Have you ever read a social media post from someone else and thought, “Why are they sharing all of this? This is definitely TMI.” We’ve all been there and had those thoughts about others.
When I first got into radio broadcasting, I remember being faced with how much I wanted to share on the air, and how much was too personal and to be kept to myself. This is something everyone is faced with now: How much is enough? How much is too much?
If you have been doing any media interviews, or when contemplating what to post on social media, you have no doubt run into this dilemma:
How much should I share?
We all know the importance of being authentic. We hear the word all the time. Sharing and being authentic can build trust and relationships with others – yes, even online. But we also are aware of those people who overshare. Some like to go into all the nitty gritty details of a recent health crisis, while others seem to rant on and on about something they perceive as an injustice. (Ranting is one thing; doing something about it is another.)
For some, social media is an online diary and they tell it all. Everything. There is a false freedom in knowing you can say whatever you want to say, forgetting that there can be some very real consequences to doing this: trolls, others finding out who you wouldn’t normally tell, not getting a job or a speaking engagement because of perceived values and concerns.
Some people simply like to share it all; let it all hang out. If you fit in that category, that’s fine – although do consider the negative consequences mentioned above. The point is this is not about telling you what is OK to share and what is not OK to share. It’s about knowing one’s personal feelings as to what seems to be the right amount and what to leave alone, starting with this:
How do you discern how much is enough but not too much?
Forget about sharing your deepest, darkest secrets. Again, for some that is exactly what they want to delve into, but for most there is a sense of personal boundaries. No one needs to know everything.
Don’t feel pressured to over share. Sometimes we look to others to figure out the social etiquette in a group. If others over share, there can be an urge to do the same, but there is no need for you to do so. You want to stay within the boundaries that work for you.
Notice how you respond to another’s post. If you find yourself cringing, that is likely a limit for you that you do not want to cross.
On the other hand, not sharing enough makes you seem closed and distanced, so what is the formula?
Create your own public/private self. This is what I did in radio when realizing I needed to share some personal information to continue to create rapport with my audience. Determine beforehand what you’re willing to share, and what you are not willing to share. Create a list and think this through.
Here are some more ideas to consider:
Consider your intention. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to post something that will help others? Or am I doing it to relieve pressure, rant, make myself feel better, or impress others?”
Steer clear of emotional hot buttons. Sometimes in the heat of the moment we say things – or write things – that are not what we really mean. Give your posts some time before sharing them publicly. A cooling-off period can be very wise indeed.
Sharing is important and we need to do it on social media so our contacts, customers, friends, and others feel like they know us. But there is a point where it may go too far. By creating a public/private self, you can stop wondering and know you’re making the right decisions for your own wellbeing. However, it won’t eliminate the “cringe factor” when someone else posts too much!
To your success!
P.S. Sharing with someone close to you – and in person – does wonders for a relationship, as Dr. Hook knows. We’re going way back today!
P.P.S. If you have questions on how to best promote your book, tell me about it. I offer Media Strategy Sessions with a conversation beforehand to see if it’s right for you.
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