The Dangers of Online Oversharing

One day last year, I fell down an rabbit hole of self-published erotica. Did you guys know this stuff exists in droves, for every possible fetish? It's incredible — and yet embarrassing when broadcast in your browsing history while looking for an Amazon Prime movie to watch with your boyfriend. And that's how I learned to turn off Amazon's "recently-viewed items" function. Even in less weird cases, I don't think anyone needs to see the books I browse or how many natural beauty products I look at. I certainly can't imagine wanting to use Amazon's new function, which allows users to sync Amazon with Facebook and Twitter accounts to share "all manner of shopping-related events," as NBC puts it in an article aptly titled "Bore your friends by tying Amazon lists and purchases to Facebook".

The new (opt-in) feature makes it possible to share wish lists, recent purchases, Kindle notes, and item reviews. In other words: to create more Facebook feed spam for your friends.

"As always, be sure to look closely at the preferences should you choose to opt into this service, and pay attention when changes are announced," NBC cautions. Good advice. I know a man who recently learned the hard way that his photo-editing app was set to auto-share, when a dick pic wound up briefly in his Facebook feed. Again, another extreme example. But you can't be too careful these days. Everyone's got something in their photo, search, or viewing history that they don't want everyone else to see. Paying attention to the sharing settings on every phone, tablet, Twitter, and Facebook app you authorize is tantamount.

I wish that it weren't so. I remember the days when you could watch a terrible TV series on Netflix without the service wanting to broadcast this information to your Facebook friends. When every news site you visited didn't want to publicize every article you read. I'm over all this shoddy sharing. Can no one buy or watch or look at or covet things privately anymore?

I don't think of myself as a particularly private person. I'm fine with sharing my Facebook data in return for funny auto-generated statuses. And I'm not at all a social media minimalist — by all means, share links to articles you like, articles you wrote, pictures of your kids, pictures of you, even inspirational placards. Share TMI about your love life. Share Instagrammed images of your soup.

But in addition to being a workplace and a social setting, the Internet is also where we do our chores. Stop sharing your chores. You don't text your friends in real life to tell them when you make a purchase at Target; why share online purchases? You don't call to let them know you're at Chipotle, so why check in on your phone? If you really like a book, movie, or song by all means share and rave about it! But your 703 Facebook friends don't need to see every playlist you listen to on Spotify, every show you watch on Hulu, every time you check-in to a coffee shop or every new level you reach in Candy Crush. Please?