#NoFilter: How millennials’ culture of oversharing sabotages their business relationships

The Brief
Millennials are notorious for oversharing, both on social media and in the real world. Will their #NoFilter culture hurt their ability to make meaningful networking connections?

Carly McKinney liked to share. A first-year high school teacher, McKinney—aka @Crunk_Bear—maintained a social media presence not unlike countless other millennials. Her Facebook and Twitter accounts chronicled her adventures with various substances and featured risqué selfies. When school administrators caught wind of McKinney’s behavior, the young educator was swiftly and very publicly terminated. But for McKinney and countless other millennials, the consequences of oversharing may cost them more than just a job.   

McKinney’s example may be an extreme one, but her tendency to overshare is hardly unique among her generation. Millennials’ well-documented inability or unwillingness to delineate between their public and private lives has certainly cost some their jobs, and it may prove to be a serious obstacle when it comes to forming meaningful networking connections.
Of course, not all millennials are as indiscriminate with their social sharing as Ms. Crunk_Bear. In fact, most are far more cautious—not about what they share, but with whom they share it. I’ve written previously about millennials’ strict separation when it comes to social and professional networking. Since their social profiles are often filled with content that a professional networking connection might find objectionable, many tend to avoid professional networking altogether. In fact, while 84 percent of millennials are active on Facebook, just 15 percent are active on LinkedIn.

This penchant for oversharing isn’t just limiting their ability to network over social media. Their ability to form business relationships in the real world is likely to suffer, as well. Millennials don’t just lack restraint; they expect others to be equally unrestrained as well. When it comes to building meaningful connections offline, these attitudes are likely to cause friction, especially with their older colleagues. 

“While 84% of millennials are active on Facebook, just 15% are active on LinkedIn.” 
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A recent survey by LinkedIn revealed just how broad this generational gulf is:

·  67 percent of millennials reported that they’re likely to share personal info with co-workers, including salary, family issues and relationship troubles. By contrast, less than a third of baby boomers feel the same way.

·  53 percent of millennials said they’d be comfortable giving relationship advice while in the office (the study doesn’t indicate whether the advice is unsolicited or not).

·  28 percent of millennials have texted their boss after work hours about matters unrelated to work. Just 10 percent of baby boomers reported having done the same. 

“This penchant for oversharing doesn’t just limit their ability to network over social media. When it comes to building meaningful connections offline, these attitudes may cause friction, too.”
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The Takeaway
Whether you’re 25 or 45, your public persona matters and will likely be scrutinized by those in your professional network. Rather than avoid these kind of relationships, learn boundaries. Keep those weekend photos private and conversations with colleagues work-related until you can gauge their level of comfort and openness. 

RelSci is a technology solutions company that helps create competitive advantage through a crucial yet vastly underutilized asset: relationship capital with influential decision makers. 
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