Saturday, 6 August 2011

It's ALL too much - social media and technology

It seems fair to say that by now we all agree that there is more 'information' out there than we know what to do with.  Millions of websites, more than a billion internet users, 150+ million blogs, billions of videos and images and billions of emails every day,
On the plus side, it is possible to find some information about anything although whether it is true or of any use is another story.  But it is impossible to even imagine how it all fits together into a coherent mass and the truth is that it doesn't.  The information is not in any order but swirls around constantly being shifted by the next person sharing or recycling or adding to it and passing it on.
Last week I read three or four posts around this topic, about the phenomenon of social media and social networking some of which were prompted by the recent introduction of Google+.  One was 'Losing interest in social media: there is no there there'
and another by simfin  'Google+ ? I don’t think so ' both of which make the point that people only want and need a certain number of social networks to engage with if they are to have any meaning.  
Aleks Krotoski Friendship: why social networks are too crowded to get close explains how she thinks that social networks are changing and becoming less appealing perhaps by having too many connections.
The final post was regarding email and how, in order to keep email valid and to ensure the recipient interacts with the email, we should keep them brief or seek out other forms of communication.
Realistically If there is too much information being generated, it is not going to be possible to change that situation - and indeed why should we, the whole ethos of publishing on the web is that it is free and open and people should be able to do so (as long as they abide by ethical considerations).  It is nice to share photos and communicate easily and pass on good practice.
So the only solution is to build up your own defences and protection in order to limit yet exploit social media and networking to your own needs.  This should be a positive experience that benefits others as well as yourself but copes with 'information overload'. 
The difficult part is that I'm not quite sure how to do it.  I have to admit that I'm the sort of person who sleeps with their iPhone on the bedside table, that leans out of bed on a morning to check emails, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and the news before facing the day.  Luckily I do lots of other things too but I don't want to become disenchanted with all this technology which will surely happen without a plan.......

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