I came to the realization tonight that there is far too much noise in my social sphere. Not only am I faced with the disquietude, I am learning that it has become redundant as hell. We’re discussing and sharing some seriously incredible information with each other. The problem is that we are having the exact same conversations with the exact same people in oodles of places.
An even larger issue is that we don’t really have much of a choice. We have to be where our community is. Joe and Sally may follow us on our Facebook Page, but Peter and Mary only catch what we said via Twitter. Jane and Jeremy are now Google+ fanatics, so we must share our words of wisdom there, too. The more I watched this happen on my social streams last night, the more I began to crave some peace and quiet.
I adore the connections that I’ve made over the years, and I treasure the friends who have entered my life. It isn’t that I don’t want to know what you have to say or how you feel about a given subject. It’s that I’m growing weary of absorbing it multiple times in several different places. When are we going to figure out this social stuff and finally get it RIGHT?
You’re going to argue that competition is good and that no one network could possibly give us everything we need. I’m here to counter that and ask why the hell CAN’T it happen? Yes, competing sites and services are a healthy thing – for them. When you sit down at your computer each morning ready to spread your message in the social space, how the hell do you begin to know if you’re doing it correctly? Are you reaching your target audience? Is it possible you’re missing someone important? Or – much more likely – are people starting to tune you out completely because they are just sick of having to read the same thing over and over?
There’s going to come a point when enough is simply enough. I honestly believe many of us are reaching that critical stage and are about to whip out the proverbial white flag. No single person can possibly keep up with this many networks. A friend of mine stated earlier that “With all the social noise, we’re turning others into feeds and data streams. The more social we become, the less human we appear.” Oh, how true that seems to be. The more socially spread out we are, the more others see us as just another news feed.
Sadly, I don’t have the answer. Some of you are trying to figure it out. MG Siegler is trying to cut out some of the noise by giving up email for a while. Kudos to him, but I think he’s going to find that it doesn’t solve a damn thing. He’s already said that communications on other channels have increased tenfold. As people realize he’s not going to respond to his Inbox, they will begin to inundate the poor man on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and anywhere else they can manage to find him. It’s a never-ending cycle that we somehow need to break free of.
Do we need to stop being social? Of course not. That’s crazy talk right there. I would rather cut off my arms (figuratively, of course!) than give up my social circles. I DO, however, want to find a more effective way to wade through the clutter and get to the good stuff. I want to see what you’re all up to and what you think, but I want to see it ONCE so that I can move on to the next person’s tidbits of genius.