The Age of Oversharing Essay
The Age of Oversharing
“My battery in my phone is dying” or “Oh, he can tweet but can’t text back? ” is what floods Twitter user’s timeline on a daily basis. Meghan Daum refers to this as the Age of Oversharing in her essay “I Don’t Give a Tweet What You’re Doing,” where she sarcastically dissects the controversies behind Twitter and how nearly fourteen million users have completely abandoned Twitter’s “initial function to serve as an information conduit between close friends and family” (233).
Along with her beliefs of Twitter adding to our already compromised interpersonal skills she carries the tone of being bitter and harsh throughout her essay as she evaluates the many answers to the question “what are you doing? ” with a better question “what the hell are we doing? ” Although Twitter serves to connect others instantly it ceases human interaction almost instantly as well. We live in a world where everything around us is done almost instantly and more conveniently. Prime examples, fast food restaurants, self-serve salad bars, fast thirty day weight lost results and JG Wentworth’s “it’s my money and I need it now!
We expect everything around us to move at a fast pace and that is exactly what is happening on Twitter, what you ate for breakfast, what article you read during lunch and your favorite show you watch every night before bed is now being shared with the world instantly with the click of a button. Daum refers to this as the Age of Oversharing, consecutive irrelevant post right after another which completely defeats the purpose of solely connecting with love ones not only because of geographical dispersions but also the reality of daily work and school commitments.
Researchers at Harvard came up with studies that explain how Twitter has contributed to the Age of Oversharing and that is because nearly eighty percent of tweets on Twitter are of one’s own immediate experiences. This is because “researchers found that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same sensation of pleasure in the brain that we get from eating food, getting money or having sex” (Susan 2). That explains why every time I check my timeline someone either is willingly announcing that they are on the bus this morning for work or what kind of cereal that had this morning .
I admit I am guilty of also tweeting about the day I just had or how I cannot wait for class to be over so I can watch Basketball Wives later that night on VH1. Our constant tweets reveal to our followers what we are truly about. Twitter can be obnoxious at times, constantly viewing irrelevant tweets from your followers on a daily basis. Daum takes the time to evaluate Twitter as if it were a person, stating that Twitter would be “an emotionally unstable person…that person we avoid at parties” (233). She goes further to add that Twitter will be the person we would view as mentally ill and will eventually feel sorry for.
Her tone here towards Twitter is depicted as being fed up with users disclosed thoughts of one’s self. Daum examines these tweets as unstable and this is apparent because if you take away the whole purpose and backbone of Twitter, it is just mostly users microblogging their every move and thought. Looking at the bigger picture this is when “I don’t give a tweet what you’re doing” becomes notable. It is true that we all have that one friend that constantly rambles about something either random or irrelevant. My friend Bobby is that friend that mirrors Daum’s reflection of Twitter as a person.
For instance, Bobby is always looking for attention and if no one is giving it to her she splats out something pointless just like most Twitter users do. I would rather not answer her phone calls because she can go on about herself and drift off upon pointless conversations becoming “the tragic oversharer” we would all like to avoid. Today since gestures like a wave hello or a polite smile are now being used more openly than before in emoticons through social networks, face to face interaction between people has now diminished.
Daum asks the question of, are we tweeting because we truly want to communicate with a select group of true friends, or because typing has replaced talking? Being that free thoughts and videos are now instantly streaming to friends and family over Twitter, there leaves little room for story telling of a series of unfortunate events that can fit in a 140 character text box. It seems many prefer typing over talking, this can also explain the oversharing on social networks. Daum argues that we have misused Twitter for what it is really worth; instead of spoken words they are typed.
I see this in my best friend Stephanie’s family where favors and questions for each other are preferred typed. Just last week I was over, Stephanie’s older brother sent her a tweet asking her “where is the remote? ” Spoken communication becomes absent as connecting online becomes apparent more and more. Collectively, more ideas are being typed instead of spoken and excessive feelings are being squeezed into emoticons rather than expressed in person. In “I Don’t Give a Tweet What You’re Doing” Daum argues that this generation has entered the Age of Oversharing and has left the age of the telephone. Obnoxious and pointless tweets fed our ego’s.