Experts claim students are oversharing life's intimate details on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some Clemson students claim this trend is a good thing, acting as a form of connection and coping.
According to mental health and social media experts, oversharing online is the trend of posting typically private information regarding one’s personal life to social media in casual settings. Experts are concerned that oversharing can become an unhealthy practice when an individual’s main motivation is seeking attention or validation from others.
Many Clemson students feel their motivation to overshare is driven by social isolation in quarantine.
Sarah Roth, junior psychology major, said that isolation has given her time for personal reflection. This inspired her to work on a cathartic project. After completing this emotional and personal experience, she posted about it.
“I ended up posting about this project on my social media, something I don’t think I’d normally feel comfortable doing,” she said.
When asked why she had the sudden confidence to post something so personal, Roth said she feels as though “many of us have really leaned into sharing on social media in quarantine as a way to stay connected and keep our spirits high.”
Self-proclaimed “oversharer” Randy Durden, a sophomore political science major, explained that his TikTok usage has dramatically increased during the months of quarantine.
He claimed that TikTok has helped him “feel more connected to the Clemson community throughout the months we’ve been apart.”
Data shows that Durden is not the only one to turn to TikTok this year. In recent months, overall TikTok usage is up 33% among GenZ users, according to Forbes.
Clemson-specific hashtags have trended on the platform, with #clemson at 160 million views, #clemsondining at 640 thousand views and #clemsonlife at 433 thousand views.
Experts believe this influx of social media activity can be attested to people’s need for social interaction during a season of mandated social distancing.
So how much sharing is deemed “oversharing,” and is the practice a bad thing? While oversharing is a subjective concept, many Clemson students claim to enjoy the trend.
When asked about her experience with Clemson students oversharing on social media, Chandler Brown, junior French and communications major, said she doesn’t mind it.
“People are sharing parts of their lives that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen,” said Brown. “I think there’s something both refreshing and fun about that.”
Psychologists are interested to see if the trend of oversharing remains popular after social distancing guidelines lessen in the future. However, it seems many Clemson students believe that in a year as uncertain and isolating as 2020, oversharing online has been more helpful than harmful.