"At first, they looked useful, but now they’re just cliched," said Cheng, 22, a Beijing-based reporter. In fact, Cheng is not the only one who has to endure such bombardments on social media platforms, from intimate couple selfies, photos of meals, to bag sales and if-you-don’t-share-this-bad-things-will-happen links.
Let’s just say that while sharing is indeed a virtue, oversharing, especially on social media platforms, can not only sour friendships but also hurt career prospects. Experts advise people to maintain a good balance between their private life and their professional life, between sharing and showing off, and between goodwill and annoyances. But it’s a tricky business.
Identification and false reality
Feng Shanshan, 20, an economics major at the University of International Business and Economics, feels frustrated when she checks her WeChat only to see photos from her friends eating in fancy restaurants or enjoying exotic trips and exciting events. "It feels like I’m a failure with hardly any highlights in my life," said Feng.
Zhang Yijun, a Shanghai-based psychologist, says this is a common reaction. But the truth is that the information shared online is designed to construct a certain illusion of reality.
"Deep down, sharing anything is showing off," said Zhang. "But when we see the best side of everyone’s life in such a fragmented way, we tend to connect the pieces and think of them as reality, which can cause an anxiety of missing out or being left out."
Friendship and career at stake
Chen Canrui, a psychologist at South China Normal University, says oversharing online undermines effective communication in real life.
"Having such easy access to so many people makes communication really superficial," said Chen. "In the end, the lack of deep communication hurts strong social connections, namely friends, more than weak connections."
Not only friendships are at stake in the era of oversharing, but career prospects could also be at risk if a good balance between private life and professional life is not maintained.
"Companies don’t care if you’re oversharing photos of a Habitat for Humanity house you helped build," Vinda Rao Souza, marketing manager at Bullhorn, a US recruitment software company, told Glassdoor, a US-based job recruitment website. "But they will care if you’re sharing your innermost thoughts on political matters or if you throw around racial epithets."
招聘软件开发商Bullhorn的市场经理Vinda Rao Souza在接受美国招聘网站Glassdoor采访时称：“如果你只是一味地上传自己参与‘仁爱之家’建房计划的照片，想必没有公司会在意这回事。而他们真正看重的是你就政治热点发表的内心看法，或者看你是否随意使用着涉嫌种族歧视的用语。”
"The biggest thing is to make sure you are aware of the privacy settings and use them," Pamela Skillings, co-founder of US-based job coaching firm Skillful Communications, told Glassdoor. "You don’t have to give up social media, but you have to understand that what’s available publicly can hurt the professional side of your life."
Are you an oversharer?
With the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) compelling us to update our sharing apps every 15 minutes, we easily become culprits of oversharing annoying contents, ranging from showing off to chicken soup for the soul. Over the weekend, 21st Century conducted a survey through its official WeChat account that received more than 400 responses from readers, most of whom are enrolled students in college and senior middle school. Shopping advertisements ranked top of the most annoying shared contents on social media.
The most annoying shared contents on social media:
Shopping advertisements: 28%
Superstition and if-you-don’t-share-this-bad-things-will-happen links: 24%
Intimate pictures of couples: 8%
Duplicated chicken soup for the soul: 6%
Photoshopped selfies: 6%
Endless food and meals: 5%
Showing off wealth: 5%
Health tips: 5%
Overly emotional comments on celebrities: 2%
Nationalistic news and comments: 1%