When is enough, enough? Privacy v. Hiding: Part II

Trying to stop a moving freight train is basically an impossibility but the option to redirect its trajectory creates the opportunity to avoid a predictable destination.

The necessary things to know though are: What are you doomed to hit and where would you like to land instead?

This metaphor is useful in so many decision making cases that I use it in many of my talks and in much of my life. Too often we tell people that their decisions, their ideas, their plans, etc. are no good and they should stop. We say, stop smoking. We say, be abstinent. We say, don’t eat junk food, don’t over spend, don’t overshare on social media.

There’s a saying in psychology that goes something like, “Don’t should all over yourself.” The reason is because when we focus on what we shouldn’t do, we are still focusing on it. Instead, we have to redirect our behavior in order to be effective in avoiding a known problem. Eat carrots, buy X items this shopping trip, share in these topics only on social media.

We are basically trying to help you trick your brain to do the things you want it to do and avoid the things you don’t. Now let’s apply the same principal for change to social media oversharing. To quote my earlier article, the problem we face is this: “oversharing can lead to too much information being posted about a person that, in the future, will hinder them from jobs, relationships, opportunities. It doesn’t allow people to grow and change.”

So oversharing is defined as posting pictures or information that make us look like we a) lack self-control, b) lack good decision making skills, and/or c) are overly angry or hateful.

Any one of these will give them impression of immaturity or an inability to function and will create the possibility of hindering growth, affecting job placement, or reducing others’ willingness to trust us. But telling people to stop posting in these three areas is as likely to succeed as standing in front of a freight train with your arm outstretched yelling STOP!

Alternatively, we should clarify what *is* beneficial. A good set of guidelines to follow are to ask oneself, is my post: self-enabling for growth, self-promoting, and/or positive toward others? If the answer is yes, go for it. If the answer is no, change it. If the answer is I don’t know – ask someone to read it before you post. And most of all, remember the old adage:

Less is More. Be real, be cautious, be aware. These are the best ways to ensure sharing is helpful to life, and not hindering it.

Photo credits Michael Mroczek  Rodion Kutsaev  Kristina Flour

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