We live in a culture of mass oversharing. Social media allows just about anyone the ability to share their ideologies, products or uncanny resemblance of their cat and Hitler but there comes a point when we have to ask ourselves do you really need share that?
I recently watched a TED talk titled “Why do people brag” by Irene Scopelliti and she referred to the main culprit being the empathy-gap, a cognitive bias that explains why human understanding is often “state dependent” and this got me thinking…
As a Facebooker myself, my feed is constantly inundated with holiday photos, new partners, new babies, tonight’s dinner, political propaganda, abs, products and loads more stuff that I didn’t really need to see and so I thought wouldn’t it be nice if Facebook decided to start asking people “Why are you sharing this?” Before it pinged it out to everybody else’s feed.
Research suggests that social media has a growing impact on our mental health and well-being and I believe a lot of that comes down to our mindless sharing of these highlight reel moments of life and on the other end of the spectrum, our hyperdrive imaginations which often exaggerate what has been seen to feed into our insecurities.
Yes it’s nice that you may have a new partner but there are also many single people who will see your post which reminds them of their loneliness. It’s great that you’re on the beach drinking cocktails but someone else is drowning in debt and worried if their kids will have a roof over their head next week. It’s impressive you have abs but someone else out there is struggling with their body confidence.
I understand that we have an inbuilt human desire to be seen and heard and social media is the perfect tool to help construct and amplify our personalities online but we never stop to think about what kind of impact our sharing may be having on those on the receiving end.
I’m not going to act like I’m totally innocent when it comes to this subject but I certainly feel that we could all do with becoming a little more mindful of what we share online so that we can avoid getting caught up in our own hype but also to protect those in our circle of influence.
Social media can be an incredible tool for changing the world for the better but that comes with our ability to share honest and authentic versions of ourselves, warts and all! It is often our adversity that give others hope and has the ability to build those deeper connections. Next time you’re posting something online, take a moment to ask yourself “Who is this serving – my ego or my friends?”