Social network overload

[cross-posted at the TechLearning blog]

What social networks do I belong to? Let me see...

MySpace. Ning Classroom 2.0. Facebook. Ning EdubloggerWorld. LinkedIn. Ning Stop Cyberbullying. The blogosphere. The Did You Know? 2.0 wiki community. And my burgeoning list of Twitter friends. And the folks in my Skype and other instant messaging networks. And also my only-sometimes-electronic personal and professional networks: other professors, principals, superintendents, technology coordinators, assessment coordinators, former students, friends, family. And so on... (do listservs count? Second Life? my classes in WebCT?)

A few things are becoming clear to me about all of this social networking that is occurring:

  1. I don't have time to do much of it. I see the active Twittering that's going on, the vibrant dialogues occurring in Ning, the questions that others are asking and answering in Facebook. I'm already exhausted trying to balance everything. I can't keep up with the reading, not to mention the posting and participating. I've essentially chosen e-mail, the blogosphere, and live people over more formalized social networking and instant messaging tools. Maybe I'm starting to become one of those antiquated old fogies that the young whippersnappers complain about... (Q: if I have a bunch of social networking "friends" but never participate, does that make me "antisocial?")
  2. I spend more time in the networks that push notifications out to me via e-mail or my RSS aggregator. I'd likely be more active in Facebook, for example, if I could subscribe to all of its functionality rather than having to remember to go visit.
  3. I agree with Wired.
  4. We need to be sure that one of the 21st century skills students learn is "navigating and managing multiple, potentially overlapping, worldwide social networks" (or something like that).
  5. As some of us encourage educators to dive into social networking, it behooves us to explicitly acknowledge the challenges of time management, multiple network management, etc. It's not all glam and glitz.
  6. There are a lot of social networks out there. Some of them are a little lame (wait a minute! I belong to one of these!).
  7. Right now RSS is the key. Services like Feedburner's subscribe via e-mail are stopgaps to bridge old technologies with the new.
  8. Maybe I need a dedicated widescreen social networking monitor, one that I just load up with open social networking, IM, RSS, Twitter, and e-mail windows. That way I'll never miss a beat (and also never get anything else done).
  9. I need to get over my worry that I'm going to miss something. I'm saying no to the next social network invitation I get. I don't care if it's the "People who want to give Scott McLeod a million dollars" network. Sorry. My brain is full.

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