Private v. Public — How Much Sharing is OK?

Private v. Public — How Much Sharing is OK?

There’s a line in the Sony film Easy A where Mr. Griffith tells Olive, “I don’t understand what your generation’s fascination is with sharing your every thought. They’re not all diamonds.”

He was talking about our use of social media to connect with each other and the occasional tendency we have to over share on the internet. While his statement was meant as a joke, Mr. Griffith brings up a really good point — what’s ok to talk about and what should be avoided?

Social media has made it really easy to tell the world about our lives and really hard to define appropriateness. We can click a box and announce a relationship’s beginning or end, we can comment on photos and status updates and we can share our opinions — and there’s nothing to stop us from saying exactly what we want.

We can post these things, but should we? Below are some things you might want to consider before sharing something online.

Who’s going to see it?

You and your partner might be head-over-heels in love, but you should pause before posting pictures of the two of you making out. Despite your stringent privacy settings, your friends aren’t the only ones who can see your photos and profile. In fact, pretty much anyone can see what you’ve been up to – including parents, teachers and employers.

Before you show your friends how in love you are, you might want to ask yourself if you want your Gammy to see what you’re about to post. What about your partner’s Gammy? Double-check with them to make sure that they’re OK with people that they don’t know seeing what you post about them.

How will people react?

While choosing to make your relationship “Facebook official” might seem like a great way to show how committed you are, you might want to rethink it. What if your ex sees your change in relationships status? How will they react? What will their reaction mean for you?

Before you tell the world that you’ve got a new boo, take a second to think about who’s going to find out and what their knowing will mean for you and your partner.

How will posting affect your relationship?

Let’s say you and your partner just had an argument and while you fought fair, you’re still pretty upset and want to vent on Twitter — hold your horses. Telling the world about this argument might not be the wisest thing. Your partner might feel that you shouldn’t have shared, that they were unfairly attacked or that you didn’t tell the whole truth and it could mean the end of your relationship.

Before you tweet in anger, pause and contemplate how you would feel if they shared what you’re about to.

How will sharing affect your reputation?

Seventeen Magazine recently wrote an article about the “I Have a Secret” series on YouTube in which people are sharing their deepest secrets with the world. This article touches on the reaction that participants are receiving from viewers. Some have received hate mail, hurtful comments and have even been ostracized from their group of friends.

Before you share your secrets, consider if you would be OK if you received a harsh comment in response. Can you handle all of the opinions that might be voiced, even if they are different than how you think?

Will it put you in danger?

When you’re out with your friends you might be tempted to “check in” on Foursquare or Facebook. Don’t do it. Sharing your location can be extremely hazardous for a whole host of reasons, including that it allows anyone to find you.

Before you share something, like your location, ask yourself if it will put you in danger. Plus, if you’re tagging people in your “check in” you’ve got to verify that it’s OK with them, too.

How does your partner feel about it?

Maybe you took a picture with your boyfriend while the two of you were at the beach last weekend and you absolutely love it. You upload it Facebook and set it as your profile picture. But did ask your partner if they were OK with you sharing it? Maybe he doesn’t want the whole world to see him shirtless and gets upset that you posted the photo.

Before you post a picture or status (or comment or anything else) about your partner, check with them to make sure they are comfortable with it.

Online interactions affect real life relationships. Before you share information your partner you must verify that the person you’re talking about is ok with what you’re saying. Not doing so can cause friction in the relationship and potentially threaten your partner’s safety. Having a conversation about this with your partner at the beginning of your relationship can save you from awkward status-deletes later on.

What are some things you should think seriously about before posting?

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