We are often tempted to share our life’s highlight reels on social media in an effort to show people the greatest version of ourselves, but are we guilty of oversharing the details of our lives? Is there a possible risk to oversharing?
WHAT DO WE OVERSHARE?
Generally, there is nothing wrong with sharing the following details below but oversharing some of them have unique risks.
Relationships. We all want the social universe to acknowledge our joy and completion of our married or dating lives. We want to keep the public in the loop of every “coupie” (couples’ selfie), date, kiss, joke, vacation, et cetera, et cetera. But some of us subconsciously slip into the realm of spilling every ounce of our intimate passion tea on social media. When arguments rise and our feelings get hurt, we may take our problems to Facebook and overshare the details of our arguments or any turnoffs we have towards our partner. Even worse, some people go on social media and express thoughts or feelings that weren’t initially communicated with their partner which can lead to arguments. It may be easier to communicate with users on social media, but don’t let it taint the treasured communication between the two of you.
Careers. There’s nothing wrong with flaunting our careers and promotions to the world. Hey, that’s what we do when we’re elated right? But there are instances when some folks share too much about their business, their work environment, and what things look like behind the scenes. Posting too much unnecessary information about the company or maybe your boss can get you terminated. There are a lot of eyes on social media and people who are connected with your work family in different ways. Word can get around quickly and cause unwanted situations.
Children. So many mamas enjoy flooding up their feed with photos of their children. Every cute little mishap with food, play date with toys, brand new outfit, artistic masterpiece, school photo, and report cards is a Tweetable moment. Children are priceless! But according to recent research by Barclay’s—a financial service center—sharing personal information such as a child’s birthday, school name, place of birth, a mother’s maiden name, their pets, or the car they drive can leave them vulnerable to financial and identity fraud. All pieces of information are like bank security questions. So be wise about posting about your babies!
WHY WE OVERSHARE?
According to Psychology Today, we have a few reasons for oversharing our posts on social media:
- Anonymity—users can create accounts that obscure their true identities which makes it easier for them to overshare any personal thoughts and feelings without anyone knowing who they are.
- Invisibility—for most introverts, speaking to strangers, and sometimes even friends and family is much easier than speaking in person. This may give some people a sense of protection and, therefore, make them communicate more than what they would say in person without feeling the pressure of being looked at by others.
- Delayed communication—social media is filled with asynchronous communication. This means that not all communication is live, and we can reply to our friends whenever convenient. This helps us take time to ponder our responses, and our inhibitions are lower, so we tend to share more than we would in person or in live communication.
- Filling in the other person—this is difficult to describe, but online communication takes away the tangibility of chatting in person. When talking online, we don’t see body language, facial expressions, or tone of voice which can make conversations feel “less real” and we may feel like we’re talking with ourselves and, as a result, disclose more about ourselves.
Oversharing on social media may cause others to naturally tune you out (remember the popular adage, “the louder you yell, the less they hear you”). Here’s how to share less: know that people offline are more interested in your life than those online. Unless you have distant family who is only connected through social media, you can always fill them in privately. Also, don’t seek validation from “double tappers” who are superficially impressed. Our lives are precious gems and we must not dangle them only to please the social world.