THE BLOG

5 Ways to Avoid the Oversharing Epidemic

03/01/2013 08:58 am ET | Updated May 01, 2013

To be strong is to shut your mouth at Thanksgiving. To be strong on social media is to do the same. Just because you can't see the looks of horror on your audience's face doesn't mean they aren't horrified.

When building a personal brand you must assume everyone is listening all the time. Your most valuable prospects, clients, investors and business referrers are watching you.

What will it take to make you realize you will be overlooked for opportunities because you lack a filter?

Social media has given a voice to the masses but a few of you are talking a little too loud.

Here are my five common oversharing traps you should avoid:

1. Impolite Politics: Please don't talk about your politics on social media. Most of us don't care unless we agree with you. The bad news is only 50 percent of us agree with you. You don't always know which 50 percent. Are you willing to risk infuriating people who potentially give you big business opportunities? Politics are something that you discuss with your poker club over beers in your basement. That way you know your audience, and at least they're a little buzzed before hearing your angry political tirade.

2. Who's Hot? Chances are tweeting that Jennifer Lawrence is a hottie isn't going to get you a date with Jennifer Lawrence -- and it will just be TMI for all your followers. That said, keep your lust chatter to your inner circle. On a related note, talking about body parts is also a social media no no. I'm not sure why Seth MacFarlane thought a song about "boobies" would go over well with 50 percent women viewers, but most of us just scratched our heads and thought... really? If Family Guy can't get away with it you can't either. Don't talk about hotties or boobies. Ladies the same goes for you -- switch genders and body parts -- same advice.

3. Complaints. You have the ability to change the molecules in a room with your tone (or your tweets). While I understand Twitter is an effective tool to get customer service sprinting and gushing over you, not all of us want to hear you whining about the extra charges on your bill. If you feel like complaining because Comcast ripped you off, or AT&T service stinks in your office building, reply to them so we don't all have to see it (use the @ sign in the beginning of your tweet). We've got our own problems to deal with. Keep it positive. People are attracted to positive people who deal with their trivial problems discretely.

4. Your Disgusting Human Habits. Social media caters to the narcissist in you. At the same time, too many of you are posting status updates about really intimate disgusting things none of us benefit from knowing about. I don't want to look at your toenails or
hear about your body functions.

5. You, you and more you. With the vastness of the web -- and the world -- are you consistently the most interesting thing going on? Keeping people's interest is no easy task. We've all got to work for it. If you aren't lifting other people up and talking about things other than you you you you, you've got to rethink your brand strategy.

What are your social media oversharing pet peeves? Share in the comments section below.