Oversharing: The ‘Share Until it Hurts’ Culture

We all have friends on Facebook who share way too much information about their daily lives. It’s usually about something mundane and easily overlooked, but not always:

  • Pictures of their food? They’ve got ’em
  • Pictures of their kids/pets? Dozens…a day
  • Posts about their weight? OMG Yes
  • Complaints about work/school? Uh huh
  • Updates about social plans (that you may not be invited to)? Yep, that too

This is a totally made up example, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has actually happened (and try to tell me it couldn’t if it hasn’t already). Imagine this:

A teenage girl posts everything to her social media accounts; facebook, tumblr, twitter, everywhere possible, it’s all there. Pictures of her home, her family, her pets, the things she buys, the things she gets for her birthday, etc. She starts posting that she and her family are going on vacation and then continues to post blurbs about their time away. By the end of it there are literally hundreds of pictures of her time on the beach. The family returns home to find that they were robbed. When the police begin to investigate the crime they realize that the teenager’s constant sharing of her life enabled the robbers to do what they did. In the end it was a friend’s friend’s friend who is held responsible for the robbery and it turns out they got all their information about this house from the teenage girl’s posts.

This trend of telling everyone everywhere everything all the time isn’t just overbearing, it’s dangerous.

How many times have we seen news stories of people losing jobs over stupid posts? In some cases it’s not even related to work life, but still presents an image of the person making the statements that their employer finds unacceptable. Head on over to YouTube and find “People Fired Because of Social Media” on Good Mythical Morning to see a video detailing this very issue.

So, how do you avoid this problem? How do you make sure YOU don’t become ‘that person’? Well, the solution is rooted in a very simple place:

Common Sense. Here are some tips:

  1. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it online. If you find yourself upset with someone in your life, no matter who it is or what the situation is, don’t post about it on the Internet! Take a step back from the problem, calm down, and then find a way to deal with it in real life. Taking it to the Internet makes you seem passive-aggressive and ultimately will only escalate the situation.
  2. Don’t tell the world about an expensive purchase. Did you just get some crazy, incredible, high-tech gadget? Unless you are absolutely positive that only real friends and family members will see this post, don’t share. If you just have to tell people send them an email. Don’t put it all out there in a public forum.
  3. Only be friends with people you actually know. Don’t add all those acquaintances into your circles if you post private information. You don’t know your friend’s friends in real life? Then they aren’t your friends, you know nothing about them, and they have no business seeing daily pictures of your life.

Do you know someone who regularly makes the phrase “TMI” come out of your mouth? Are YOU the one who overshares? Do you have any tips to help people decide if something should be put online or not? Let everyone know in the comments—but only if it passes the common-sense test. For example, don’t name anyone involved or give too many specifics.

Bottom line? Use your heads, people!