Why do we share so much on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter? Do we really need to tell everybody that we just did our laundry, or that we are taking our dog out for a walk? Do we really need to share our honeymoon pictures with the entire circle of friends; do we need to inform the entire world that a mild headache is not letting us concentrate today?
People share everything these days. And I literally mean everything. No wonder companies are facing problem to segregate data that makes sense from all the data they have. And trust me, it is enormous. But let’s save the topic of big data for some other time. This post is reserved for why do people overshare?
People are sharing all sorts of personal information on Facebook and Twitter. Their food, their pets, their conversations, their stress outs, their personal favorites, their moods and what not; everything is out there in the open. I bet even Mark Zuckerberg, when he was creating Facebook, did not have a clue that this information oversharing would go to such extent. But what is the compulsion to share? Are we doing it on purpose or is there any other reason?
I was going through a post by Roger Cohen and I agree with what I read. As per his theory, we have always been hardwired to fear and that has been the reason of our survival; fear of wild beasts, then of plague and war. But today, it does not exist to that extent. So anxiety has to find a new focus. And that focus has shifted to the status anxiety. Someone unfriended us on Facebook, our status anxiety drops, some friend posted that he bought a new Ferrari, the status anxiety goes down, someone posts how she is having a holiday blast in Hawaii, the status anxiety goes down. What do we do to bring the status anxiety back up again? Share as much as possible!
We want to prove to the world that we exist. We are not over sharing but we just want to show the world that we are alive and that we are not anonymous. So more than doing what is important and pleases us, we have gotten in the race to show the world that we exist. As rightly mentioned by Cohen; I overshare therefore I am.