Saw the AP article “Are you a twit if you don’t want to Twitter?” this morning in the Daily Herald. It talks about how people are starting to feel overwhelmed by the who social media phenomenon, and are either walking away entirely or cutting way back on their use.
I find it interesting but not surprising, particularly in the case of Twitter. The constant updates from everyone you follow can be exhausting, especially since most are of little interest to anyone but the writer. Do you really care that some guy you’ve never met is stopping work for a little while to go grab a breakfast burrito? I thought not.
The article also quotes a professor of neuroscience at the University of Richmond who says our brains crave networking, but differentiate between the quality of online and off. We need actual human contact to feel satisfied.
Also interesting is this is not just a case of older people not getting it. Many of the people who are either quoted or mentioned as part of studies are right in the Twitter/Facebook target generation.
It will be quite a study in human nature to see where we go next with all of this. My guess is most people will eventually settle into a smaller circle of people they actually care about, and will use the tools to stay in touch with them just as past generations used the telephone or letters. The concept of the broad social network of hundreds or thousands will probably seem quaint and amusing in a few years.