Social Overload: Are u out of Bandwidth?

Posted on June 21, 2011 by

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Maybe it’s just me, but keeping track of all that information flying around in TweetDeck and the blogosphere can be daunting. Sometimes it seems there’s just a few tweets too many. It’s like the 160-character idea that just won’t fit in the 140c text box.

It can be downright overwhelming.

Bandwidth is a technical concept from networking that refers to how much information can be put through a network connection in a given slice of time. Since we’re out here social networking, the metaphor is a good fit. In short, there’s a limit to our capacity to process all this information at once.

When do we get full? How do we manage to avoid overload?

I see the bandwidth issue as a very real hurdle, but also one that can be managed and solved – if we know what we’re trying to do.

For #smchat WEDS 6/22 at 1p, let’s talk about how.

Q1 What are the signs of social overload? As with any problem, the first step is awareness.

Q2 Is your social network designed for your need? Many simply take all social comers, and put no thought into intentional design. Is this you? What are the key nodes (think ‘centers’, ‘hubs’, ‘resources’) on your network, and how do you allocate resources to accessing them?

Q3 Does your social traffic deliver value?  Think “signal/noise” ratio. There’s a good chance you’re managing some social streams (tweets, blog feeds, even emails) that aren’t doing useful work.  Is that load getting in your way of the important exchanges?

Q4 Have you tried social “load balancing”? One solution for people locked into their current network is to “load balance”, spreading your social activity (tweets, blogs, chats) in time and space, so everything doesn’t hit at once.

Much to ponder, in that vast, exciting space we call social networks.  Probably worth a few minutes to think about how we need to manage our own.

See you online.

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