Undersharing

Webster’s New World selected “overshare” as its word of the year.

I guess people are getting nervous about sharing so much data online this year.  Just like they were in 1996, and 2000, and 2003…

I think the real story, however, is that 2008 was the year when everything has flipped:  now undersharing is the new problem!

In 2008, microstatistics and microblogging and lifestreaming and portable data became ubiquitous among the web community.  Sure, many of your friends are not yet on Facebook.  But of those who are, do you get annoyed that they don’t have MORE of themselves there?  Does it make you wonder why someone doesn’t have a Twitter account yet?  Why aren’t they using RSS and sharing feeds?

This point is early still, but this is how it starts.  The web ecosystem should burst with life in the next few years as smaller and smaller details are uploaded, but with more frequency, so that the web begins to visibly breathe as we use it.

I found myself annoyed while doing my Christmas shopping.  Since I don’t want to ask family and friends what things they’re interested in (since I should know, for one, and also because that would give away the surprise of a gift), I look on their Facebook accounts for hints.  But I find that most people still either don’t take entering in their personal data seriously (joke/humor/false data) or they don’t put enough.  I know for sure that this doesn’t mean they’re boring people, since I know them.

But I get pissed that they haven’t added more!  Aren’t we past this already?  Get with it!  You’re undersharing!

Zuckerberg was right about his law for the half-life of privacy data.  But people will fight and fight and fight…  “Why use e-mail?  No one ever writes to me.”  “I read books and newspapers, the web is just more stuff to have to keep up with.”

You’d think by now people would learn to stay ahead of the curve a bit and just embrace the new stuff.  Heck, it might even give them a leg up on their competition.

People don’t think that way, by and large.

You think it’s ironic that Webster’s is thinking about oversharing?  Don’t you imagine that the Wikipedia userbase complains about undersharing holding back the breadth of knowledge that Wikipedia could potentially hold?

Yeah.  Think about that one for a second.