T.M.I. Part 1: It’s Personal

We live in a world where information is at our finger tips, and it’s just as easy to share a ton of information, too. Nicole has talked about how people draw their own lines when it comes to social media, and that sort of thing is really up to us as individuals. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about in the realm of sharing vs. oversharing.

What constitutes TMI? Honestly, it depends on individual preferences so there’s no real “cookie cutter” answer for this one. Cultural perception also has an impact on what people deem appropriate for sharing: “While tweeting about your aunt’s divorce might be considered taboo in one country, it might be received with a shrug in a nation inured to the antics of the Kardashians” (source).

I’ve thought a bit about what “TMI” looks like on social media, and there are a few different ways to think about it. There’s what you share on your personal accounts, what a business shares, and what a multi-level marketer might share. Today, I’m going to focus on sharing on personal accounts.

Sharing & Personal Accounts

If you Google “Oversharing on Social Media,” there’s a ton of information, from articles written by other social media marketers to scholarly articles and psychological studies. Apparently, when you share something on social media about yourself, the reward system of your brain gets triggered (source) and you want to do it more and more,which is why oversharers tend to keep sharing- it feels good so they keep doing it.

Based on these articles, it seems like there are two components of oversharing- content and frequency of posting.

“Content” is basically the “stuff” of your post– be it your aunt’s divorce as mentioned above, or something else that might be deemed “too personal for social media.”

Frequency of posting is exactly what it sounds like- how many times a day are you posting online? This can be a personal limit, and it can also vary from social platform (i.e. you may post three times a day to Twitter without thinking twice about it, but more than once every three days on LinkedIn seems like too much).

I’m not going to get all preachy and tell you what you can/should post on social media- “personal” profile really means what you personally are comfortable with sharing. Both content and frequency are subjective, so it’s dependent on the person who is doing the sharing.

Some things, related to professionalism and safety, are best not to share. This includes things like your address, if you’re going to be home alone or away on vacation, if you had a disagreement with your boss or a coworker, that sort of stuff. This article encourages people to “Pause Before Posting,” especially if you are in an emotionally charged head-space while typing. We aren’t all diplomats, but there’s something to be said for being mindful of your words and possible repercussions rather than posting on impulse.

If what you want to share is has nothing to do with professionalism or safety, consider potentially adjusting your audience. Some things you may want semi-private, only sharing with a small group of people. It may be better to share these posts in a message with that select group of people, or creating a private Facebook group made up of the people you want to share with specifically (groups can be made either public or private, whereas a Facebook page is always public). If your views are very specific and perhaps not popular, an anonymous social media platform like Reddit or Whisper might be a better fit.

Overall, if you’re worried about your use (or potential overuse) of social media, you aren’t alone. Many people have gone on social media “diets.” Below are a few resources to check out if you want to learn more about reshaping your relationship with social media:

5 Signs You Should Take a Break from Social Media (Huffington Post)

Unplugging or Overcorrecting? Online Life in Moderation (Breaking Even Blog)

How to Detox from Social Media without Deleting Your Account (Hubspot)

Stay tuned for our next post on TMI: The Business Edition!

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.