Many years ago when my mother was dying, she mentioned that she was taking a number of secrets to the grave. Not that she was stocking up; she was simply offering a statement of fact. She was proud to have been the keeper of accounts that others had deemed classified and, to the best of my knowledge, she kept her word.

Twenty-five years later, we’re living in a very different time. On the one hand, people now routinely spill the beans, whether we’re interested or not. We live in a period of chronic disclosure, which doesn’t bode well for privacy in general.

On the other hand, there will always be secrets, since there will always be conduct that people will try to conceal. Think Russian election meddling or sexual harassment, which have dominated the news of late. In such cases, the more disclosure, the better.

Secrets come in every stripe, many of them benign, useful, even festive. The anonymous donation to charity is a type of secret.

Ditto the surprise party or the unannounced return home of a soldier from abroad.

One could reasonably argue that some things should be kept under wraps. For instance, I recently read a memoir in which the author revealed more private thoughts and declarations than I, for one, wanted to know. Critics praised the book for its witty candor, though some readers may not have withstood the secret-baring long enough to find out.

Too much information – TMI – is no longer a term that applies to an occasional surfeit of details. It’s an epidemic that has devolved from the mandates of our digital life.

“Share” is an actual command in much of our current software, followed by various methods for that sharing – Facebook, Google+, Twitter.

Nowhere is there a command to self-censor, be discreet or exercise restraint.

Those used to be internal mandates before we were conjoined with our gadgets. Not to mention the angst that could be spared if even a few seconds intervened between certain impulses and their presence online.

As a result, people share their every half-formed thought and feeling in emails, blogs and elsewhere, routinely invading their own privacy. That we all have that right is one of the great modern ironies.

Nor do we mean to breach the privacy of others, though that’s an inevitable result of so much public posting. In the digital era, the sheer speed and glut of information has an almost anesthetic effect.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that in a time of over-sharing, secrets have taken a hit.

I go back to the notion of my mother having died with other people’s secrets, like prized parts of herself.

“Some things are just sacred,” I can hear her saying, by way of explanation.

Yet her old-fashioned, generational view is just that – a throwback to a time when privacy actually mattered.

And if not privacy, then what about honor?