TMI (too much information) is the risk of all this technology, I suppose. Where are the boundaries? In today's Washington Post, there's an article, Friends Indeed, about the backlash of putting too much of your life out there for the world to see. The particular tools in question are Facebook and MySpace - what I don't get is how you can have 3,000 "friends," as does one person they profiled. I have a hard enough time staying authentically connected to a small handful of friends in my life.
As I embark on this experiment into Web 2.0, I am already uneasy about boundaries. This exact topic came up recently in a project I'm involved in with a small group of women. Most of us know each other only through a few conference calls, although my best friend and a client are also in this group. The goal of the project is to publish a book in which 100 women tell their personal story of overcoming adversity. To experience this for ourselves before we asked others to contribute, we decided to tell our own stories to each other. Powerful, intimate stuff emerged. A little bit of chaos ensued.
I suspect it was TMI for some, who bowed out. For those of us left standing, we're trying to figure it out. Using Tuckman's stages of group development, it feels like we zoomed from forming to storming and are now struggling to norm. For me, it's stirred up questions around trust, premature intimacy and vulnerability. How do we make it safe for women around the world to share their stories, when those of us leading this project are confronted by the dynamics this exercise has stirred up?
And yet this is exactly why I'm engaged in this experiment. Because I want to know, firsthand, what these tools are capable of (for better or worse)...to become an informed and experienced user of them, as I wade into recommending them for clients and using them in my own work.
At last week's Social Media Conference, I met a woman from the State Department who introduced me to the term "digital immigrant." Kids who grew up with this stuff are digital natives; the rest of us are immigrants. I'm simultaneously fascinated by and respectful of the power of this new world I've entered.
My current stance is that, as with any form of communication (written or spoken), responsible and conscious use of a medium lies at the heart of the response my "content" creates. I remind myself to be mindful of what shows up here and what my motivations might be for sharing something. And that not everything needs to be shared - at least not here.