When is sharing personal information TMI–too much information? Twitter, blogs and Facebook have created an era of oversharing. Yet, sometimes, the reason personal information is so compelling is because it’s helps us improve. Cautionary tales, how-to’s, and even the empathetic stories that help us develop shared social bonds all have important value.
Take for example the Pull Ups sponsored “Potty Project” featuring real families toilet training their toddlers. Any parent will tell you, potty training is a pain in the ass. Yours, not the kid’s. For one thing, it’s hard to know when you are being appropriately firm and when you’re inflicting serious psychological damage. Entire books have been written about the traumas that result from poorly handled potty training.
So, is a topic like potty training TMI? No, for the reasons below.
Here’s when personal information is compelling in a culture:
1. It teaches. The trials of the families featured are instructive.
2. It forms shared social bonds. Most of us don’t live in extended families. We rely on the Web and other parents, sometimes older sibs to show us the way.
3. It’s relatable. Marketing and advertising must make the shift with the rest of the culture. We live in a world where what’s relational trumps what’s aspirational.
4. It’s funny. Kids, potties, anxious parents…it’s an inherently comic mix.
5. It’s cultural bedrock. Face it. Potty training is a rite of passage. No matter how much change we experience, things that are bedrock in the culture will endure.
When you got your morning coffee, if your date is on time, and if your shoes match your pants– who cares? Nobody. Unless you’re Lindsay Lohan. But tackle a high stakes issue that people struggle with and you’ve got content that creates meaning in people’s lives.