Michaels: Private experiment with omniscient social media

"Uhm, less is more" one catty friend once said when I was babbling about lord-knows-what in my teenage years.

“Uhm, less is more” one catty friend once said when I was babbling about lord-knows-what in my teenage years.

It’s one of the few barbs that stuck, as it seemed to have a bit of common sense oomph. It’s been applicable to makeup, accessorizing, cleavage and all sorts of writing, although the latter isn’t where I show the most discipline.

Most of all, it’s a mantra that’s guided how much I disclose about my personal life on social media sites.

I’m uptight about online privacy, even going so far as to use a fake name. When a co-worker asked why, I didn’t quite know how to answer.

She argued my life is far from controversial and considering I have nothing to hide, why would I be concerned?

She was right in some ways. Rioting, looting and stealing take far too much energy so pictures of me acting like the Canucks-inspired troglodytes will never come to light via Facebook.

The era when salacious pictures wouldn’t have damaged my ego disappeared with film, so that’s not a problem either.

But the idea of my mother seeing me doing something as benign as drinking a beer with a friend shivers-me-timbers. That’s too much information for the wee lady to take, and even before Facebook became ubiquitous I realized the inherent danger of over-sharing, although my little sister has yet to figure out. She’s just taken the let-it-all-hang-out approach, much to the delight (or horror) of my imaginative mother. And she’s not alone.

“People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people,” Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview last year.

It’s a creepy state of affairs, really, but on the horizon there may be an antidote to the over-shares that have defined Facebook.

Muscling into the social media monopoly is Google +. In many ways Google + is just more of the same—show your friends your pictures, your pithy one-liners and so on. But, it’s also more keyed into a person’s desire to lump people together as acquaintances, with whom little is shared; family, with whom nothing is shared; and friends who you let it all hang out with.

It’s certainly a noteworthy development, but rather than piquing my interest Google + has come off as a bit of a negative. For the first time in years, I’m contemplating opting out of the world that, according to an Ipsos Reid report Thursday, nearly one-half of online Canadians are visiting at least once a week and 30 per cent are visiting daily.

As more of the day is taken up by social media sites, the less interesting it seems and the less I want to be there, so I’ve decided to spend one week free to experience life sans social media.

It’s not an experiment fit for the faint of heart, but I can’t help but wonder if less really is more, so it’s time to find out.

Kathy Michaels is a Capital News reporter.





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