I am over-connected. This weekend I added Google + to my ever expanding social media use and I can tell that it was the straw that broke the camel's back. While I absolutely love the concept of it, I just cannot connect this much. I cannot share my life and thoughts in 3 different places and have a normal life. I now feel obligated to be witty and helpful on Twitter, sarcastic and joyous on Facebook, and smart and non-repetitive on Google+. This introvert just cannot muster all of that. Alas, it is not the mediums fault. I love social media; social media, particularly Twitter has absolutely changed my life for the better. I wish I could blame the products but I cannot, I can only blame myself.
In a typical day I wake up and check all of my networks right away. Being the creator of the Global Read Aloud means I have quite a few emails to answer as we gear up for the next attempt in September. Some get answered right away, others before I go to bed. Then on to Twitter to thank for rt's and mentions, and say something smart and pass something on. There are always people to speak to and things to read. Facebook allows me to see where my friends are at, how my brother in Afghanistan is doing (he is ready to come home) and put something about Thea on there. Now onto Google +; who has added me, what have people shared that I haven't already seen and do I have anything to share. This is an hour of work at least. Throughout the day I continue my quest to connect. I check in with them all to see what have happened. I have a smartphone so that I can stay connected while at the park with my daughter or even while stopped at a light. My poor husband communicates more with me through instant messaging than in real life sometimes. I blog as well, which I would never give up, and yet that takes time away too. As we speak my daughter is sitting next to me waiting for me to finish.
It is taking a toll on me. Life is becoming about connections with people that I have yet to meet, and even though I would love to meet everyone that I have connected with, I have to start facing the connections I already have here in Madison. If I devoted at least one hour to connect with my colleagues on a day-to-day basis, can you imagine what we could accomplish? We tend to push the face-to-face connections aside because they take more time, and then we say we do not have the time to pursue them. Well, we do, because we choose to invest the time somewhere else, so I am re-evaluating my time spent connecting for the upcoming year.
Now I am not one to be extreme, I don't plan on unplugging or going connection free but I am aware of it. I am aware of the choices that I make about the time that I spend on my computer every day. I am aware now of what is worth it and what does not pay off in the end. And that is what is important here. We have to find the balance and not let the people in our lives suffer because of our choices. There is such a thing as being over-connected, let's face it, and let's own it. I am grateful that my husband has not complained of me being so into it all, yet, however, I wouldn't blame him if he did. I wouldn't want to be married to me when I am in work mode (which I am most of the time). Beth Still wrote a great post on what being so connected does to our relationships and she is right, they do harm and it is something to be taken serious. We have to rebalance and refocus on making strong connections globally but also locally.