Confessions of a Facebook Oversharer
I overshare on Facebook. Not in the traditional sense where people give too much information about themselves and repel and therein repulse others. Rather, since my Twitter and Tumblr activity are tied into my Facebook feed, everything I post throughout the day winds up in one place: on Facebook. My rationale for this is that since a majority of people on social media are using Facebook, it allows me to put everything into one place, for all to see and choose to click. It’s the bullhorn with which I can reach (or at least pretend to) the most people.
If that’s the case, some may argue, then why do I work with other social media — why not just keep it all on Facebook in the first place? Well, if all were the same, and would be used and treated the same, we wouldn’t have them all to choose from and supervise. Tumblr and Twitter are both radically different from one another, and from Facebook, and everyone who opens up a feed on one should consider how to relate to the community on another before diving in and doing it. Companies think about social media in this way already, so it’s only fitting that we all do the same. Even if most of my followers find the information, articles, questions, and jokes I write using their Facebook logins, I still have some followers (100 on Tumblr, 470 on Twitter) to think about when I pen my work there. Small potatoes compared to the 1,000-plus friends I have on Facebook, but in a way I’d argue that the smaller factions are more loyal and engaged listeners.
In all, I post between 10 and 15 messages that wind up on Facebook each day. I’m comfortable with that pace, at about one an hour. For some of my friends, though, that’s oversharing. That’s too many messages. Apparently, I flood their feeds at furious paces. When this comes up, I invariably remind them that they can choose to block me from their feeds without unfriending me, but I’ve often been told that it’s too much of a hassle to follow through on that. In my experience, however, it’s not. I curate my Facebook newsfeed to keep out the noise and to give me what I’m looking for: no albums, no list-servey requests, no games, no nonsense. I like my feed to be clean and crisp and, yes, almost entirely empty. I routinely see the updates and articles from only a small subsection of those who I’m friend-ly with, but that process works for me. It’s not intended to insult or ostracize others; rather, it’s how I, a big social media producer, choose to consume. If I spent any more time reading and clicking through on Facebook, I’d have less valuable time to focus on my other feeds, and beyond.
I’ve noticed from time to time that I have lost a follower or two on Facebook at times where I retweet more. This, too, I have found is easy to curate and change. We all have people who we enjoy to hear thoughts from, but they are involved in other communities or conversations that don’t appeal to us. For those times, Twitter does in fact allow you to turn off retweets while keeping someone’s tweets alive. I’ve done this from time to time, ahead of “punishing” them for too many stray retweets. However, I’ve found that few people use that feature or even know the button exists.
Our feeds are ours to watch and to curate. Even those who don’t share articles or comments as “influencers” should recognize that within the parameters of their platforms they have the power to be their own curators. Lost in the conversation, I think, is the empowerment and gift that comes with that. If you don’t like how I’m doing things, you can alter how you receive my thoughts and blog posts. Without tuning me out completely, that is. Writing and sharing isn’t for everyone; but improving their own experience on their favorite sites is.
It’s not the faults of the oversharers like me for filling your feeds. It’s your decision to continue to keep me around as I use the platforms. If you wish to discuss how and why I operate within different feeds, I’m all ears and self aware enough to contribute a good deal to that discussion. But don’t simply tell us to tone it down. It’ll just make us turn to another platform you’ve never heard of in order to rant about how incompetent and dense you are.