Wednesday, August 6

Balance & Entitlement

Sharing on the internet is very weird, and sometimes very scary.

I follow another blogger on Instagram who posts a lot about her personal life on her blog – about her boyfriend, about when they had a big fight, about her weight-loss journey, about her body because of her weight-loss journey… Really intimate things.

I got on Instagram one day and saw that she posted a picture of her and her dog with the caption, “The best man in my life.”

Instagram. Went. WILD.

People began commenting like mad. About 20 people asked if she and her boyfriend broke up. One person commented, asking everyone to please give this blogger some freaking privacy, and if she wanted to talk about if she and her boyfriend broke up, she would, so stop hounding her.

Someone replied, “Listen, she puts her life out there. If she didn’t want us to know about every detail of her life, she shouldn’t post so much about it. Since she posts about her and her boyfriend, I think we’re entitled to know if they’re still together.”

My jaw dropped to the floor.

You feel entitled to information about this stranger’s life because you follow her blog?!

Once I stopped to think about it, I wasn’t that surprised. We watch reality television where we watch intimate details of strangers’ lives, and we essentially pay to live through them. We read about Kim Kardashian, and see a picture of her leaving a store. What did she buy? Where is she going? We see a video of a private interaction between Jay-Z and Solange, and we all want to know what happened. We feel entitled to the truth of these strangers’ lives.

Here’s the deal though – we’re not entitled to this information.

Kim Kardashian can sell information about herself all she likes, and that’s totally fine. But just because she chooses to release certain information doesn’t mean that the world is entitled to all her secrets.

Just because this blogger posted about her boyfriend a couple times doesn’t mean that you are entitled to know about the details of their relationship. Feel free to ask if you really want to know, but you’re not entitled to an answer.

Maybe it seems like I post a lot of intimate information. After all, I did just write a post the other day about my “friend’s” menstrual pads. I post pictures from my life every two weeks, and I generally like sharing about my life and my experiences.

It’s a fine line between wanting to connect with other people with an honest portrayal of my life and my struggles, and over-sharing. I know my mom constantly thinks I over-share on here, and maybe I do. I feel comfortable posting about the topics I do, because I want to connect with people who may be going through similar things in their lives.

But I also want to keep part of my life for me. I decided a while back that I wasn’t going to discuss details of my relationship with J, because although he is a huge part of my life (and he obviously makes an appearance on here from time to time), quite frankly, it’s no one else’s business what my relationship is like with my fiancĂ©. That's between him and me.

I'm pretty lucky at this point, because my blog isn't nearly so popular that people demand facts about my life. People can ask me stuff on a Facebook message or an email, and I'm usually more than happy to answer. Again, I like being honest. But it does bother me immensely that when bloggers "put ourselves out there," it apparently means, to some people, that we have to share everything in our lives.

No one is entitled to information about my life, or any other blogger’s life. We’re allowed to share what we feel comfortable sharing. No more, no less.

But it’s a hard to find a balance.

How do you decide what to share on social media? Do you find yourself feeling entitled to information? How do you find balance?

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