At first, it seemed so innocent. Just another innocuous post from someone I used to know. Soon, they posted more frequently. What’s more, each one became a little more personal and detailed than the last. Then, the floodgates opened. Very personal details about their life, not so subtle hints about their health and relationships were on display for all to see. Some were things they needed to be discussed with trusted people, or at the very least, in private. Some were signs that help was probably needed.
People responded. Some were outright honest and stated that the subject of the posts should have been private. Others showed their support and freely gave their opinions. Some things were more controversial than others.
I found myself drawn to this. I couldn’t stop myself from watching this unravel. I wanted to tell them to stop, but it wasn’t my place. I wanted to tell them to get help, but I didn’t. A mutual friend told me she finally couldn’t stand most of the posts she saw. They seemed like the friend needed help, but it also seemed like they were just yearning for the attention or validation. The posts came so frequently that it became difficult to watch someone share so much and not get help for their issues. Later, I found out that someone told the poster that they were an oversharer. The posts finally stopped. They took a break off social media.
I once knew a person that openly complained about their job online and their financial issues. They were connected to many of their coworkers, yet they continued to do it. Sometimes, the posts were during working hours. Eventually, their activity got to the wrong people. It made a very uncomfortable work environment.
Of course these people aren’t alone. Social media has given us a new form of expression. Though not anonymous, it has also provided people more confidence in sharing. If you share something online, you’re not telling someone in person or on the phone. You don’t have to deal with a response if you don’t want to.
If you’re looking for a place to vent – it seems to be the easiest and readily available method to do it. If you want validation, you can post something and see how your followers react. You can share the joys and successes of your life. You can use it entertain.
Yet, there’s a fine line. Your online presence shouldn’t take the place of action. It’s not a replacement for therapy or interaction with people. It’s not your only method of communication or entertainment. It seems like common sense, but we easily forget this fact.
Why? Plugging in is addicting. It’s also become a part of our lives. It’s an automatic piece of the world that we live in today. I myself am guilty of checking my phone soon after I wake up.
For some of us, once that automation takes over, we have difficulty discerning the appropriate amount of activity or detail. The act of posting and sharing are so engrained in our lives, that it can be blinding.
When it comes to this blog, it becomes a balancing game. The topics of this blog can be very personal. The posts include details of experiences and lives that may be uncomfortable for some. However, it’s the tone and the purpose of these posts that make the difference. The stories are there to empower, educate and inspire. They have a greater purpose, and they have only enough information to serve it. In that sense, I don’t think they cross the line. This is when planning and editing come into play. This is where the determination of proper time and place is key.
For my own personal accounts, I’ve chosen to be very careful of what I post. If I’m upset about something, I don’t get into too many details. I wait for some time before anything goes public. Rash decisions don’t always end up with great results. I also limit my subjects and the frequency in which I post. If I want to share something good, I do the same.
If I needed more interaction, then I still turn to friends and family. Whether it’s a text chat or a meetup, I prefer this type of engagement. Social media is still there for me, but only to a limited degree.
I believe the key in a healthy online presence lies with self control and common sense. Oversharing happens when you lose your sense of boundaries. When you think about things before you write, you might realize that there’s a better audience for you.
What are your thoughts about social media and Oversharing ?