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TMIWe live in a world of total transparency thanks to the Internet and social media networking sites. As small business owners, if we are disingenuous and don't follow-through on our brand promises, we will eventually be found out.

Let's look at this transparency concept from a different perspective. It is one thing to be honest and another to enter the zone of "over-share" or "TMI". On many social networking sites, especially Facebook, we are all privy to information about our "friends" that we might not really want to know. Some business people are holding back getting heavily involved with Facebook not because they are concerned about others seeing what they are doing, but because they don't want their FB “friends” to see what their children are doing!

How about those people who when asked "How are you?" – really tell you? We have all worked in an office where there are those certain people that we try to avoid because if they get us alone, we will never get away. They go on and on and on about everything under the sun and much of it is really personal information that we would rather not know. Isn't the phrase "How are you?" oftentimes really a rhetorical question?

Here's something to try when you are fed up with pushy sales calls. When the sales person asks "How are you"? Tell them the truth – especially if you are having a bad day – the look on their face that you can almost see through the phone will make your day a brighter one.

The point here is that transparent doesn't mean get too personal or share too much. It means be obvious, frank and/or candid. Timing also plays a role here. I try to ingratiate myself to those I need assistance from. The most recent example I can give is from today. My dad has been having health issues and we have been back and forth to doctors, hospitals, ER's etc. Today was a bad day. I needed to take my dad to the ER to get IV fluids because he was seriously dehydrated. His gastroenterologist's secretary likes to complain about how overworked she is and normally I listen, commiserate, understand, etc. However, today when I called her to tell her I was bringing my dad to the ER and she started complaining about how busy she was – THAT was the wrong timing on her part. I really don't care how busy she is normally but today? I REALLY didn't care and there was no sympathy on my part for her being overworked.

Another example of what some consider over-share is commenting on Facebook pictures, however those "some" are usually the young and those young are usually our children. We ‘ole folk like to have conversations that are relevant to a particular photo and sometimes those conversations veer off the original topic. That is ok – it doesn't bother us. However, many of our children don't like this especially if they are in the photo or somehow included in the trail of messages. Apparently photos are "not the place to have conversations". I didn't read those rules anywhere – maybe I missed them?  Apparently the email notices that flood these young folk/our children's inboxes are annoying. My suggestion is to either turn off the email notifications or better still, I – G – N – O – R – E them.

Disclaimer: Blogs are written in one’s own voice and are therefore, exempt from the Over-share/TMI category. JMO :)

About the Author

Julie Weishaar We will work with you to increase your online visibility by leveraging the latest in Internet and video technologies while helping you grow your business. We provide video marketing services and offer video marketing products for those who like to “do it themselves”, specializing in camera-less animated video production. We also provide consulting services for those who are just starting out on the Internet or with Video Marketing and need help with their Internet and Video Marketing Strategy.

7 Responses to “Total Transparency or TMI?”
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  1. Sherryl, I have seen some of the same online faux pas on Twitter and it "boggles MY mind" that one woman in particular (I don't know her personally) was surprised that she was fired after Tweeting something about her boss. Hello?? Where did common sense go?

    I agree with you that much of this online overshare is 30 and younger. Some of their posts make me dizzy with the switching back and forth from "in a relationship", to "single" to "in a relationship" again – LOL.

    However, lack of what I call "common sense" has no age limitations.

  2. Being an "oldie-but-goodie" myself, I honestly think the majority of the TIM generation online is the 30 and under group. I have had to "hide" quite a few people on Facebook because pages would be filled up by one or 2 people. My daughters friend (a child I've known since she was a baby) detailed a family feud blow-by-blow on Facebook – including posting some horrible things about her grandmother. I was appalled. Don't they realize how that reflects on them?
    It's been on the news where employees have fired people based on their FB posts. It boggles my mind that people aren't taking this seriously. It' bad enough to share TMI to a small audience in person but when you take it online, the implications are far more reaching.

  3. Susan Oakes says:

    I still can't understand why people think others want to know all their details especially online. I like the way you say frank and open but it seems that there is this compulsion to go into all the gory details that if they thought a second would not publish it. May be it is a case of taking what people say about transparency too far.
    On a couple of times recently people have tweeted someone close has died and then tweeted every emotion and detail up to and after the funeral. I just could not imagine doing it let alone being on Twitter at that time.
    Hope your Dad gets better soon.

    • Thanks Susan. Dad is on his way to recovering. I actually don’t mind those kinds of tweets you refer to – I am more baffled by why anyone would really think we care what they had for breakfast or even where they are at that particular point in time, “in line at Sears” – who cares? LOL

      BTW – I forgot to tell Paul, my neighbor broke his hip!

  4. Paul Novak says:

    TMI is everywhere, that's for certain. I get it enough in real life, from hearing in detail how someones job sticks to the latest gossip about people I may have met once in my entire life. The worst part is that some of these folks will just never get the hint, no matter blatantly you ignore them. Coming right out and saying that enough is enough just hurts feelings, so I usually end up letting my brain dirft off into make believe land and hope I don't start drooling while I am momentarily catatonic.
    Online it's even worse because
    #1. Some people have no clue as to what net etiquette is.
    #2. Some folks think the net is a platform for anything and everything and have no concept of restraint.
    If the neighbor had a bunion removed, they'll post about it.
    A lot of it results because so many are getting online these days, and simply just don't understand how the net works. They get a computer. a friend sets them up with a few accounts and away they go. No one stops them until it's either too late or they've embarrassed three generations of their family.;)

    • Paul, I really think there is a true psychological disorder where people literally don’t stop talking. I kid you not that there was a woman I knew when my children were in elementary school who NEVER STOPPED TALKING. You know the type where you are waiting for them to take a breath so you can chime in “gotta go”. A friend of mine and I were driving through some local neighborhoods to scout the area for possible new homes. We mistakenly drove into this woman’s neighborhood. She was outside and we tried to slip by unnoticed but she spotted us. I don’t remember what time it was but I do remember that it was light out. I don’t know how long she went on for – but I can tell you that it was PITCH black by the time she came up for air. We were exhausted! That woman definitely had something psychologically wrong with her – that is just not normal.

      Then you have those people who either are unable to interpret social cues – especially those that indicate one is just not interested in what they are saying. Then of course, there are those who might be able to interpret correctly but simply don’t care. And of course, then you have the narcissists who only notice themselves anyway.

      LOL – I believe your pre-drool state is my lala land.

      Not sure I agree with you online it is worse – only because you can quickly hit “delete” or “off” any web page, right?

      Thanks so much for adding your insights. I always enjoy your perspective!

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