I think I belong to every social network known to man. Today I started playing around in Google Buzz.  Facebook? check. Twitter? Check. LinkedIn? Check.  Myspace before it was the place to be as a 13 year old girl with a sparkly background and LOL all over your page? Check. Even friendster, which floated off into the abyss sometime around 2006. Yep, I had a profile.

So do I feel uber connected? Yeah, probably to a fault. I’m not sure I NEED all of the information that I get from these sites about people. Sure I friended the guy I went to elementary school with and haven’t seen since. It was nice to see how his life has turned out and what he has been up to. But do I need to know every time he and his wife get into a fight? No.

And that is the problem. The over-sharer. This is the person who you don’t actually know all that well in real life, but because of these networks you know wayyy more than you ever wanted to. I feel like I’m invading his privacy, but he seems to have no problem with it. This is why I sit back and think before I post anything. Do I want 268 people, the majority of whom I’m not actually close with, to have this information? Thankfully, the majority of people understand this distinction. Those who don’t end up here and here.

I love hearing about people getting jobs, puppies, married, engaged, having babies, etc, but I don’t need to know that your Doctor suggested a prostate exam. I just don’t.

Are people more connected? I would say yes, the debate is whether the connection is at all meaningful. Like, thanks for liking my status, but are we ever going to actually interact outside of the world of the internet? So is this REALLY networking?
Regardless, it’s certainly a good way to burn some time and catch up with people.

And the time burning might be the problem. It doesn’t seem like much at first. A few minutes here and there, the occasional alert on your phone. It adds up. Really quickly. And frankly there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

It’s becoming overwhelming. Yep, I have social networking fatigue. It became super apparent today while testing google buzz. Here I am “following” the same people that I do on twitter, am friends with on facebook, am chatting with on gchat, and talk to on the phone.  OVERKILL. I’m going to actually attempt to do some face to face social networking (or in the case of people halfway across the country at least try a note or personal email). So maybe I won’t know that Jane Doe got a new job as soon as it happens, but I also won’t waste valuable time pondering why Joe Smith posts cryptic status messages like “My Life will never be the same”. Frankly Joe, I’m not sure I care.