I figured out why I am so uncomfortable with people who live their lives on FaceBook and FetLife and various other social boards I frequent. You know the kind, the women and men who update every two hours about why they are sad or happy or angry or so deeply madly terribly in love with their current partner. The people you never would have to call and talk to, because any conversation you would need to have can easily be had by reading their Wall and posts.
I’m uncomfortable with it because I feel like I am being a voyeur. I feel like I’m watching things that weren’t meant to be public. Like looking into the window of a restaurant and seeing a person digging in their teeth, or stepping into a bathroom and hearing someone crying in a stall.
Part of it is the region and culture I was raised in. The predominant religion here is Lutheran, and the predominant settler culture was Scandinavian/German. Stoic, placid, rugged individuals, who loved, laughed and cried in the privacy of their homes, in the safety of the family, far from the eyes of prying and judging neighbors and strangers. Many imports to the area complain about the mild, neutral topics that passes for common conversation here in the Valley. We talk about crops, weather, local business, and regional events. We don’t talk about religion, or politics, or alternative lifestyles unless we are in like company.
Another facet is in this area, we do “North Dakota Nice”. Everyone’s welcome, we’ll say hi to total strangers on the street, wave to folks on the road, stop and offer help to brokedown travelers. And people here are truly kind and welcoming…but don’t let yourself start thinking that you see everything to ND in that North Dakota Nice. We don’t start playing banjos when tourists come into town…but new folks aren’t embraced into the folds of a community for years. We’re polite, we’re nice, but we don’t rush to accept new folks. A really good cliché for this situation would be “Still waters run deep”. And people aren’t keen on showing how deep the waters run unless its one of their own they’re showing 0END.0.
To top it all off, N is huge on privacy, family respect, and propriety. If I were to rush to the net and stomp my feet every time He does something I didn’t like, or change my status on FL after a fight, post in the forums about how “I don’t like that He forgets about my orgasms, call Him horrible names so I will feel better” He would tan my fuckin hide. Personal experiences can be expressed in my blog, but only after we have gone over it, come to our conclusions and got back on the same page. No way in hell would He ever let me call Him to the carpet on a social site, open the most personal and emotional parts of our life to the entire net. He would be furious if I wrote a long emotional apology to Him, or wrote about how I want to stab Him with a fork when He won’t let me get take-out for supper, and He’d be embarrassed if I wrote a long gushy “Let me count the ways” post. That shit just does NOT go outside of our life unless He’s cleared it.
So yeah, when I mute someone on my feeds because their history reads like goddamned Days of Our Lives, I’m probably projecting. I’m trying to give them their privacy, their dignity, even if they are trying to destroy it as fast as possible. I’m embarrassed for them. I cringe at the fact that millions of people can now watch them melt down or wax poetic like a bad Twilight novel. (Well hell, all the Twilight novels were bad.)
That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever want to read about people’s struggles, their devotion, their joys and trials. But there has to be a balance between sharing these things in context with an emotionally stable and reasoned approach, and blurting everything out without thinking it through first. A difference between conversation and verbal diarrhea. Between sharing and over-sharing.