Socially exhausted

I communicate with people in lots of ways: face-to-face, email, via my blog, leaving comments in the blogosphere, conferences, etc. At SMX West a couple people asked “I sent you a friend invite on service X but you haven’t responded. Do you not like me?” Please don’t feel bad, because it’s not that. I’m letting a lot of requests drop on the floor — even requests from other Googlers to chat on Google Talk. I did a quick check of various social services and here’s what I found:

LinkedIn: 176 invitations to connect
Twitter: 671 requests 1060 requests
Google Talk: 27 chat requests
Facebook: 190 friend requests
MySpace: 35 friends, and it’s a fake account that someone else set up in my name (I’m not 42 years old, thank you very much :) ).

At this point, managing friend invitations feels more like work than fun. Many of these services have really poor interfaces for mass approving, and a while ago I discovered that if I stopped responding to friend requests, very few people got angry with me. So if I haven’t responded to a friend request from you, please don’t take it personally — I’m just a little socially exhausted.

By the way, I have a precise measurement of being Calicanissed. He told his twitter following to add me, and I got almost exactly 400 additional twitter requests. Jason didn’t know it, but I had my twitter set to the private mode that requires each twitterer to be approved. Thanks, Jason. ;)

27 Responses to Socially exhausted (Leave a comment)

  1. What would really be nice would be to have a web service that would integrate all of those requests.

    If someone contact a potential friend from more than one social site – that person could be given priority

    Also, the ability to automate filtering potential friends by profiles

    Perhaps in the next decade

  2. Got something against 42 year olds?

    No doubt, all this social activity online can lead to burnout. Add in the travel, work, family, and all the other parts of your life that require attention and you’re neck deep in *stuff.*

    We’ll probably here about some disorder (SMS – Social Media Syndrome) arising from the lack of sleep so many are faced with.

    Maybe Google should buy twitter and friendfeed and then both can be combined into a platform that integrates with gmail and feedburner. One inbox to rule the day!

  3. Not a thing, Michael Dorausch. I’ll be 42 soon enough. :) But I am old enough that I view Chat/IM as more of an interruption than fun, which probably skews my view of some social services.

  4. Yours happened something similar to Seth’s twitter profile, which was maintained by someone else.
    Btw i suggest you not to go to myspace anytime. It really has become a big spam box.

    LinkedIn is a good business networking website, and you seem to have kept all requests to be approved. Why not make them accepted automatically?
    Ha ha accepting and reviewing requests in all those social networks would take many days for you :)

    Btw i just wanted to have a site reviewed by you if you really got some time. Would that be possible Matt? And if yes, how do i contact you for that?

  5. 42 is not so bad…

    It is the age of enlightenment, the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. If I could only remember the damn question!

    Social Media fatigue is going to be the new burnout. As for twitter, I can’t seem to make what I am doing at the moment never feel interesting enough to tell my friends (and some strangers) about.

  6. Everything good has a half life on the Internet where what works well for a while becomes flooded with imitators and spammers. Great concepts simply get overwhelmed by a flood of imitators looking for personal advantage.

    Woody Allen “would never join a club that would have him”. I am starting to feel that way too, simply because if any particular club will have me it will take in a gazillion more just like me – end of fun.

    As much as I hate housing gated communities finding a way (paid subscription to a private club??) to have restricted communities on the web is so attractive.

    Social media is becoming so bifurcated as to render it useless for effective lifestyling to anyone with a profile. Most people that the road to success is marked by being in the headlines ala Madonna. As far as I am concerned there is no success if it comes at the cost of privacy. For that reason I have chosen to not “promote” using social media even though we are musicians – the cost is too high.

    You are on the right track Matt – be brutal with the delete key. Have fun!

  7. Harith

    Matt,

    “(I’m not 42 years old, thank you very much :) ).”

    Btw, Happy Birthday :-)

  8. Hi Matt,

    This is normal. In social sciences, there is an empirical notion called Dunbar’s number that is an average max number of relationships that a human can handle (~150, iirc). JP Rangaswami discussed recently of the evolution of this number due to digital technologies in his blog.

    From a personal point of view, I use technologies to tighten my relationships and not multiply them. This implies a less visible activity on the Net.

  9. Lisa

    Talk about socially exhausted. I’ve always been a “defender” of Google. It’s been a terrific way to build community and reach information, people, learn and to make friends. So what changed?

    Back in February, there was the kerfuffle regarding the Tom Cruise video on youtube. It got me interested, so I searched. The more I learned, the more upset I became about his religion.

    Now when there’s major news about Jason Beghe, suddenly there’s account suspensions on youtube belonging to church critics and for some reason, my google alerts on these subject don’t seem to be hitting my inbox. At all. No alerts.

    To me, Google and all its combined parts have always stood for sharing of information and the freedom of speech involved in that. It’s rather sad to see that be given the appearance of slipping away.

  10. I admit I sent a request to follow you after seeing Jason’s tweet. I had already been subscribing to this blog and never thought of looking up and subscribing to your twitter account. If you did follow me I would be honored but I can certainly understand the overload problem as I recently trimmed down my own twitter account and have been a lot more selective about who I follow and lately I have been blocking some accounts that look like nothing but spam (they are either promoting something “seedy” or they are literally following thousands of people but have a very small (sometimes in the double digits) followers.

    BTW, I’ll be 42 at the end of this month (but I like to think I have a “24 year old frame of mind”). I hope I don’t get a birthday card filled with Vogon poetry.

  11. Why don’t you just delete some of the accounts – with a profile like yours why keep the my space and facebook accounts going?

  12. Hey Jason. if you want to tell your twitter crowd to follow me too, that’d be great! RyanJones is the name.

  13. Matt are you just putting those numbers up to remind us you are popular?

    I agree that adding people even one can be a daunting task

  14. Dave (original)

    Social service sites are great for quality one-way links too………….at least according to the so-called leaders of the SEO industry. They said the same about blogs too and caused/cause millions of blogs to be spammed daily.

    Arhhh Factoids about Fads, don’t you just love em :)

  15. JLH

    I pray to God that I am never so important that I can choose to ignore those who admire and respect my opinion, much less write about the fact that I don’t want to hear from them.

  16. I feel exactly the same way than you.
    When the wave started to hit, I opened up a profil on every social network I could find. But now, it bothers me to take care of them.
    However, one good thing is that I could found some lost college friends with Facebook. Other than that, social networking was a lost of time.

    But I must be a little crazy because I started my own poker social network :-S
    I think it’s a good way to share your hobbies like playing cards.
    The main social networks are too broad. The sector needs to get specialized.

  17. @Andy that’s a good idea, hope Matt will accept our invitation too. :)

  18. So is there something wrong with 42??? I seem to be closing in on that number pretty quickly with my 41st in 2 days.

  19. Harith

    Bruce

    “So is there something wrong with 42??? “.

    Nothing wrong at all. However 42 is a whole 6 years more than 36. And in general people don’t wish to age that fast, I guess :-)

  20. LinkedIn: 2 invitations to connect
    Twitter: 0 requests
    Google Talk: 0 chat requests
    Facebook: 4 friend requests
    MySpace: no account

    I am almost exhausted at this level.

  21. re other podcasts

    the in our time (radio 4 program) where Melvyn Bragg and guests investigate the history of ideas. has a podcast version

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/

    not sure if you can get this outside of the UK but ime sure you can fix up a uk proxy :-)

    well i normaly listen to some of the TWIT podcasts the main one and security now cranky geeks is always fun.

    Of all the podcasters I think Leo does the most professional job and is worth listening to for that side of things – and some one needs to buy Jerry Pournell a better mic.

  22. Jason is a great man for you, Matt. He creates friends for you with his dogface :)

  23. Jessica A

    Amazingly enough, from the same RSS feed reader page that I found this post, I also found an article that claims “Too many choices can be mentally exhausting.”

    “People faced with numerous choices, whether good or bad, find it difficult to stay focused enough to complete projects, handle daily tasks or even take their medicine.”
    http://www.enn.com/health/article/34696

    I don’t believe the motivation behind not keeping up with friend requests is meant to show a big ego or anything, it’s just like Matt said, he’s exhausted. Readers, do you want him to hire someone to keep up with all the little details, or have him work harder to integrate all these various social platforms?

  24. JLH, it’s not that. It’s more about trying to figure out the right boundaries for personal life vs. public life. Scoble is happy to live 100% out in the spotlight, put his cell phone number on his blog, and have 5000 Facebook friends. His job in some sense really is to pull all those folks into his private life.

    Sorry if the post came across as whiny; I just wanted to explain why I hadn’t approved some requests.

  25. Dave (original)

    Come on Matt, NEVER apologies for putting family 1st!

  26. Mike

    Matt,

    On Wednesday, September 3, my site’s revenue reached a new AdSense low. The site has been around for ten years. What is a person to do when they don’t know what’s wrong? I’ve reached a point where I really don’t know what to do now. Very frustrating.

    Mike

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