Humans are social creatures. We love to interact with the people around us. We share our lives with our family, friends, coworkers and even casual acquaintances. But sometimes, we forget to turn off our filter and we share too much of our life, especially through outlets like social media.
So what makes us overshare?
Experts believe that we overshare because we are trying to subconsciously control our own anxiety. We feel the impulse to connect with our friends and look smart, witty and interesting in order to feel accepted. But the simple problem is that we forget to turn off our filter.
When we talk to people in real life, we usually build off their facial expressions and body language cues. They could be in a hurry; they could be frazzled; they could be annoyed; they could be any number of certain things. And we can usually pick up on these things quite easily. This is what experts call “self regulation.” As a result, we tend to mold the conversation to fit the situation. But when we share our lives online, all we see is a blank computer screen.
So how can we stop ourselves from oversharing?
1. Think before you speak. Ask yourself if the content you’re sharing is worth it. Do people really need to know the intimacies of your marriage? Or what you had for breakfast?
2. Enable your privacy settings. It’s important to share with your close friends and family on Facebook. But it’s less important to share the most intimate details about to your past acquaintances and friends you haven’t seen since 3rd grade.
3. Curb your political chatter. It’s fine to announce important and pressing issues when it comes to politics. But if you overdo it, you run the risk of infuriating close friends and potential business partners.
4. Stop talking about yourself so much. We understand that you need to share important dates, special occasions and exciting events in your life. But make sure you boost someone else up every once in awhile. In fact, it’s best to make it a habit.
5. Don’t badmouth people you know. If you post rotten things about someone on Facebook, chances are it’s going to come back to haunt you. Many times we see co-workers criticize their boss/company or friends speak ill of their partners. Eventually, those remarks will land you in hot water. (In fact, Facebook revealed that social media posts are popping up more frequently in divorce proceedings.)
Fortunately, our children are learning from our mistakes. A new study from the Pew Research Center, revealed that younger online users are exposing less personal information on their social media privacy. The report also suggested that more youngsters are protecting their information with privacy settings. Many suggest that the trend is due to the awareness of online predators and the consequences imposed by adults for oversharing.
The rise of Facebook has given us almost too much power at our fingertips. It’s become perfectly normal for people to share every single detail about their lives. And it’s an epidemic worth changing. It’s important to make privacy a priority when it comes to your online accounts. Otherwise, you’ll be victimized to the pitfalls of oversharing.
Nick Trenchard is an experienced tech blogger, digital advertising project coordinator and sports journalist for four years. He has written engaging, creative and informative tech content for various startup blogs about online safety including his last feature called five new social networks to keep your family safe online.