The launch of Google+ has raised questions about our future using social media. In an article in the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times by Ben Montgomery called “On the Brink of a Virtual Overload” he states that maybe we’re spreading ourselves too thin. Do we need a step back? Most people who utilize social networking to its full potential believe it can require the same amount of time and energy as a full-time job. Unfortunately, by not participating you alienate yourself because this now how the world now communicates. Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist who hypothesized that humans have a maximum amount of social relationships they can create and maintain, believes our “saturation point” is close to 150 friends. This is the amount of Twitter followers, Facebook friends, members of your Google circles, and connections on LinkedIn that are manageable social relationships. In fact, the oversaturation of friends and followers is the reason people begin to feel overwhelmed. A Cleveland magazine writer, Andy Netzel, decided to revert to technology from the 1980s for a month to answer the question “Do we really need all this stuff?” Using only a landline, typewriter and an answering machine he lived a virtual free life. His findings were that, although he enjoyed basking in the days when technology was not so prevalent and consuming to our lives, he felt like an outsider. In fact, he states that not participating will result in your loss of friends, opportunities and experiences. Social media is our future. It will expand, grow and continue to connect us in ways never thought possible, but how much is too much? How did you find your balance?
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