Warning: Long post to follow. (I have been stewing on this for some time now.)

A new problem has come up for me, and I’m calling it Webosphere Overload. What is it? Well, firstly, I invented the word “webosphere.” The meaning of the word is all things Web 2.0/social media — that is: Twitterville, bloggerville, Google apps, Google docs, Google reader, Google groups, online communities/discussion boards/forums, LinkedIn, Facebook, social networking sites all lumped into one huge World Wide Webosphere.

When you work on your computer pretty much all day long like I do, The Webosphere can be simultaneously totally AWESOME and utterly annoying. Awesome because without The Webosphere, my Google calendar wouldn’t sync with my iPhone. Awesome because without the Webosphere, most of the freelance editing work that I’ve been doing lately wouldn’t exist — I have several clients with high-traffic blogs, not to mention that Twitter has resulted in multiple project leads and so far one new client.

The simultaneously annoying side: Twitter is so damn distracting when I’m trying to work. So is Google reader — because right at the top it tells me how many unread items I have (839?!). So is Google groups (sometimes), because that is a whole host of other unread items, most of which require a response of sorts if the group is to be the least bit useful.

There are very specific aspects of The Webosphere with which I am currently annoyed: tools, trade and (for lack of a better word) Twitter.

Tools (Why can’t I streamline my calendar and to-do list??)
Google calendar: I use it religiously. Even though I work on a Mac, I have never used iCal because I wanted to access my calendar from any computer, hence the genius that is Google.
Google tasks: My to-do lists are always by day of the week — I look at what all I have to do for the week and divvy it up by what I’ll do each day. So when Google tasks integrated with Google calendar, I threw a party. No other task app that I have found does this, except for Remember The Milk (which I will get to next). It’s fabulous when I am on my computer. Not fabulous when I am on my iPhone.
Remember The Milk: I used RTM before Google tasks integrated with Google calendar, because, yes, it syncs with Google calendar. But not as efficiently as Google tasks, of course. It gives you a little blue check mark that you have to click on for your task list to show. I would rather have the task showing all the time so that it is right in front of my face when I look at the calendar. Alas, RTM does not do this. On the other hand, RTM iPhone app rocks. BUT it will not sync with my Google tasks.

Why is there no good app that syncs with Google tasks? And if someone knows of one, why have you not told me about it??

Trade (Are any of these sites really worth my time??)
Guru.com: One of my coworkers at The Urban Hive says that he uses Guru.com to hire freelancers all the time. So I checked it out, and it just seems like the same deal as any other social networking site: you create a profile (let me copy and paste my summary/overview/resume for the ONE-thousandth time), and you’re off into this special portal of The Webosphere. Except if you want full access to this special portal, you have to pay. It took me a full half-day to create my profile (and it’s not even finished) before I found out about the paying part. And I can’t for the life of me figure out what is so very special about this one portal.
Elance.com: Basically the same rant as above, except I don’t know anyone with personal experience using the site.
Sutie101.com: What do you know? I applied and was approved as a contract writer. But the contract terms require you to write 10 articles every 3 months and you get paid per click on the ads relating to your articles. How much will that be? There is no way to know.
Constant Content: It’s similar to Suite101.com in that probably anyone can submit content, but it is not an “online magazine.” It is more of an archive of content that anyone can buy if/when the need arises. At least with this site writers set their own rates, and I do know someone who has used it and recommends it. But, again, is it worth my time?

Twitter (How many damn social media profiles does a person really need??)
Social Media: This section really should be titled “social media,” but then I would lose the alliteration, wouldn’t I?
Twitter: I joined somewhat begrudgingly and got quickly addicted. Slowly, I am becoming less addicted and am on the verge of un-following everyone.
Facebook: What would happen if I deleted my profile?
LinkedIn: I am never on it. What is the point?
Brazen Careerist: Can I say what a huge fan I am of Penelope Trunk without sounding like a kiss-ass? Maybe not, and that’s OK. Brazen Careerist is the newest of my myriad Social Media Alter Egos, and it has the potential to be the best. But right now it just feels like one. more. thing. to. maintain. I don’t have time to read all the comments and forum posts. I can’t keep up with all the new people who join the freelancing group that I created, let alone participate in the other groups that I joined.

See? Webosphere Overload.

So here I am vacillating in Webosphere Overload and so beyond frustrated because isn’t the World Wide Web supposed to make life easier and more fun? Isn’t social media supposed to help me be more connected to people? Isn’t the iPhone supposed increase my productivity AND solve all my problems?

Too many choices. Too many decisions. O.ver.whelmed.

5 thoughts on “Webosphere Overload

  1. I totally feel your Webosphere congestion. I consider cancelling Facebook everyday. So I log on, ready to cancel, but end up spending a couple hours messaging friends instead. Oy vey!

  2. Hey Janna,

    I know how you're feeling! Believe me! I'm in the social media industry and keeping up w/ all of the new technologies is incredibly difficult.

    The average person only needs a handful. If you use too many than all that you're doing is impeding on your ability to manage the few that actually do you any good.

    I'm hoping that Brazen Careerist finds its way into that handful. Feel free to give me a shout anytime if you'd like some advice on how to manage your Freelance Group. It's a great group and I'd love for you to keep it up!

    -RP

  3. @ Denis: Thanks for the pointer. Still investigating.

    @ Jenn: Thanks for reading (and especially for commenting!)…I'm still considering deleting my Facebook profile. In the meantime, I did get my Twitter feed down from 187 to 132. Progress!

    @Ryan: Not to worry, Brazen Careerist isn't on the Social Media Chopping Block (yet!). My goal is to trim down on other media to make room for it, but it's a slow process…I will take you up on your offer for advice on managing the freelance group soon, though. Thanks for stopping by my little corner of The Webosphere.

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