When the content takes over…

Oh internet tubes, how do I use thee? Let me count the ways.

In 2006, my social media diet was fairly basic. I regularly consumed and produced content on YouTube, Flickr, Gmail and Myspace. It wasn’t hard to find and organize the information I was consuming/publishing–because it was a relatively small amount of content.

In 2007, things got a bit more complicated. I adopted the following tools as part of my daily social media regimen:

1. Twitter (began Twittering regularly and “friending” colleagues early Fall 2007)
2. Facebook (Opened an account this summer, and promptly stopped using Myspace. Log in about four times a day, but generally have not found it as fun and absorbing as Myspace was in its hay day. Either I’m getting too old or I’m experiencing the dreaded social networking fatigue.)
3. RSS feed reader (Finally found an aggregator that I liked–Google Reader. In 2007, I began reading 80-100 feeds daily)
4. Professional blog (Launched The Full Plate blog Fall 2007, after many months of commenting on blogs)
5. Hobby blog (Created an mp3 blog, Eggs for Becky, with a friend in April 2007)
6. Del.icio.us (I’ve used Del.icio.us in previous years, but never like this before! Here are the ways this nifty social media tool had made a big impact on my day-t0-day routines in 2007:

  • Convinced colleagues and my librarian girlfriend to open an account, “friending” them as part of my network (Rebecca has become an unexpected evangelist for Del.icio.us, convincing her friends to check out her saved bookmarks for articles she tells them about. She is also interested in the emerging art/science of folksonomy)
  • Installed the Del.ici.us app on my Facebook profile, publishing my bookmark as feeds for my Facebook friends and colleauges
  • Saving 2-4 bookmarks per day
  • Checking my network weekly bookmarks for interesting articles
  • Saving bookmarks for my girlfriend, and vice versa (instead of emailing links to one another)

In 2007, I abandoned Myspace for Facebook (just as I had abandoned Friendster for Myspace back in 2006). I ramped up use of my Flickr account after receiving a new digital camera. I spent hours installing and uninstalling crappy Facebook applications. I tested out Remember the Milk, Utterz, Jaiku, and various live video streaming tools. I am consuming, saving and producing more content than ever before, and now I’m facing a potential crisis.

Chris Brogan writes, “My thoughts keep coming back to Rachel Happe from IDC who said that the main benefit and value of social networks (and social media, by extension) is to capture unstructured information that otherwise rushes past without a “bucket” to connect it to the “memory” of an organization. ” I agree, but my problem is this: I’m no librarian. In fact, I’m known for my inability to organize and save things. (Example: I don’t have a single paper file at the office.) When I capture information, tag it, save it or republish it, I’m not really contributing to the memory of an organization (that organization being me, I suppose). Instead, I feel like I’m adding to the clutter. My Del.icio.us tags are a mess. My blog tags are fairly random. My Flickr tags are equally as random. And what do I do with all these Twitter posts?

It’s like having a library full of books and no dewey decimel system. I catalog my “books” with tags, but the more information I save, the messier things get. I don’t even know what my Del.icio.us tag for “blog” really stands for any more. Does it mean this article is about blogs? Or is it an actual blog? Or is it about bloggers? Or is it a blog about a blog? Arghhh!

If 2007 was a boom year for my personal social media consumption, 2008 will be a crisis year. Too many feeds, too many bookmarks, too many tags. Semantic web, rescue me!

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