January 05, 2009

Social Media Can Be Too Social

I'll readily admit to being someone who takes great pleasure in blogging. I'll grant that there are many things that I enjoy about Facebook and Twitter too. But sometimes I find that all this social media can be too....well, social.

All of these so called social media tools/applications remind me a bit of being trapped inside a casino in Las Vegas. Casinos intentionally strip away many of the elements that you would normally use to try and gauge what time it is. They do their best to create a warm and inviting environment so that you don't want to leave the tables.

Without a doubt there are limits to the warmth you feel. If you're losing it can feel like a nightmare. If you get stuck at a table with a jerk you can really begin to feel irritated. And there is no doubt that the sirens, bells, whistles. cheers and groans can leave you feeling exhausted.

But the same can be said about social media. It is easy to get sucked into the cyber world and find ways to spend your time. But sometimes you have to take a step back and ask if it is helping you or hindering you. Are all of the social media platforms beneficial or are they just one big time suck.

Part of me very much enjoys reconnecting with old friends on Facebook. It is kind of fun to see whatever happened to Mark and Ann Stacey. I have some interest in learning whether Brian ever became a surgeon. But sometimes I think that having a online beacon that people can use to find me is not such a good idea.

There are reasons why I don't talk to everyone from my past. Sometimes it is as simple as we just lost touch and sometimes it is because I don't want to be in contact with them. The social media that reconnect us aren't always doing us a favor. I have heard more than one person say that they feel guilty about not friending everyone who requests it.

I don't know about you, but I don't want someone to reconnect with me out of guilt. If they don't want to do it, they should simply ignore the request or politely say no.

It may be decades since you graduated, but the social networks have a way of making some people feel like they never got out of school.

It is a funny thing. I teach my children that you can never have too many friends. But what they haven't learned yet is that the reality is that you can. It is a matter of time and resources. Even if you are independently wealthy there is only so much time in the day. I don't know how some people keep up.

All I know is that there really are moments when I think that social media can be too social.


V-Grrrl said...

I turn down friend requests at my FB account, simply telling people that I limit that space mostly to family and people I know fairly well offline.

Everyone is welcome on my blog or Twitter...

I don't try and "keep up" with everyone, as that would be too stressful. I pop in and out of the blogosphere as a reader/commenter as the mood and time allows.

I feel social networking continues to open my eyes and my mind because it puts me in contact with people I might not ever meet in real life. It inspires me to be a bigger thinker, a better writer, an artist.

Jack said...

I stopped trying to keep up. There simply isn't enough time in the day. I try to make sure that anyone on the blogroll gets a semi regular visit. If they don't, then I eliminate them from the roll.