As online social technology improves, the amount that we can share about ourselves in real time is increasing almost every day – but how much is too much? When do you stop being interesting and start becoming a social media bore?
Here are five ways you can share far more than your friends and followers probably want to know.
1. Tweet your weight
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The Withings WiFi Scale allows you to share your weight with the world. Connecting to the internet via wifi, it allows you to keep track of your weight over time, providing a graph of your progress and calculating the amount of fat and lean body mass you’re carrying. You can even compare how your weight is doing compared to that of your friends.
That’s all well and good (and quite a tempting purchase!) but where you can go too far is by tweeting your weight. Yes, the scale can be set up to auto-tweet every time you use it. Do your followers really need to know how much you weigh? Why would they care?
2. Become a location spammer
Location based services can be great fun and many of them can be connected up to your Twitter account. The problem comes when people don’t consider their audience and auto-tweet every time they check in anywhere. Do your followers care that you’re sat in the bus station? Do they need to know that you’re at the local shopping mall? Probably not – context is everything, location spam is annoying.
3. Share your credit card purchases
Currently in private beta, Blippy is a service that allows you to share your credit card purchases with the world. While some people will embrace this, others will see it as a step too far. After linking up a credit card, all your friends using Blippy will see everything you buy with it.
Through careful use, this can actually be useful. It’s a little more sophisticated Amazon Wishlist – a great way to see what others are buying, which might lead you to discover some cool new products you didn’t know about previously.
One accidental purchase of tampons or toilet roll, though, and you’re into ‘too much information’ territory for sure.
4. Stream really boring live video from your phone
Live video streaming is a game-changing technology that allows us all to broadcast from the scene of important events. Unfortunately most of the videos on sites like Qik and Flixwagon are really dull live streams of absolutely nothing happening. Testing a service is fair enough but if you’re regularly streaming nothing much at all, remember to think “Will anyone be interested”? Just because you can live stream your entire life doesn’t mean you should…
5. Auto-tweet everything that happens in your house
Home automation has come a long way in recent years. With the right know-how and gear you can set up your house to pretty much run itself. One man who took this a step further is Andy Stanford-Clarke. His house tweets every time anything automated happens. The lights switch on? It sends a tweet. The boiler turns off? It sends a tweet.
It’s fair to say that not many people will be interested in the goings on around Andy’s house. In fact, only his family and potential burglars spring to mind as the audience for these tweets. Luckily, the Andy_House account is private so it’s not being shared to everyone. But hey, if you had the will, you too could have a tweeting house… and probably no-one will care.
How to avoid oversharing
A tweeting house, a dull live stream, even your every tedious location could be useful online. Andy Stanford-Clarke probably enjoys the security of knowing his house is ticking along nicely in his absence, while a live stream of you walking around your house could be enjoyable to distant relatives.
The key is to choose your audience. Don’t just share everything to Twitter just because you can – chances are you’ll lose followers and irritate those who stick around. Leo Laporte, for example, tweets his weight from a dedicated Twitter account which you can follow if you’re really interested in what a Californian podcaster weighs.
Give your audience a choice, don’t spam them and you can share anything without worry of people crying “Dude! Too much information!”