Oversharing is Ruining Social Media

Unless you haven’t watched any news this past week, you’ve seen the NSA Prism whistleblower, Edward Snowden reveal himself and why he felt the need to go public. As this news broke, we also discovered that the Prism program is tapping into tech giants such as Facebook, Apple, and Google.

Yet, you would think that this would make more millennials or social media users would be up in arms, or that usage would go down. Perhaps it’s still too early to gauge, as the latest set of numbers show that billions of users are on platforms such as Facebook and Google+.

Given the knowledge of the National Security Agency looking into our accounts, maybe all of those posts you liked about culturally sensitive topics would have more real-world consequences. Especially those memes depicting gender violence. More of an emphasis should be placed in the types of posts, pictures, and thoughts that we share on the internet.

It’s almost as if all of the social media platforms should have a “do you really want to post this?” confirmation screen before talking about how inebriated they were the night before. With groups like the Everyday Sexism Project and the Women Action Media (WAM) Network and their recent success in the #fbrape campaign, can’t stronger efforts be made to encourage users to watch what they post?

If not for the morality of it, but for self-preservation — because those wild pictures are definitely not going to help you land that dream job. Not all of your “friends” and “followers” want to know every single detail of your life. Yes there are some amendment rights being called in to question here, but there are also some coming from the other side of the aisle. Shouldn’t there be a limit as to how deep into our personal lives the government can go?

Perhaps this is just a double-edged sword that is destined to cut both ways. Yet, it gets harder and harder to take social media seriously when all you see are memes, derogatory comments, and soap-box speech. Does this mean that you should do a “friend” or “follower” purge (nothing like the new movie … just “unfriending”) once in awhile,  absolutely.

Turning your Facebook profile picture into a particular logo, such as the Human Rights Campaign Equality symbol, for a month does not make you an advocate for the LGBT community. Yes, you took a stand in solidarity for a cause, but what else did you do about it? After sharing the video of the Peace Poets of New York City, posting about how messed up “stop and frisk” is — did you join a rally or protest?

Accessibility to information and technology does not equate to tangible change, as it usually takes direct action (that may utilize IT) to see results. The gift and the curse of social media is, although it has the power to unite many and spark uprisings and movements, often times it can be the cause of over sharing or personal information, or just over sharing period. This will just allow for this generation and those after us to become even more desensitized to what they see, both in person and virtually, as social media constantly gets redefined. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Veronica Agard

Program Associate at Humanity in Action; an international education organization. Graduate of the City College of New York (CUNY) - BA in International Studies//History. Co-founder of the Sister Circle Collective - a transnational feminist, grassroots organization based in New York City. @veraicon_ // www.veronicaagard.com

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