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The Struggle to Strike a Balance: Social Media

I was driving home from work today when I got the urge to check Twitter. I don’t have a smartphone of any kind (my cell phone does have bluetooth, but that’s as smart as it gets). I have an iPod Touch (poor man’s iPhone), but obviously wifi would not be found on the interstate. So I asked myself why I was getting this urge to check Twitter, and it dawned on me:

I desire to always be in the conversation (or at least know what the conversation is about). Also, I find myself wanting–nay, almost needing–to make myself available to people… to be able to interact with people and leave no one hanging.

What’s up with that? Why do I have this near-compulsion? Ten months ago, I wasn’t even ON Twitter.

My wife has this theory about why she hates going to conferences. She says it’s that she feels she always has to be “on.” Be her best self at all times. And maybe that’s the part of social media I enjoy–always being “on.”

The struggle with always being “on” is with being able to strike a balance between a life online and a life in the physical space. My wife doesn’t complain (to my face, at least) when I check my iPod Touch incessantly at night–to be fair, she has a Blackberry, and used to do work email at all hours of the night (much to my chagrin, I might add).

But there’s no need to check every 10 minutes. I’m not Chris Brogan. I’m not Copyblogger. Heck, I’m not even DJ Waldow (though we do enjoy the occasional beer(s) together). I don’t have thousands of followers who asks questions

For you social media folks out there, you twitter/blog/RSS/content addicts, here are my questions for you:

  • Do you feel the same way I do about always being “on”?
  • How do you strike a balance?
  • Do you strike a balance at all?
  • Are you able to “shut off”?
  • How do you “shut off”?

I’m trying to make sure I don’t develop a “problem.” Advice would be greatly appreciated.

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