When it comes to your presence online, you are usually in total control. Sure, an ex-boyfriend can spew nasty secrets about you on Facebook or a frenemy can post some unflattering Friday night photos on her blog, but for the most part you are in control. When putting your deepest thoughts or silly opinions on the internet for the world to see can be scary, some people don’t even think twice before hitting “enter”. I like to put people in one of two buckets: those who overshare and those who hide.
As someone who is prevalent on social media, runs a lifestyle blog and is a freelance writer, I have had my fair share of run-ins with this complexity. I sometimes worry that the personal post I spent a lot of time writing will make people think I’m a weirdo. But I’ve realized that if I spent my time worrying about things like that, especially what others might assume about me without knowing the truth, I would never be posting anything. I would be hiding my true feelings, thoughts and aspirations. And I’m pretty bad at hiding things.
So many people are afraid to share things with others, and I get that- to a certain extent. For me, sharing the not-so-great parts of my life just shows that I’m human. I feel that it could help someone else identify with me, feel like they aren’t alone, or maybe even offer some help to me. I think that sharing a balance of the good and the bad is gritty, honest and real. And I like that.
On the other side of the spectrum is the art of oversharing. We all have that high-school friend who posts raunchy tweets about their boyfriend (ew), Instagrams a photo each time they get a drink at Starbucks (really, people?), or posts a half-naked selfie to Facebook (your Aunt Elda doesn’t need to see your cleavage). That can be a bit much. These people are addicted to the validation of social media- the number of likes, retweets and comments is what they feed off of.
I’ve also found that the people who tend to overshare the amazing things that happen in their life to try to make up for something else. For example, those girls who go on and on about how fun it is so be a single 20-something and how people who are in relationships are “boring”. Their endless photo stream of drinks at a bar or “girl’s nights- love my bitches! xo” tweets just show their insecurity about their own romantic life. But what those photos or tweets don’t show is the amount of Ben & Jerry’s they inhale after watching a rom-com or how the boy they liked is in a relationship with someone else and their jealousy is out of control.
There’s a fine line between being an over-sharer, someone who hides everything or someone who selectively shares the “good” in their life. I’ll admit that maybe I’m not always a perfect example of this, but over time have become more aware of the persona I have created for myself online. I don’t want to come off as a bitch, but I also don’t want to only post pretty photos that mean nothing. I’m encouraging all of you to take a deep look at the things you share with others. Are you too afraid to hit “publish” on that blog post about your parent’s divorce? After reading your last few tweets, do you realize that you need to turn down the constant complaining about your job? Re-evaluate how your persona could come off and if that is the real you.
What do you think about your online persona? Are you an over-sharer or a hider?