Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Epidemic of Oversharing

By: Allison Barnes, Account Assistant, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
We can all think of at least one friend on social media who posts too much, whether its baby pictures, political opinions, what they’re eating or what they did over the weekend. It’s fun to see what people are up to or what they have to say, but after a while newsfeeds seem to be flooded by the same people, talking about the same things over and over again. As a young professional, I understand the fun and business sides of social media, but I don’t understand where people lose their filters and share too much. Are we attracted to the idea of people liking our photos, being jealous of what we are up to, or think people really care what we have to say? Let’s evaluate this epidemic and ways to avoid being “that friend.”

I try to be cautious on social media; do we really know who is watching our profiles? Will my boss, future employers, parents or future children read this someday? Privacy settings change without us being aware of it. Just because a private account on Twitter says “this account’s Tweets are protected,” one of your followers could retweet you and other people can see it. I once asked a colleague who I was not Facebook friends with to search my profile because I wanted to see if my privacy settings worked. While my posts and photos did not appear on my profile, every profile picture and cover photo I had ever posted did. We don’t know how long our imprint on the internet will last, so let’s leave something to be proud of. Check your accounts privacy settings occasionally and “edit” your profile to best represent you.

For young professionals, remember to watch what we say, how we are representing ourselves and how we represent the businesses we work for. The freedom to share what we want, when we want and who we want to share it with, is not exactly easy. Friends can share, tag, and mention whoever they want without our permission. Don’t be afraid to remove the tag of yourself on a photo or ask a friend to take down a post on social media. It they’re a good friend, they will understand.

So how do we decide what to share with the world and what can wait to be shared in person? Consider who will see your posts before posting them. How will my parents or friends feel if I shared this with others? How am I representing myself? Photos and comments live on the internet forever. Do you want your future children reading an inappropriate comment you wrote, 20 years from now?

When I am unsure if I want to post or tweet something, I usually don’t share it. Another option is to try waiting a few hours or sleeping on it before posting. After a good night’s sleep, you might realize how the post may appear to others or you may have completely different feelings about the topic.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing your thoughts, feelings, opinions, photos or stories with the world. Social media is an expression of who we are, and I think our profiles should reflect our personalities. Let’s take a step back every once in a while to evaluate what our profiles say about ourselves.

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