COM0011-T.M.I.-How much information is too much?

I have a friend, who recently lost a very close family member. Unfortunately, week after week, she posts lengthy passages on Facebook about her family, her feelings, her struggles, her state of mind, etc. My friend, let’s call her…Maria, quit her job to take care of her mother before she passed, and is still unemployed.

The problem with the “Internet” is that once something is posted, it can never be taken back. A mutual friend said “Does Maria ever want to go back into the workforce?” Her actions beg the question “How much information is too much information?”

Maria’s rants delved in all the emotions associated with grief. She struggled with her faith and religious beliefs and she expressed a great deal of rage. She lived through this range of emotion via Facebook. Unfortunately, she is not fully aware of the repercussions that these posts may have on her future. Then I got to thinking about the repercussion of addressing her online behaviour through an online forum.

The article Employees Must Practice Caution When Using Social Media refers to employees; however, article can also apply to potential employees. Employers are looking for serious people who will fit in with their company culture. Often they browse the social media accounts of potential candidates to see if there are any posts that are controversial. This practice is becoming more common among organizations. The article Should social media activity cost you your job? discusses the issues of policy, trust and privacy.

We saw several examples in the past federal election of how social media mistakes (even as a teenager) can come back to haunt you, ultimately altering the course of your future.

Does commenting on or “liking” her status posts encourage her continue this type of oversharing. As it is done in such a public forum, will this have negative repercussions for me? My suggestion to Maria is that she avoid discussing religious or political beliefs on Facebook or any other social media platform. She may want refrain from using inappropriate language or commenting on the actions of others. Another idea calling a friend and chatting about how things are going over coffee. There is a point where oversharing becomes problematic. When it starts making others feel uncomfortable. The fact is that social media isn’t private. Even if you send a message or create a post in a private group. It’s on the Internet. Social media is a platform to share ideas and opinions but as a diary or a form of therapy I think Maria should go back to pen and paper.

5 thoughts on “COM0011-T.M.I.-How much information is too much?

  1. what if through posting she gets her thoughts out and someone reads them and connects with her and helps her through her grief and helps her reconnect with society and get a life back….I agree that companies use social media to check out prospective employees but that could be a detriment too….nothing is better than face to face……but until that can happen let her vent….as a friend I would take her to get help physically….that would show her someone really cares….words are just lost without concrete action behind them….I lost my mother and father and all the words meant nothing to me….it was the hugs and physical closeness of people that helped more…….also fishing lots helped too….it’s tough to see your friends struggle with the loss of a family member….but it is part of life and something we need to prepare for…..the eventual loss of one’s parents….some prepare some don’t even want to think about it….but it is how we grow as people….

  2. I agree that there is an epidemic of oversharing on social media. You have touched on one person who is using social media to help in her grieving process, and while personally is not something I would do, I cannot begrudge her the right to grieve in a way that is best for her. Perhaps she is finding great comfort by posting her thoughts and feelings and then getting comfort and support back from those that know and love her.

    But what about those users who post everything….and I mean everything about their day to day living. I, quite frankly, don’t care what you ate for lunch, and I certainly don’t need to see a picture of it, or your empty plate after you have licked it clean. I do not need to know how many bowel movements your 6-day old baby has had today, or her lack their of! Nor do I care that you got cut off by some jerk in the grocery store parking lot as you are taking your bargains home (and I know they are bargains because you have already posted your coupons and receipt to show how much money have saved.)

    So is there a line where the TMI movement is concerned….Absolutely but I do believe that we all draw that line somewhere different

  3. This is a hard question, it is apparent she is struggling and social media may be her only outlet to release her feelings. As someone currently on the job hunt I am very aware of my social media presence and how what I post could affect my future job prospects. I am also a very private person and don’t like to broadcast my emotions. It can be draining sometimes to log on to Facebook and see negative posts, I have hidden some of my friends’ status updates from my newsfeed. I still care and check their pages but it is not the first thing I see when I log in. Many funeral homes offer grief workshops which may help her connect those in a similar situation. If you live in the same city you can go with her or at least make the initial phone call for her if she is interested.

  4. I too believe that she is really struggling. Maybe all her posting about her grief is her way of asking for help. Maybe, she is waiting for one of her Facebook friends to really ask her how she is doing and maybe invite her out for coffee so that she can explore her grief more. Potential employers may see her page and rants as an excuse not to hire her; unless the employer has been through a similar situation. Maybe she should blog about her experiences and direct her friends to the blog link. This would let her write out what she is feeling, allow other people to connect with her grief and maybe then, she would have a bigger support system.

  5. I agree as well. While it’s not my style at all to post very personal things online, I realize that some people are really lonely or may have a hard time expressing themselves initially face-to-face. Maybe sometimes, these types of posts are a way of calling out to people. Like an icebreaker. Oversharing can definitely be a problem though, I think, for employment. I think it may cause employers to wonder how professional that person would be in their workplace.

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