Humans our social animals. We need to connect with people in order to feel worthwhile. We share our lives with our close friends, family, co-workers, classmates and acquaintances. But sometimes, we tend to make it a habit of socializing too much, especially when it comes to our online lives. We forget that filter that tells us whether we’ve overshared, and its a trend worth breaking.
So what makes us overshare?
Experts think we overshare on our social media accounts because we are trying to overcompensate for our own subconscious anxieties. We feel compelled to share our lives in order to look smart, interesting and sophisticated among our groups and, as a result, feel more accepted. But the problem is that we forget to filter what we share and what we don’t because that compulsion in endless.
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However, when we talk with people face-to-face, we usually accommodate the conversation to the environment, their body language and facial cues. We can see if the person is in a hurry, if the person is frazzled or grouchy, and then we usually steer the conversation a different direction. This is what experts call “self-regulation.” Unfortunately, we may not be that adept to self-regulating when it comes to sharing on our social media accounts.
So how can we fake it?
1. Turn your privacy settings on. The easiest way to stay safe online is to take the extra step and enable your privacy settings. There are a few new social media sites that take your privacy seriously.
Think before you share. It’s always best to ask whether what you are sharing is vastly important. Are you sharing something about your relationship? Are you mentioning something about your friends that they’d rather you not share? It’s always best to avoid the touchy subjects.
3. Stop voicing your political ideology. We understand that political topics are important and sites like Facebook and Twitter make for an easy platform to discuss these events. But let’s not overdo it. If you’ve made your point before, there’s no need to bombard your friends and family with your political slant. You may end up infuriating some close connections.
Stop insulting people. If you don’t like someone, there’s no need to share it online. Most people couldn’t care less about who you’re holding a grudge against, especially if it’s against your boss, partner or company in general. Those remarks could land you hot water.
5. Stop talking about yourself. We get it, you’re the most important person in the world to yourself. But others don’t want to hear it non-stop. Maybe you should try to talk others up once in awhile. It may be best to boost others’ ego before yourself.
It’s best to learn from the people before us. And luckily, it seems younger generations are taking note. According to a new study taken by the Pew Research Center, younger online users are sharing less personal information on Facebook and other social media accounts. The report says that they are choosing to protect their accounts by enabling online privacy settings and using other preventative measures due to parental consequences.
Facebook and other social networks have made it too easy to overshare. And consequently, we stand vulnerable to the hundreds of online threats that are just a click away. So next time you log on to your social media accounts, you may want to use the four rules to protect yourself online.