I'm an online sharer, or if you ask my family and friends, they would probably call me an oversharer.
I blog on numerous sites, I Facebook incessantly, and my love of twitter ebbs and flows.
I share my thoughts, my doubts, my experiences, my fears and life's little moments. I do all of that online, in public, for anyone to see.
I know some people think I'm nuts. Others think I'm brave. I think the truth lies somewhere in between.
I started blogging because I wanted to help people and maybe make a difference in this world. I thought to myself, if someone reads something I wrote and they realize they aren't alone in their doubt or fear, then baring my soul is worth it. If I can help someone find inspiration when they are in need of some, then it's worth it.
Recently however, I realized that there's are major disadvantages to the type of soul baring online sharing I do.
Funnily enough, the drawbacks I'm talking about are probably not what you're thinking. It's not the fact that someone can google you and find out a heck of a lot about what makes you tick. It's not the fact the there are trolls and haters out there who are just vile and don't know how to respect the fact that someone has different views than them. It's not the phone calls from worried friends or family after you've posted something less than upbeat.
All of that is not fun, but it's part of the decision you make when you share publicly.
The real pitfall of online sharing is that people feel close to you and updated on what's happening in your life, yet you have no idea that they're even thinking of you, let alone what they're thinking of you.
When you're an online sharer, people have more opportunities to get inside your head and understand you. They can keep tabs of what things you're doing and what's going on in your life. That's fine, because you did willingly share it with them.
For the most part, you don't know or realize that certain people, especially people in your real life, have read what you've written and are now bearers of that knowledge. If they don't tell you, you don't know.
And therein lies the disadvantage. Sometimes people forget that in order for you to feel connected with them, it's not enough for them to have knowledge of what's going on in your life. You need to know that they know what's going on. You need to hear what they think and what's going on with them too.
Sometimes friends will come over to me and tell me that they love reading what I write and that they see all my Facebook posts. Basically, they know a lot of what's going on in my life. Which is fine because I shared it. Sadly however, I know relatively nothing about what's going on with them.
Which brings me to another pitfall of online sharing. Sometimes when you write and share so much online, you forgot how to listen. You forget that life is not just about telling your own story and sharing your views. It's about listening to other peoples' stories and hearing about their views and experiences.
So next time you read something that has touched you soul, or when a friend or family member posts something on Facebook, let the person know. Comment on the post, like the status, send them an email or maybe even pick up the phone or just get together. If you're an oversharer like me, make a conscious effort to practice your listening.
I love online sharing. Nothing comes close to it as far as connecting with a wide audience of people of different backgrounds, living around the globe. I just wish that some non sharers would share a bit more so that I could feel closer to them too.
Do you feel that online sharing has been a good or bad thing for building relationships?
Susie (Newday) Mayerfeld is a happily married American born, Israeli mother of 5. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and an avid amauter photographer. Mostly she just wants to live in peace and spread kindness and love. You can find her on her blog New Day New Lesson or on World Moms Blog.
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