For TueNight.com by Jennifer Ha
I post frequently on social media, particularly Facebook. I wouldn't classify myself as an oversharer, but I will post up to five times a day if I think something is worth sharing. Is it funny? Is it interesting? Is it somehow otherwise significant?
Like many proud parents, I posted WAY too many photos of my kids at first. But I quickly realized that those posts were only interesting to about 1 percent of my friends. And I never get too personal about what I really think and feel -- it's really a false intimacy Facebook seems to foster. As a result of plenty of trial and error, I now have very clear guidelines for what I will or will not post. Here's a short list:
1. Coded Jabs: I will not post anything about personal relationships, either overtly or in code. That violates a trust. "Don't you just hate it when people [insert friend or family name here -- and you know who you are] don't send thank-you notes? SMH."
2. Sick Bait: I will not post anything medically cryptic that fishes for a response. Things like, "I'm at the hospital," "Ow! My liver!" or a dramatic ER check-in with no explanation. Nor will I post surgery photos, shots of my runny nose, or talk about a health scare.
3. I'm On A Beach: No one needs to see a picture of me frolicking on the beach -- I'm too old for that kind of display and I don't want to horrify my FB friends. If I frolic, I frolic in private.
4. Personal Loss: When my father died, I was too devastated to think about anything, much less Facebook. While I did appreciate the messages of support I received, I could never talk about anything so personal, especially as it was happening.
5. Politics: I won't post about my politics, but I have posted about issues (Newtown, for example). What I learned from that was that a productive debate wasn't really possible. People were either like-minded, or trying to convince me that my point of view was wrong because it wasn't THEIRS. I'm too old for that sh*t.
6. The Swear Jar: I won't curse on FB. I've come close, but ultimately it's just bad manners..
7. And at 10:15, I Had Almonds: I have posted pictures of food, which I mostly regret. However I'll never post a blow-by-blow of my daily intake. Not so much because it's private but because WHO CARES?
8. Family Deets: I won't tell you my mother's maiden name, my brother's middle name, the name of my first pet, or the make and model of my first car. That's sensitive information, people! I'd like to keep my bank account to myself.
9. Do I Look... I won't post sweeping, self-doubting statements, hoping to get shored up. "I'm so fat." "I just hate my hair!" Doing that puts people under a tacit obligation to say something nice, out of politeness. That's not a real compliment anyway.
10. #NoMakeup: My Facebook friends don't need to see me without makeup. I often go without makeup, but images on the Internet are forever. Befores and afters? They're for Instagram.
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TueNight is a weekly storytelling site for women in life's middle, with a fresh theme every Tuesday. www.tuenight.com