Social media overload? MSNBC and sloppy journalism
OK. Now I have to write about it.
Two people have sent me an article from MSNBC from last week entitled “Beware of social networking overload.” The author is Eve Tahmincioglu (imagine having to pronounce that last name for your teachers), but this article is maddening to me.
I am of the school that increasingly, “traditional” journalism is more about having headlines designed to garner eyeballs or sell papers — and this article proves my point. Among the things that Eve brings up are the following points:
Here’s what people have been asking me lately: “Is it enough just to be on LinkedIn and Facebook?” “I just got an invite from a friend who’s on Plaxo. What is it and should I join?” “Will I dilute my networking effectiveness if I’m on MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter?”
I know, there’s a hint of desperation in the air because of the tough economy, and everyone wants to have lots of connections just in case layoffs are looming. But beware. You might end up with social networking overload.
I have said this in my class before and will say it to anyone who will listen: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “INFORMATION OVERLOAD” IF YOU DO NOT ALLOW IT TO EXIST.
Point #1: plenty of people, myself included, choose to be on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter and other social networking sites (I am experimenting with Identi.ca too), and I have a blog too. These are opt-in/optional tools, however. Sure there are some of my Tweeps out there who spend way too much time bouncing back and forth, but no one is twisting their arms. And almost every single social media relationship into which I have invested time and effort has led to meeting someone in “first life.” And I don’t mean dating, I mean things like participating in Blog World Expo (shameless plug, but I’ll be speaking there in September).
Point #2: this is sloppy journalism. There are plenty of aggregator sites out there like FriendFeed that do the work for you and pull all of this together. I check the automatic email or the site once every couple of days to see what the people in my online social networks are up to. Aggregator sites put everything in one place.
Point #3: “There is desperation out there about the economy?” Nice tie in. Sure, there is. But being on a social network is only (if you are lucky) ten percent of what is required to get a good job – and many postings on things like Facebook (keg stands) can have the opposite effect in terms of getting in the door for an interview.
Final point: do your research, Eve. Overload only exists when you choose to let it. And there are plenty of ways to pull everything into one place so you can keep up with all of your buddies online.