Social Media is Making me Crazy: Twitter/Facebook vs. the Monkeysphere

The Monkeysphere is a great concept. The idea is, we can only relate to so many people as actual humans; everybody else is sort of abstract to us. The people we relate to are inside our monkeysphere, everyone else is outside. For most people, the upper limit for their monkeysphere is about 150 people.

I follow over 300 accounts on Twitter and have over 400 Facebook friends. I can’t keep up. My Twitter feed has something like 1,000 tweets every day.

Let’s not even talk about Tumblr. I can’t keep up with my Tumblr feed at all.

Part of the issue is that it’s winter, and in the winter I mostly want to hole up and read or knit and watch TV, and everything else feels like way too much work. But the rest of the issue is pretty much that the internet is full of tons of people I find interesting for various reasons, so I add them to my social media.

Fiddling around with Twitter lists and Facebook lists can help some — I can tag individuals on Facebook and get notified every time they post something, and that helps. I’ll hit the website, check my notifications, and take a look at the top maybe … ten entries in my main news feed. That makes Facebook way less crazy for me, and I don’t have to worry about missing something from the people I absolutely want to keep up with.

I tried doing that with Twitter, but the I Can’t Bear To Miss A Single Tweet folks is about three or four people, but the Cool Folks I want to Keep Up With Cos They Are Cool people… there’s like 200 of them. How do I pick and choose among that many interesting people???

I’m tempted to decree that I can only follow 150 people on each service, but I worry about weeding out people whose feelings might be hurt, or missing out on something awesome. (It doesn’t help that my “ooh, awesome” threshold is pretty low. One of my favorite things on Twitter right now is the conversations between @korybing and @sfemonster (they talk about all kinds of cool stuff, and are total geeky nerds like me! Eee! They’re so cool).)

I know people who have left Facebook entirely, or quit social media except for two or three feeds/folks/friends, and there’s a simplicity to that which is really appealing to me.

In the runup to my wedding, I stopped reading feminist blogs, because they just made me angry. There’s so much sexist bullshit around, you know? The fatosphere can be that way too.

But I’ve had people tell me that the stuff I post to Facebook has changed the way they think about things, made them more tolerant, helped them understand — and that means so much! I want to do that! But that material comes from my massive social media intake. Argh.

As with so much in life, it’s all about balance. I just need to figure out where the balance point is for me with this stuff.

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