2 min read

Thinking about sharing.

Thinking about sharing.

🙊 I’ve been thinking a lot about the things we share with one another and the things we don’t.

My mom is not on Instagram, but loves Facebook. Not really love, something else. It’s a compulsion. Her desire to share and “get likes” feels born out of some generation-wide narcissistic desire for validation.

My 15-year-old tells me he sees it in me too, and that scares me to death.

When my nephew was born, before my sister had a chance to share the news, my mom scooped her on FB with an (unflattering) image that my brother-in-law had texted the family.

That started a fight that lasted days with me in the middle and a lot of “can you believe her” from both sides.

“But it got so many likes!”
It got 79.

“It wasn’t yours to share!”
It wasn’t.

It ended, like many things do in families, with a casual pretending it didn’t happen followed by the occasional biting sarcastic aside of “that will get so many likes.”

Who’s “right” is it to share things on behalf of others? Facebook has blurred the lines. Or maybe it hasn’t actually blurred them, just our attitudes have changed.

In the old days we use to call sharing stuff constantly like this, especially about other people, “gossip.”

Did my mom gossip about my sister? No, it’s probably not that, but it did feel like a violation the way gossip does.

Am I gossiping now?

Some stories feel like ours alone to tell, but since so many have become amateur reporters for the Facebook gazette, people feel obligated to share.

It’s their right since you are part of their life.

Your news becomes their news becomes their 79 likes.

I pulled back from a lot of the daily-life sharing I once did, mostly from answering internal questions; Do people need to know? Why am wanting to show this? What will people think? What does this say about me? Am I doing it just for likes?

So much has happened in my personal life these last few years that my answer to constant sharing was to pull way back and “curate.” Let my life be mine. Controlled shares.

The chilling effect of that, now, is that I’m way less likely to share things with my mom, especially photos, that I wouldn’t be willing to let everyone see. And that’s sad.

A bunch of essays, photos and thoughts by Pat Castaldo.