Your Choice to Share and My Choice to Look

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Roger Mommaerts

There is an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David goes to visit his friend Jeff at his new house.  Jeff’s wife Suzie is so excited to have someone see the new place–she immediately offers to give Larry “the tour.”  As only Larry David could do, he looks at her and says, “I’m good.”  He then goes on about how he “gets it” and understands what a house looks like and is comfortable not seeing what she has to share.  Immediately, she gets extremely upset and kicks Larry out of the house for his rudeness and obvious disinterest.

The funny thing about the whole incident is that Larry says what a lot of people are thinking.  I know that I am not really big on seeing someone else’s because I feel that “I get it.”  I also understand the other side of it–where you are excited to share something and you have a limited audience.  The interesting thing in Larry’s situation is that most people would think that he is rude for not having an interest in seeing what Suzie has to share.

So let’s say Suzie has a Facebook account and she decides that she is going to post a picture of every single room in her house.  What you will hear often about these people is that they tend to over-share, are narcissistic and self-indulgent.  The difference here is, she is still sharing but with a wider audience that has a choice to look or not.

So, share in-person with everyone that walks into your house and you are a good host, whether they care or not. But share on social media where only people who want to look do, and you are narcissistic.


Often, my friends would go on trips, take a disposable camera, develop their pictures and share every single picture they took on the trip, no matter the quality.  This was a common thing for many.  A lot of people took these pictures to capture their memories, but many of them took them to also share their experiences with others.  Did we call these people self-indulgent?  Nope.  This was because this was what we grew up with.  Often their pictures were of a much worse quality because the way we developed pictures was not as cheap and easy to filter.  Nothing like looking at pictures with thumbs covering half of the shot!

Sometimes, the idea that people are more narcissistic now because of technology bothers me.  Many people have always been narcissistic, but maybe, now, we just have more opportunities to share?  Taking every single person through a room in your new house doesn’t seem too much different to me than posting a picture of every room in your new house on Facebook.  The big difference to me is I can choose to look if I want.

It drives me crazy when people complain about people over-sharing because we have a choice to view what we like.  I remember “unfriending” someone on Facebook because all of their status updates were of a negative nature and complained about how horrible life was.  They were like demotivational quotes that were REALLY effective.  Did I complain about it?  Maybe a little bit, but eventually I just chose to not look.  She had every right to post as I had every right to not look.

But I will tell you this.  My sister-in-law is a chronic “over-sharer.”  EVERY SINGLE DAY I have to put up with a bunch of pictures of her kids (my nephew and nieces) and watch them grow up in front of my eyes.  So annoying right?


Every single time she shares a picture of my nephew and nieces growing up, I am thankful that she does this.  I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like, but when I do, I am not surprised about how much they have grown because I am able to connect and see them often.  They also get to see me, and when I walk in, no matter the length of time, they run to me and tell me that they love me.  If my awesome sister-in-law did not share the kids growing up, I don’t think that I would feel as close to them.  Are her pictures for everyone?  Nope, but they are amazing to me and I am glad she shares as much as she does.




  1. George, as usual you hit the nail on the head. I was just talking about “oversharing” with a couple of my friends. You can choose what you want or don’t want to see. So go ahead, unfriend the person, or “hide” their posts from your feed. Find the things that make you happy and use social media to your advantage. I love seeing Tim Lauer or Jeremy Macdonald’s Instagram feeds. There are some great things out there, learn how to personalize it to your advantage.

  2. I’m not that Pinterested in anyone’s wedding plans . . . but someone is. As someone who is often accused of “oversharing” or “over-Tweeting” or “over-blogging,” It was nice to nod in agreement.

    I think it’s important that we give people permission to share and permission to step back and “under-share.”

    I sometimes forget that people who withdraw on social media are often doing this because they’re yearning for solitude or they’re too busy. It’s not a bad thing.

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