Do We Overshare?

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, the word of the year for 2010 is Overshare.  Here is their definition:Overshare (verb): to divulge excessive personal information, as in a blog or broadcast interview, prompting reactions ranging from alarmed discomfort to approval.In preparation for an article in the Roanoke Times on Facebook etiquette, one of the areas that I was compelled to address is how much information we share. This specific article is more for high school and college age students that will enter the job market; but I believe we can all learn to NOT overshare our information. Citing multiple survey’s for the article, the lessons learned included being cautious in what you share because executives and hiring managers are making decisions based upon what they find out about you online.The rise and popularity of social media has lead to the smallest, most mundane details of our lives being published for the world!  Do we do this because we believe people want to know what we are doing, every moment of the day?  Do we overshare so that we can gain approval from our friends or soon to be friends; or, are we changing how we communicate and feel like we have to share these details?  How many times have you read an update from a friend or follower and thought, “why are they sharing that” with me and the world?I believe there is a saturation point; a point where we can share too much information.  However, I like knowing what my friends are doing, and I have actually met friends for lunch or coffee unexpectedly due to both of us checking in on Foursquare.  Sharing can be good and can lead to opportunities you may not have realized. Oversharing can cause problems or potentially lead to situations that could have been avoided just by using discretion.Social media and everything it includes should be approached with two simple words: common sense.  Those are my thoughts; what say you?

Comments

  1. Good post and great food for thought. "Oversharing" is a personal issue, and those of us who frequently use social media, determine what and what not to share. Hopefully, we have the maturity and good sense to know the difference between what information should be shared and what should not. For those folks who are parents of teenagers, I would hope that there would be some monitoring, for the simple fact that what is posted online will forever be online. Social media has given us a medium of connection and communication unlike anything we have ever seen. If we use it wisely, it can greatly enhance our personal and business lives. We should use it with respect and know that it can have a positive effect or a negative effect. It is our choice.

  2. Gina Parris says:

    John,I know there are plenty of times that I’ve begun to post something, look at it and simply delete it all. I think you sort of summed it up with the word of caution:" because executives and hiring managers are making decisions based upon what they find out about you online."Unfortunately common sense is often far too uncommon! As a parent of 3 children who are on facebook (one of my kids has no use for it!) I think half their common sense comes from knowing I READ THEIR POSTS!Thanks for making me think.

  3. I think another potential problem of over-sharing is that it can lead to harm/danger – not just in the reputation/saturation world – but I’ve read stories of robberies because folks have shared that they are gone on vacation for weeks, and they’ve also shared where they lived too. Crime is becoming too easy for taking "transparency" too literally! But you and Gina are right – I think you should Tweet wish a guideline in mind, like "Don’t Tweet/Facebook what you wouldn’t share w/ your mama"

  4. TMI- right? So many directions this could go…I have this urge to overshare right now! Philosophically it seems that there may be a universal desire to stand out and differentiate from the masses by exclaiming our uniqueness – which many times is very personal info. We all have our own thresholds of how much info is TMI and living with 2 teens has "expanded" my threshold as they like to give TMI just for the sheer expression on our face!Undersharing, on the other hand, could hamper the personal touch of social media so there’s a dilemma-where’s the handy rules when you need them :)I just posted the exact name of the ice cream I had last night on FB but I won’t describe my mucous in detail like my ‘friend’ Steve did….ooops, TMI!

  5. OK J describing mucous in detail is definitely TMI!John you bring up such an interesting topic! I think this is something people struggle with constantly in using social media and I believe that it is definitely changing the way we communicate. While I am thoughtful of what I put on Facebook and Twitter, do I sometimes share seemingly random information like what I’m making for dinner or maybe that I’m having special coffee in the morning. While it may seem like TMI, I have actually connected with clients and made really great friendships in sharing that info.When we share our interests, likes, dislikes, etc. it gives us and others a chance to connect with others who have similar interests or want to further the conversation.The beauty of Social Media is that we each have the unique opportunity to connect with our "tribe" and if someone doesn’t resonate with you, you or he/she can change the "channel":-)Great post John!

  6. Rochelle Veturis says:

    Love, love, love this post John. It’s total discussion stimulant. Don’t know if you’ve read the book Generation Me or not (by Dr. Jean Twenge), but it’s about those born in the 70s, 80s, and 90s (i.e. GenMe). And one of the things this group is know for, aside from entitlement, is being the TMI generation. According to research, GenMe thinks they’ll be rich and famous –at the very least rich. They feel like they’re just as good as those on the cover of US Weekly, just as important. Just as prominent. So why wouldn’t people want to know about every detail of their lives, just as people want to know everything about celebrities? It’s so interesting when you pair these feelings and behaviors with an abundance of social media platform. TMI ALERT!

  7. Rochelle Veturis says:

    Sorry, meant to write "an abundance of social media platforms," in my second to last sentence above.

  8. John Lusher says:

    Funny Gina; common sense can become more apparent when you know your children are on Facebook, and vice-versa! Thank you for the comments my friend!

  9. John Lusher says:

    Thanks Paul for always providing thoughtful and insightful comments! We do need to be careful and I LOVE the mama comment; so true!

  10. John Lusher says:

    TMI J – I think this is the very first time that mucous has been used in the comments section of my site! Too funny; but true, sometimes it is best to use discretion :-)

  11. John Lusher says:

    Danielle, the change the channel comment is spot on! While I believe we can all overshare, if my connections prefer to not know what I am doing…..well, change the channel! Thanks for commenting!

  12. John Lusher says:

    Thanks R for the comments! I love the conversations that this post has prompted and as we move forward with our social lives, it will be interesting to see how this evolves and changes us and our communication platforms. Good stuff!

  13. John a great post. What we need to look at is that we are in a society where everything is immediate and needs to happen now. Information is the big driver of this. As a result we share a lot of your information. I do not believe over sharing is really the issue. In the information age people need to learn to filter content and use the content with is pertinent to them. Sharing is not the issue, filtering is.

  14. Marie Nordhues says:

    Great post John — I agree totally with Paul’s comment on crime potential with oversharing. Young people like my daughter have hundreds of "friends" on FB. They have no way of knowing whether one of them — or one of their friends — would see a posting about being away for a weekend and take advantage of that. Also ID theft is a growing problem every year and social media info can be used to commit ID fraud.

  15. John Lusher says:

    So true Marie, we MUST be careful with what we post and how specific we are about our locations! Thank you for the comments!

  16. Good post and great food for thought. "Oversharing" is a personal issue, and those of us who frequently use social media, determine what and what not to share. Hopefully, we have the maturity and good sense to know the difference between what information should be shared and what should not. For those folks who are parents of teenagers, I would hope that there would be some monitoring, for the simple fact that what is posted online will forever be online. Social media has given us a medium of connection and communication unlike anything we have ever seen. If we use it wisely, it can greatly enhance our personal and business lives. We should use it with respect and know that it can have a positive effect or a negative effect. It is our choice.

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