Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Social media: Is it like crack for business?

Celebrate Earth Day by leaving the virtual world ...

Do you text while driving? Twitter while tinkling or talking to your boss? Blog while bathing your kids?

Social media starts with a taste, and can turn into a full-blown addiction.

There's a growing movement encouraging people to log off occasionally for the sake of sanity and productivity. Someone told me about a conference session where everyone was twittering messages about the speaker, and those who didn't like the talk encouraged each other to start coughing.

Today, Wired magazine is creating a stir with a new article, "Web 2.0 Expo Preview: Torture by Information Overload."

"Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Plaxo may have helped foster community and communication, but they've also added immensely to the flow of often-interruptive messages that their users receive, leading to information overload and possibly a nasty internet addiction," says Betsy Shiffman.

A few weeks ago, Robert Scoble at Scobleizer urged his readers to turn off the Internet.

"Want to get something done? Turn off Twitter. Turn off Facebook. Turn off blog comments. Turn off FriendFeed. Turn off Flickr. Turn off YouTube. Turn off Dave Winer’s blog and Huffington Post. Turn off TechMeme."

And cartoonist Hugh MacLeod, who draws cartoons on the back of business cards for Microsoft and other companies, occasionally bids a public farewell to his followers on Twitter, saying he can't get enough done.

I love all this stuff, especially Twitter I've discovered. But they can chew up time, mess with your brain, and interfere with real relationships. Having a conversation with a person who is twittering at the same time is like having sex with someone who's watching TV.

Maybe it's spring related. Surfing the Web and updating Facebook and LinkedIn seems perfect for the American winter, but come spring, it seems barbaric to be obsessing over a screen.

It's kind of like Mom used to say, "It's a beautiful day. There's no way you should be watching TV (grownups should insert IM/Twitter, etc. here) indoors." Yeah, yeah, I know you can surf outside too.

Perhaps we should celebrate Earth Day by logging off and getting out into it.

But before you log off, please remember to add this blog to BizSugar, Digg, etc.

Just joking. Or am I?

Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online blog editor Julie Power on Tuesday April 22 at 9.30 a.m.



Dave J. said...

Here I am cyber-socializing anyway.

I've stayed away from twitter just to limit the problems you are talking about. Is that where all the good marketing chatter has gone? Blogs are pretty flat and boring these days.

DJ said...

You can read about the Zuckerberg interview you mention here:
SXSW goes sour.

Or you google YouTube, Zuckerberg, and Lacy. I'm sure you'll come up with some good stuff.

I assume it's that SXSW interview that you're talking about when you mention the twittering encouraging instant disruption.

IMR editor said...

Thanks DJ. Couldn't quite find it all this morning. Julie.

Lynn from organicmania.com said...

Serendipity that TV Turn-Off week coincides with Earth Day. (Although I couldn't resist watching the PA returns last night). All these screens can be too much!