Digital cleansing

Several folks (Matt Cutts and John Meyer, among others) have called for a break from our social networking, online everything world.


It’s about time.

kool-aid man

I sated myself long ago on the digital high of social networking, whether you call it Twitter, Facebook, or something else. We, the Kool-Aid drinkers, will try just about any new technical gadget if it promises us a richer, more immediate advantage… in life, work, whatever.

But even digital fanbois cannot live on Kool-Aid alone.

We are weaving a new social tapestry. Home pages, blogs, tweets, profiles, these are all part of something bigger co-created in bits to replace and augment our traditional social ties in the world of atoms. As we discover new toys, they’ll grab our attention, until the glow of novelty fades. “Shiny” wins for the moment. Then, those with enduring value find a place in our daily lives.

Blogs, for example, dramatically transformed as Twitter took over for real-time tidbits and pointers. Blogs stopped being the most frequent vehicle for self-published contributions to the global conversation, and instead settled in as a long form context for engaging dialog. While Twitter satisfies the instant gratification of the exclamation, blogs allow a more durable appreciation and digestion of complex ideas. Blogs moved from the reactive, real-time driver of the echosphere to a more natural role, aligned with its form and function a medium for deliberative discussion and debate, tirades and manifestos.

So, for those of you still running high on your first rush with Twitter or Facebook… I agree with Matt & John.

Take some time off.

Reconnect with your work and your passions offline and in other media. It may well highlight what is magical in social networking and what is just flavored sugar-water. It may even allow you to reconfigure your online social network as a more durable, value-creating contribution to your life.

That would be an excellent way to start the second decade of the millennium.

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