I signed on to Gmail this morning and was greeted by an invitation to join Buzz, Google’s bold foray into the social media wasteland. Naturally, I joined up. So let’s see: I now have a presence on Facebook, Posterous, Twitter, Yahoo, Blogspot, WordPress, Flickr, PicasaWeb and Walgreen’s. And Buzz. I’m sure I’m forgetting some. One of these days, I’m going to look at my list of “friends” and figure out all 200 of them are me.
There must be a practical limit to how thin you can spread yourself on the Internet. So far I haven’t found it. I do feel sometimes that my corporeal self is becoming slightly transparent, the result of too many personal bits being cast willy-nilly out into the ether. On the other hand, I have no trouble gaining weight. So I’m not going to fret about it just now.
We are suckers, aren’t we? The lords of the computing cloud give us toys, and we give them all our data. Each new incarnation of social media exists to channel ever-more-specific advertising our way, but we don’t mind. It’s worth it to update our followers in real time to every incremental change in personal status, to each amusing observation about the weather. Besides, some of this advertised stuff I might actually want to buy. Everybody needs a new camera or cut-rate insurance, or super-cheap jeans from Land’s End.
The only real downside to this house of mirrors is staying organized. I know it’s possible to patch all these sites together, so that a pithy update here will reflect everywhere else in the cloud, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. Sometimes you post something to Facebook and it doesn’t even register with Facebook, much less all the auxiliary sites. Other times you edit a photo in Picasa and realize an entire album is now visible everywhere. Then your friends instinctively hit the “like” button because there’s no button that says, “Dude, this album is three months old. And it hasn’t gotten any better.”
It’s all a work in progress. Meantime, see you on Buzz. And just about every place else.