Friday, May 1, 2009

TMI?

I was watching television yesterday, one of the things I do best, and there was a segment on the morning news about people who make connections and keep up with each other on the internet. There are so many venues now, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and of course blogs everywhere. Most people kept up with others in at least one of these formats, with younger people being more open with their information than older people. That's reasonable, since they grew up with communicating over the internet. What surprised me was one thirty-something woman who thought there was too much information shared online. No, not by putting real names, locations, or other things that would reveal their identity to strangers, but by talking about issues like having cancer, potty training children, financial trouble, or legal problems. She said it made her uncomfortable to read about people's problems, and thought they should keep such personal information to themselves. I wanted to reach through the tv and slap her superficial face.

It reminded me of those Christmas letters people send out where they only tell the good things that happened during the year. I had a friend who did that. Her Christmas letter talked about her wonderful life, how successful her children were in school and sports, how well her husband was doing in his business, and how busy she was in organizations. It was years later that I found out that her husband had been abusing her, one of her daughters had a mental breakdown, another ran away from home, and she got a divorce. If I had known even a part of that over the years, I could have prayed for her, talked to her, and been there for her. I have another friend whose Christmas letter tells mainly about all their illnesses and deaths in the family. Neither of those are too much information, just one-sided.

I think most people my age want to know what is going on in the lives of their friends. That's why we keep up with each other's blogs, connect on Facebook, and even (shock!) meet in person for reunions once or twice a year.

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