Laying Our Lives Out for All to See: Motivations Behind Sharing Online

In the era of oversharing, putting the most intimate aspects of our lives on public display has become commonplace. But why do some feel compelled to document details of relationships, family, health, career, and more for audiences of strangers online?

The Appeal of Attention and Affirmation

For some bloggers, having an audience invest time into following their life stories provides validation. Comments conveying empathy, praise, or even envy help bolster bloggers’ self-worth. One study found over 60% of high-frequency social media users admitted to craving “likes.” The attention and affirmation is often addicting.

Coping Through Catharsis

The act of writing itself can also be therapeutic for some bloggers processing grief, trauma, or confusion during major life changes. Putting emotions into words contains and crystallizes experiences that may feel chaotic. And receiving support from readers provides some control and order for bloggers coping through chaotic times.

Monetizing the Mundane

It would be imprudent not to address financial incentives as well. Buzzfeed made lists about everyday behaviors go viral. Social media “influencing” turned oversharing into lucrative empires for some. But for most, income supplements more complex emotional needs driving their impulse to share intimate life details publicly through blogging.

While reality TV made spectacles of private lives for shock value, most bloggers reveal intimate matters not for fame or fortune, but driven by more personal promises of connection, community and catharsis. By boldly unveiling what was once kept hidden, they hope to feel a little less isolated and a little more embraced.

Seeking Out Community and Kinship

Other bloggers use the medium as a lifeline to find others experiencing similar struggles with infertility, illness, disability, or other isolating challenges. Shared vulnerability helps reduce stigma and foster community. 85% of women undergoing fertility treatments relied on blogs and forums as their key source of support outside family/friends.

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