‘Like drunks at a bar’ — From pet’s names to passwords, we overshare online a lot

CNBC oversharing2
My story on CNBC. Click to read the full piece there.

It’s the most vexing digital-age question: Should I share this?

After the AdultFriendFinder.com hack and the IRS “Get Transcript” debacle, CNBC asked me to look into the topic of online oversharing. You can read the story I wrote here.  But here’s one thing to think about: Oversharing rarely *feels* like oversharing.  That drunk at the bar who told you about losing the spelling bee in elementary school on a damn technicality didn’t realize he was oversharing.  Well, sometimes Internet users are a bit like drunks at a bar. How else can you explain this?  U.K. group The Parent Zone recently found that parents post, on average, almost 1,000 photos of their children before they reach age 5.

The truth is there’s no way to interact with most websites and apps without surrendering at least some basic personal information—and at sites ranging from AdultFriendFinder.com to IRS.gov, users often ended up sharing a lot more.

Sometimes there aren’t great alternatives: Experts say there’s nothing the IRS hack victims could have done to ward off that attack, for example. (It’s a bad idea to avoid telling the IRS how much money you made last year.) But there are some steps you can take to protect yourself online: Things like don’t click, call; think long-term when posting on social media; mind your passwords.

Continue to read the rest of this story on CNBC.com.


About Bob Sullivan 1444 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.

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