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This Digital Life

TMI in the Digital Age

Why more loved ones are crying over beans spilled online

Turns out, people are more likely to share information that makes them feel awe, anger, or anxiety—the very sort of info the sharer’s partner may not want disclosed. As  oversharing reaches epidemic proportions on social media sites, it's inspiring sparring matches between more than a few couples.

Interestingly, there are apparently even more people horrified by how much others overshare than there are people who are the victims of oversharing. Thanks to Twitter, Spotify, Instagram, and all the rest of it, our lives have become “one giant blob of TMI.” Adding to the potential for trouble, 13 million Facebook users (out of 150 million) neglect to use the site’s privacy controls, while 20.4 million of us include our birth date and year on our profiles (fodder for identity theft), 4.6 million discuss our love lives, and 2.6 million mention the recreational use of alcohol.

But oversharing isn’t always bad: Susannah Breslin, for example, says that detailing her battle with breast cancer and post-traumatic stress after Hurricane Katrina opened new doors for her writing and helped her find a voice. Meanwhile, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor credits Facebook with having saved her marriage, while lawyers are making use of the site to speed along divorces. And for marketers, as we know, sharing online can be a highly effective way to engage people and improve product and service offerings.

Sometimes TMI is just enough.

Image credit: Creative Commons/val.pearl@flickr.com

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