Modern Autobiographies

Earlier this week, I tweeted:

Seen somewhere — “We are a generation overly anxious to start writing our autobiography.”

Wish I could remember where I saw it or who said it, because I’d really love to provide more of the author’s context for it, but I’ll say a few words here about why it meant something to me.

My second son was born this week and after things had calmed down a bit, my wife and I had the conversation I assume is commonplace these days: “Ok, did we tell everyone we need to personally? Can we Facebook/Instagram/Twitter it now?”

So that tweet was as much about me as it was anyone else. I like to do those things. And I’ll continue to post autobiographical things for other people to read, because I guess I think they want to? Or at least, I want them to want to? I’m not sure it makes me a horrible person, but it does make me feel a little gross in that “too much pride is a bad thing” way. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t use Facebook and the reason I’ve joined and quit Instagram 3 times (I’m active on there now).

Anyone else feel that way about themselves? Anyone have thoughts or, uh, justifications that make you not feel gross about what/how much you share? Tell me below! Or tweet me or something!


ps. Mom and baby are doing great. 😉


edit: Thanks to Jeff Payne for reminding me the context of the premature autobiography statement, I missed the quote, but close:

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Eric Zanol

Eric does some front-end webbing and some operations stuff at &yet. He's got an awesome wife, a two great little boys. Some of his favorite pastimes include watching the Seahawks, drooling over fancy cars, and "gadgets."

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  • Doug Waltman

    I don’t feel prideful about social meida at all. For me, it represents a desire to connect with people. When I suffered constantly from social anxiety, the digital connection was often the *only* way I was able to reach out. Sometimes, I am looking for validation, and other times for encouragement. I do see boasting sometimes, but what I see mostly is people living life. I like that part.

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    I feel icky on twitter and not on Facebook. Why is it one suits us better? I think on fb I’m writing ‘to’ friends. People I know and invited or invited me. On twitter it’s acquaintances. I feel more of that gross ‘I just shared too much’ feeling.’ But I personally like to hear that you had a baby. I feel happy for you. I feel like I share this planet with another real person. And when I share, I feel like I’ve finally found my voice. My real self is out there. Take it or leave it. Social media has its pitfalls. You can put your foot in your mouth in a major way, but overall I think it’s been the best way to bring people together in their truest forms. I like it. Congrats on the new baby!!! Very happy for you! 🙂

  • Matt McGee

    First, congrats on the baby, Eric. 🙂 This is news to me since I missed any social announcements about him.

    This is a constant source of struggle for me and is why I often go a couple weeks without posting anything on Facebook, or a couple days away from Twitter. I have what I call “turtle mode” and it’s very easy to retreat into the shell and not want to share anything.

  • I was just thinking how nice it would be to be able to add search filters in Instagram to be able to prevent any photos of someone holding up a camera in the mirror to take a picture of themselves from ever appearing in my search results. There’s a lot of really cool photography going on there and I enjoy browsing to find it. But get sick of all the “look at me, look at me” stuff too. I think because I can’t stand seeing others do it, I’m always a bit apprehensive of being “that guy” as well. Yet at the same time, I’m a huge fan/proponent of journaling and documenting stuff. I guess just like in all areas of life, it’s just a matter of finding the right balance that works for us. Thanks for you post. And congrats on the baby!

  • Thanks Suzy!

  • Yeah, this is me more than half the time I think.

  • Thanks Matt! Yeah I don’t think I *actually* tweeted it. Just Instagram.

    I like turtle mode. I do that too. Or, sometimes I’ll go for several days only replying to other people… basically a “no broadcast” sub-mode. 😉

  • Thanks Keith! Good points, as well. Balance is the key.

  • Elsie Puig

    I see a lot of self-deprecating humor, subtweeting, false humility and humble bragging on social media that drives me a little crazy (but, who knows, I may be unconsciously guilty of these on occasion) . If you’re sharing tidbits of your life in a genuine and authentic way, people will notice and will respond to that.

    I do think some people tend to overshare on social media. When I go post or write something I think twice about it. People are already being bombarded with so much information, media.

    But, what Keith said, it’s about finding the right balance that works for us.

    And…congrats on the baby! 🙂 Photos soon, please. We all enjoy photos of cute babies.

  • I find Twitter much more interesting for this reason — because either I’m just sharing some random wit or some technical knowledge. Perhaps the mix isn’t good, but it is what I do. I’m not interested in sharing my “real self” on Twitter, which is why I personally get more out of Twitter.

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    Hmmm…I was rereading this and thought I should amend that I guess I don’t show my ‘real self’ all the time. I couldn’t do that and NO one would want to see my crazy mood swings. I just meant I like being able to think and share stuff that in real life I find difficult to say off the cuff. I get more of my thoughts out this way. :)… But after reading all these, not so sure it’s a great thing. Lol. …too bad I don’t have any technical knowledge to share! 🙂

  • Sara Taylor

    First, grats on your new kiddo!
    Yes.. to all of those questions. I felt guilty of over-sharing every time I tweeted about my vacation (which is why I only did it a few times, I guess). I don’t even use Facebook anymore.
    I don’t know… I think at the moment I’m more on the other side of things– too worried to share much at all. This venue is probably where I’m most vocal (read: exposed). I’m terrified to post this, but I’ll do it anyway.

  • Sara Taylor

    Thanks, Doug. I appreciate that point of view!

  • Sara Taylor

    (awesome Pip Boy image, btw!)

  • Brandon Coughlin

    Great thoughts, Eric. I didn’t used to think there was much difference between Twitter and Facebook. I used to “friend” anybody and everybody that I knew on Facebook. However, I’m starting to see even more now than ever that FB and Twitter are two very different venues. Facebook has now become my more personal space where only my closest friends and family are allowed. I’ve started becoming very picky about who I allow into that circle. That’s where I post my most personal thoughts and document my life’s events through photography. Twitter is where I hang out and chat back and forth with my “community”. And I don’t just mean my community as it is defined by the municipal boundaries. I mean my community that is made up of people that i work with and people who share my same likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc.

    Thanks again Eric!