We all know people that overshare. They are the people that discuss their sex lives, their drinking problems or their last conversation with their probation officer for all to hear. (These are all conversations I have overheard recently on public transit).
Of course, most businesses and professionals don’t share information like this in social media, but another kind of oversharing pervades social media: oversharing content.
The Oversharing Trap
Oversharing generally starts with a reasonable purpose: share valuable content in order to serve and grow an audience. However, it can quickly spiral out of control for two reasons:
- You begin serving other content providers instead of your audience. You may justify this because they are sharing your content and helping to grow your audience.
- You focused on a quantity rule. By adopted a guideline for the amount of content you need to share, you shifted focus to quantity over quality and your standards fall over time.
Many people seem to have fallen into the first trap. Consider this stat from my site traffic and Triberr account:
As I’m drafting this, my April blog posts have been shared 331 times through Triberr (per Triberr’s reporting), yet I’ve only had 25 visits from Triberr (per Google Analytics).
Sure, a couple people may be reading my posts by email or RSS, but many people are sharing content they have never read. Do they believe my content is consistently good enough that they don’t need to read it? If so, I’m flattered, but they are serving me or their own convenience instead of serving their audience.
If your goal includes engaging, serving and growing your audience and you have slipped into the trap of oversharing content, here is what you can do:
- Always put your audience and connections first.
- Set a very high bar for the content you will share. Anytime you feel the bar is slipping, find new content sources or revisit old favorites to help you reset the bar.
- Always read, watch or listen to what you share first to ensure it meets your very high standards.
- Only reciprocate sharing when you can do so while meeting your standards.
- Get out of your rut. Individual sources can get stale over time, always incorporate new sites into your reading.
If this post is worth sharing, please share it. But when you do, let your audience know you read it and it is worth their time to read it also. If it isn’t worth it, just stop. I’ve made it easy with the tweet button below (of course, you can edit the tweet first):
Do you believe oversharing is a problem in social media? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@wittlake).