There have been several notable instances of oversharing on the internet of late, the most recent being the UCLA student who posted a rant on YouTube about Asian students in the library. I think we think of oversharing of this type as a problem of the moment – exacerbated by internet technology and a generation of facebook, twitter and blogger users. But, as it happens, I’ve come across a few wonderful moments of – if not oversharing per se – then at least someone saying something in what they believed to be a private forum, or a relatively un-public forum, only to have it widely, and regrettably circulated.
My most recent example is from accounts of the minutes of the Cork Poor Relief Society: The Secretary read a form of application for pecuniary assistance, which was to be forwarded to affluent members of society, requesting subscriptions for the poor. It was approved and the secretary was requested to note down the names of all parties to whom he had written.
The Secretary said that he had written to the members of the medical profession already
Mr. Burke said that he had applied to Dr. William Lloyd for a subscription, and the doctor stated that he would give no money, but would attend the poor professionally two hours each day, gratuitously, give advice and any medicine he ordered them, he would pay out of his own pocket. – (loud laughter)
One can imagine, reading the transcript of this meeting the next day, that the members wished they either had not laughed so loudly at the prospect of Dr. Lloyd being generous, or that the correspondent from the Cork Constitution (which paper campaigned against the kind of relief the committee was distributing) might have been more delicate in his note-taking.