Millennials were raised with technology.
Facebook has been around for most of our lives, and some of us even knew how to use a computer before learning how to tie our shoes.
Technology is an intrinsic part of our culture, more than in any previous generation. Our social media obsession is a natural consequence of this fact.
As human beings, we are social animals.
We crave closeness, and are willing to share our innermost thoughts with almost anyone who will lend a sympathetic ear.
Although the Internet makes it easier to share, it has also drastically reduced the intimacy of communication.
In response, Millennials have taken to oversharing on social media, which can cause serious problems in friendships, relationships and professional situations.
We've all been there.
You've gotten a promotion or suffered from a breakup, been rear-ended or eaten a really awesome burrito.
No matter what the cause, the impulse is always the same: Must. Post. Now.
We all have those friends -- I call them "disaster friends" -- who post dozens of times a day about the most trivial or inappropriate topics, when they're clearly not in the right state of mind to immortalize their thoughts in print.
Don't be a disaster friend.
If you have thoughts you'd care to share, ask yourself these important questions before posting:
1. Am I in the right state of mind to post?
It's so tempting to post a rant about that jerk who cut you off on the freeway, a sub-tweet about the boss who's giving you a hard time or an embarrassing candid pic of a frenemy.
But these aren't good ideas, and neither are most of the ideas coming from a heated state.
If you're in an extreme emotional high or low, you should step away from the computer or phone, give yourself a chance to cool off and post only when you're thinking clearly.
2. What am I really trying to say, and will my meaning come across over text?
Typing long rants in your status bar can feel deliciously cathartic.
It's tempting to let go, vent and let that giant wall of text take up everyone else's newsfeed, but all of those words can muddle your meaning.
You may end up repeating yourself, contradicting yourself or using the wrong words entirely.
Make sure your posts are succinct and to the point.
Say what you mean and don't beat around the bush; the average person doesn't have the time or attention span to decipher your meandering rants.
Think about how your words will be perceived, and think about linking to a picture or article that better encapsulates the point you're trying to make.
3. What will happen if my boss or professors see this?
Virtually sh*t-talking your tyrannical boss or jerky professor can feel good, but the Internet is forever.
Even if your social media account is anonymous (which they rarely are these days), it's still possible for those posts to be traced back to you.
Prospective employers often check people out online before hiring them, and if times are tough at your place of work, a clean and professional profile can make all the difference when it comes to job security.
Think about how you'd feel if your employer or educator saw your risqué photo, expletive-filled rant or otherwise NSFW posting.
Remember: Your profile represents your personal and professional self.
4. Does this post accurately represent who I am?
We all work hard to look presentable, say the right thing and cultivate an image that best represents who we really are.
We want people to like us for us, and to do that, they have to know where we stand.
How would you feel about people associating you with those half-naked spring break photos?
Make sure your social media platforms reflect an image of yourself you would be proud to share, not one you'd be embarrassed about six months from now.
5. How many times have I posted today?
If you've already sub-tweeted that jerk from the office several times, or tagged your friends in about a dozen drunken photos, you might want to rethink posting again.
Some social media platforms restrict their users from posting too many times in a day, but if your website of choice doesn't have those limits, it's important to check your frequency.
You don't want your friends to unfollow you because you're flooding their walls with drama and triviality.
Interpersonal communication is one of the most important things in the world.
With technology making it easier to share our thoughts with the world, while simultaneously reducing the intimacy of these interactions, we millennials find ourselves in a sticky situation.
The impulse to share every detail of our lives online is strong, but it's important to be mindful of social media etiquette, and how your posts will appear to your friends and employers.
The Internet is forever, so ask yourself the above questions to see if it's worth posting and how to go about doing it.
Keep your social media sites SFW.
Ensure that you're not pushing friends away with TMI.
And above all, use these tips to turn your personal page into a platform you're proud of.
Think before you post.