Sharing is IN these days.
With social media, you can let people know where you are, how you are feeling, what you’re doing and who you’re with.
It’s not just social media. There are also reality tv shows and tabloids providing the juiciest bits of information on celebrities and their private life.
Opening up to others helps to establish rapport, a sense of belonging and authenticity. With technology, it is now easier for us to connect and share aspects of our lives. People are also now more tolerant with personal problems being shared publicly. However, this convenience comes with the danger of over-sharing.
Over-sharing happens when you provide too much information about your personal life that it becomes inappropriate. Instead of connecting with others, the exact opposite is achieved. You end up alienating people.
Therefore, how can you be authentic without sacrificing your privacy?
To address this, let’s define authenticity.
To be authentic is to be real. It’s about being honest with yourself and letting your actions match your values. Therefore what you say and what you do is aligned with your beliefs.
However, it also requires boundaries.
For example, you can always tell if someone is going through a rough patch in social media. Whether it’s a break-up, a misunderstanding or etc., all you have to do is scroll through your timeline and you’ll encounter explosive rants or memes (similar to the one below) hinting at their current situation.
When people view this, the first thing that comes into their mind is: That’s okay, they’re probably just going through a rough patch and they’re being real about it.
Nowadays, authenticity has become synonymous to owning your story and speaking you mind. Yet, there are dangers to this viewpoint. Owning your story is powerful and therapeutic but only if it is done in the right time, in the right place, with the right people.
Sharing private details of your life could lead people to take advantage of you or cause security problems. It is also unhealthy since sharing every single detail of your life, can lead to social comparisons.
Therefore, it is important to protect your privacy.
Protect Your Privacy
Authenticity is about being genuine, but it also requires boundaries. You don’t need to overshare in order to be authentic because not everyone has your best interest at heart.
Below are a few more reasons why it is important to establish healthy boundaries to prevent yourself from oversharing.
As the saying goes, not everyone you meet is your friend. Sharing your problems to people who do not genuinely care for you may lead them to take advantage of you.
For instance, have you ever seen Gossip Girl?
It has already been removed from Netflix but beyond the drama, the one thing that you can notice in the series is that trust is betrayed because it provides the sharer a sense of power and control.
Oversharing or revealing your secrets to the wrong person is similar to creating your own gossip. Where the drama stirred is like the chaos evoked in Gossip Girl.
Loose Lips Sink Ships
‘Loose lips sink ships’ was used as propaganda by the United States in World War 2 as an attempt to contain reckless speech which could affect the war efforts. It was also meant to discourage people from spreading rumors about the war which might sap morale.
Protecting your privacy isn’t the equivalent of fighting a war but oversharing can lead to gossip with long term effects that can be devastating.
Why is gossip such an issue?
A few years ago, a Taiwanese model posed for a plastic surgery ad.
The advert became so popular but for the wrong reasons. It became an internet meme and even though the model herself never had plastic surgery, people didn’t believe her. It affected her career, and her personal life. After the advertisement, she only received minimal roles. Her boyfriend broke-up with her because he was embarrassed with the rumors and strangers who would see her in public would talk about her.
The real-life story of Heidi Yeh shows how the internet can get out of hand. It also displays the destructive effects of gossip.
Gossip is harmful, and it has long-term negative effects to the victim. It can negatively impact self-confidence, self-esteem and in some cases it may even lead to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders.
It also tarnishes the reputation of the individual who is being targeted.
When a gossip is spread, it is difficult to contain and it takes a life of its own. Before you know it, lies become indistinguishable from the truth.
People will always talk, regardless of what you do but there are actions that can prompt this behavior and oversharing is on of them.
If there is something that you would like to share, post or talk about, first take a step back and consider how this piece of information will be interpreted. Is the person that you’re speaking to trustworthy?
It intensifies the drama
Rants in social media are getting quite common. Though it may illicit sympathy and a few likes or comments, divulging the juiciest details regarding an argument that you had or an injustice experienced won’t help to solve the problem. Instead, it intensifies the drama.
Problems are meant to be solved, not posted on social media for the whole world to know. If there is an issue, take the time to cool down. Stay away from your mobile if you have to and if you really need to vent, then consider other alternatives. Exercise, do something creative, pray, journal or talk to a trusted friend or family member.
Above all things, do not post your issues on social media. It will only contribute to the problem.
Someone once told me that your private life is sacred. The points above were just a few reasons why it is important to guard your privacy and why it is vital to carefully consider what is shared on social media.
Since this is a lengthy topic, I have broken it down into four sections which will be shared over the next few weeks.
These sections are:
1. The importance of guarding your privacy.
2. Why do we overshare?
3. How can we identify if we are oversharing?
4. How can you control yourself from oversharing?
Though it is important to open up to people and to be authentic. Remember that it is also essential to establish healthy boundaries. If you have to share, make sure that it is to a trustworthy person. If it’s a problem which you feel requires intervention, you can seek help by approaching a mental health professional.
Authenticity isn’t oversharing. You can still be authentic while keeping your private life private.