Pet PeevesOversharersJennifer Still

While Pet Peeves has been on hiatus (in print – certainly not practice), there’s nothing like a seriously chapped hide to get you back in the swing of things. The internet age has seen some incredible advancements in pretty much all areas of society and has enabled anyone with a computer and modem to connect with the world in ways never previously imagined – for better or worse. Being online provides immediacy in every aspect; you can book a plane ticket or diagnose an ailment with the click of a button. You can get in touch with someone on the other side of the world within seconds or watch the TV show you missed hours after it airs. It’s pretty amazing, generally, but as with every good thing, one rotten apple always tends to ruin the bunch.

I’m talking about oversharers. You know the ones I mean – I’m sure everyone here has someone on Facebook or Twitter (or any other social networking site) who feels that his or her life is so important, so excruciatingly exciting, that the world needs to know every bleeding detail of it. Hungry? You’ve got 140 characters to tell us what you want for dinner. Walking outside to get the mail? Please let me know, or else I might worry when your status doesn’t change for another whole five minutes!

And don’t even get me started on relationships. It’s fine if you and your honeybear are so in love that you can’t keep your hands off one another, but how about you keep them on each other and not on your computer keyboard, ‘cos I really don’t need to know the ins and outs of your love story. A little comment on one another’s Facebook wall or an inside joke here or there is fine, of course – we all do that – but if you’re social networking your relationship more than you’re living it, there’s a problem.

The great thing about this pet peeve is that there’s a somewhat simple solution – the block/unfollow/hide feature. Girl, don’t even get me started. 90% of my Facebook friends no longer appear on my news feed and I’ve unfollowed countless clowns who couldn’t help but alert the world every time they so much as sneezed. That sort of self-important tomfoolery is one of the easiest ways to earn my scorn.

I realise the irony of what I’m saying here – after all, some really wonderful people have made names for themselves by sharing their experiences online via blogs, etc. It’s this very medium that introduced me to the fantastic Molly, for example. However, there’s a massive difference between writing about life in thoughtful, genuine ways and sharing mundane details in the hopes of being perceived as funny, interesting or admirable. It’s a transparent move that just reeks of desperation and is one of the most unfortunate side effects that the internet has wrought.

This phenomenon is so widespread that there’s an entire website dedicated to documenting it. Of course there is! It hasn’t been updated in a while, but some of the entries are good for a chuckle.

Feel free to share your experiences with the (unfortunately un)elusive oversharer in the comments! What’s the worst example of TMI you’ve seen?

Image via shinyshiny.tv

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  1. I hide people so fast on facebook but the worst is still this: sharing about your and your babies’ bowel movements. No, seriously, why would you like to tell 200 people about your explosive diarrhea during pregnancy? (Unless it was really, really funny.)

  2. My least favorite over-sharing comes from the pregnant ones. I love them, Im happy for them.. but I don’t want to know the gory details of every single day and experience. I understand it gets weird and such.. but, um. I don’t want to experience it WITH my pregnant friends!

  3. A friend of mine is really in love with this girl that he has been dating for not very long and they are constantly posting these barf worthy paragraphs of love to each other and how they make each others days better and how they can’t live without each other and their lives wouldn’t be the same and blah, blah, blah. Makes me crazy so I hid their status’s from my news feed.

  4. yeah, wouldn’t it be a lot nicer to clue these ‘friends’ of yours in on their oversharing? then if they keep doing it, decide to block them or their news feeds. a lot of people are just not self-aware enough to realize that what they are doing is oversharng. They may just need a little input from a friend, private messaged, of course. You don’t want to overshare your distaste for their oversharing.

  5. My cousin was an oversharer. I think someone finally told her to quit it but she’d post things like details of her day, how she threw up a little and other stuff. Thankfully, she has quit with the oversharing posts and posts better things now

  6. I have the ability to shut people down. The second you post a bunch of taylor swift lyrics, talk about a boyfriend, about how shitty life is, or tell me just generally more info about your life than I would ever listen to in person, I delete you from facebook. But not before commenting below that status “…Awkward…” .

    Anonymous | 7/18/2011 01:07 pm
  7. I can handle the overshare if it’s about dumb things like makin coffee or sitting down to watch the Hills, but when I recently sat down to my twitter and made the unfortunate mistake of clicking on a photo of someone who said they were spending “quality time” with their new baby….when it loaded, yeah, her baby and her boob! No, thanks sister – I do not need to know the ins and outs of your breastfeeding adventures or how it feels..or what it looks like. Unfortunately, for this sweet gal, this was an auto-unfollow.

  8. I’ve had this discussion with a few close friends in the past few months. Facebook/Twitter/etc can really be evil. Some people post the most inappropriate things – almost like they dont have that filter that we were taught when we were younger. These people are smart, witty, creative and good people. But why they think that posting that they had sex X times in one day is something everyone should know or even want to know is beyond me. Where did it all of a sudden become ok to drop the F-bomb on someone’s page without a second glance? Why do you think I want to know about your OBGYN appointment via a news feed?

    I think we can all be “too connected” and Facebook, while fun and good for some laughs, is NOT an arena for you to constantly vet out your personal issues. I love a good laugh and I love to make people laugh, but with taste. And the old saying that “the less said, the better” can apply to social media as well.

    Anonymous | 7/18/2011 11:07 am
  9. I’m getting a little weary of people complaining about “oversharers.” You pointed out right in your article that there is a super-simple way to deal with information that you don’t want- don’t read it! People have a range of personalities in real life, and they’re going to have a range of personalities on the internet. Not everyone will use social media in the exact way that you are most comfortable with, but you always have the option to hide, unfollow, block…or just skip over.

  10. I’m totes scared that I’m that person. EEK! However, I’m friends with my friends little sister who is 14 and she recently shared with the rest of the Facebook book that she is a virgin and the details of the decision, etc. Sharing it with one person is one thing. Sharing it with your whole 300 FB friends is a whole nother deal.

  11. I’m tempted to hide the girl on my FB feed who fought with and subsequently broke up with her boyfriend on her “wall.” She also informed the world that she had a pound of cherries and a whole pot of coffee for lunch and that her “tummy wasn’t happy.” (ya think?!?) She’s just such a trainwreck that I can’t help but be entertained which keeps me from hiding her posts.

  12. QUIT TALKING ABOUT ME JENN! :)

  13. AAAAAMEN!!! I recently had this revelation “Social media was meant to connect and unite people, but I really don’t want to be THIS connected to some people”. It is a very slippery slope!

  14. I have a friend who likes a different guy every week. And every week she goes from sighing and posting lame love quotes/songs on Facebook on Monday to the inevitable “why doesn’t he love me back?” by Saturday. Including all the “I saw him today at the grocery store” major events of the week. I don’t like unfollowing/blocking people, but after a year of this she just had to go from my fb feed!

    For me though the worst kind of oversharers are those that tell all their life misfortunes in hopes that people will take pity on them and be their friend. And not even in a funny tone, it’s just so depressing!

  15. I have one colleague at work where I literally just shut down and smile and say “oh yeah?” “hmm” “really? “wow” pretty much in that order. They just don’t know when to shut up and always seem to interrupt a previously interesting conversation with someone else. I heard that another colleague of mine was apparently bopped on the head by a frail old man because she wouldn’t shut up – very effective!

  16. I had to unfriend a facebook friend after the third time she told us all how great her vacuum cleaner is and then directly asked for everyone to like her post. Also, the dude who posted “f*&k yeah! My buddy’s gettin’ outta jail. Shit’s about to get real” about some kidnapping cop killer he befriended online or something, but the vacuum cleaner really got me.

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