The Need to Share: Social Media Etiquette

As I started thinking about the upcoming holidays and how they would be presented on social media, I started thinking about our need to share. Thanksgiving is tomorrow and while families gather and spend time together, most social media applications start exploding with photos and sayings. People are compelled to share what they see and what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter if that photograph of your mother cooking an apple pie is generally of no importance, you’re going to post it and 35 people are going to give it a thumbs up. We feel the need to show our friends and many strangers what we are looking at and what’s around us. This led to also think about the things that we shouldn’t be sharing. Is there some sort of universal social media etiquette about the things we post on this vast web world? Well, for some of the things I’ve seen, I would say no but there are some things I can think of that should stay private.

To start off with, many professionals like to crosslink their sites. Their Facebook page can be found under the same URL or name as their LinkedIn page, company website, Twitter account, etc. It works for them but not always for the meandering tweeter. If someone wants to post a picture of them on Instagram of a “raging night” involving major drunkenness then maybe it shouldn’t be posted under the same name that a future or current employer may see when “Googling” your real name. Maybe those photos shouldn’t be posted at all seeming as how it really won’t add anything to the knowledge sphere, but if you need to share that time you fell down the stairs of a nightclub after that shot of Patron, then do it under your made-up user nickname.

Another over-sharing habit that irks me is the strange act of posting your phone number on your page, under a comment section, etc. I’ve seen too many times, where somebody may leave a comment on your page or wall and ask for your phone number to meet up. The person then adds their phone number…where their 550 friends, 250 of them being complete strangers, can see. Our social media pages have transitioned from the grace of connecting with friends and family, to “let’s see who can be the most popular and attract people we don’t even know”. When that amount of people can easily see all of your photos, see what you’re with at what locations (restaurant, school) I think the last thing a stranger needs is your actual phone number. Sometimes I can easily see their phone number from their bio page. They actually placed it on there without anybody asking.

So, when it comes to sharing there is definitely a handful of items that are tend to be over-shared and unnecessary. I simply listed two that I happen to see often but somebody should really come up with some sort of Social Media Etiquette book that could be a universal guideline, given to all common over-sharers.

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