How do you know if it's TMI?

Sep 3, 2013 12:28pm

Intel recently launched a campaign called STOP. THINK... is this TMI?  It is a creative campaign (as the video below illustrates) to get you to think about the information you share online and with whom you share.

Most of us feel comfortable online and tend to use social media to keep up with friends and share stories. A lot of people think sharing information like their favorite coffee shop or photos while on vacation is harmless. And the younger generation seems especially comfortable answering personal questions online, using websites like But the consequences may not be obvious at first. So how do you know where to draw the line between too much information -- TMI -- and sharing safely?

Well, just asking yourself that question is a great first step. Acknowledging that there is a line -- and that you don't want to cross it -- is a simple way to avoid oversharing. And that's why STOP. THINK. Is This TMI? makes a lot of sense. It's a spin-off of the national cybersecurity education and awareness campaign, STOP. THINK. CONNECT., which encourages all Internet users to take security precautions, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.

So how do you understand the consequences of your actions? First, consider who might be able to see the information you are about to share. Have you adjusted your privacy settings so you're comfortable with everyone who can see your posts? Keep in mind that app and software updates can revert settings back to default mode, away from your preferences, so you should continue to check them. And remember your friends might not have the same privacy preferences you do. 

Think about what you are about to share. If you’re unsure you should post certain content, it’s always safer not to post. You can always think about it and post later. But once you post it, taking it down is no longer your choice alone if others have shared or retweeted it. Intel’s humorous TMI videos compare posting online to getting a tattoo:

(Need a laugh? View more Is This TMI? videos.)

Taking a brief pause to think about the situation doesn't apply only to social media. Providing personal information in public forums, in an email to people you don't know well or through an unsecured website (s = secure; https://) can greatly increase your risk of identity theft. Be extra cautious when it comes to any communications that implore you to act immediately and provide personal information.

Some things are absolutely TMI -- phone numbers, social security numbers, photos of your driver's license, credit card information or even vacation details -- and should never be shared. For more tips and advice about protecting your privacy and personal information, visit