Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Social media: so much noise, only one pair of ears

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?

8 comments:

  1. Just realised I forgot the conversations with the British Mummy Bloggers or on some of the marvellous blogs I follow. Crikey.

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  2. Hi Ellen!

    I like to think I'm the same every where but in reality I know I'm not. A friend laughs at some of my tweets because she knows what I'm really thinking when I send some of them. So I guess it's a more toned down version of me. It's the same when I comment.

    My blog is the place where I'm most like me but it's a tiny piece of the whole.

    I just don't get FB. I have an account but barely look at it. Absolutely love twitter, it's so varied and interesting and well, easy to do. But addictive, yes.

    It's easy to live your life online and then you look up and wow, see that most people actually don't!

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  3. I'm the same everywhere. My blog, tweets, silly texts and emails to friends reflect what I am like in real life. I do wish some friends and family members who phone more rather than sending the occasional text. That can seem quite impersonal. I gave up on Facebook a few months ago because I just don't have the time!

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  4. My husband has actually been on my case a lot lately about filling my life with 'noise'. And although I'm unlikely to admit it, he is right. And at some point the real people in your life start to suffer too, I think. So yeah - I'm on a time limit at the moment. :) I think I'm pretty much the same person to everyone though - although I probably share more info with some than others!

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  5. Deb, Rosie, Luschka, thanks for your comments. It does seem that however you do it, online can take over from real life. x

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  6. I find they do different things for me now so I can compartmentalise

    Facebook is for irregularly updating family and friends

    Blog is therapy

    Twitter is for chat

    And now I've got Linkedin for professional stuff but at least I can do that at work!

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  7. I use Social Media for business and pleasure!
    I have a personal facebook account and a page for my business. I use twitter for chat, a bit of networking and a bit of promotion -sometimes I wonder if I should have two accounts but I think I would be even more confused!

    I only have a business blog as I really don't have enough time to do a personal one, though I often think I would like to start one, oh well, maybe one day.

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  8. Hi Lynn, Interesting destinctions. x

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