The other night when Steph and I got to the park, I pulled out my phone and checked in via Facebook Places and Foursquare.
“Who do you check in for?” he asked.
Sheepishly, I replied … “Um, me I guess? I like having a record.”
To tell the truth, I’m not 100% sure what drives the need to stay connected through social media and tell the world what I’m doing instead of remaining anonymous which is the much easier choice. I’m guilty of many of the crimes that sites like The Oatmeal would say is social / information faux pas and then I make fun of others for doing them as well.
It’s just what you do, I tell myself.
But is it? Why do I feel this incessant need to tweet all the time or share my life via my blog? Why the push to be more honest than sometimes necessary, to expose myself and my wounds?
I suppose part of it lately is the lack of MSN chats I’ve been having because I’ve been setting it to busy, trying to bury my head in my writing. Also, as mentioned in a recent post, two of my most chatty cohorts have been too busy lately so I actually forget MSN is there. Anyone that knows meunderstands that I have a lot to say and I have to have an outlet, especially when home alone. (Today I started talking to myself, out loud. I even said that I was crazy. Out loud.)
It’s not just lately though. I’ve been an over-sharer for a long time. I suppose that if i didn’t want to pursue a career out of writing, educating and coaching people about their relationships and sex lives, I might be a slightly more quiet person. As it is I have a group of people, some that I’m aware of, and many others that I don’t even know, that follow my activities online. It’s become my mission to provide real-life examples that people can relate to. When I get an email or a tweet from someone saying that I helped them it makes my day. Sometimes my week. If I push myself and am honest about something and it helps, it simply encourages me keep at it because I believe so strongly in the power of human connection.
I know I cannot always follow my own advice that is offered here. I am absolute epic fail at making some of my relationships work or being able to ask people if they’re not interested any more. I fail at being able to handle rejection so I cower in the corner and do nothing, hoping that a problem will go away because I’ve convinced myself that my weak self can’t handle it. Come on, Me. I can handle these things. I have to start practicing more of what I preach or else I am the hypocrite that I have sometimes been accused of.
Why the need to blog and share my thoughts with the world? People who like to keep private things private might call it narcissism and I won’t deny that to a certain extent they’re absolutely right. I enjoy myself and my stories. I am, for the most part, a fan of myself But it’s more than that. It’s not enough for me to sit down and write in a journal. For some, that’s all the release they need. For me, my thoughts swirl around in my head for hours, sometimes days. Writing them down before they’re ready has proved pointless in the past as they just don’t work if not ripe. When I finally do sit down to write, I know exactly what I need to say though I might not have the specific words to say it. Sometimes I can sit down and write immediately like right now but not always.
Hitting “publish” is my release. When I hit that button and send my thoughts out to the world, I’m validated. I might get zero comments, zero @replies or Facebook likes but I will admit it. Putting it out there, whether it’s Twitter or this blog or Facebook, gives me a strange sense of validation. I won’t deny that I need that validation. Outside of the fact that I want to help people professionally, I personally need it, lame as it may be to some. Like I said; I dig human connection.
So I don’t really know why I need to update my FourSquare and tell you where I am, tweet about whatever shit is going down or blog about a problem I’m having or have recently solved. Partially because I like having a personal record of my life out there. When it’s public I know that I haven’t lied about it. I may have withheld some parts, names and explanations but I know it is my truth and that gets me through each day. I am compelled to be honest with the internet.
A friend I mainly know online emailed me this recently after we hung out in person for an evening.
I fell into the trap of thinking I knew all about you because I read your blog. And then I met you, and found out that I didn’t know you at all.
I don’t know what exactly about this message made me feel good, but perhaps it was the fact that while I put almost everything out there, I am still more than my internet identity. It is merely a part of me and if given a chance IRL you’ll discover that there’s so much more to Samantha than my social media self.
Join me at Momentum in April to hear my panel on Social Media & Anonymity.