We don't need to know EVERYTHING

Why do we use social media? To share knowledge and information with friends, family and acquaintances.  But is there a limit to how much we should share and what we share. Obviously some people do not think so! So how do we know what is the appropriate amount? Or am I contradicting myself as I have said many times that social media is largely about freedom of speech?

How much is too much? Well if you’re hungry, eating a whole cake is too much, but a slice may be very enjoyable and satisfying. So how does this translate online.

Overshare, aka “too much information” (TMI) is a familiar phenomenon in the world of social media. An offline example of this is “Did I ever tell you about how you were conceived?”, “Uh, no, mum, that would be an overshare.” as provided by Urban Dictionary. So what about online, what form does overshare acquire in the virtual world?

There are different types of online overshare:

  1. Unwanted information. As simple as that, info that we just didn’t want to know. Information can be classed as TMI whether it is inappropriate (like that person who says a mildly sexist or racist joke at a dinner party to people they don’t know) or just too much in terms of quantity. We don’t want to be bombarded for the simple reason that life is too short too read that many articles, posts, comments or look at that many photos from your weekend away in Paris. Know your limits, perhaps just by thinking from your friend’s/follower’s point of view.

    Too Much Information
  2. You’re boring me. Again this is as simple as it sounds, sometimes we just don’t care what you did this weekend. I am no entertainer, I know that, and I am guilty of posting boring comments on occasion, but I am talking about consistently mundane chat. Basically if you have nothing to say then say nothing at all, you should know that. Social media is not like that awkward silence when you are left alone with your friend’s weird friend, you don’t have to fill the conversational void with nothingness.

    You're boring me now
  3. Information overload. OK so this is a type of unwanted information, the content might be interesting, there is just too much of it. I recently got a bit competitive on Foursquare and therefore unlocked the Overshare badge. Should everywhere have this badge? Perhaps if you tweet more than 10 times in a given time period and you unlock the Twitter overshare badge which stops you tweeting again for 1 hour. Maybe not a bad idea. I admit, I was hit by the pinning bug and I have been over using Pinterest. It is an evil trap, it sucks you in and I see no way out, it’s addictive. I’m in too deep to escape this addiction, save yourselves!
Information overload!
  1. Info duplication or Cross posting. This is a tricky one as it can be difficult to know which social network is the most appropriate for different content, so you might fall into the trap and just post the same thing on every site, resulting in mass duplication. This is not attractive. Obviously sometimes it is appropriate to duplicate like this, it is just dependent on what you are saying. Personally I have a very different group of friends on Facebook than I do to Twitter and if I posted as much on Facebook as I do on Twitter then I am pretty sure I would have about 5 Facebook friends left. So basically just judge your audience, you know who they are you you accepted and invited them!

    Wise words from the key

Despite these types of overshare, as I previously stated, are we not entitled to freedom of speech? Well yes, I believe we are, and so that is why we are obligated to remove unwanted information that is thrust in our eye line every day, simply so we aren’t tempted to turn into moaners. Exterminate the problem, don’t just moan about its existence. So I recently had a bit of a clear out and deleted friends and followers who I do not wish to hear or see their updates.

So are you an oversharer or a victim of overshare? Either way you can be helped. Either take on board what I have been saying and reconsider next time you are about to post a comment, or if you are a victim then do you really want to follow that person? Maybe it is time we all had a spring clean of our social media. Simply solve the problem or moan about it, which do you choose?