share and share alike

A lot of people are talking about Emily Gould’s story in the NYT Magazine about her history as a serial blogger and her discovery of the consequences of writing for everyone about pretty much everything in her life. What I find most interesting about the story is the word Gould uses to describe her addiction to blogging about her intimate experiences: “oversharing.” As in: “Of course, some people have always been more naturally inclined toward oversharing than others. Technology just enables us to overshare on a different scale.” Of herself, she writes, “I’m an oversharer.”

Now, Gould didn’t make up the word. But it’s pretty much the only one she uses to describe her habit, and I can’t help noting that it makes endless self-revelation sound like a species of generosity — as though Gould is saying, Darn it, I just can’t help myself, it’s just my nature to give. Well, that’s one way to put it; but there are others that wouldn’t be so self-flattering.