Thursday, June 5, 2008

Oversharing

In the May 25 New York Times Magazine, former Gawker editor Emily Gould wrote about her compulsive blogging—her habit of "oversharing" and spilling intimate details about her life and her relationships with men who didn't want to be blogged about. It's an interesting account of a private life coming apart on the internet. Ms. Gould had a particularly high blogging profile in Manhattan, attracting hundreds of hits and and dozens of comments each day. This blog averages about sixty visits a day, and few comments. If I overshare, few people will know. Not that I'm tempted to overshare. Who really wants to read about my incredibly dull and ordinary private life? Occasionally details will slip into the blog, but there really isn't all that much to share. Book reviews, poems, excursions, a little music—that's what this blog is about. According to Google Analytics, the most popular post on this blog is my poem about global warming, which is the #3 hit on Google when you search "global warming poem." People aren't coming here to read about my personal life.

That said, I'm aware that I did blog about the herniated disk in my neck. Poor me! I hate experiencing medical problems, I shrink from pain, and I pathetically reach out into cyberspace for sympathy and reassurance. Here I am again, telling you about the second big event in the Year of the Herniation. Yes, this time it's an actual hernia. Inguinal. If that isn't oversharing, what is? Last night I did the "turn-your-head-and-cough" for Dr. Behrens, and on Monday afternoon I meet with Dr. Rainiero, the surgeon, to find out about being cut open. Sympathy and reassurance welcome in the comments.

There. That's out of my system. I'll try not to moan and groan too much on this blog. I'll simply end with a word of advice: Bend with your knees, not your waist, when lifting heavy objects. And if you think you have a hernia, don't do a Google search for "hernia surgery." It'll only freak you out.

7 comments:

Louise said...

Well I think Gould's blog just shows that some people do want to know about peoples private lives, even if they are perfectly Pymish!

I see blogs as an extension of the traditional literary addiction to reading biographies, diaries and letters. What they share is the advantage of being mildly voyeuristic at arms length.

ps. hope you feel better soon!

Shan said...

Ah, oversharing---how I love it so.

Every now and then I hear someone say something about how they have zero interest in reading (personal) blogs, how they cannot imagine anyone wasting time sitting around reading about the details of someone else's personal life, and my inner reaction is always something along the lines of, What in the world is wrong with you?!

I am sure I overshare, and I definitely overcomplain. It is a little sketchy since I am a psychologist by training and do have a bunch of former clients who could eventually find their way to my personal blog if they searched. (I'm sure some have.) I try not to think about it. Because for me this whole world of the blogosphere, and in particular the realm of "mommyblogging"--which probably almost by definition includes "oversharing"--has changed my life (for the better). I do not think I would have survived my first postpartum period with my faculties remotely intact had I not discovered the distinctly oversharing dooce.com. (Who can forget her this-is-real-life-folks post on "reconvening the procedure" with her husband Jon, which frankly discussed how long it can REALLY take to physically recover from childbirth? I laughed so hard, but also CRIED WITH RELIEF, when I read it).

So I tend to use my blog to stay sane, even if that means oversharing. Because I am confident that somewhere out there someone else might be comforted by something I've written in the same way I have benefited from reading others' blog words.

I know there's that whole rule about not writing anything you aren't 100% comfortable having ANYONE in the world read, including your boss, your mother-in-law, your child's teacher, and your child's classmates' parents (the ones who don't know you). I try to pay attention to that. But surely I fail half the time, and I've decided not to sweat it.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, a hernia! Gah! This is the most rotten luck ever. My deepest sympathies, you poor thing.

Christopher Tassava said...

Oh, man, Rob. I'm sorry to hear about your injury. I hope it was incurred in some manly way - lifting a lion off a mouse or something like that. I also hope the recovery is fast and involves lots of lying on the sofa reading and having refreshments brought to you. It's not oversharing to keep the blog updated with a few posts on the situation.

I read that Gould piece the other day and thought, "What a loon."

Shan said...

So interesting, I just read that Gould piece and thought, "I can see EXACTLY how this would happen to someone in her position." She doesn't seem like a loon to me at all! Paid blogging for uber-popular sites that involve celebrities or some measure of fame sounds like a loony job, though. Or, loon-making.

Clara said...

Excellent, guys -- keep those commiserations coming! I'm having a hard time meeting all the need on my own -- help me out here! :)

Jim H. said...

Nearing the end of a long recovery period afer a rather unpleasant encounter with surgeons, I extend my sympathy and my hope for an uncomplicated, successful operation.

No sharing, sharing, oversharing, whatever. A personal blog is a personal blog, whatever that means to the person. I like your, Rob, because it's funny, informative, sensitive. And the writing is silky-smooth.

Penelope said...

Now I get your Facebook status. Sympathy and reassurance coming your way in droves!

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