilled through social media. It isn’t real but the illusion of it being real, is enough apparently. Anyone can create a page and exist through other people’s perception of them. Anyone can get their 15 minutes of fame or shame, it depends! Anyone can become “famous”, but it comes at a price, a steep one at that. One must be extremely careful about what they share on social media. You get crowned “king” or “queen” for sharing every detail of your life with the public. You get applauded and put on a pedestal for your courage, your openness, your transparency, your fearlessness. Yet, the people who put you on a pedestal, might be the same people who will tear you down if you overstep or say something they disagree with. This social media game isn’t for the fragile minded, that’s another fact.

Yes, everything is fucking subjective, I get it. The word “overshare” can be interpreted in a thousand different ways. I get it. Being transparent means, you let people see through you and you should never do that. No one needs to know everything about you. The problem with people knowing everything about you is…you never know what they will do with the information. Some might use your weaknesses to tear you down and put their knee on your fucking neck. It doesn’t take an army to hurt someone; it simply takes one highly motivated individual to hurt you. The more information people have about you, the easier it becomes for them to either trash you or genuinely hurt you. Remember, it takes years to build a reputation and a second to tear it down.

I see people sharing details of their lives. Listen, I am not telling anybody what to do. Share whatever you want. Simply and kindly keep in mind, whatever detail of your personal life you put out there, you can never take back. It can surely be used to hurt you, your family, and to paint you in the most unfavorable way you could imagine. It can also alter the image of yourself for the public. You might think it aint important, but it is. How you are perceived, determines how you will be treated, in this world. Keep that in mind.

There are way too many examples of cases like that. I am only saying this as a cautionary tale. I am warning you. That’s the only thing I can do anyway.

Oversharing is dangerous. It is subjective. Yes. Yet, and I fucking hate being right; oversharing is dangerous and it might ruin your life or parts of your life if you are not cautious. Be extremely careful. This oversharing business isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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