Humans are social creatures. We love to interact with the people around us. We share our lives with our family, friends, co-workers and even casual acquaintances. But sometimes we forget to turn off our filters 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, 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; or they could be annoyed. They could exhibit any number of emotions or mental states. And we can usually pick up on these quite easily in person. 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, we don’t see faces.
So how can we stop ourselves from oversharing?
1. Think before you post - 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. It’s less important to share intimate details with past acquaintances and friends you haven’t seen since 3rd grade. If you still choose to, you can take a look at 5 private social networking sites to keep your family safe.
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 give a shout out to someone else every once in awhile. In fact, it’s best to make it a habit.
5. Don’t badmouth people you know - If you knock someone on Facebook, chances are it’s going to come back to haunt you. Many times we see co-workers criticize their bosses/companies or we see 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 social media. The report also suggested that more youngsters are protecting their information with privacy settings, a trend many attribute to growing awareness of online predators and to adults imposing consequences 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 combating. It’s important to make privacy a priority when it comes to your online accounts. Otherwise, you’ll fall victim to oversharing.