Public Tweeting: When Is It Time to Stop Oversharing on Twitter?

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Nothing is sacrosanct. We all go through the same motions in life, right? So what’s wrong with tweeting while you’re in child labor? Or sending pictures of some distinctly manly parts? At what point do I stop telling the world what I just ate for lunch?

Most recently, New York Representative Anthony Weiner tweeted a rather incriminating picture of something imitating his last name in what’s turned into a scandalous controversy. It wasn’t supposed to be a public tweet: He claims it was supposed to be sent as a direct message.

So he did what anyone in his rather public position would do: He claimed it was a hoax and that his Twitter account was hacked. Jokes aside (and there have been many), he ‘fessed up in a press conference that has made the rounds of every single media outlet imaginable.

But if we’re talking bodily fluids along with bodily parts, Mary Wycherly of the United Kingdom also decided to share the beautiful process of childbirth with the rest of the world recently. Besides warning women everywhere and reminding those with a Y chromosome that it might be a blessing to have that gene, the incident has received attention in the press.

Her tweets didn’t hide anything, from her dismay about her water breaking to the reactions of the midwives. When the pain got to be too much, she turned the tweeting responsibilities over to her husband. Now that’s some Twitter dedication.

Oh man I’ve knackered the couch with amniotic fluid.

These midwives are ace. “We love it when you want to poo. It makes us happy”. #homebirth

Wycherly, post-labor, later realized that perhaps live-tweeting her child’s birth probably wasn’t the most “private” thing to do.

Starting to regret tweeting during birth now. I don’t want to go on telly, radio etc It wasn’t meant to be an ‘event’. In other news, happy.

Still, it boils down to what she chose to disclose publicly, even if she isn’t a government figure like Weiner is. Last year, the Library of Congress decided to begin cataloging all public tweets, meaning your tweets will be available to aliens centuries from now long after humans have disappeared.

At the end of the day, signing up for Twitter is a choice a person makes. Also not making your Twitter account private is also a choice you make. So what does that mean? Everything anyone says publicly on Twitter is fair game, and open to discussion or criticism. And that’s a good point to keep in mind, even for myself.

While I’m tempted to cut Weiner some slack for being a public figure, it’s also a wonder why Weiner didn’t take the precaution of making a second, private account for his sexting needs. I’m not condoning what Weiner did or didn’t do – that’s not the point of this piece – but merely considering the public nature of the incident.

By the way, Mary, congratulations on your healthy baby girl, Sailor.

More on TIME.com:

It’s Official: It’s Microsoft & Facebook vs. Twitter & Apple

Malaysian Man Tweets 100 Apologies to Avoid Lawsuit

It’s Science: You Can Only Really Follow 150 People on Twitter

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