“Oversharing” on the Internet… Without Oversharing at All

I pride myself on knowing what can hurt me and what can’t. I am a smart oversharer. That being said, I’m twenty-one and that means I’m obligated to do stupid things, it’s practically a right of passage.

 

I have things in my head that I consider off-limits for others to know and things that may seem like secrets but are not. In general, if I tell someone something, I am okay with everyone knowing it, because trusting people with secrets? That’s not something anyone can afford in 2020. I wish it were different, I do, but you tell one person, who tells another, and soon enough, you’re a rumor, a myth, an icon, you’re everything but a person. So, I’m an open book in real life, it’s better for me to control it. I literally never shut up, except for on the internet. On social media, it took me until this year to put my last name. That’s not oversharing, that’s almost not even the bare minimum.

 

But what does it mean to overshare? To give information that people don’t want? To give information that hurts you? I have no idea anymore. It feels like all I do is overshare, and talk about myself, telling people stories from my past that aren’t even relevant to conversations, information that should be “secret”. I would never put this information online, online would make it more real.

image of two women whispering Photo by Ben White from Unsplash

You know what they say: once it’s on the internet, it never goes away. I don’t know how that works, but I believe it. If you tell someone something, they may forget, or you can deny it later. You can make up some bizarre narrative that it was actually your evil twin who said that, and you may get away with it. The internet means proof, and this proof can destroy you as well as others.

 

On the internet, I dance around certain words, buzz words, because I was always told that future employers would demand your social media, and if they didn’t like something about you, even if it was part of your identity, they wouldn’t hire you. That’s what scares me: putting something on my Instagram that confirms something everyone knows in real life, but now that it is in writing, I can’t deny it. It is pretty hard to deny something you put on social media, even if you took it down since people probably saw it.

 

In the age of Gen Z Tik Tok stars and Youtubers, I feel like an old person surrounding myself with armor so no one hurts me. I’m young, I’m supposed to be unafraid to be myself, shouting who I am from the rooftops, but in the end, I’m scared, scared that something true about me will hurt me when wielded by the wrong people.

 

So what does that mean? It means that I am squeaky clean to be hired by everyone because they have nothing on me. It also means that I am terrified of myself. That’s what it is. What I am can be used against me because ultimately I am not comfortable with who I am unless I can deny it after. That got darker than I anticipated, but it’s the truth. Online is permanent, and I wish I could be like those Tik Tok stars who talk about themselves and have pride in who they are, but instead I am inside my head, and a whole lot of talk. Maybe someday, I will also be in words.