Ever feel like you are suddenly standing in a pool of quicksand and there is nothing that you can do to get out of it?
Lately this is how social media has felt like. From both as a blogger and as a consumer. Services that are suppose to make things easier only seem to be muddying the waters. Distractions become almost the norm as we flit from one service to another and then try and pull them altogether with some sort of aggregator.
There is this underlying pressure to be a part of conversations, to create new conversations. It wasn't so hard when all we had to do was remember what blogs we might have left comments on. Now though our blog comments are being spread all over with services like Disqus or IntenseDebate; which are then pulled in - or not pulled into - aggregrators like FriendFeed or Strands.
Where do we go now to be a part of conversations or to start new ones. We have Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, blogs or again the aggregators with their inline comments. We are becoming a quagmire of conversations into which now we have Google and Facebook throwing their immense weight.
All this is suppose to be under the guise of data portability but all I am seeing is a mish-mash of disjointed conversations. Am I talking to you on a blog or on Facebook or on FriendFeed? Or how about Twitter or the Strands or - well you pick the spot because I am sure there is aconversation going there as well.
The further we go along this road of ubiquitous conversations it all feels like it is becoming more like white noise. We all seem to be turning into nothing more than talking points in some-one else's marketing or brand promotion. We comment on one site and the next thing we know those comments could end up on Facebook. It could end up on some Google Friend Wall or sitting in some aggregator. We are getting lost in our own conversation jungle.
From the blogger's point of view it is a mass confusion of what services to we use? We stare nervously at new join forms wondering if we should maybe join some other service instead of this one. Which one is going to be better to promote our brand on? which one is going to have more reach? Which one will be the winner and what happens if I invest my time in the wrong one?
From the consumer side it becomes a question of how many of these services do I need to join so I don't miss anything? How many conversations can I be a part of at any one time? How many browser tabs can I really monitor so that I don't miss anything?
It is beginning to feel like we are just having conversations for converstaion sake - to make some noise - to fill up that immense space of the Internet with noise. It is all becoming a matter of hyper-conversation. Conversations on as many services as possible with as many people as possible. We are drowning in conversations but is anybody really talking?
Conversations seem to have become disjointed words being spread far and wide. There doesn't seem to be any bottom to touch our feet to as we swim through this sea of conversations. A sea that is only getting bigger as each day goes by and we are getting further from the shore.
I wonder if at some point this whole world of hyper-conversations won't begin to collapse in on itself. I know that technology and the Internet is changing how we percieve and deal with our world. I know that it is changing us as human beings and I'm okay with that - in fact I think it is great thing. But we are not processors living the life of Moore's Law. We do have finite edges of tolerance to what our minds can absorb and logically deal with.
This isn't about turning back time or putting the genie back in the bottle; because that is impossible and really - I wouldn't want to. I just wonder if during this process of shaping new landscapes we aren't getting caught up in a trap. Do we really need to be everywhere having conversations? Do we really need to be the unwitting shills for other peoples brands and marketing jive?
Do we really need to get ourselves trapped in the quicksand of hyper-conversations?