There’s a wonderful scene in the 1963 classic film, Charade, when the characters portrayed by Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn meet for the first time.
Grant: “Do we know each other?”
Hepburn: “Why? Do you think we’re going to?”
Grant: “I don’t know. How would I know?”
Hepburn: “Because I already know an awful lot of people, and till one of them dies I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.”
I can relate to Hepburn’s response, especially when I feel overwhelmed by FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Klout, etc. Not that I wish anyone ill. I just get to the point where I want to scream, “So many social networks, so little time!”
There’s a barrage of requests to: join social communities or invite others to join, comment on blog posts, participate in discussions, share relevant content, recommend people or endorse their skills. In addition, we’re faced with social media popularity contests and frequent pleas/requests to “share this post if you agree with this [cause, issue or sentiment]” that I consider to be the 21st century equivalent of chain letters.
I know it’s an issue of quality vs. quantity, although the expansion of social media and smart phone technology makes it easy to fall into the quantity trap. So I try to manage my time and sanity by being selective about which social communities I’ll engage with and how often. I also remind myself that it’s OK to unplug occasionally (especially on weekends) and not worry about some content or update I may be missing.
Like Hepburn’s character in Charade, I don’t want an unlimited social network. And I know what to do to manage it effectively. The question is: how does one stop feeling overwhelmed by it all?