Online sharing: How much is too much?
Survey reveals many contradictions in the world of digital give and take
Online oversharing (Allen Donikowski, FLICKR / July 3, 2012)
A survey for Intel Corporation on mobile etiquette and digital sharing showed that 90 percent of Americans think too much is being divulged, and nearly half feel overwhelmed by all the data that is out there.
One in 5 of the 2,008 people questioned by Ipsos Observer for Intel admitted that some of what they post is false.
"People are still sorting through what it means to share, who is the audience you are sharing with, what do those audiences want and how do they feel about things?" said Genevieve Bell, the director of user interaction and experience at Intel Labs. "Those are the things that are really fluid. We are still sorting it out both at a personal level and a cultural level."
For many, sharing online with smartphones, laptops, notebooks and tablets is easier than in person. A third of people admitted they were more comfortable with digital sharing than face to face; a quarter said they had a different personality online.
About 85 percent of Americans post information online and a quarter do it every day, according to the survey. For 65 percent of U.S. adults, sharing makes them feel closer to family and friends, and nearly half said if they didn't communicate online they wouldn't know what is going on with those near and dear to them.
But the wealth of digital information can also be annoying.
Most U.S. adults said they are vexed by people who complain constantly, and similar numbers found posting inappropriate or explicit photos and private information bothersome.
Bell said the results of the poll show people are still having difficulty dealing with technology.
"The fact that people are still grappling with how to balance the benefits of mobile technology with the downsides — this means we all still have those moments of poor mobile manners," she explained.
More than 80 percent of people in the poll said they think mobile manners are getting worse, a jump from 72 percent a year ago.
Texting while driving, talking loudly on a cellphone in a public place and having the volume too loud were the top three misbehaviors citied in the survey.
Etiquette expert Anna Post also questioned whether a person's entire social network wants to know what they had for dinner, and if it is appropriate to have three different dating profiles online.
"Sharing and getting together online are integral parts of building and maintaining relationships," Post said in a statement. "But we're still finding our way when it comes to determining the most appropriate behavior in any given situation online."
Most Americans are also convinced that what is posted online, stays online. Yet 27 percent said there is very little they would not share digitally.
Top three misbehaviors cited in the Intel survey on mobile etiquette and digital sharing:
Texting while driving
Talking loudly on a cellphone in a public place
Having a device's volume too loud