July 10, 2012

Discretion Advised

Crazy, right? Posting again just days after the last time? Unheard of.

Well, here goes.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about social media and this new tendency of our culture to completely over-share our lives with the world. Letting people see pictures and videos of your every waking moment used be left just to the celebrities of Hollywood. Publicizing your every thought and details of your most intimate encounters was reserved for books and movies. Hashtag (#) myeverymove.

The more open we become with our lives, the more I wonder if we're doing ourselves a huge disservice. I mean, who needs to know that we had blueberries with our breakfast, which happened to be organic and locally grown, and were picked just last Saturday from the farm down the street, and were sold to us at the farmer's market, which we visited at exactly 10:02am on Monday, which followed our doctor's appointment and here are all the details about that...

Okay, that's kind of a silly example. But so true, right?

I recently visited an old friend's Facebook timeline, and was quite taken aback. I could literally piece together this person's life during the last 5 years or so. It was right there in front of me. The birthdays (and the birthday cakes), the job promotions (and dismissals), the births and deaths, the new clothes and the crafts, the successful made-from-scratch dinner, the new phone and the gift that grandma sent the family for Christmas and... more than all of that, included were so many... details. Intimate details. Facts that could actually really change your perception of person. I experienced varying degrees of happiness, sadness, grief, and joy all within those few minutes of reading/looking at my old friend's timeline.

And the worst part? I haven't spoken to this person in almost 3 years. (Just typing that makes me feel like a stalker.) That's what unsettled me. How is it possible that in 15 minutes, I've caught up on this person's entire last 3 years of life without even speaking?

Truly, I had no right to that personal information. I shouldn't know those things. Not without them telling me. Or should I?

I'll admit, it's hard not to keep going back to the social media sites and making efforts to keep up with everyone with whom we've ever had contact, but should we try not to? Is it really even fair to ourselves and our families if we let the entire world know every detail of our every lives? Shouldn't some of those celebrations and other special memories be allowed to exist only in the minds of those who participated?

After we get over the initial excitement of the plethora of information available, do you ever get... tired... at the thought of knowing so much about so many? How much can our hearts take in about people, many of whom we haven't spoke to in who knows how long?

While browsing Pinterest, I've come across one too many blogs of people (mostly young adult females) who make their living off of posting pictures of and describing their lives. They post every. Detail. Of. Every. Day.

Besides knowing too much about their every-day-lives, I also wonder if, in doing so, they actually, you know, live. Is our habitual over-sharing more about putting on a facade than it is about letting others into our worlds? We run the risk of sharing both too much and too little as we mod-podge our days onto cyberspace.

Where's the line between allowing authenticity to come through and withholding precious and ought-to-be-reserved moments?

I'm not saying that social media is all bad or that we shouldn't post pictures or little life updates. In fact, such sites as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. have been a great way for us to keep in touch with far-away friends and family, especially with the geographical distance and time difference.

Of course, I'm still learning so much about what is good and appropriate to be shared through both the internet and in person, and I in no way claim to do it perfectly... or even well, for that matter. My hope is that at the end of my life, I can look back and know that I had real, deep relationships that were meaningful and honoring to the Lord. What I hope I don't have is relationships that only existed through social media and were based upon each others' best-face-forward facade.

Dave and I agree that we want to truly live life with our friends and family, not just watch each others' lives from afar. We want to experience the joys of birth and new friends and weddings and jobs and moving, but without allowing everyone the privilege of every detail.

My lovely sister-in-law Charissa has a great blog and I especially loved her post on Queen Elizabeth. I think she's posted previously on life and discretion, but I just couldn't locate that particular post. :)

And again, this post was just to throw out some thoughts on the subject. In no way have I covered the topic in its entirety. I hope I'll hear some of your thoughts on how social media has affected our ability to relate to others and how discretion plays a role in intimacy and relationships.

All in all, I hope some of my words my a little sense. :)

To end, I'd like to share a picture of my dear husband (and poke a little fun at myself and this post). This was taken in Solvang, CA at Paula's Pancake House-- an infamous little eatery known for their scrumptious Swedish pancakes (Solvang is an entire Swedish town)... aren't you glad I shared that?
grace and love,
the mrs.


  1. more blogging please. i am so guilty of oversharing, but I have really cut back. This is so true though. love you

  2. Judy, what a well-thought through post. I loved reading it! :-) My Dave and I have had similar discussions (hence, the reason we were off FB for a year). The only reason we are back on is for the potential to connect back with friends in TX and for possible job opportunity connections. I find myself getting incredibly annoyed at how I log onto FB, just to "update" myself on everyone's little details. I don't need to know. Yet something about it keeps my finger pressing on to yet another "friends" timeline. My pick at social media is that it seems to be causing our culture to stop real interactions with people. With so much social media, our meaningful interactions cease and become virtual. If we continue on this path, will the next generations to come even know how to socially interact with REAL people? Maybe I'm being a bit ridiculous. But, what if I'm not? Food for thought. :) Keep posting - I love it!

  3. um so can I just say that those pancakes just look amazing and totally want some like... NOW! ;)

    oh and the blog post was super good (but I already shared my thoughts on your facebook page....ironic no?)

    I do love to read your blogs. :)
    Thanks for keeping us all updated on your life even if it's only certain things ;) ( I do have to tease slightly. )

  4. Judy, I am so proud of you for penning this blog. It is so thoughtful and intelligent. Facebook to me means catching up with and keeping in touch with old friends, far-away family, classmates, and of course seeing what everyone looks like now. When used in this fashion, it can be so much fun. But I agree completely about sharing every little detail of our lives...who cares? Seriously? You have written a great piece!

  5. Judy, I really appreciated your post. I read Charissa's post too, and both of you are so right. There is an art of privacy that our generation and perhaps even our culture is losing to social media. I tried to get a Pinterest account last week, but I needed Facebook or Twitter to finish the registration. Haha who would've thought you needed to be part of a social network to join something? So I quit trying. I like my freedom much better than Pinterest :)
    We love and miss you guys a lot! And thank you for your sweet comments on our blog! Ya'll are so encouraging!