Humans are social animals. We like to connect to those people close to us. We love to share our lives with our beloved ones, friends, office-mates or even our acquaintances at times. Yet sometimes, we get all caught up with our online lives that we forget to filter what personal things we share with these groups. And this is becoming a problem trend.
So what specifically is it that makes us overshare?
Experts say that we overshare on social networks because we are trying to subconsciously control our own anxieties. We feel the need to look smart, sophisticated and interesting among our groups to feel more accepted. But the problem still remains that we sometimes forget the difference between sharing something important and sharing something not so important.
Meanwhile, when we talk to our friends and family in real life, we usually build off their facial cues and mold the conversation appropriately. We can see if the person is frazzled, in a hurry, or in need of talking about themselves. When we pick up on these cues and change our dialogue, this is what experts call “self regulation.” But unfortunately, we tend to forget to self-regulate when we’re sharing personal information online.
So how can we self-regulate online?
1. Think before you speak/post. It’s better to ask yourself whether the content you are sharing is really worth it. Posting things about your marriage, about your whereabouts or about your children can be a touchy topic.
2. Turn on your privacy settings. The best way to stay safe online is to be preventative. If you enable your privacy settings then you are saving yourself from plenty of hassle. Take a look at 5 new social networks to keep your family safe.
2. Curb your political banter. We know that politics is important, but don’t overdo it. You may run the risk of infuriating close friends and triggering an online debate you didn’t wish to among your close friends and even potential business partners.
3. Talk less about yourself. We understand that you are the centerpiece to your world. But for the rest of us, you’re just one person. So make sure you boost the egos of your friends and family. The more love you give out, the more love that will return.
4. Stop badmouthing people. If you’re holding a grudge against someone or flat out don’t like them, there’s other ways of dealing with it then professing your grievances online. Especially if it comes to your boss, partners or company in general. Those remarks could eventually land you in hot water.
Fortunately, we’re learning from our mistakes. The Pew Research Center revealed a new study that says younger online users are exposing less personal information on Facebook and various other social media accounts. The report also notes that more young people are protecting their accounts using basic online privacy settings. It also suggests that youngsters are using these preventative measure due to the awareness of online predators and consequences from their parents if they choose to share too much information.
Facebook has made it too easy to share any bit of information about yourself. Consequently, it gives us too much power over our own lives and we sometimes fall victim to the normalcy of oversharing. But it’s become an epidemic that we need to change. It’s important to keep our privacy intact. Otherwise, we’ll be targeted by all the wrong things.