My friend Paul Wallace, who writes the insightful “Questions Christians Ask Scientists” column in Nurturing Faith Journal, made an good observation and raised a worthy question on Twitter recently.
“I’m unnerved by the quality and quantity of self-disclosure on social media,” he wrote.
Paul expressed a preference for dealing with his own inner-life challenges within a more personal circle of trusted friends and mentors.
“I don’t share the more harrowing parts of my life online,” he confessed.
Then he wondered: “Is this because I’m 50? Is this a generational thing?”
With no data to support my claim, my best guess is that this is more an individual than generational matter.
It seems that the degree to which one displays his or her personal life through social media crosses a wide generational range.
The ease of social media just makes it too convenient to expose one’s inner being and mundane activities to a larger audience. In the past, such self-disclosure took more effort.
Perhaps a needed discipline is to ask oneself, before hitting the post button: “Is this TMI?”
It seems less likely that human nature has changed than simply the potential audience for revealing one’s every thought and move is bigger and more accessible that ever before.
My doubt in a major generational shift is rooted in church “testimony times” long ago.
A general reference to sin (deemed “back sliding”) was welcomed and affirmed. However, some public confessions could go into a little too much detail.
Assumed boundaries on specifics were not always adhered. Those who remember such times will likely recall an old joke as well that ends with, “I don’t think I’d told that.”
Often such a response is appropriate in the social media era as well.