Thursday, August 4, 2011

My brain is full

Glancing through my twitter stream, I think of  the Gary Larson cartoon where the student asks to leave class because “my brain is full.” 

'Dividing line' photo (c) 2010, Lee Haywood - license:
That’s the thing about social media; your brain gets full.  Experiencing twitter has been compared to drinking from a firehose.  Yup. 

I handle that in three ways.  First, I use Tweetdeck to separate out my twitter stream into hashtags.  I love hashtags because they collect posts by topic, organizing the content for me.  They also show everything being posted in those hashtags, not just posts by people I follow.  

But here’s the second way of handling the firehose.  I look at my general twitter stream, but not all that often. 

It used to drive me nuts that if I wasn’t constantly checking out my stream that I’d miss something.

Yes, there are wonderful resources and ideas posted all the time.  But good stuff gets retweeted (RT), and rediscovered all the time. 

And it’s the serendipity I enjoy – stumbling on a gem like, “When was the last time you read a great book and thought, I want to write a book report?” attributed to @InnovativeEdu.

But the point is for twitter to be a tool, not a tyrant.  So here’s the third way I handle the firehose:  I take a vacation.  I give myself permission not to be connected.  So I check to see if there were any direct messages or mentions I should respond to.  And that’s it.  Some days, not even that.

It’s hard for this information junkie to cut back, but being dis-connected can feel so good.  Give yourself permission to do it.

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