Lately there have been some things that are taking up a lot of my brain space. None of them by themselves are an impossible thing to tackle, but all of them together are becoming a bit overwhelming, in the very small and totally manageable way that ends up giving me headaches and making me a snappish bitch.
I want to address all of these to my social network, because I have friends out there who will understand and help. But I’ve gotten into the habit of not sharing much personal information on facebook (or tumblr or twitter) and I find that I can’t bring up one thing without including another which inspires another and so on and so on.
So I found myself looking at that blank box above my news feed, staring at a blinking cursor, and realizing I can’t say anything at all.
If I say too much I’m oversharing. If I say too little I’m being cryptic and asking for attention. If I explain in great detail and ask for advice I won’t get it from the people who are qualified to give it. And really the whole thing is my problem to deal with on my own. Nobody can solve it for me. What I really want is sympathy and understanding and maybe a punny joke to lighten my mood.
I some rules about posting to facebook (or anywhere else) that has served me well.
- Say it simply, concisely, and with humor.
- Don’t censor yourself, but don’t seek to offend.
- Be informative but reserved. Don’t overshare.
- Never beg for attention.
I realized that I can’t talk about these things that are taking up so much of my time without breaking my rules. My first thought was, “But what will people think if I don’t post something?” My second thought was, “Does it really matter?”
The answer is no, it doesn’t really matter. The internet will go on without me. I have a lot of things I have to deal with and social media is distracting me from solving my problems. I won’t post anything until I have things sorted out, and when I do people will be able to offer congratulations, condolences, and funny observations as appropriate.
We’ve become so used to externalizing and publicizing and publishing everything (blogs, reality TV, insider stories, instagram, 4square…) that we sometimes forget the best way to think is alone. Quietly, privately, writing it down on a piece of paper, with a radio on in the background. We’ve become to used to the instant, to sharing everything as it happens, collaborating and getting input, that we lose track of who our decisions affect the most.
You. Your decision affects you. Therefore you should make it yourself.
There’s no reason to include your college roommate from 10 years ago in your decision-making process by slathering the details of your life all over facebook. The business connection you made last year at a conference doesn’t need to know in 140 how stressed you are. And the faceless nameless people of the internet don’t need to know the minutia of your relationship.
So I said nothing on facebook. I didn’t tweet about it. I called my boyfriend and talked a little about it. I made a list. I drank a cup of coffee. I talked some things over with my friend. I pet the cat. I made up my mind.
And I wrote this blog post as a reminder to myself, and maybe to whomever reads it.
All things in the proper medium, and in the proper time.