Do you tweet, facebook, blog, email or text? Of course you do, we all do. But it's all starting to get too much. It's taking so long to keep on top of it all, the Panther of News is starting to call himself an internet widower. He's over there on the sofa with Professor Cox while I'm typing here.
Sally at Getting Ink hit the nail on the head when she threatened to commit social media suicide over her magic eternal inbox. I feel similar, I just get through twitter (two accounts), new facebookings, inbox on two email addresses, responses to blog posts, texts and voicemail messages, make myself a self congratulatory cup of coffee only to find... they're full again. And that's before I've done any proper work or domestic chores. The children have started to become more feral than usual.
There's now a dazzling array of places to talk to people and get stuff 'out there'. Eariler this week I found myself circling in a dither unable to decide where to put a particularly lovely photo. Twitpic - too transient and trashy, facebook - not enough prominence or send it to clog up someone else's email in box. In the end I blogged.
It also made me realise that I talk to a different set of people in each place. Like real life, I suppose - there was a time the mums at the toddlers' group wouldn't have recognised the newspaper night editor I once was. But aren't these magical social media things all supposed to bring unity - of individuals in communities, communities themselves and of all the facets of ourselves? Wasn't there all this talk of joining all the silos up? (The only silo I ever knew was the green one in my childhood back yard, full of silage - a mystifying and malodorous image.) I'm also very proud to be involved in readyforten a project that brings blogging and twitter together.
It's all left me a bit puzzled, here's how I do my talking at the moment.
Twitter - less that a year since I joined I've got more than 100 followers and I've only actually met a tiny handful of them. It's a brilliant place for finding out what the rest of the world is up to - even if it is obsessing about Justin Bieber. The speed with which messages are swallowed up by the 'I've just eaten cake' clamour gives the feeling that it's a safe place, but it probably isn't. Stalking possibilities are high and hugely entertaining. So far Panther does not prowl here.
Facebook - been here for a while and it feels very comfortable. I would probably recognise most of my 'friends' if the walked past me in the street. There's a great supportive feeling of family (many of my family are indeed here) - I've used it to announce births and deaths. Lots of gentle stalking - mum keeping tabs on what we're up to. I am, however, getting a little fed up with facebook's impertinent insistence that I should befriend my ex husband because we both went to the same college (at different times).
Blog - ah, here's where I get to say what I like because it's my place. Astonishingly, I find there are a few people I've never met who want to read my ramblings. I do like to remind myself that anyone - mum, boss, kids when they grow up, neighbour or childminder - could visit and tut. It does feel a bit squirmy and peculiar when someone at work comments on it.
Email - it's the kind of bread and butter of communications now. Sometimes I even email people while I'm sitting looking at them, over there, in the office. Panther and I email a lot (matching Blackberrys, oh yes). But I can still remember the first time I copied down an email address (1996, I think) and didn't quite know what the @ business was all about.
Text - does everyone have text friends - ones they meet face to face but only arrange their meetings by text? I do. Text used to be the very thing but now it's languishing somewhat relegated to the moments I need to virtually shout something at someone. "Here now, where you?" "Fek flat tyre, am late", "get off the landline now" or sometimes, but not very often, :).
Are you different in each place or does everyone get the same slice of you?