How to stage an intervention for a social oversharer

Dear Twitter,  Today I came in to work seriously late. I didn’t get the response I wanted on a project so I took a long lunch at the local bar where I had 3 DRINKS! OMFG I FEEL SO DRUNK RIGHT NOW AND I HAVE A MEETING TO ATTEND!

There’s so much wrong with that tweet, besides the fact that’s it’s over 140 characters. Lately I have noticed that my streams on Facebook and Twitter have been a glut of TMI and deeply personal thoughts.  There are a number of individuals that I expect this from, but when you take to Twitter to announce your health status or minute-by-minute updates of your day, nobody wants to read that.

Blurring the Lines

The lines between work are becoming blurrier every day.  Are you “friends” with your boss on Facebook?  Does your co-worker follow your Twitter account?  Many posts have been written to detail how pics of you at the beach will get you fired (mostly when you call out sick that day) or how your online identity can prevent you from landing your dream job. Those are great points, but an even more compelling one would be that all this public sharing has robbed us of the opportunity to be introspective.  After all, if you can’t sum up your idea in a witty way, who will comment on or RT it?

Back in the day, when I was an overly-sensitive teenager, I used to carry a journal around.  It was often a black-and-white lined notebook that I would use to write poems, diary entries, ideas for plays and homework assignments.  I carried the practice well into my adult life, although my journals became more about to-do lists than some profound commentary on my world.  I’m not sure when I stopped this practice, but I’m sure that my addiction to social media had a lot to do with it.

I wanted to Tweet… but I didn’t

Today, as I was taking a walk during lunch, I felt an urgent need to work out a problem I was facing at work.  I pulled out my phone to tweet and stopped.  How could I sum up my problem in 140 characters? Would my followers respond as quickly as I needed them to?  Most importantly, would people from work see my tweets and misinterpret them? I put away the phone and remembered back to a time when my thoughts were my own and I solved my own problems.  For the first time in a long time, the idea of sharing myself with the world seemed cold and unappealing.

The Intervention.

After telling your oversharer that you care about them, urge them to consider these three things:

  1. Check your privacy settings. You don’t want the world (or more specifically your boss) to know how much you hate your job.
  2. Stop and think before you hit send.  Do you really want everyone you know to have this information about you?
  3. Don’t share every thought you have. Your followers and friends will appreciate it.

What do you think?  Are you an oversharer?  Do you know one?


The original post “Social Media is Not Your Journal” by Nicole Perri was originally published on Social Media Girl

Original Article

Nicole Perri
Digital Media Strategist • Community Manager • Writer/Editor • Marketing and Branding Specialist
  • LinkedBusiness

    Nicole, thanks for putting together these suggestions for how to address an oversharer. I’ve found myself lately “unfriending” a few people on Facebook for just this reason. I think that’s why I find LinkedIn more productive…it doesn’t have all the drama of Facebook and Twitter.

    • VCVaile

      …and even less of the appeal..just a clunky, intrusive interface and an overwhelming tendency to reduce the universe and meaning of life itself to a business transaction or connection

  • Samjb

    This is a good piece. I teach social media in my college courses, and while I embrace a fun-loving Twitter style with my students, I do caution them about this kind of stuff, because it has a way of coming back to bite them. I even had a student who would frequently check in on Foursquare (shared on Twitter) that he was on his third beer at lunch, right before a 2:00 class. While it explained his presence in class with bloodshot eyes and slurry speech, I don’t see it as behavior that would impress a future employer.