How often do you post on your social media accounts? Do you regularly update your Facebook or IG Stories? Do you update your social media friends and followers in real-time whenever you travel? Are your social media friends up-to-date on all your life milestones and day-to-day activities?
It’s true social media platforms are meant to connect people and keep family and friends updated even when you don’t regularly see each other. Such sites are great platforms to showcase talents, share interests, and connect with like-minded people. There is, however, a line between sharing and oversharing on social media. In this fast-paced and increasingly digital world we inhabit, that line is often blurred or overlooked.
What Does “Oversharing Online” Refer To?
Oversharing refers to revealing too much or an inappropriate amount of detail about yourself and your personal business. It could easily happen in person, during a party, or regular day-to-day conversations. You could overshare with family, friends, and/or strangers you’ve just met. Nowadays, oversharing online is happening at an increasing rate.
Oversharing online mostly occurs on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Prompting questions like “What’s happening?” and “What’s on your mind?” are often the precursors of oversharing. There’s nothing wrong with sharing a personal post to a tight group of friends. The thing is, these days many people have hundreds of “friends” on social media whom they don’t know.
While some may not knowingly do so, some seem to do it on purpose. So why do people tend to overshare online? Here are some of the reasons.
- Encouraged by Social Media Sites
Social media platforms highly encourage users to post anything and everything about their life – including thoughts, opinions, photos, events, current location and more. An update can be done in just a few clicks – convenient and hassle-free.
Moreover, social media sites display windows into the lives of other people, whether they’re celebrities, family and friends, or mere strangers that you’re “friends’ with on social media. This leads to the so-called fear of missing out (FOMO) which people often try to compensate by being on social media all the time and posting as much as possible.
- Venting out Emotions, Stress, and Frustrations
Many people utilize social media as a stage to their everyday lives – whether featuring happy events or private or personal drama. You’ve probably come across people posting angry rants, shaming their ex, throwing shade on their so-called friends, and similar posts.
Social media is meant to be a platform of self-expression and to connect with people. There should, however, be a limit to how much you should divulge and post on social media for the world to see.
- Looking for Attention
Only a few people would admit to this, but several people on social media post just about anything for attention. In this age of social media influencers, people seem to be on the constant chase for that one photo, video, or post that will catapult them into fame.
Chasing likes, comments, and shares on social media posts often leads people to post anything that could potentially get them noticed. Oftentimes, they don’t even care if they’re making themselves look stupid or worse, putting themselves in danger.
10 Ways People Can Overshare Online
While some people knowingly overshare in their pursuit of attention and fame, some are unwitting oversharers. While some completely ignore the line between simply sharing or expressing and oversharing, some people just unintentionally overlook the line.
Take a look at the following instance to see if you might be oversharing online.
- Sharing photos or videos meant to be private.
- Posting photos and videos of every nook and cranny of your home.
- Posting embarrassing photos or videos of yourself or of other people.
- Sharing intimate details about your romantic relationships.
- Publicly posting about family issues or personal drama instead of getting in touch with the people involved.
- Sharing personal and sensitive details about you.
- Sharing personal details and too many photos of your kids.
- “Checking in” everywhere you go.
- Posting real-time updates on what you’re doing especially when out in public.
- Posting travel itineraries or daily schedules.
How Oversharing Can Affect A Person
So how does oversharing online affect us? Well, oversharing online could affect every aspect of life, personal and professional. Moreover, oversharing can also affect our family, friends, and the people close to us.
- Physical Effects of Oversharing Online
Oversharing could be associated with overusing of digital platforms which could then be linked to excessive use of devices. This can result in various physical effects – Dry eyes, sore fingers/wrist, migraine, back pain to name a few adverse effects. Oversharing could also trigger stress and anxiety which could manifest physically.
Then, there are the more serious safety and security issues that could put you and your loved ones in danger. It could be via photos or personal details you posted on your social media accounts. Oversharing personal and confidential information might also lead to physical harm. Online stalkers, for instance, could easily track their victims’ whereabouts and routines, making it easier for them to execute their crime like theft, rape, or murder.
- Mental Effects of Oversharing Online
Oversharing might cause you or other people varying degrees of embarrassment just because of a photo or conversation you shouldn’t have shared online. Many employers also vet social media accounts of prospective employees, so you might want to think before posting something that could come back to haunt you.
Plus, if you don’t receive the response you’re expecting, oversharing could lead to extreme dissatisfaction, anxiety, and depression. The need for validation is often unconsciously created and fostered, and if this goes on unattended, it could build an unhealthy and poor mindset affecting not only your mental health, but your overall well-being.
Pros and Cons of Oversharing Online
Oversharing, while mostly viewed in a negative light, may also have its advantages. This will depend on several factors like your nature of work, the kind of information you’re sharing, the specific social media platform you’re sharing it in, and more.
- Expressing Oneself
Oversharing can be good when it comes to expressing oneself, particularly in the form of art like photography, painting, and the like. The type or level of sensitivity of the topic may however tip this into a con.
- Connecting with Like-Minded People
In connection with self-expression, oversharing might lead you to connect with like-minded people. Consequently, such connections might lead to the building of great friendships.
- Opening Yourself Up to Cyberbullying
Oversharing could easily make you a target of trolls and cyberbullies. It doesn’t matter if you’re sharing an innocent photo or posting a pretty harmless opinion, some people seem to take everything as an opportunity to insert their unwanted opinions into other people’s lives.
- Exposing Kids to Child Predators
This is a particular threat for oversharing parents and their unknowing kids. There are quite a number of child predators who stalk social media for their next target. This could range from anything between grabbing your child’s photo to mining your kid’s information and connecting with them.
- Security Issues
Oversharing opens the door to various security threats. There are cybercriminals who could extract sensitive information you shared and utilize it to steal your identity. In another instance, thieves could track your daily routine or travel schedule and attack when it’s most convenient to them.
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