The Problem with Oversharing on Social Media
We all know ‘those’ people. They may be in our family. They may be in our circle of friends. They may even be some of your employees.
I’m talking about the ones who overshare on social media. You know, give you the minute-by-minute detail of their lives and those who post endless selfies.
Social media is a place to engage with each other and have fun – share memories, share good times and bad, share experiences. NOT share everything short of when you use the restroom.
Oversharing on social media has become a problem. People are using platforms as their online diaries, broadcasting their personal grievances and details of their children’s lives for the entire world to see. I am going to drop some truth on you right now. The world does not care what your Elf on the Shelf did every night. The world does not care what your kids got for Christmas or their birthday (aside from maybe your family). The world honestly does not care about every detail of your life. Harsh? Yes, but those most vested in your life and that do care will do so offline.
What happened to personal space and privacy?
Psychology Today addressed six reasons people overshare on social media a few years ago, however the reasons still remain the same today –
- Anonymity – Some people can hide behind usernames and not use their real names.
- Invisibility – “It can be easier to say things from behind a keyboard when the other person (or people) aren’t looking at the poster.”
- Delayed Communication – You don’t have to deal with comments and messages immediately.
- Filling in the other person – There’s no body language to read.
- It’s not real – Much like the first two, people drop their inhibitions and become someone else.
- Lack of authority – People may disassociate someone’s offline identity with their online identity, causing them to blurt out something they would never in real life, say, in front of an authority figure.
In another article, the Huffington Post looked at three other reasons people overshare, and these seem to be more in-line with what we actually see –
- Boredom – People are bored so they feel the need to post to fill up their time.
- Egocentricity – People think they are the center of the universe and the universe cares about what they are doing.
- Low Self-Esteem – People are seeking attention and validation.
Facebook has provided a solution to those of us who are tired of these types of posts taking up space in our newsfeed. You can now snooze people for 30 days or unfollow them – all while keeping the Facebook friendship in place. The offending party will have no idea you are no longer seeing their posts.
People unfollow businesses for posting too much, so what happens if the oversharer is a business owner? This is where the territory gets tricky.
I have often written on this blog about you being an extension of your brand/company, no matter if you are the owner or an employee, and everything you do online reflects back on that brand/company. If you are oversharing every sordid detail of your life, and you own a business, how do you think that may affect your business?
Very rarely does oversharing positively affect your business. More often than not, it will harm it.
So there has to be a balance, right? It’s called common sense.
You cannot be too careful in this day and age, especially when it comes to children. Being married to a prosecuting attorney I could write an entire post on why you should not post about your children online (and yes, he does get mad when I post anything that just might give details away about our daughters).
Post personal highlights, not the details.
It’s okay if you do not post every day. People are not going to forget about you.
If you have something sensitive going on in your family, don’t post about it. Not everyone in your family wants it out there online – trust me on this one.
If you are only posting for attention and validation – DO NOT POST IT. This is the root of the majority of social media posts – people wanting attention and people seeking validation because they are missing something in their lives. What’s missing? I can’t say – only they know.
We all know oversharers – you may even be one and not know it (most do not realize it). Everyone needs to think before they post, whether they post once a month or once a day.
What advice would you give to someone who is constantly oversharing?