Having a social media account is a part of today’s society. Anyone with an internet connection, has 24/7 access to it. It serves as a means for us to connect and build relationships with individuals who have similar interests, giving us the liberty to post, share and comment on anything we find interesting. Social media sites usually provide us a profile page where it consists of any common information and photo we want to share to anyone authorised to view it, if you know how to restrict it.
Anyone active in social media can’t deny that they have posted a personal rant or shared a trending post. Even I can’t deny that I’m guilty of this. There is nothing wrong with sharing things online, though, we may know someone (or this maybe you) that gives too much personal information. They fill our news feeds with their day-to-day activities, location check-ins, or relationship updates. Whilst most of this is benign, (if a mostly a little boring), some elements have the possibility to hide dangers can lurk into oversharing.
Dangers of Oversharing
Anyone can know your location
It’s fun to post a status update or a photo online, but posting about your activities several times a every day can be dangerous, especially if it includes a specific location. Sure we are all going to tag location for the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, or the Golden Gate Bridge. However, one of the most dangerous features on social networking sites is location-based services. It exposes your location and whereabouts, with impressive accuracy, which usually appears on your posts in real-time. If you post three times a day every day, your commute, dinner, coffee stop, and evening out, then that's a very short time before you have a profile of regular movements. In short, very regularly posting updates on your location and daily activities could give a potential stalker the information they need to track you. This is also an extreme case for caution with younger audiences of course.
Targeted open search features
Even if you have set the highest level of restrictions in your privacy settings, there is still no guarantee that you can’t be found on the internet. Two major issues here. Firstly, anyone can be a victim of hackers, and normally without even knowing it. Sharing too much extra information like your phone number, address or credit card number (yep, we have seen that), even on a private setting can give hackers the information required for identity theft. The next thing you know, you’re receiving calls from strangers, unknown purchases, phishing emails, or even second accounts under your name on social media or shopping sites. The second issue is a actually causing even more of a stir. Most social media platforms have it written into the terms and conditions, (which you all read thoroughly right?), that they in fact, under certain circumstances, own the rights to use any content you add to their forum if you have not set the correct setting in privacy. Yes, that could mean any picture, message, video, meme, tagged link of you etc etc etc, all there for the data mining sales. FaceBook for example say in their terms and conditions:
You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:
For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
When you publish content or information using the “everyone” setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).
Personal reputation is at stake
Social media gives people the freedom to express their opinions and share experiences with their social followers. But posting too much can also damage your reputation especially of course, if you're trying to leverage the platform for a business. Photos of partying, being drunk or anything inappropriate for sharing can quickly change how people see you. There is also a strong chance that potential employers could go through your social profile, which can have an effect on your future career.
Though, at this point, you may be thinking “This is a lot of scaremongering” sure, it’s going to be rare of course, but we all know someone who overshares. Being aware of the dangers behind oversharing on social media is very useful, but you should also be aware of early signs you may be oversharing.
Signs You Are Oversharing
Posting rants about your job
There are times we want to vent about stresses at our work, our boss, coworkers, poor pay, or bad systems, and you use social media to do it. Don’t, not only is this poor form, it’s also very unprofessional. You’re friends with some of your coworkers, some of which are probably friends with your boss. Don’t be surprised if complaining about your job online will backfire at you.
Giving likes or retweets too much value
Some people post to share experiences, and some individuals post to gain likes. Having your post liked or shared gives you a sense of validation or accomplishment. Obviously, the post with the most likes or retweets is the best, so you keep posting about your vacation trips. Ask yourself, ‘am I posting for attention, likes, etc, or to actually add value and keep my friends and family up to date with important information.
Posting too many photos (especially of yourself)
You like posting your OOTDs, selfies, and that 15-minute video of your lunch you took, all in one day, bombarding your friends and followers an insight of your day-to-day activities. In all honesty, not only is 90% of this boring and irrelevant, it goes back to our point about being tracked too easily, and open to fraud. Do a vanity stock check. Look at all your images posted over the last 6 months. What percentage are selfies, and selfies with no background reason (just a cropped head shot). It it’s high, then sorry but your are contributing nothing to the platform or the lives of your followers. What percentage, is of your surroundings, and out of that, are they informative. Here a picture of the Late I just bought, not informative, here's a picture of our state fair, informative. Overall, where do you fall, what percent is all about you, what percent is about contributing. There’s a good balance in there somewhere.
Anyone active on social media should be aware of the dangers that could occur on the internet. Whether or not you overshare on social media, you should always be careful on the personal information you add online. Limiting your information and posts will lessen the possibilities of your exposure towards these threats. Social media accounts only ask for our general details like our name, email address and birthdate, other details are optional. Other ways to protect you from the dangers of oversharing are: by disabling your location sometimes, and simply practicing proper content moderation.