I’ve been hearing the phrase ‘Generation Overshare’ quite a lot recently – referring to the way people (especially young people, you know, with their pesky facetweets and iDroid phones…) have a tendency to share everything they are doing, comment on every situation, take a picture or video of every thing they do. It’s a derogatory, disapproving term, certainly, and I have also noticed a trend of people trying to reject the need to share in various way. Social Media detoxes, where like, diets, people cut out Facebook and limit their intake of internet calories, seem fairly popular, and others have tried to publicise how much we are ‘missing out on’ by spending all of our time online. Musicians post signs at their gigs, imploring people to enjoy them live, not ‘through their phones.’ At Manchester International Festival last year, concert goers at the Massive Attack vs. Adam Curtis shows were forbidden to take pictures of the inside of the venue so that it wouldn’t be ‘spoiled’ on social media for other nights.
(‘Look Up’ by Gary Turk, 2014)
This is a difficult topic where I can understand both sides. It would be hypocritical of me to claim that social media ‘oversharing’ is bad, I do it a lot, I wrote a dissertation on Instagram, and I have defended social media as a positive force before. Yet there are people who worry about the online society, who maybe feel cut off and that it affects people in a negative way. Clearly there is a problem here.
The trouble is, I don’t believe we can ever step back from sharing at this point. The Social media detox seems to be more of a crash diet, a week’s deprivation followed by a binge. The film posted above makes great points, yet to date 12,000,000 people have apparently sat online to watch it, discuss it and share it on sites such as Buzzfeed. Our world has been permanently augmented and it some ways is as much digital as ‘real’. We can stop sharing, but would we want to?