I don’t consider you a close friend until you’ve spent some time with my father. No one can really know me until they have met him. Shall I introduce you? In the photo above, my dad, Charles is hanging out with me at my 3rd birthday party. It’s one of my earliest memories, and a very happy one. This would be one of about three days we spent together before I turned 12.
If the social web had been developed in 1985 my dad would be one of those people with a thousand Facebook friends and possibly a blog like this one. He is one of the best story tellers I have ever known. And let me tell you, this man has some incredible stories to tell.
I did my best to memorize them. When I arrived in New York City for college, I was eager for people to know me. One of the ways I knew how to do that – beyond the initial introduction of, “I’m Harmony from Hawaii,” was to tell stories about my family. I would hold court, telling stories that made people listen.
Little did I know that the reason they were staring at me was not because I was telling great stories. It was because I was over-sharing – a concept I had never heard of. At one point my roommate took me aside and said, “You really need to stop telling people those things about your family. It’s embarrassing.” I was stunned. I had not been raised with the concept that the actions of family (some whom you never met) was something to be ashamed of. And if I was an over-sharer, my father was the king.
I read Public Parts, by Jeff Jarvis. Throughout reading it, I couldn’t help but think of my tendency to over share. I would agree with Mr. Jarvis, that as long as you are sharing stories with permission and credit, don’t harm anyone, and add value, there is no harm done. People gravitate to authentic content based on real experiences and real unedited emotion.