Oversharing Online

Oversharing increases need for validation and blurs lines between online life and reality

Mahika Kanchanam, In-Depth Editor

In our rapidly evolving world today, technology becomes easier and easier to use, and posts can go up with a single click. With easy accessibility to posting, it doesn’t take much to fall into a habit of constant posting and oversharing on social media platforms. 

With each post, views, likes, and follow requests come flooding in, and our brain releases dopamine which gives us a strong feeling of reward. This motivates social media users to continue posting. 

Eventually, users become highly dependent on validation from their online lives. 

“Our addiction also ties into a need to find validation from others and the need to share our lives online, in the process neglecting our own happiness,” states a 2019 article from The Medium, an online journal. 

The article continues to explain how “keeping up a certain online identity increases self-esteem but can mask our true personas.” Users are constantly posting their highlights and start competing with others in an attempt to one-up other posts and have the most “perfect” life online. As individuals start taking certain actions and live a certain lifestyle for the sole purpose of their image on social media, it’s easy to lose one’s sense of self and individuality.

The effects and harms of oversharing go even further and can harm our mental health as we look for validation from strangers online.

 “Not knowing what kind of impression you’re making online can cause stress and anxiety,” said Fallon Goodman, an assistant professor of psychology at George Washing. 

With continuous oversharing amongst teens, these feelings of anxiety and depression can start to be much more prominent than that hit of dopamine you get when someone likes your post.

While these are direct effects of oversharing, it’s also important to understand the possible negative consequences of oversharing in the future for students. 

“I think there are a lot of things on social media that will probably come back when a person is older. You think it’s just a blip in time, and then it’ll go away, and it won’t matter, but I think some of it will matter. And I think it can make a difference in job opportunities and social opportunities,” MN counselor Jodi Therkelsen said. 

Oversharing could hurt an individual’s career. While students mature throughout and after high school, the habit of oversharing leaves a trail of moments that may have the potential to ruin one’s reputation when it comes to finding a job they desire. It’s important to set boundaries and think before you post. 

Though dependent on the individual, Therkelsen explains how many teens use social media to work problems out, which is an unhealthy use of social media.

“Sometimes I think that it’s an outlet that’s sometimes inappropriate or not the right place to air things out. And I think it’s used like that too often, especially by younger teens,” Therkelsen said. 

Through setting self-boundaries with social media use and finding healthy outlets for our private matters, we can preserve our individuality and prevent falling into the trap of oversharing. 

“Knowing yourself and knowing what your limitations should be to keep you healthy is going to become more and more important,” Therkelsen said. 

It’s important to remember that the likes and shares aren’t what should defines our self-worth.