Online, one can immediately be struck with decades worth of family drama and secrets. Scroll again, there’s another video of someone confessing to murder. Scroll once more, someone’s airing their psychological demise.
Over the last couple of years online, a culture has been built that encourages everyday people to share every part of themselves, with the popularity of ‘storytime’ videos on Youtube and the rise of transparency of mental health across social media. People who share these parts of themselves online like this are consistently labeled as ‘relatable’ and ‘real,’ all traits that are not only praised across social media but have almost become the norm.
Such a culture has also created a rise in anonymous ‘confession’ accounts on Instagram, as people at large no longer feel a sense of shame for sharing vulnerable parts of themselves online because, as @spartans.confess on Instagram puts it, their secrets can create a space for others to feel included.
“[People come to me] because it’s anonymous. They have a sense of protection in sharing topics they want to share in a private place, so people find comfort in that alone,” said @spartans.confess. “If I was to overshare online, but people knew it was me, I would be a little embarrassed. That type of embarrassment only exists when people know stuff about you online.”
While no one is denying the power social media has in bringing people together, it has also shown that it can equally water down aspects of mental health and trauma that would otherwise be given more severe treatment or care if it wasn’t treated as the norm.
“I remember on Twitter there was an issue with people trauma dumping on strangers over the most mundane posts,” said senior Jessica Faruque. “People will say the most random personal stuff unprovoked on the confession pages. Some of them are insightful, but others are so unnecessary.”
Even anonymous, there are reasons why secrets are secrets and why certain things are better suited in a personal diary or talk with a trusted friend, and not for millions to see online.
“I’ve had people send me really creepy and invasive comments under my forms before, some of which are’ jokes,'” said @spartans.confess. “Not only is it obvious who it is sometimes since they will leave in certain details or just say their names, but it also definitely crosses a personal line. People should still have a line drawn for themselves, as saying creepy or intrusive or offensive stuff is still not okay online.”
With apps like TikTok, where content like this is the norm, their algorithm heavily pushes content that is not only easily attention-grabbing and digestible but has more engagement, all factors that many ‘TMI’ videos fall under. Tiktok also pushes videos that a user watches multiple times or likes at multiple occurrences, making it entirely possible for someone’s entire For-You page to be filled with heavy topics.
When putting oneself out there, many privacy concerns come up. In particular, digital footprints only look worse as people use such public apps and spaces to share parts of themselves with strangers that they wouldn’t have even told their family or friends.
“There’s almost always a post reacting to another person’s post about something that they could’ve kept to themselves. It honestly can be amusing to see at times, but the secondhand embarrassment is a lot,” said Faruque
@spartan_advice on Instagram has even highlighted their position on this.
“I don’t know if I would endorse putting yourself out there online. I don’t do it myself, so it would be a bit hypocritical if I placed too much judgment on either part. I just think people need to remember that there’s a real person behind the screen,” said @spartan_advice.
Arguably, the worst aspect of oversharing online, however, is when it’s done solely with the intent of going viral. Of course, that’s easily achievable online, as said prior with algorithms, but there comes a point where we need to question as a society just how far and how much someone is willing to give for a brief period of attention and validity. More specifically, the sheer amount of one’s self that is reduced to a video or post online, all making the internet even more of a dumpster fire.