Thursday, April 17, 2008

Social Pressure

In the world of web 2.0, the expectations to be social are overwhelming. We're all supposed to be sharing photos on flickr, blogging, reading blogs, managing our facebook and myspace profiles, updating linkedin, tweeting, posting video, and more. There are new services every day that are supposed to make our social interactions "easier."

In reality, what we have is a new flood of inbound information. Honestly, it's hard to keep up! Or maybe I'm just getting too old ;)

For me, the hardest thing is the pressure of all of this new inbound information. It feels like if you turn your back for a few minutes, go out to lunch, play with your kids, etc, you will miss the next speedy evolution of the web. People that are participating in social media for a living generate such a high volume of content that it feels that that level of participation is the expectation for all involved in social media. Not only that, matching my consumption to the production level of this content is virtually impossible to do while making sure I honor my obligations to work & family. Forget a full inbox. How about a Google Reader with thousands of unread blog posts?

I think it's time to re-set expectations about what is possible in social media (production and consumption). Thankfully, Sarah Perez has a new post about how real people don't have time for social media. It's a relief to see a post like this and also nice to re-set expectations about the real commitment that it takes to be fully involved in social media.

This topic of balance seems to be a growing theme among bloggers of late, although maybe not addressing the content parsing problem that "social media" creates directly:

(update: Erick Schonfeld gets it - Web 3.0 will be about reducing the Noise)

37Signals: Urgency is Poisonous
Tim Berry: Are you Making this Startup Mistake?
37 Signals (again): Workplace Experiments

The crux of all of this is to have a work-life balance and enjoy life beyond the computer screen. I love computers and technology, but I strongly believe that sometimes taking a break (even 30 minutes) is a good thing.

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