What is Too Much Information in Business and at Work?

Social media is everywhere, and with it comes way too much information (TMI), a.k.a. over-sharing.

Over-sharing on your own time is your own business.  On the same token, each person has their own definition of when their personal boundaries have been crossed by someone else’s over-sharing. Live and let live, I say. At minimum, it’s a source of vicarious amusement.


As a gentle reminder, no matter how much you think your privacy controls lock down whatever over-sharing you do, your TMI is, in some way, shape or form, ultimately discoverable on the interwebs.

From a business perspective, there’s a great deal of upside to the communication that takes place via social media.  As one of many shining examples, our various and ever-expanding social medial channels have made business leaders more accessible, and their messages more transparent and contemporaneous.

I’m also fascinated by how social media over-sharing has blurred / expanded the boundaries of what is appropriate to share in business and at work.

For your consideration:  here are a few examples:

  • Upon reaching an applicant via the phone for a job interview, my colleague asked the candidate if it was a good time for the candidate to talk about the job opportunity.  “Sure,” the candidate replied.  “I’m walking to the bar to meet some of my friends, and that will take me 15 minutes.  I can talk to you until I reach the bar.”
  • On a variation of the theme of “my dog ate my homework,” another colleague’s team member once again arrived late, sharing in graphic detail how their cat had vomited up worms all over the team member’s living room and work clothes.
  • Quote from an email thank-you note a colleague received post-interview from a candidate: “It was great talking to you.  You’re clearly not a megalomaniac, and I could definitely work for you.”

When servicing customers / potential customers (and for employees, their direct manager and/or employer is the 800-pound customer), the recommendation would be to understand what the customer’s TMI boundaries are, in the spirit of not only providing the best service, but also best positioning your professional credibility, to leverage the customer’s confidence in your ability to provide great service.  And when in doubt, my mom’s old-fashioned advice works too:  if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, in business and at work.

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