The consequences of Oversharing on the internet
The example of digital communication breakdown that I have chosen is a classic case of why we should avoid oversharing on the internet. There are some problems that must be dealt with offline. Taking personal issues like heartbreak to the internet when both members of the relationship are a rather well-known celebrities is sure to end in disaster. Youtuber Trisha Paytas, the “author” of this digital communication breakdown, is known for being a little bit too comfortable on the internet. For example, the majority of her videos are of her having a meltdown on her kitchen floor. She met her now ex-boyfriend Jason Nash through vlogger David Dobrik, who Trisha was friends with before her and Jason’s relationship went sour. The context of this breakdown was Trisha and Jason’s rather nasty breakup, which took place in private yet was blasted all over the internet by none other than Trisha herself. Trisha posted a series of videos after the breakup, bashing Jason for alleged fat-shaming and attacking David for being an allegedly cruel “friend”. These videos caused mass hysteria on the internet, as most of her shaming videos do. Her audience was intended to be Jason and David, but she knew that she would also be speaking to their fan bases as well. David and Jason refused to respond to these videos, although they have noticeably distanced themselves from her. Surprisingly, Trisha seemed to receive more hate for these videos than her targets did. She has been called nasty names by fans of David and Jason, who call her out for her attention-seeking nature and constant need for sympathy. Trisha very much so likes to play the victim. Every dispute and controversy she has had involving another Youtuber, in her eyes, is entirely not her fault. In an attempt to save face, she has deleted some of her videos directly attacking David and Jason. However, as we all should know, nothing is ever really gone from the internet. Superfans have re-uploaded most of her deleted videos. In fact, some channels are entirely devoted to these re-uploads.
We can’t be quite sure what Trisha’s purpose was for making these videos. Was it just out of pure hatred? Or did she just want another second in the spotlight? There are many Youtubers that thrive on controversy and I certainly believe that she is one of them. Furthermore, she can make money off of these videos if they exceed a certain amount of views. These shaming videos are usually her most viewed, as everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of the controversy. This leads me to believe that Trisha’s motives are fueled by “some toxic mixture of insecurity and ambition”, as Jon Ronson calls it in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.
Unfortunately, there is no straight and narrow path to solving problems like this. Oversharing is an individual problem. People want to believe that the internet is a safe space for sharing their emotions and opinions, despite the feedback that they may receive. Those who usually participate in this behavior are those who also do not comprehend the impact that their behavior may have on their audience. Jon Ronson muses, “...with social media, we’ve created a stage for constant artificial high drama. Every day a new person emerges as a magnificent hero or a sickening villain. It’s all very sweeping, and not the way we actually are as people” (79). Just as the internet chose to make Justine Sacco the villain one day, Trisha’s case is all about this idea of pointing fingers and selecting who should be shamed. The best we can do is reduce our personal contributions to this artificial high drama. Views, retweets, and comments only boost these Youtubers’ paychecks and egos. While the internet should always remain a place for free speech, I believe we should attempt to monitor oversharing for the purpose of starting drama and more importantly, we must avoid promoting those who do.