Please Don’t Over-share

While participating in Dean Shareski and Alec Couros’ ETMOOC sessions last week, the topic of over-sharing came up a couple times.  From what I gather there are two camps on this topic.

  1. I Share, You Filter  (ISYF)
  2. Too Much Information (TMI)

I love the line, “why is everyone such an exhibitionist all of a sudden?” At some point, whether intentional or not, people who share “too much” aren’t trying to create memories or share valuable information, they’re just trying to be seen. Their posts are a validation of their existence. “I post, therefore I am”.

Yes, having to constantly filter through a persons mundane updates, pictures, and tweets can be annoying, but in the grand scheme, not a big deal.  My main issue is that over-sharing subtracts from the good things that person has to say.  I’ve unfollowed people (GASP!) from various social media because of over-posting the trivial. I’m a “quality over quantity” kind of person and while Mr.Over-poster might have some great photos, comments, or media to share, it’s few and far between. When a person expresses a good idea, shares a valuable resource (funny, inspiring, thought-provoking, etc), or has an interesting conversation online, they are contributing. When a person is giving you a play-by-play of their life, it dilutes the good things share. Others get desensitized to the over-sharing and will eventually ignore the good content of the Over-poster.

So for the sake of your message and reputation, think before you post.

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15 thoughts on “Please Don’t Over-share

  1. I completely agree! I unfollow people for the same reason, and have consciously decided to make my Twitter feed professional and focused on sharing resources and ideas I think others might find helpful, and leave the personal stuff to Facebook (which is purely personal, filled with family and friends). I find this a nice way to avoid oversharing on Twitter (and elsewhere), while still sending fun stuff and updates on my life and travel to those close to me!

    1. I do the same with my Twitter feed. There are a few friends and sports figures, but it’s predominantly my PLN. I don’t much use Facebook, but I totally agree with how you’ve segmented your social media and its purposes. If people took time to manage their online presence it would be much more purposeful.

  2. Sue Dunlop

    Yup. Great post. Carefully considering my online presence is very important to me. Always triple check my writing. You too, I bet.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. Online presence is still a presence. All generations need to learn that what they do and say online is an extension of themselves, except the internet doesn’t quite as readily “forget” what happens.

  3. Loved the video and completely agree – almost to the extreme where I don’t share anything. I like the “quality over quantity” idea – share it if it’s professional and quality – good points.
    I too only use Twitter for professional use – and Facebook (which I never use really) for family and friends. I also have a separate Twitter account to communicate with my students. As a music teacher – frequently out and about performing with students after school – Twitter acts as a little reminder and instant messenger for me with my parents and students.

    1. I know what you mean by going to the extreme and not sharing. I had the same reservation. I wasn’t confident that what I had to say was “worthy” of being read by others, or that it wasn’t a great enough contribution. Even though your twitter account was professional, why did you create a new one for the students? Just curious because I’m considering doing the same. Also, did they create a new account for you to view?

  4. I just ate some nice cheddar. Might have a grape now. Did you see that ludicrous display last night?

    Kidding… I completely agree, I’m just starting to dive into the world of twitter for to build a professional learning network and would definitely agree that more than an occasional trivial tweet on any primarily professional account is wasting other people’s time. There’s a time and a place for sending out tedious reports on the minutiae of your life, and it’s called facebook.

  5. I’m going to disagree because there are pros and cons to both approaches. Ultimately it is your choice how you use Twitter and we each use it differently.

    As the number of people you follow increases how you use it changes. When you follow low numbers of people you tend to be more likely to try and read every single tweet, every day, and it is more noticeable if someone tweets more often or does a blend of helpful tweets mixed with random tweets.

    If you continue to expand the number of people you follow you eventually learn to let go of the need to check every tweet, the types of tweets people do are less noticeable and you learn about important resources by how many times they are being shared. The more they are shared by others the more likely it is worth your time checking out the resources. (Strategies like using Twitter lists of the main people you like to read and subscribing to your timeline in FlipBoard helps you filter out the noise.

    There are lot of well known educators that tweet a blend of helpful tweets mixed with random tweets about their life. Dean Shareski, Alec Couros, George Couros and myself are all examples of these types of Twitterers. I’m sure the others have a range of reasons why they do it; however for many of us we’re about helping others. Relationships are an important part of connecting and helping others. Think about the lunch room at work. Who are you more likely to connect with, collaborate and help? The person who comes into the lunch room, only talks work and never connects with you? Or the person who you engage with in small talk mixed with work?

    Some followers prefer the occasional random tweets, it helps them connect, to see who each of us are as a real person and helps them to develop relationships that make them feel more comfortable to ask for help or get involved.

    It’s easy to discount the value of those that share more random tweets as being less valuable than those that focus on sharing good resources; and by doing so you might be discounting the individuals that potentially are the most likely to go out of the way to help you.

    As George Couros said in a workshop; I’ll get some people come up to me and complain about my random tweets while others come up to me to thanks me for those random tweets. The reality is you’ll never please everyone so focus on how you want to use it for your own learning and the connections you want to make.

    1. Thanks for your comment Sue. I didn’t take into consideration how a person with a larger network would use Twitter much differently than a person like myself who has a smaller network. In my quest to be persuasive I didn’t mean come across saying that sharing is all about resources. I agree, if it’s all about work the joy is gone. I used Twitter as an example but the issue I have is larger. It comes down to the fact that I don’t need to know everything about everybody. Again, this is opinion and how I choose to represent myself online right now, but I can definitely see your point on how purpose changes when your network grows. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Hi Brent, I didn’t take it as you saying sharing is all about resources and I generally prefer not to disagree as there really is no truly right or wrong answer. It’s your own personal learning network and how you build it is your choice.

        I think the more important aspect is to appreciate there are reasons why people use the different approaches; and share these insights into the pros and cons so others can make an informed decision of their choices.

        The other thing to consider is when building your personal learning network what do you want it to be like.

        For example, I’ve been to presentations where they’ll supply a list of well known edubloggers who might have a high number of following, share the occasional good link or advice but don’t follow many and rarely interact with others; and tell the participants these are the people they should follow. If this is what you want it is fine; but if you’re looking to develop connections and find people who are willing to help this mightn’t be the best approach. And what decisions do you make on the number you follow? What is the pros and cons of large vs small?

  6. I’m so happy that I returned to this post to read the comments. The discussion that has ensued reminds me of something I heard Haword Rheingold share in a CBC Spark podcast: “small talk lubricates trust and trust leads to disclosure” (he was referring to small talk on twitter).

    As I use twitter primarily as a tool in my PLN I have found that over time trust has developed with folks who share bits and pieces of themselves rather than just their work. We do all use social media differently, and it is always good to “think before you post”, but sharing your personality and passions is good social glue too.

    1. Good point. I guess social media is like most other social situations. At first we observe, then we share a bit, and as we build trust, we expose more of our personality online. Previously, most people I interacted with on Twitter were people who I already knew. Since starting ETMOOC, my presence and contributions have grown and I’m starting to get to know people that I don’t know face to face.
      This article wasn’t aimed at Twitter exclusively, or how it’s used in PLNs. This is more a comment on how many people exhibit themselves online (whether FB, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc) with little or no discretion, as if social norms don’t exist online.

  7. Pingback: What you share with the world… | Jeannine St. Amand

  8. Hi, Brent,
    Glad I found this post via Sue Waters. I understand your viewpoint and have encountered some pretty inane things shared by people I follow on Twitter. I’ve occasionally unfollowed as a result. However, more often than not, seemingly random tweets from members of my PLN have helped me get to know those whom I follow on a more personal level, thus strengthening our relationships and making sharing more meaningful. Since we likely will only ever interact in online settings, it’s nice to get to know the people who contribute to my learning on a daily basis. I definitely value the connections made with people via my networking, and that wouldn’t happen without those folks opening up a bit and being transparent – in an appropriate way, of course- in those social spaces.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree, the little “inane” tidbits of info definitely add to our online personalities, or as Jeannine say it’s “good social glue”. It’s great that when I finally meet a one of my tweeps in person and already know a bit about them personally. Your words, “in an appropriate way”, was where I meant to direct my article. I’ll expand more later 🙂

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