"It makes sense that the people who felt lonely would disclose this type of information."
Social media, specifically Facebook, has forever changed the way people communicate with others. With just a few clicks and swipes, people can reveal a lot. But, are people oversharing on Facebook?
DESIblitz looks at this potentially growing issue. And explores the potential consequences of oversharing.
As each year passes, more and more people use social media. Statista found that exactly 2.34 billion people use social media globally.
Out of those numbers, 1.87 billion use Facebook and reportedly spend 68% of their time looking at Facebook through mobile phones.
The social media app allows users to share every moment of their life to their online friends. From posting an image of their recent meal to announcing life-changing news, the possibilities are truly endless.
DESIblitz spoke to some social media users. Luci says: “There are always some exceptions [of oversharing] and they always stand out more. But I know so many people who rarely post.
“Given we’re the first generation to have social media I do wonder what it’ll mean for children whose pictures are plastered over Facebook daily.
“I think that’s oversharing even for the sake of the child. If it’s yourself, fine, but the child doesn’t have a say.”
But, is there a risk of oversharing on Facebook too much? We explore the different scenarios and how they could backfire on you.
Posting Images of your Children
If you are a parent, then most likely it’s become second-nature to update your profile with continuous images of your child. Childhood contains so many life stages that parents want to share with their family and friends.
Gone are the days when you needed to get the photo album out.
However, these innocent pictures could pose a serious risk. Depending on your privacy settings, if all your images are set to Public, this means anyone can look at your photos. And potentially, dangerous characters can have unwanted access to your children’s photos.
Another problem this scenario creates is the reaction of others. In modern society, mothers already feel the burden of looking after their children perfectly. Seeing others who appear to manage parenting ‘well’ can make some mothers feel less secure with their own skills.
Parenting author, Sarah Ockwell-Smith says:
“The comparison with others online can cause some mothers to be overwhelmed by feelings that they aren’t good enough, and that their children should be doing better.”
As a result, oversharing on Facebook can create feelings of envy or even resentment in others.
Revealing Personal Problems
For some, the content users post can be an abundant source of gossip. For example, if someone is experiencing relationship or even friendship troubles, it can be all too easy to air feelings on Facebook.
While some may offer comfort or support, others may have found a new piece of gossip. And while you are oblivious, there could be a chance they talk with others about you.
On the other hand, you may find online friends who appear to help you, but really don’t want to get involved in a situation that’s not related to them. In some cases, this could make relationship or friendship troubles even worse.
While advice can be helpful and wise, some can cause even more problems.
Unflattering or Unprofessional Posts
It’s not just your personal life that can be affected by oversharing on Facebook. Depending on your profession, your job could be at risk by what you post.
Employers have become increasingly aware of the power of social media. Often, they will now check potential employee’s social media accounts, including Facebook.
If they see unflattering content, such as you falling out of a club or posting a lengthy rant, they may think twice about you.
But, even if you do get the job, you may still need to think before oversharing on Facebook. For example, teachers have to be careful of parents or even their school students finding their Facebook profile.
And, there have been some scenarios where parents have reacted strongly to what they found. There have been various situations over the years, where teachers post controversial content on Facebook. When the post was found, they ended up being fired from their school.
While some cases seem far-fetched, it highlights how careful both employees and job seekers need to be with oversharing on Facebook.
But, it’s not just employers who are browsing through your social media accounts …
Creating the Perfect Opportunity for Thieves
Many people feel immensely excited when they go away on holiday, and make announcements of the trip on Facebook. Many will reply back, wishing them well. However, these announcements can provide potential thieves the opportune moment to target an empty house.
Over the years, police have warned Facebook users about the dangers of creating holiday posts. By oversharing on the social media app, people can reveal too much for opportunistic thieves.
Asif told DESIbliz that this kind of oversharing:
“Can be unsafe as robbers would know when you’re on holiday and there’s no-one in the house.”
“They can also know through pictures if there are valuables in the house, what kind of locks, and if there’s no alarm or dogs.”
Why do People Overshare on Facebook?
Studies have suggested that the need to overshare on social media could link to feelings of loneliness.
Researchers at Charles Sturt University found that the more lonely a person feels, the more likely they would share personal information on Facebook.
Al-Saggaf, the University’s Associate Professor explains:
“It makes sense that the people who felt lonely would disclose this type of information. They want to make it easier for others to initiate contact with them, which may help them overcome their feelings of loneliness.”
But, how can people avoid the consequences of oversharing?
Well, sorting out your privacy settings may help to avoid these many problems. Facebook can allow you to hide your posts, images and even friends from people you haven’t added. And, it may be worth clearing out your list of friends and deciding who you really want to keep in contact with. See how to manage your Facebook privacy settings here.
While the level of oversharing remains debatable, it appears the risk associated with it are simply not worth it.