A couple of years ago, while I was on an evening walk with a few of my friends, I got out my phone to type a few words on my WhatsApp status. One of them, looking over at what I was doing, mentioned how she didn’t fully understand the idea behind broadcasting information about one’s activities. I thought of what she had said and concluded that it was indeed, a very curious thing.
Although people have probably always thought themselves interesting enough for public consumption, it is possible that social media has provided an avenue to spread details about oneself much faster and more widely to others than it was before. In spite of the fact that this need to share details ranging from mundane to intimate about one’s life with others isn’t necessarily new or bad, one wonders where it may come from and what it means for humans.
One theory is that we do this to search for others like us who can relate to our experiences, thus reducing loneliness about particular feelings or activities. Perhaps when we share information about ourselves, it is with the hope of finding ‘experience soulmates’ that can help us validate how we feel. Of course, there’s also the obvious reason of advertising yourself to the world with the goal of finding purpose or opportunities. Some also do it to spread cautionary tales.
Whatever the reason, however, it is clear that for many, there is a deep-seated desire to be fulfilled in the sharing of their lives with others and that the call of validation, opportunities and education of others is loud enough to be answered by most.