Social Media Overload

Keyboard

Keyboard

I’m starting to feel a bit overloaded by Twitter et al.  I think older generations are trying to access what they have deemed the “ADD generation” by assuming we like our communication to be incessant and in packets of 140 characters or less.  There was a tweetup and a social-media-focused poet at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention.  At the Tau Beta Pi National Convention last week, one of the first business announcements was that delegates should use hashtag #TBPconv.  And one of the things that Astronaut Mike Massimino of this summer’s Hubble Repair Mission highlighted was that he was the first person to tweet from space (even though he technically emailed Houston and they tweeted).

I think social media has become a fad that needs to fade a bit.  I’ve been working with the Renewal Project to help develop some of their social networking tools, and there’s just too much pressure to have all of the latest online fads available.  This New Yorker parody describes it perfectly:

If you already have a blog, make sure you spray-feed your URL in niblets open-face to the skein. We like Reddit bites (they’re better than Delicious), because they max out the wiki snarls of RSS feeds, which means less jamming at the Google scaffold. Then just Digg your uploads in a viral spiral to your social networks via an FB/MS interlink torrent. [Read full article]

Maybe I’ll have a different perspective after the talk on Friday by Twitter Co-founder and Swarthmore Alumnus Dom Sagolla:

Sagolla’s book, 140 Characters, examines how to best write for social networks’ new form of short tweets, status updates, and text messages. “Wherever possible, use fewer words,” explains Sagolla. “This is harder than it sounds, but once you get past the basics of grammar you start getting into the really interesting aspects of poetry and word design.” [From the Swarthmore College Communications Office]

Speechwriter and Communications Coach Dr. Nick Morgan to Speak at Swat

Swarthmore’s Writing Associates Program is sponsoring a talk on Thursday by Dr. Nick Morgan.  Dr. Morgan has appeared on the Today Show and was a speechwriter for former Virginia Governor Charles Robb.  He is also the President of Public Words, a communications consulting firm.  Public Words’ blog has some interesting tips on public speaking and communication, including the assertion that “real leaders don’t use Power Point.”  I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say on Thursday.

The Matrix (of WAs)

For my final project in Engineering 57 (Operations Research), I implemented a linear programming formulation that optimizes the scheduling of Writing Associates in the Swarthmore Writing Center.  My final report [download .pdf] was due today, and it’s a big relief to have it done.  This was a fun project, and I especially enjoyed working with AMPL.  Next semester, I’ll be doing more operations research work in Engineering 66 (Environmental Systems).