Too much online presence can have a negative impact: says study
A study published by the journal of consumer research cited that increased internet usage is leading to people overexposing themselves in public. With the avalanche of various blogging sites, video sharing mediums, and mobile phone chat apps, people are now sharing more and more information about themselves.
The study noted that most people tend to lose their inhibitions when using such digital platforms and they can easily promote their self-image and can share their personal thoughts and opinions online. Russell W Belk (York University) writes, “Sharing itself is not new, but consumers now have unlimited opportunities to share their thoughts, opinions, and photos, or otherwise promote themselves and their self-image online. Digital devices help us share more, and more broadly, then ever before.”
Blogging platforms generally encourage people to write about their innermost thoughts and opinions and video platform giant YouTube’s slogan is Broadcast Yourself. Social media sites like Facebook ask ‘Whats on your mind?’ Then there are book clubs online such as Good Reads where users can rate books, and other forums and websites such as Amazon, Yelp, or IMDb where users can rate movies restaurants and various other topics. Most mobile apps nowadays advertise sharing a necessary feature to gain popularity with the masses. The reason for this being, that since most people are not as comfortable with talking about themselves face-to-face they are more open to the idea of digital sharing of information.
However, these sharing platforms may encourage people to share and represent themselves online, it might not always have a positive effect. This is because thousands of people are able to access someone’s private information online. This can have a negative impact in future when it comes to job applications, promotions, and relationships.
The author of the study is of the opinion that increased exposure online, has some risks too. ”Due to an online dis-inhibition effect and a tendency to confess to far more shortcomings and errors than they would divulge face-to-face, consumers seem to disclose more and may wind up ‘over-sharing’ through digital media to their eventual regret,” said Belk.
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