Social Media Overwhelm?

A few days ago I was once again the radio guest of our friend Beverly. We talked about the subject of social media overwhelm, as well as social media in general, and it was pretty neat. If you wish, you can listen to the interview through this download. Oh yeah, while I’m at it, I was also interviewed by Karen of Blazing Minds for her blog, so you can check that out as well.

Overall the topic is an interesting one because obviously I do believe some people suffer from this, even people who haven’t started using it yet. It was just under two months ago when I wrote the post titled Social Media Isn’t For Everyone after all. In that post I was talking about the reality that if you don’t have the time or if something can’t help you out if you’re only using it for business purposes don’t even get started.

However, the topic of overwhelm is something different entirely. With the exception of LinkedIn I have gotten obsessed for at least a short time with most of the social media sites I’ve participated on. I was initially obsessed with Twitter, even though I didn’t write all that often, because it was just amazing seeing all those messages and seeing all the information that seemed to be available. I was initially obsessed with Facebook because of all the games and the groups. I was initially obsessed with Ryze for the groups. And I was obsessed with YouTube because, well, all those videos, not only music but the goofy stuff people put up.

At a certain point one calms down and gets back to business; at least we hope so. True, I haven’t given up on blogging, but I have that as more of a purpose thing than an obsession. I do think that the major appeal to Facebook has to do with all the games that people can play, because overall I still don’t think Facebook is all that social. Twitter is much more social if you connect with the right people. I talk to people all the time there, sometimes for upwards of an hour or more, though it’s usually late night. I haven’t had chats like that since the old days of ICQ; who remembers that?

If you start feeling overwhelmed with social media, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to think of what you feel your needs really are. If you like playing the games, go for it. If you feel the need to be, well, needed, whether it seems that you are or not, that’s something you now have to deal with. If you’re using it to get lost from the real world and find it hard to leave, that’s an even bigger issue to deal with. And if you feel overwhelmed but have never done anything with it… well, just remember these words from President Franklin Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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Disappointed In Ning

Back in 2008, I wrote a post based on a complaint an acquaintance of mine had with LinkedIn. At that time, he was very active on LinkedIn, and he’d had enough of some of the bureaucratic stuff he was putting up with after all the time and energy he’d put into the group, for free no less.

At the time he hadn’t decided where he was going to go, but he eventually ended up on Ning. Ning allows people to create their own social or business communities and networks or join other communities already established.

Truthfully, when you first go there it doesn’t look like much. I don’t even know how you’d go about finding communities you’d want to join. In my case, I was invited to join his community, which I did because I had belonged to his community on both LinkedIn and on YahooGroups, which we all know is gone now. He started with one group within his community, then expanded it into many areas. He also got a lot of people to join, which shows how good he is as a networker.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that I just don’t get Ning at all. For all the things my friend has tried to do, there’s almost never been any real conversation that’s taken place. I’ve tried starting topics, only to have them die upon arrival. Frankly, I had hoped that it might be the thing to take the place of Ryze, which seemed to be in decline, but I can’t honestly say it’s done that for me. I’ve become more disenchanted with the one or two line messages that pop up from time to time, often seeming to be hawking some event or product rather than attempting to create a community of conversation.

Yeah, I know, it almost sounds like some of the rants against Facebook here and there, but at least Facebook is entertaining, if one wishes to be entertained. And Facebook is really easy to use; I just think that Ning is too minimalistic in some ways to be really viable for the masses. Also, what is the real purpose of Ning? Is it a business networking site, a social networking site… I don’t really know.

So, I’ve gone in and left every group I was a part of. I didn’t cancel my account, and I’m not sure why I haven’t canceled my account. Maybe I’m still hoping that someone or something will spark an interest and a real community that I can be a part of. It’s not going to be me, since I have my blogs and other outlets to take care of. I guess we’ll see where it all goes.

Anyone else have thoughts about Ning they’d like to share?

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