Recently I discovered that you can change the privacy settings on individual Facebook albums, and even set them to be viewed only by you. I’ve been on Facebook since 2006, so a LOT of my pre-blogging life is documented there. At least once a week my Timehop app or the “on this day” notifications in Facebook show me pictures and status updates that remind me what an over-sharer I can be!
I spent several hours over the last two weeks changing all the old albums to “private” (so don’t go looking for them – they’re gone, ha!) and was really embarrassed by what I’ve left sitting on the internet all these years. It’s not just bad outfits or the lack of eyebrows that bother me (although those things were certainly disturbing), it’s the way in which I shared things that bothers me. I realize now that I said things to receive approval from certain groups of people. I wanted to be accepted, to be thought of as funny, smart, perceptive, attractive and fulfilled. In reality, I was looking for those things in the wrong place!
Over the years I’ve learned to reign in my over-sharing – even as someone with a frequent internet presence on my blog, Instagram and YouTube channel. Here’s how – I think of it the same way I think of the movie rating system. When you see a movie preview on TV, that green screen at the beginning says, “This preview has been approved for all audiences.” If a movie is rated PG-13, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t ever be seen by anyone. It just means it’s not suitable for everyone.
The same goes for what we share on the internet. Not every thought that goes through your head is suitable for everyone. Some of those thoughts do add value to your Facebook friends – some of those thoughts should just be shared with your close friends or sister. There’s no general rating system for what’s considered over-sharing. It is different for each person. What I consider suitable for all audiences might be too much for you, or vice versa. That’s ok (although it might involve one of us unfollowing the other. And that’s ok too).
A few weeks ago I talked about boundaries in social media and there were some really great comments on that video. I want to share a few of them with you here because they said it better than I could, especially in relation to social media and children.
- I have been thinking more about my social media boundaries as my kids are getting older and what kinds of things I want to share. I think I’ll need to have boundaries that will need to be adjusted and reevaluated every year.
- I know that as fun as it is for me to share these moments in the life of our family, they will soon be grown and may not want people to be able to google their names and easily access details of several years of their lives.
- Two young ladies who are wives and mothers that I know are constantly doing Facebook live posts to talk about their inner feelings. These are things they should share with a best friend but not the whole list of their social media friends and acquaintances. As an older woman I would really like to caution them about this as it has become a habit.
This is honestly just a topic that I’ve been thinking about for myself and decided to share with you. I would never write a blog post to single anyone out. Over-sharing is a temptation to all of us! When we’re irritated or worked up, it’s so enticing to share those feelings with the largest audience possible. When we feel alone or overwhelmed, it’s enticing to seek validation from the most immediate source. That’s when it’s time to ask ourselves – is this content suitable for all audiences?
Your comments are always welcome, but please be kind and respectful if you do not agree with me.