Oversharing: 8 Things I Will Never Post On Social Media As A Blogger

Oversharing online is something some of us are guilty of.

It’s tempting to share a big part of our lives online these days without much thought. Social media is such an easy way to engage and keep in touch with each other. Think platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, blogs and more.

For those of us who are regular bloggers, at times we might wonder if what we publish – or are thinking of publishing –  is ‘too much’ and relevant to our audiences.

To share or not to share ourselves with the rest of the world. Evanescence, Synthesis 2018 Tour.

To share or not to share ourselves with the rest of the world. Evanescence, Synthesis 2018 Tour.

As a multicultural blogger, often I find myself being careful of what I say on this blog as the topics I write about are quite sensitive. In fact, I self-censor myself when I craft each post – some things I just will not publish online.

According to the Macmillian Dictionary, oversharing refers to ‘giving out an excessive amount of personal information’ and it’s generally considered negative and inappropriate. That is, if we share what isn’t normally talked about or share non-stop about a certain subject, it can rub others the wrong way.

All of us use social media differently for different reasons. For instance, bloggers might selectively publish their works on public blogs for a specific audience and reserve sharing personal occasions on private Facebook pages. However anything published on public or private social media platforms has the potential to make the rounds anywhere online – screenshotting and sharing is so easy and it doesn’t hurt to think twice about sharing our lives online.

The more reserved we are, the less we might share.

The more reserved we are, the less we might share.

What I Won’t Post On Social Media And Why

1. My job and where I work

Share online where exactly you work and for which company, anyone can look this up and come pay you a visit at work. For bloggers (who have a day job outside of blogging), that someone could be an eager fan. Or it could be someone who might have a vendetta against you, your published works or your beliefs shared through these works.

Some employers will insist on sharing your name and position on their website, believing it’s a good means to network. For some lifestyle and travel bloggers, their regular jobs might be an integral part of their blog’s brand and material.

On this multicultural blog and my personal social media accounts, I’ve never mentioned where I work or given a hint of the field I have/am working in. Though I don’t think people who persistently send me emails accusing me of being ‘a white worshipper’ will actually hunt me down in real life, you just never know. Aside from security, what I do for a living has got nothing to do with my writing interests. This blog isn’t a space for inciting judgement, hate and pigeonholing just because of someone’s choice of job which not everyone might agree with. One job worked doesn’t wholly define you.

Some of us are selective with what we share, and to whom.

Some of us are selective with what we share, and to whom.

2. My location in real time

Like the above, when you share real time whereabouts through Facebook check-ins, on-location photo tagging or live Instagram streams, there’s every chance someone can track you down step-for-step. Geotagging or attaching location identification metadata to social media posts is a subtle way of shouting ‘I am here now’. While location tagging has helped nabbed criminals in India, it can make it easy for others to follow your every move for the wrong reasons. I like my privacy and for the same reasons I don’t publicly talk about my day job, have never posted an online real time status update.

3. Very personal details

It’s common sense to keep personal information such as credit card details, passwords, residential addresses and phone numbers private to avoid identity theft. Cyber-criminals commonly use these details to impersonate you or get closer to your family and friends. Sometimes social media sites might also slip up keeping your information safe, case point the Facebook data breach incident that seems to have affected up to 87 million users.

Sometimes there’s a professional need to share these details online. A journalist might put up a work-related phone number on their online profiles so anyone with a story can reach them easily. A blogger might put up an email address on their blog so they can receive feedback from readers – and they might put up an email address along the lines of monkeyhello(at)mrwobbles.com so as to defeat web-crawling-spam-sending robots.

Some of us just ain't comfortable with sharing ourselves with the world.

Some of us just ain’t comfortable with sharing ourselves with the world.

4. An entire portfolio of works

The bigger your online portfolio, the more confusing it might be for others to get a feel of your craft. While a sizable portfolio can showcase a variety of strengths, you can come across as ‘trying too hard’. A selective portfolio often helps bloggers, writers and freelancers create a niche and find their audience. If someone is really interested in your work, they’ll make genuine contact to find out more about what you do.

The more you share your art and work online, the more likely someone might blatantly copy it without permission or attributed credit. It’s no surprise some bloggers install disabling right-click-copy-paste plugins in a bid to minimise content theft.

Over the years, what I’ve written on this blog has been copy-pasted on other blogs without permission. It really is too bad, too sad as not everyone understands copyright and copyright disclaimers. Over the years, I no longer put up original-sized, full-resolution photos and include watermarks over resized versions – and one time a government department contacted me through my blog to purchase an original photo and published it in a report  =D

5. Disagreements

Getting involved in gossip and slandering others online potentially leads to defamation, reputation damage and maybe even legal proceedings. To simply put it, drama makes everyone look bad. For instance, in 2017 a beauty blogger was ordered to pay her wedding photographer over a million dollars in damages after the former shamed the photographer online for charging additional fees – and this emotional rollercoaster played out in the media.

Sharing one’s opinion is one thing but attacking others is another. Badmouthing others doesn’t sit well with me. It speaks of taking sides as opposed to working together, and understanding each other’s differences is one of the aims of this blog.

Some of us will fear the uncertainty that sharing brings.

Some of us will fear the uncertainty that sharing brings.

6. Friends and family

Not everyone likes to have an online presence. As a blogger, your family and friends might not get why you blog and just don’t want to be a part of it. That should be respected if you want their respect and trust. Maybe they are shy or are extremely cautious about their privacy. This may come across as ironic on my blog since in many posts I make references to my family. These moments happened a very long time ago, and some have moved on or do not have a clue what the internet is and don’t want to learn.

7. Somebody’ secrets

Sharing someone’s secrets might make for an enticing blog but you might lose that person forever. When you share someone’s deepest confessions online, others might judge them negatively based on what you put up and like spreading gossip, you put their reputation at risk. After all, words and imagery are often open to interpretation and can be so easily twisted into a different perception than intended.

Sometimes things that are incredibly personal to us will be hard to share.

Sometimes things that are incredibly personal to us will be hard to share.

8. Romantic relationships

There are arguments for and against sharing romantic relationships online. Research has found couples share their relationships online as a way to express their love for each other, and they tend to be content together in the long run. However other research suggests couples who post more about their love life might be more insecure and unhappy about their relationship. Notably each relationship is different.

Naturally your romantic relationship shapes who you are, shapes your perception and so shapes what you do – to a degree shapes your blogging content. So it’s natural for some bloggers to mention or share their romantic lives on their blogs in some way.

Some of us might never be ready or willing to share. But we may try.

Some of us might never be ready or willing to share. But we may try.

This is not me at all. I’ve never fully understood how some can share photos and videos of their partners and children so freely, such as documenting engagements, weddings, births and family vacations on their blogs. Perhaps they want to share their happiness with the world.

To me, having a partner and people whom you trust is just too precious to share on a public blog read all over the world, even on my private social media accounts. They are beyond incredibly special to me; what we have is special and I like to keep them close. Because of that, no comment about my relationship status or anyone I’ve been involved with as a partner anywhere online.

*  *  *

For a moment, sharing might be liberating

For a moment, sharing might be liberating

As bloggers and online publishers, sometimes it’s tricky to draw the line between public and private, open and personal on our social media platforms. There are different degrees of what oversharing is, and what is oversharing to someone may not be oversharing to someone else. Sometimes our craft calls for us to share intimate moments online. For instance if we have a lifestyle or sex education blog, chances are we are more inclined to share personal details in order to blog what we want to blog.

Arguably certain generations share more of their lives online, especially millennials. According to the 2016 Census, there are around 1.7 million Facebook users between 16-39 years old in Australia and a study found young Australians discover their identities through online interactions. Consequently many millennials are finding new online career ventures appealing: those with a few thousand followers on their social media accounts are branding themselves as social influencers, constantly promoting products and sharing their whereabouts in exchange for a few thousand dollars – a source of income so why not share on social media.

For a moment, sharing might be liberating.

For a moment, sharing might be liberating.

Some of us share our personal lives online to seek validation. According to a study exploring human behaviour and the use of computers, people use Facebook to comfortably express their true selves and to feel a sense of belonging. In other words, some of us share our lives online in hope of finding an honest connection and being a part of something or someone. The more a blogger shares about their personal lives, the more it can bring out their human side and make them more relatable – and hence find an audience.

What we share online is a choice and defines us. However what others post about us on the internet is pretty much impossible to control, and so sometimes it’s hard to control our online image. Our friends, colleagues, family and acquaintances could share a photo or video and tag us in it – which might show up anywhere online regardless of our online privacy settings. This isn’t all that bad: people think of you, you are relatively important to them and they want you to be part of their social media presence. Also, sharing and tagging online is a great way for social influencers to get to know each other and join each other’s networking circles.

We are vulnerable when we share, putting ourselves out there.

We are vulnerable when we share, putting ourselves out there.

For many of us who blog regularly, we blog with a sense of purpose and direction, sharing selectively. For me, what I will post online on this blog are my thoughts on cultural nuances and different perspectives, and we can all learn from each other. I will share, Tweet and link to other blogs and bloggers if there’s a mutual respect for each other and our craft. As bloggers, writers and freelance creatives, sharing our craft online is so easy. But sharing selectively with intent is powerful in a saturated online world. On projecting one’s voice, writer Soumya John writes:

‘A writer’s biggest forte is their truth. We could speak about a lot of things, but nothing would ring better than an honest voice that speaks with courage.’

Some of us will share...and yet will find a way to keep things personal, personal.

Some of us will share…and yet will find a way to keep things personal, personal.

These days some will say we are anti-social if we don’t use or share on social media. But we really shouldn’t have to feel pressured into being active online as our own life is our own life, and talking to each other face-to-face or over text is still a way to keep in touch. Honestly I don’t like using social media very much and have gone days without going on Facebook and Twitter. There are also days where I just do not want to blog and instead sit on the sofa and focus on eating all the snacks that I want.

One’s private life is not everyone’s business. At the end of the day, I love my own space and like my privacy and anonymity, as well as like blending into the background and being a mystery  =D  Drawing a line between my online persona and personal life and keeping each separate is what I want to do. So be it.

How much do you share on social media?

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197 thoughts on “Oversharing: 8 Things I Will Never Post On Social Media As A Blogger

  1. This is a wonderfully written post, Mabel. Unfortunately, today’s world seems to be all about social media. It seems to be the ‘cool’ kid in town. I’ve even heard some people say that those not on Facebook and/or Twitter are weird! I do use social media platforms, but I’ve cut right back on the number I use. Spreading ourselves too thinly on social media is not good. I use social media for both promoting my blog and book and rarely go into any personal details. I have a ‘contact Hugh’ page on my blog rather than giving out my email address so that anyone who wants to contact me has to go through WordPress first. It also acts as a barrier against the trolls who may want to contact me via email. I’ve had a few trolls visit my blog, but I always delete their comments and never respond to them.

    Like you, I’m amazed at some of the information I’ve seen bloggers give on their blogs. Some even go as far as giving out their address and phone number, whereas a ‘contact me’ page, is much safer. It may be a case of not knowing how to set one up, but there’s plenty of free information out there on how to create one. Another bit of personal information I’ve never given out on my blog is the date of my birthday. I’ve seen many blog posts announcing it’s the bloggers 30th, 35th 40th… birthday. Just from that, somebody can get your date of birth.

    As bloggers, we’re always going to encounter readers who don’t agree with us. That’s fine when their comments are written in a constructive and professional way, but some people really don’t care what they say. Still, I’m just very glad that the positives of blogging far outweigh the negatives.

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    • You are spot on, Hugh. Facebook and Twitter seem the most popular platforms (and also Instagram) but it can be challenging keeping up with all of them. You spend time on one, you spend time on another, and there goes all of your time – so easy to get carried away. I also have a contact page as opposed to publishing my email out right on my blog. Sorry to hear that you’ve had trolls visit my blog. Not responding is a good response. No need to pay them attention and hope they go away and don’t disturb you again. Agree that there will be people who won’t always agree with us, and we can all do with constructive criticism.

      It also amazes me how some bloggers give out their contact details so freely. If they are okay to put up with the risks, so be it. Unlike you, my birthday is on the internet, just the date but not the year. You really don’t know what someone can do with your date of birth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a relevant post, Mabel and as always I love your researched nuggets. Like you already know, my blog is personal and full of memoirs. I try to not take names so protect identities but I use letters like VT. I am wary of personal pictures but at the same time like you said, screen shots are easy from other platforms too. There is no way to know if a FB friend will safely use data that she has access too. Geotagging is scary and I prefer to avoid too. I think I am learning. As much as I want to stay away, I have my name and my Linkedin profile on my blog. People are capable of putting two and two together.
    On a different note, some people use blogs as personal diaries and then I would say it is too much to put it out there on the internet but to be true, there are levels. While I may be on one, you are on the other and likewise. Our privacy is very much in our hands and sharing all that we end up sharing is in many ways, scary.
    Thought provoking post!

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    • ‘researched nuggets’. You are too kind, Parul. Thank you 🙂 You bring up a good point in that you never know if an Facebook friend or ‘friend’ will actually take your data and publish it elsewhere. You just never know. Like you I also have my name and LinkedIn profile on my blog. But I am very mindful of what I share on LinkedIn and in all honestly, there is nothing much on there except a bit about my ambitions to be a writer. I have always enjoyed your blog for what it is: a mix of stories of strong women, lifestyle tips and a bit about what you are greatful for in your life. Can tell you are proud of what you have got but at the same time keep things you want to keep to yourself private. I’m going to come over to your blog soon, and if I have any issues with that again I’ll let you know 🙂

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  3. I am a bit late, Mabel, but must comment on this post as well – don’t think I did? I try to catch up after the trip to Bhutan, but honestly – this country had me, and has me, still in a tight grip. Unforgettable, hopeful and loving.

    Now – your post. “One’s private life is not everyone’s business.” No, it is certainly not. Your policy is perfect – keep it personal but not private. I try to keep it that way as well, for all the reasons you mention. I admit it can be tempting to reveal more openly things you should not reveal – but I don’t do that. What I do, is sometimes publish photos of my grown-up children. (Maybe I shouldn’t, but as they are my greatest pride and joy, I sometimes do.) I hope to reach out anyway, trying to be sensible, mostly positive and always honest.

    What I find among the most disturbing things with IT, fb, twitter etc. is the spreading of”fake news” and the possibility of “destroying” people with degrading comments. I never had those problems in my classes, mostly science classes and electricians, but I know other teachers who had to fight several conflicts.

    I once had a student who, when asked to google himself, found – nothing. Actually he was the only guy in my classes who consciously tried NOT to be on the internet. And he succeeded. A smart guy in one of the science classes. This was in 2015, and he was 19. He had my absolute admiration!

    Thank you for another interesting post, Mabel – I am glad to be here with you.

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    • Don’t think you swung by this one, Leya. You were rightfully enjoying Bhutan and having a great experience and now you are sharing it so genuinely with us 🙂

      Once again, you have philosphical musings to share, and thank you for that. I like how you say it: ‘keep it personal but not private’. It can certainly be tempting to share more about our lives. For instance, we may be proud of the people we know, proud of our achievements and just want to share to guide others along the way or share what we feel.

      Fake news is always a concern, just like gossip and rumours. Things spread so fast on the internet these days, and hence spread around the world so quickly and sometimes faster than we can reflect on what has happened – and that is how many of us jump to conclusions, by going along with what others have said and how they reacted.

      That student of yours who doesn’t have an internet presence is admirable, and not even coming up in Google. He sounds like a very sensible one and hope he goes far. These people with no internet presence can be hard to find these days. I only know of a few people who don’t appear on Google – they don’t spend time at all on social media, and are very driven individuals.

      Once again, thanks for your input, Ann-Christine. Always appreciate. Also hope you don’t mind that I refer to you both as Anne-Christine and Leya… they are great names 🙂

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  4. I probably share abit too much.
    Still, there’s other stuff not out there. I’ve seen enough that I could happily enough blog fodder for at least another decade. After that, I’ll have to think or..imagine more. 😀

    Like

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