Too Much Information?

Do you sometimes squirm a little when you see what someone has ‘shared’ online?

Maybe it’s a status update that would have been better shared with one or two people than with the whole world or a photo that really should never have been placed in public.

Since the meteoric rise of social networking there has been an equally sharp increase in the amount of information that people are sharing with everyone else on the planet.

Technology company Intel has produced the Mobile Technology Etiquette Study which suggests that we’re sharing way too much online.

According to a recent multi-country study commissioned by Intel Corporation and conducted by Ipsos Observer* on “Mobile Etiquette,” the majority of adults and teens around the world are sharing information about themselves online and feel better connected to family and friends because of it. However, the survey also revealed a perception of “oversharing,” with at least six out of 10 adults and teens saying they believe other people divulge too much information about themselves online, with Japan being the only exception.

It seems that we don’t understand or we just don’t care about the possible effects of sharing too much through networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the many other social platforms that now play a major part in opening our private lives to the public.

According to the latest Intel survey, approximately half of adults around the world feel overloaded by the amount of information people share online. Yet, adults and teens across the globe are sharing a wide variety of information online, with photos of themselves or people they know cited as one of the top things being shared. Other frequently shared items that adults are likely to share include: announcements of important life events in Australia and the United States; reviews and recommendations in China, France and Japan; sports information in Brazil; and current events in India and Indonesia.

While the survey revealed that digital sharing on mobile devices helps many people feel more connected to others, the tendency to share too much information can annoy others for various reasons. Adults and teens from each country had differing opinions on top digital sharing pet peeves. However, constant complaining, posting inappropriate photos, using profanity and sharing too many life details and personal information were prominent responses.

More than 85 percent of survey respondents across the globe wish people thought more about how others will perceive them when sharing information online. At least one-quarter of adults and one-third of teens around the world, with the exception of Japan and Indonesia, have been embarrassed by something they have done online. Many also admit to having a different personality online and to sharing false information online.

Have you been guilty of sharing too much? I do share a lot of stuff online but I still draw a line on many topics and situations. I realise that even those things that I share with a select group online can go well beyond any privacy settings I may have selected so I’m very careful with how much I send into cyberspace.

What kind of sharing makes you cringe? One of the big ones for me is the ‘fishing’ status. I’m sure you’ve seen them. It’s when someone posts something like, “That’s it. I’ve had enough.” or, “I don’t care what she thinks.” or anything else that is designed to give just enough information to make others swarm in and say, “Are you alright honey?” If you need support, talk to a friend. Don’t go fishing for it online.

How about you? What do you think when friends overshare online?

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • So true especially about the ‘fishing’ typeofposts. My friends call it vague booking. Just being vague so others will jump in and make you feel important because they are concerned.

    TMI is in nearly plague proportions and I am sure it is much worse among teens than my generation. In fact most of my generation do know better but I am part of a coupleof closed Facebookmgroups made up of much younger woman and they can share!

  • I think the ‘fishing’ posts are mostly about attention seeking. Like jennifercrewe, I use the term ‘vaguebooking’ because I’ve asked if they were ok and what was happening, only to receive a response such as, “I can’t tell you!” Why would you put something like that on something as public as Facebook if you can’t elaborate? A private Facebook message to close friends is a much better way.

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