Do you have this affliction?

by Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC, CVP on July 5, 2011

I’ve rarely had it, but know I have once in a while.

You may have, too.

It’s an affliction that has affected millions.

It creeps upon you without your becoming aware of it. You display classic signs, yet they seem normal. After all, so many people in your circle display the same symptoms.

What is this dreaded malady?

Public — or semi-public — oversharing. Via Twitter, Facebook, blogging.

Within the last few years we’ve suddenly come to believe that everyone in our social circle — and beyond — deserves to know our every waking thought or action. We think we need to tweet, Facebook or blog the most minute details of our lives.

“Just woke up.”

“Way too hot.”

“Standing in line at a gelato store on Hollywood Blvd.”

“My boyfriend is an idiot.”

“Got a strange itch. Should I go to the doctor?”

These are the kind of chatter I expect from my 17-year-old niece. Not 50-something professional colleagues.

I’ve been chastised for not tweeting more. I just rarely think of anything newsworthy or interesting enough to share with a bunch of people I don’t know who’ve decided to follow me. I’m guessing they expected me to follow them back, but since I never read Twitter feeds, it would be an exercise in inauthenticity. I don’t really care about these strangers, so why should I pretend to by following them?

In fact, I recently received a flame email from someone who said he’d never follow me because I followed so few people. One should choose to follow something because they think they periodically may have something useful or interesting to share. Choosing to follow someone because they are following thousands is just dumb. In fact, realistically one cannot track feeds from thousands, so it should really be more appealing to see that someone you choose to follow is more discriminating in who they follow.

The same with Facebook. If I post a status once a week that’s a lot. Judging from the mindless chatter I read on my feed, a lot of my pals have way too much time on their hands. They don’t have time to do the things they say are important, but they have time to remote post pics of the most mundane things in their lives. I hide 90% of those who’ve asked to friend me, especially if I don’t know them and/or if they post banal updates too frequently.

I know proponents of social media would say I’m missing out on a marketing opportunity to communicate some key information on my business resources, insights, offerings, etc. Perhaps. But I can’t believe that those signing up to follow me are really that interested in those things. I think they really just want me to follow them back so their ego can be inflated with the large number of people following them. I guess it doesn’t matter if few are actually reading their tweets. Seems sort of silly.

While serving on my professional association’s board of directors, a colleague gave me what I consider a high compliment. He said, “You don’t say a lot, but when you do it’s always worth listening to.”

I transfer this philosophy to social media. I’d rather be someone who doesn’t share a lot, but when I do, hopefully folks will think it is something worth reading. I don’t want to be perceived in the same category as those streaming blather. Do you?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Barbara July 28, 2011 at 9:56 am

Girlfriend, you stole my line:
“I’d rather be someone who doesn’t share a lot, but when I do, hopefully folks will think it is something worth reading.”
I am so relieved I’m not the only person who thinks this way!
Thanks for saying it.

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