Oversharing On Facebook

Social media type screen on smartphone
Image credit: photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash.

There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

We have all had the experience of reading a post on Facebook and thinking that perhaps we didn’t quite need to know that detail about a friend’s life or emotional state. Or we might realize that we ourselves have written something that was perhaps too much for others to hear. Of course, social media exists because we are all searching for a connection, for someone to show concern and empathy.

However, social media may not always be the best method or tool for achieving this.

Social Studies On The Effects Of Facebook

A study on Facebook posts, conducted by Gwendolyn Seidman of Albright College, says that we do not get the emotional reactions that we want when we overshare.

Posters sought attention and a feeling of inclusion, but were seemingly less interested in expressing caring for others. They treated Facebook like a drive-thru window, seeking a quick and easy dollar-menu pick-me-up. 

The same study found that people did not get more responses to their emotional posts, perhaps due to “a disconnect between the levels of self-disclosure with which these users and their friends are comfortable.”

So they found that people did not receive the types of concern that they had hoped for. And, whether that be empathy, compassion, anger, or even a “right on, sister!” we definitely are hoping for a reaction, or else why bother to post at all? 

So What Is Arguably The Best Way To Use Facebook?

If we do decide to go on with the post (because, after all, what use is it to be on social media if we are never “social”), then we need to contemplate our motives. Sometimes you may share what you’re feeling or experiencing on social media, when processing with an emotionally safe person face to face might better serve you.

Before posting anything, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the reason I am writing this post? What kind of emotional reaction do I hope to gain from this?
  • Will this bring me ill will or negativity, or good will and positivity?
  • Would I share this information with a colleague?
  • Is there room for a free exchange of ideas in my post, and am I open to hearing a different side of the divide?
  • Is there a better method for getting the emotional response that I need right now? (Like, connecting with a friend over coffee or calling someone?)

Discover more about how to handle Facebook envy in my full article.

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