Monday, July 11, 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing - I Am Over-Connected

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.


Cybrary Man - Jerry Blumengarten said...

Did you read my latest blog post I recently wrote: This Chataholic Changes Direction

I came to the same conclusion as you did. I just cannot keep up with everything.

Slow down and smell the roses.

Royan Lee said...

Thanks for the reminder!

Christina Markoulaki said...

You are absolutely right! I am sure this post expresses the thoughts of a lot of over-connected people! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us in the little time left within the day.

Lyn said...

I think I just lived through the same realization. This wknd I spent a lot of time unplugged. It was difficult. But it will get easier. :) Thanks for sharing this!

bethstill said...

I led a conversation at Edubloggercon on how being connected so much can have a negative impact on our relationships with our spouses. It's interesting to see that so many people are currently writing about being too connected and how it is taking time away from their f2f connections. There are still many who make a distinction between their f2f colleagues and online colleagues. While it is important to invest in f2f relationships I think it is equally as valuable to invest time in online connections as well. I agree that between Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other places that it is just too much. I think over time we will figure out the best use for all of these tools.

The key to all of this is balance. That is no secret. The secret is trying to figure out how to achieve that delicate balance.

Mrs Ripp aka @pernilleripp said...

I think many of us are reaching this saturation point where we are so thankful for all of the connections we make but just need to catch our breath. I think as Beth says it is vital to find the right balance and to take the time to achieve it. I don't want to cut myself off from social media but I need just to make sure it is not a chore, but a positive.

Jerry - I did read your post and I got it, it made me think as well on what I was choosing to do.

Lyn - Amazing how it is difficult for us to disconnect, I actually go through withdrawal, sick and crazy but it will get easier.

Christina - blogging is a massive part of my life and I would always choose this over social media thank you for reading.

Beth - I wish I had been there to be part f that conversation. It is such an important one to have and I am glad you took the initiative. You lead us all.

Elvira G. Deyamport, Ed.S. said...


I completely agree with you and could not have said it better! I have been avoiding jumping on the Google+ bandwagon because like you, I already have enough to do with managing my social networks, personal blog, and other year round projects. And that's not even counting the time I need to devote to my actual job-which is teaching! This school year my goal is devote more time to myself and a big part of that includes more exercise, yoga, and quality face to face time with my dear husband. Thanks for sharing your perspective and reminding of us of the importance of face to face relationships.

PrincipalJ said...

I fully agree!!!

inschoinschool said...

G+ did the same for me. I signed up, but realized it was going to be too much, and what I was seeing was a repetition of what I could already get on Twitter, which is largely links to a lot of the blogs that I already subscribe to. So until there's a really compelling reason to use G+, I'll stick to Twitter and Blogging for the professional-social stuff, and Facebook for the personal-social stuff.

Elizabeth Peterson said...

Pernille, I too have been having these feelings! In fact I've almost fallen off the Twittersphere there a while back. I went through a few weeks of writing 'slacker posts' b/c I just didn't want to put in the time. I'm very much enjoying my family again and am slowly getting back into my online relationships...finding my balance. I was afraid to admit this in a post for my website and so I am happy to be able to share it here. I'm now off to read the other posts mentioned in your and in these comments.

Have a great rest of your week!

steff said...


Chris Francik said...

Amen! I've had to back off my Twitter use a fair amount. I was becoming way too focused on participating in several chats per week. While I was enjoying the interaction and sharing, I wasn't spending the time with my wife and boys that I would want. This is my slower time during the summer. Yikes! Thanks for sharing your joys and struggles so openly!

Jennie Snyder said...

Thank you for your blog post. I have been feeling overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. I appreciate your sense of perspective. For me, the learning and connections have been powerful and personally enriching. I think I will follow Cybrary Man's advice -- "slow down and smell the roses"!


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