Is anything private anymore? Do we need to know the personal details of total strangers? Image source: morguefile.com
The one thing that drives me crazy with the Internet and social media in general is that it has absolutely bred the ability of the over sharer. Those who give too much information about random things, too often and in great detail - whether you wish to hear/read it or not. Let's face it, you are either the one who is or who has previously been an over sharer. On the other hand, you know someone who is.
Over sharing is very common and has, over the last decade been made that much easier through social media. Every thought, experience, question or event that occurs can be shared so easily in a matter of seconds with practically anyone. Are we not keeping our personal stuff personal anymore? Do we really need a photo of what someone is about to eat; the details of where their unwell child vomited; how tired they are feeling today, or be given the pin point location of where they are currently having their post work drinks?
Remember, not that long ago when we met someone for the first time how they were a total mystery. That it took time, effort, appreciation and meaningful conversations to find out more about them? Sometimes I miss that. I understand social media and it's benefits, however I feel that we are now missing out on that element of surprise. The thrill, like James Bond the International man of mystery. How intriguing that still is to really get to know someone.
I can't blame social media. The over sharer was rampant long before the Internet existed. It was and still is happening on bus stops; in trains; on the shopping queue; in workplaces, and at schools and colleges. Those people that give you a blow by blow description of something concerning their life, whether or not you asked; have the time to listen, or if you simply don't wish to.
Years ago I knew an elderly lady, a lovely woman who was still working with little children as she loved it so much. She was a real sweetheart who called people little pet names, and always had a smile on her face. She could over share more than anyone I have ever met. I remember when she took time off to have an operation before which she drew detailed, labelled diagrams on what the plan was for the procedure, and then again on what did occur during the procedure in comparison once she had recovered. I was not long out of high school, and I was literally shocked - more so that she did this in mixed company. Every second that I had to sit through it, I was thinking this must be a dream or nightmare. People don't do this. Or do they?
It's happening all around us. I was once waiting at a bus stop, and had a lady I had never met tell me a massive description of why she us giving up removing hair from her legs, before she begun showing me. It was a really hot day; the bus was late and frankly I could get by without knowing...thanks anyway.
Things that can happen if we give away too much information:
1) It is wasting yours and others time
2) You could lose friends over it
3) Your private things could be shared and made public before you can say "Wow that's embarrassing".
4) Your current or future boss and other co-workers could find out about it.
5) Without even meaning to, you could easily embarrass or offend someone.
6) You may be in effect dobbing someone in.
7) It could be used against you
8) Once it is out there, it is difficult to delete.
9) You may not get the response you were hoping for, leading to disappointment.
10) Identify theft
11) Money taken from your accounts
12) Belongings stolen
What steps can we take to keep our personal life personal:
1) Think twice before posting. Is it really necessary? Will others be interested, and what outcome are you hoping for?
2) Check all your privacy settings. It's been known to happen that people send something to everyone in their contact list accidentally.
3) Use common sense
4) Share it with a select few
5) Appreciate the difference of what we share with loved ones in comparison to what we share with acquaintances.
6) My personal favourite: If in doubt leave it out.
- Rumours spread quickly in person, and extremely rapidly online.
- Everyone is super busy with their own lives. Our time on earth is limited. Don't waste it.
- Be aware of who you are telling, and what you are telling them.
- Loved ones are given to us for a reason
- Spend time living your life and enjoying experiences - rather than posting everything.