With social media being such a prevalent part of our society, these days, it’s difficult to not get too involved in others’ lives. We’ve changed as humans. We’ve become a civilization that thrives on voyeurism and has learned to embrace the negative happenings in others’ lives. Certainly social media allows us to rejoice with our friends regarding their triumphs, but with sweet comes the bitter and many of us have taken to trolling our social sites looking for drama. Is this simply human nature at its worst or are we sharing too much?
That’s an Overshare
We all know at least one couple who has done the dance of break up to make up to break up one too many times. It’s all well and good when we know them personally and we can give advice during the sobbing, wine drinking breakup days and smile with them when they spell out how much the other is planning to change their ways. However, when we have to watch everything unfold on social media, including cheating accusations, profanity-laden soliloquies as status updates, and the obligatory repost of Taylor Swift videos, we are definitely asking for attention and it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s negative or not.
By now most of us have seen the epic fail where the woman is speaking ill of her boss on the internet, having forgotten that they were friends on Facebook. He then sees her negative opinion of him and the company for which she works and responds in kind, including the termination of her employment. The old school people laugh because this wouldn’t have happened in the eighties or early nineties because the audience wasn’t there back then. If you wanted to complain about your boss, you talked to your friends over a beer and went about your day.
Welcome to Facebook… Here’s Your Voice
The power of social media can be incredible. However, it can also be abysmal as it has given everyone a voice and a lectern at which to preach. Level headed business owners can share racist or sexist memes on their personal pages and while it may cause a couple of people to unfriend or unfollow, there’s no actual consequence. If they were using the same language in a public setting, without hiding behind the internet, wouldn’t there be some sort of retribution for their actions?
How many of us would rather that our friends stopped sharing their political beliefs or their misogynist opinions? Of course, we all love our friends, but some of them will not shut up on social media and the worst part of it is that they’re sharing opinions that they keep themselves in person. Raise your hand if you lost some friends during this past election because of the vitriol that your typically mild-mannered friend was spewing all over Facebook or Twitter? Most of these voices with which people have been provided seem to be set to the maximum volume and don’t include a filter of any kind.
The Consequence of Too Much Information
It’s difficult to say something mean or judgmental to someone’s face without a twinge of guilt running through your body. Most of us have a voice inside asking if we should we be sharing our opinion aloud. However, a lot of people don’t hesitate to hate hard on people on the internet. How many kids have been tortured via social media because they posted lyrics from a sad song or wished via Facebook status to be thinner, have less acne, or for a boyfriend? Is this just kids being kids or is it because we’ve become a population of people who just share too much information?
For many people who have active social media accounts, scrolling through our news feed can account for at least one head-slap per day. There are people online complaining that the job market sucks and that they’re going to lose their homes, but their mobile upload album is filled with photos of drug paraphernalia in the background. Women are asking to be taken seriously as business owners but just can’t stop posting selfies where the focal point isn’t their faces. Do you know we can see that?!
In a world where social media vetting has become a very real thing, this oversharing nature we’ve developed is so much more than a simple annoyance. Your binge drinking Snapchat story? It’s not impressive and you better hope that no one shows that to a prospective employer. Do we really need the attention this badly?