As humans, sharing stems from our innate need to reach out, share experiences and form a bond with those around us. Google’s Abigail Posner refers to sharing as an energy exchange that intensifies our pleasure and it is something we are hardwired to do.
Following the rise of social networking platforms through the privacy spectrum, oversharing has reached the extreme, and the signs are indicating it’s about time we moved back to the humble idea of ‘undersharing’.
It’s fascinating that complete strangers most probably know more about us than our own friends and family. Twitter is a platform that fuels this familiarity because it is instant and encourages users to pour out their stream of thoughts. It’s unsurprising how much information can be gathered about where someone lives, where they work, what gym they go to, where they have their lunch. And the scary thing about it is that whatever data we put online stays online; the internet is forever.
Some would argue that if you’re using social media, emphasis on the word social, you shouldn’t demand privacy or be anti-social with your information, but there are huge neon signs pointing at the fact that people want privacy. The popularity of platforms like Snapchat and WhatsApp solidifies that notion.
The instantaneous and momentary nature of Snapchat allows us to share photos with friends without leaving traceable data breadcrumbs. Whatsapp does the same but is more intimate and leaves room for deeper interactions in various forms with people we know. Even app developers are responding to the signs and creating anti-social networking apps that make it possible for you to avoid people in real life that you don’t necessarily want to speak to.
It has been ten years since Facebook came into the scene, yet it feels like millenials want the opposite of everything Facebook represents. Some say their participation on platforms like Facebook have decreased because it is swamped with oversharers. Millenials want more control over their social circles and what content they share and receive.
There is a shift towards undersharing. Inevitably, this will have an impact on marketers and their social presence as a result of less traceability and declining participation numbers in the form of likes, shares, comments and retweets. Should we continue to see a rise in ‘secretive’ apps and platforms, it many brands could be forced to seriously reconsider their social strategies.
Aisha Kareem is a social media intern at Cubaka.