The dangers of over-sharing online

The phenomena of sharing online has become mainstream, making some take an “over-sharing” approach. This is evident with many people publishing online videos of their day. This style of video, referred to as vlogging, has gained popularity through YouTube influencers sharing their lives with their viewers. People are going about their everyday lives but talking to a camera as if it is a person.

This method of becoming a celebrity differs greatly from traditional actors or musicians. Talking to the camera brings the viewer directly into the recorder’s life. Musicians perform on a stage, above the audience, creating a barrier between the two, while YouTubers create a personal relationship between themself and the viewers. They break the fourth wall that is seen in films and television, creating a more intimate feeling.

Interaction between the content creator and his or her audience is imperative for viewership to grow. This is done by the influencer being active in his or her YouTube comments and social media accounts.

Celebrities have the same opportunity to interact with their supporters, but online influencers need the audience to care about the posts they make because it is what directly affects their careers. Celebrities in movies or with albums released have already gained the attention they need, making the importance of interaction less crucial.

This need for some to gain audiences through online postings leads to over-sharing on the creator’s part. He or she is not often attempting to showcase a talent, but want to be a friend people can relate to. That forces them to share personal details of their lives.

Nathan Naiker is a loyal viewer and fan of YouTube personalities, and has even began making his own “vlogs” online.

Naiker said that he feels he knows Jenna Marbles, a YouTube personality with over 17 million subscribers, and has a personal connection with her. He said that in her videos, Marbles talks honestly and is open and he “would be hearing the same things she says in the videos, in real life if [he] knew her.”

“I am a fan of many actors and singers, but I think I would feel more comfortable meeting a YouTuber rather than an actual celebrity,” Naiker said. “I watch Jenna Marbles and her boyfriend’s vlogs every day so I know more about them than I would an actor.”

Some fans posses an obsessive nature when it comes to online influencers, which can lead to dangerous thoughts and actions. This was the case in the incident involving Kevin Loibl, who shot and killed Christina Grimmie, a YouTube personality and singer, in June 2016, and then killed himself. Loibl was infatuated with Grimmie, watching her YouTube videos and performances on The Voice. He started to feel he had a relationship with Grimmie and became angry if his friends said that was strange strange. Loibl learned of a romantic relationship Grimmie was involved in that he did not like. This lead to the murder-suicide at the meet-and-greet after a concert of Grimmie’s.

Not every fan of online influencers has the mental desire to murder someone, especially a person they declare that they love. This event serves as a warning for those who choose to share the personal details of their lives for the whole world to see.

Naiker feels this occurrence could be prevented if online personalities would not create a name for their viewers. Often times these people also tell the audience to “join the family” or say they “love” their audience, which can give the wrong impression because the person saying these things is not actually a part of the viewers’ lives.

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