T.M.I. – or ” Too Much Information” is sometimes the response that is often heard when someone shares a bit too much of something personal or about an awkward topic. It is something I have been accused of over the years…sharing a little too much – apparently about things others really don’t want to know or care to hear about.
Having come from a background where certain “things”, a lot of things, were NEVER discussed…and I mean NEVER, to the point of being unhealthy, I tend to swing to the opposite end of the spectrum and consider my life an open book. Apparently TOO open for some. That’s ok, I can handle that and have adjusted over the years to keep most, well many, of my opinions and information to myself. Some things just have to be said:).
However, in this rapidly growing age of “social media”, Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc…we have become a TMI culture. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a “let it all hang out” kind of communicator… to an extent. I have nothing to hide. But at this age I definitely appreciate the discipline of silence and the infinite wisdom of a controlled tongue.
Although social media may make it easy for people to create fantasy lives, project and vicariously “be” something that they truly are not, I find it interesting that most of us actually show our true selves in posts and comments to the world. As we sit in front of our computers, seemingly alone with our thoughts, self absorbed in a world of our own making, we post statements and attitudes that reveal much more than we realize. We know in our heads that this is being read by others but we have a false sense of security behind our keyboards as if we are protected by some invisible force field and are therefore not responsible for what we say.
Nathaniel Hawthorne said “Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”
Unfortunately we live in a culture that uses words cheaply and we don’t know how to combine a thought to make sense much less understand the power or consequences of what we say. In our vanity we think our every thought and emotion, every insignificant whim that pops in our head should be shared with the WORLD (ie: this blog).
I really do enjoy Facebook (I will NOT Tweet! – just personal preference). I love catching up with old friends, new friends, family. I love reading the encouraging posts and enjoying pics of family and friends. Sharing in others lives and supporting each other. What is discouraging to me is the verbal vomit that ends up out there for all to see. The anger at a friend or family member that gets vented in public and can end up devastating someone or hurting another’s reputation. The personal opinions that are not “food for thought” and challenging, but instead put downs and angry tirades. The all TOO personal moments that reveal a bit TMI about relationships and show a disregard for another persons personal feelings. Maybe THEY didn’t want to share that with the world. We have used the internet to remove ourselves from the RESPONSIBILITY of RELATIONSHIP and the work and maturity it takes to LIVE life together with one another.
YES, absolutely share your joy, celebrate your anniversaries, birthdays, births, share your pain, your loss from a death, ask for support and prayer. But be CAUTIOUS! Be WISE! Be DISCERNING! Exercise self control and be thinking of OTHERS and how what you say may affect them! And if you feel the need to share or vent, just remember: if you “go there” with TMI you may be able to “delete”, but you can’t take it back and you have left an impression on someone and affected your reputation one way or another.