Saturday, April 7, 2012

What are You when You're not "Being Zen"?

It sounds like a koan question, doesn't it? It's actually a more practical question centered on social media and living an integrated life.

I tend to segregate different dimensions of my life across the different social media services:

  • Facebook holds the bulk of my "in real life" connections, the family and friends categories. The connections are generally local. There's where the pictures of the kids and updates about what we had for dinner go. There's generally nothing particularly exciting or racy there.
  • Twitter and now Google+ hold more the madness, including koan-ish discussions that most of the others would not appreciate let alone understand. These contacts are scattered worldwide with very few if any found locally.
  • LinkedIn holds the professional connections with coworkers and is largely limited to people doing things just like me. That is, there are very few social contacts in there who just happen to share what they do for a living.

[As noted before (link), I did the same with a few blogs, posting not simply to different categories but rather to completely different sites, and have been working slowly since to consolidate relevant posts here.]

Those three dimensions are almost completely mutually exclusive. If I am connecting with you on one service, it's not likely were are connected on another. I can't say that it was my intention to partition my contacts this way, but it's undeniable that that's what has occurred and that I've shared limited aspects of myself along those same lines.

All and all, it's been very, very unsatisfying. It turns out that I really don't enjoy connecting with people on only one dimension. It's just too shallow, especially while I'm focused upon integration and consolidation. Worse, none of it is particularly beneficial to anyone when everyone is compartmentalized like this, with communications of a particular type limited to particular channels. Even the want to chat koan over coffee can be quite challenging to satisfy with the current arrangement.

From recent use, it seems Google+ is my social media platform of choice, best suited to sorting folks within one service, allowing me to "tune in" for conversations with my category of choice when I'm in that mood while also allowing them to merge. I'm looking forward to trying out "Hangouts" and the like for video exchanges and some of the location-based features for face-to-face contacts. If I can pull it all together, it will likely happen there. We'll see how it goes.

For now, though, I'd encourage people to circle me on Google+ and to actively engage at a level deeper than koan-ic quips. If that one dimension is your sole interest and you're shielding the rest, that's fine; but know that I've been watching myself shed more shallow connections over time and I don't see that trend abating. There's no doubt part of me is looking deeper for more open channels. Let me know if you're a like mind.

I'm trusting my instincts on this one. We'll see where it leads...
 
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