Oversharing: Social Media & How Much is Too Much?


If you’re reading this post right now, it’s probably because you were on social media. I mean, we’re always on social media, aren’t we? According to MarketingCharts.com, Americans ages 18-64 say they spend an average of 3.2 hours per day on social media. And I’m willing to bet some people spend more time than that and just haven’t reported it.

As someone who deals with social media on a daily basis, I often wonder how much is too much. I sometimes ask myself, do EYE (I) spend too much time on MY social media pages? I’ll be frank. The answer is probably yes.

But I’ll tell you what sparked this question. Last week, Jason Derulo, after a nasty split with Jordan Sparks, posted the receipts of Jordan’s BMW that he says he paid for in FULL. Sparks had gone on the Breakfast Club earlier that day claiming otherwise, and Derulo wanted to set the record straight.

Then I think about Nicki Minaj and her recent breakup with longtime boyfriend Safaree Samuels. She posted an eerie tweet to her Twitter page not long after they had broken up. “Anything you don’t appreciate will be taken. God sees your ungrateful evil soul. I gave and gave and gave. Threatening me? Blackmail? Jump,” Nicki wrote. Yikes.

Eagles running Back LaSean McCoy sent some pretty awful tweets his baby mama’s way in response to an argument that somehow made its way to Twitter. “I hit u n a week without knowing ya name…my son the only reason you have a life. U broke. Stop frontin on IG…U BUM.”
Or how bout that time rapper Cam’Ron posted pics of his girlfriend JuJu’s sex faces…while they were IN THE ACT? *vomits in mouth*
And here’s the kicker- Just today, a man posted his POSITIVE HIV results on Instagram. Yes, you read that correctly.
Listen, I think you get the point.
While we all tend to overshare on social media, I think some of us take it farther than others. For example, last night I was on Twitter, and one of the women I follow (she’s pretty well known) began talking about her experience being sexually assaulted and how she was now being stalked by the offender. People began re-tweeting, and commenting, etc. and she became incredibly offended and upset. She said that she couldn’t believe that people would RT that and “spread it further.”
That’s when I became puzzled. We all understand that what we put on the internet is there…forever….right? We do understand that when we post something it can be shared hundreds, thousands, even MILLIONS of times….correct? We DO know that everything isn’t MEANT to be shared…DON’T WE? Something tells me the answer is no. Maybe, Hell NO.
So let’s take a look at why some people are sharing SO MUCH INFORMATION with people they don’t even know. A study from Jennifer Golbeck, director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland reveals some of the reasons why people overshare:
  1. Anonymity. Much has been written about how anonymity can hinder online discussions, be they on Twitter or in the comments sections. “[People] begin to disassociate their online persona with their offline persona,” wrote Golbeck.
  2. Invisibility. This pretty much sums it up: “It can be easier to say things from behind a keyboard when the other person (or people) aren’t looking at the poster.” However, Golbeck points out that this dynamic can make it easier for people to have difficult conversations.
  3. Delayed communication. There is a delay in electronic communication. Even when instant messaging, people can pause before responding, which results in lowered inhibitions. “We may feel more free to share something personal because we can post it and then leave it, dealing with the reactions later.”
  4. Filling in the other person. Missing verbal cues like tone and delivery as well as body language causes people to perceive the conversation as somehow “less real.” Golbeck says “we lose the sense of the other person involved,” which also helps to explain why cyberbullying is such a big problem on social platforms.
  5. It’s not real. Similarly to the last point, interacting with others on the Internet feels separated from real life. “If we feel like we aren’t interacting in a real environment where there are real implications from our actions, it can lead us to drop inhibitions,” wrote Golbeck.
  6. Lack of authority. People may disassociate someone’s offline identity with their online identity, causing them to blurt out something they would never would in real life, say, in front of an authority figure. Golbeck points to possible technological solutions, such as a notification (“Your boss will see this”) that would help those in danger of indiscreet musings.
Hmmmm…that’s nice, Doc. But I think the answer is simple: ATTENTION. People want attention. They want to feel important. They want to look cool, and outdo all their friends. (In real life and on social media) People are dying for attention. People want to see if their selfies can look as good a Kim K’s. People want “likes” and “RT’s.” Basically social media is High School.
You post yourself in your undies because you want “likes.” You participate in “Eggplant Friday” because you’re nasty….LOL You post pics of piles of cash, the bottles you’re poppin’ and the moves you’re making because you want everybody to SEE it and LIKE it. Right? Are we so caught up in the lives we’ve created on social media that we don’t even care about what’s going on in real time AROUND us? It actually makes me kinda sad. Are we really as happy as we POST to be?

When is it all just too much?


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