It’s getting harder and harder to stay social with social media

It’s getting harder and harder to stay social with social media

Some days I look around and wonder…or is that reminiscence about the good ol’ days. You know, back when your phone was dumb and had a cord and sat on your desk. Before cell phones. Before pagers. Before I had to be connected 24/7/365. Ok…I like being connected…but my point of desire and addiction has long since blurred. Do I want to be connected or do I “need” to be connected.

I’m not alone…I’ve seen others look up from their smart phones

I stand in line, I check my email. At stop lights I check my text messages. At my desk I check Reddit or news feeds. I’ve even sat in bed, next to my wife, and sent her text saying good night. Sad but true….though we both laughed as she “texted” me back since she was checking Facebook on her phone. Even now, my iPhone sits only a few inches away….it calls to me. It beckons….and I’ll undoubtedly check it for updates before I go to sleep.

I’m not sure when I became so addicted. I can’t recall the exact point but I’m certain it truly took hold when I got my first iPhone (about a week after it debuted). The iPhone revolutionized Smart Phones and made it so amazingly easy to be connected in so may ways. Email was made easy on a phone - even multiple accounts. And any other form of connect can be handled with an app if it’s not already built-in. Skype, GTalk, AOL chat (also iChat) all have apps.

When is too much too much

When does information overload occur. I think I’m already nearing saturation. I have so many emails and social networking accounts it would take several minutes to list them all. I’ve got all the big ones Facebook, Twitter, Email, Text, Chats of every shape and size. The list goes on and on. Oh and I have personal and work related versions of almost all my online identities - though even they have overlapped. After all, since I’m always connected…I’m always working in some manner. Maybe I’m answering a chat, maybe an email…or maybe I’m checking Reddit or Facebook for blog ideas.

Interestingly though…as I’ve become omni-connected…it seems I’ve become less focused at times. There’s so many small tidbits of information flying at me it’s hard to process them all. No, I don’t want to return to simpler times…but every so often I do find myself crying uncle and wishing things could slow down for a while. That I could take a breather. But I know that’s simply not realistic…the pace of change and communication continues to accelerate and we must adapt of die.

I have hundreds of friends and followers.

I’ve got lots of online acquaintances and colleagues and friends. But the funny thing is…I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually hung out with friends in person. Sure I can tell you about their latest trials and tribulations they’ve posted to Facebook. I know the potty habits of their kids and pets and even where they’ve been recently. But all this socializing isn’t always that social. The stream of mundane updates, when does it end? Sometimes I think there simply needs to be a filter of some sort.

And my point is?

I don’t have one really. Maybe it’s a momentary fit of nostalgia or technology overload that’s alienating me. Or maybe it’s simply my reading of the umpteenth update about people’s moods or depressions that has me wanting to go live in the woods - away from it all. I’m not sure. But I do genuinely wonder when our brains will reach saturation? How much time do we all spend reading and replying to updates, text messages, emails, or video chats. Is my productivity hurt when I’m continually interrupted by the “bing” of a new message of some type as it arrives. How come when I’m being social it feels less like socializing and more like work nowadays.

Periodically I just want to chuck my phone, leave my laptop at home, and go for a walk. But I know I won’t. The panic of potentially missing an important message, alert, or tweet, will have me carrying my iPhone. It’s really part of me now…a battery powered appendage. Hmm…that sounds funny and dirty…perhaps I’ll tweet that and Facebook it to my friends, and email it to colleagues. Oh well…maybe not…but at least I blogged it. 😊

Jul 18, 2011

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