In an age of email, IM, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, how do we keep things organized and avoid social media overload? These days many of our friends are people we rarely see in person but follow regularly online. Whether it be from reading their tweets or looking at their pictures on Flickr, we are suddenly part of a huge network. Many argue that these relationships are not as real or as valuable as the old-school talking or getting together types. In part, I agree but I still think these new online relationships are a part of our changing times and deserve to be fostered in their own right. Usually these online friends are not complete strangers but people we met a couple of times or old friends that we are reconnecting with. Regardless of how we met, we obviously found them interesting enough to want them in our lives to some degree.
The problem with having hundreds of friends then becomes making time to keep up with their lives, even if that is merely reading a daily status. Today I found myself trying to scroll through Facebook and like or comment to my friends, read interesting tweets from those I follow on Twitter, reply to any personal emails, and then checkout my blog and read and reply to any comments on WordPress. My head is suddenly spinning from things that are not even part of my daily responsibilities. Because these things have to be squeezed in between our normal workload, we’re often catching up while on our smartphones (hopefully not while driving) or multitasking while doing other things.
Suddenly we know all kinds of stuff about the lives of our online friends or followers but have possibly overwhelmed our own. With social networking and our online world, we have made our lives more social but also more hectic. In our parents’ generation, socializing was a way to relax while catching up with friends. Though social networking doesn’t require you to cook a meal and clean up for guests it is often not as relaxing either. It keeps you from feeling completely lonely but doesn’t give you the full satisfaction of connecting with a friend. I guess there needs to be a balance. But, how does one keep up with it all???