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How Much is Too Much Information?


I was scrolling through social media with one eye closed and the other fluttering to stay open while my brain screamed, "Go. To. Bed!" Pictures, quotes, rants, scriptures, and tidbits floated by while I looked for a post I'd seen earlier in the evening.

Then, I was distracted by the rant of all rants. It was accompanied by a picture of a woman made up to look like she was stressed out. My guess is it took longer for this staged picture than it might for her to look all put together in her regular life. The zinger is, the post was a rant of 'all the pretty people.'

"Why?" she asks, "does everyone only post pictures of their pretty, perfect lives and none of the mess they deal with on a daily basis?" It went on for paragraphs.

I was surprised at this rant, but shouldn't be. It was the third post like it in as many weeks.

Someone, in fact more than one someone, wants to know why more people aren't airing their dirty laundry, messy feelings, unkempt children, and mama drama on social media and only posting the picture perfect lifestyle.

Are we struggling to find deep, committed, and meaningful in-person relationships so much that we need to fulfill our relational needs online? Enough so, to spill it all in front of hundreds or even thousands?

I enjoy relateable posts about kids that do funny things and the weird stuff we see in the supermarket. I love relating to teen antics, athletic highs and lows, the embarrasing stuff we do daily. I diligently pray when folks ask for prayers for something tragic, sad, or frustrating in their life. Sharing pieces of ourselves inserts humanity into the digital world in which we relate.

But I am so blessed to have a small group of girlfriends I can share some of my deepest and rawest emotions with live and in-person. (Mom Mafia - you know who you are!) I know I can call these ladies and they would be by my side in a heartbeat. The good Lord knows my family gets how crazy I can be. But I have little desire to share that level of crazy with thousands of my 'closest online friends'.

I don't share that kind of material online, not because I only want people to see a white-picket-fence-side of me, but because I only want to share that level of intimacy in an intimate way. And that kind of intimacy, for me, can only be found one-on-one or one-on-few. It's part of what makes me an introvert.

If I'm going to let you in on the sadness, I have to know you are along for the long-haul ride.

If I'm going to let you in on the details of the pain that rips through me, I want you to have the antidote.

If I'm going to share the burdens of my past, I have to know you'll shoulder them with me without judgement and persecution.

If I'm going to confess my sins, I expect you to hold me accountable to my repentance and pray with me.

Those kinds of relationships are hard to find on social media without the benefit of eye contact, touch, and body language. Introverts need plenty of time to build the kind of relationship that warrants sharing the good, bad, and the ugly.

Many introverts, especially the intuitives (N), can quickly determine who they can trust while sensors (S) observe and collect facts about who they can confide in. This is harder for us to do online.

I'm thankful for, and guilty of writing blogs and posts that share glimpses of humanity, and lets people know they are not alone in their trials. But for now, the juicy details remain with my besties.

What do you think? Do we share too much online or the more shared, the more relateable we become? Does Too Much Information exist online?

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