Are we slaves to the rhythm of social media?

I’ve been thinking alot lately how all of us are starting to meld social media into the daily fabric of our lives. For some of us, our daily routine consists of checking in or logging on to various social nets to see if we have anyone who has posted, commented, uploaded, friended or mailed anything directly to us. 

We check our email, and that’s a given. We use our cell phone to surf the net and check mail and that’s a given too. But then in short succession we could log onto Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendfeed, WordPress, Ning, Bebo, Orkut, Hi5, Twitter, Plurk, Typepad, Google Reader, Feedburner, and dozens of others to check for new friends, uploads, downloads, new pics, new scoop, new mail, new comments and new widgets.  We then could log onto and read more than our share of random or relevant blogs,  and we even might comment on a couple as well.

Not only might we do this once, but we might do this more than a few times a day depending on the nature of our work. And even more when we get home at night. Which leads to a few questions:

  • Are we slaves to social media?
  • Does social media own us?
  • Are our lives more or less complicated by using social media?
  • Do we get more done thanks to social media?
  • Are we more or less social?

What do you think? What is acceptable? Frankly I try to limit my time into blocks built around the work day and even at home. But I can see where one could spend endless amounts of time building and maintaining social media personas from here to BFE and back. The question is. What is your ultimate plan or goal with social media? As a layperson and as a professional, do you have an end game result in mind? Do you have a plan?

2 thoughts on “Are we slaves to the rhythm of social media?

  1. You raise a very good point which I think many people have considered as we check our multitude of online social spaces each day. I see it on the train to work – people checking their mobile phones over and over, logging on to the internet to get email or update their status. Our online activities have permeated into all aspects of our lives.

    Good thing or bad?

    You are only a slave if you don’t have a choice and I think that is where the question hinges. In fact we do have the choice to turn off and engage with immediate people, but many people fear that choice. They are afraid they might ‘miss something’ or ‘lose their edge’ and so they become tied to their electronic devices. They are almost permitting themselves to be slaves rather than finding themselves enslaved.

    Purely anecdotally, I have found that poorly managed social media can be a huge time sink. To avoid that requires discipline and purpose – why are you engaging, what is the best way to do that, can you gain benefit out of alternative forms of engagement and how do you balance that. Social media is enormously valuable to shrink the world, but it shouldn’t be engaged with to the exclusion of all else.

  2. Very good article.
    Looking at myself I find it more and more difficult to distribute time on every activity in my life that i like or simply have to do (like sleeping, driving from and to work, work 8h, eating 3x a day, spend time with kid and wife, watch tv, read numerous interesting articles from rss feed, watch online video’s, listen to podcasts, manage LinkedIn and Facebook profile, read newspapers, magazines and books, listen to music, work in garden… and them I’m not even putting up pictures on Flickr or Twittering. I’m wondering where this is going to).

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