Do we share too much information on social media?
Does the amount of information being shared depend on the ages of the users?
I think both statements are true.
When we were younger, we learned that things on the Internet never disappear, and then saw a trend of data mining where tech-savvy investigators would discredit people by finding information about them which proves them to be something that they claim to not be.
Then we learned that not everything on the Internet is true... That became the defense for those people who were being outed in social media for being liars, bigots, racists and frauds.
Fast forward, and then came the phase where our (potential) employers could check or worse, access our social media accounts and use the information contained therein to hire or fire us.
Who knew that a simple comment or “like” could have such implications. Those people stopped using social media, or had “admin” handle their accounts.
Then that shaming went quiet, all the while local parenting groups full of mommies and daddies kept the pressure on people in their community who publicized posts and made comments about things like:
That your nanny gives your child a giant bag of chips as a snack at pick-up?
That your 15-year-old daughter wants to have a boob job?
That your 4-year-old has six cavities?
The judging, and finger-pointing was tantamount to bullying. Well it was bullying.
So when is sharing and commenting crossing the line? Is there even a line?
For some people it comes down to do you care if you are being judged by your peers for posting that naked selfie, or has that thought not come to you because you just don’t care?
I guarantee you we are all being judged and talked about. Look at some of the comments in any posts that anyone has ever written. The Internet used to be anonymous, but that is changing and fast. One hateful comment can come back to you in a heartbeat.
It's human nature, and in this day and age it's easy to form an opinion of someone without ever taking the time to speak to them.
But is there a shifting of what constitutes too much information?
For sure! As Millennials, who grew up in this age of technology, take over key positions from the Gen x and Gen y who were heavily influenced by the Boomers, we are seeing a tolerance or understanding of over-sharing online with an expectation that it's all cool provided that it ceases / doesn’t cross a line / offend people or cast the employer in ill-refute.
Much in the same way that tattoo's were considered taboo, and discussions were common about whether or not to hire someone who is covered in tattoos has faded away into obscurity, it's likely that the same will happen with social media.
So that picture you posted on Facebook smoking weed, or where you have passed out and are surrounded by empty beer bottles, you might still have a chance to get into that prestigious law school, or represent top firms as CEO... You just might need to wait a bit.
Personally, I prefer if people took the time to look at what their social media footprint much in the same was as you check your linkedin connections or twitter followers, to weed out the content that is no longer relevant to you as you grow older or to you as you mature and your views of the world change.
It's always best to share less, check often and be kind to others in comments than to have to explain away poor choice words or images when you're that close to the opportunity of a lifetime.
Or post what you want when you want and wait for the world of technology to change as it often does.
Warren Orlans had been blogging parent-related posts as The Urban Daddy since 2004, and he has been blogging about Canadian tax information under inTAXicating since 2008. A parenting expert with three young children, and with experience working at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for almost 11 years, Warren's got being a busy dad down to a fine art.