Friday, August 28, 2009

Keeping Up

I've now completed my first full week of fall semester (the week before when classes actually started was only a partial week)—only 14 to go. Apparently a semester is 16 weeks long; whadya know. I think it's safe to say I'm drowning. Well, ok, technically I'm not behind on anything (yet) but I find it easier to just feel like I'm drowning all the time. That way when I really am (which I think is going to be pretty often this semester, anyway) I'm already in the right "mode" for working on stuff. If that makes any sense.

Actually, I am drowning in one place: Blogging. In my last post I mentioned that I have several blogs I have to post to this semester, and by "have to" I mean I'm getting graded on it, both quality and quantity. One of those blogs is for the "Social Media and Public Relations" class I mentioned. I've now taught myself about RSS (ok, I knew what it was, I just didn't bother to use it until now) and that's helping a little, but keeping up with everyone's posts in addition to having to do my own is already getting WAY out of hand. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about here: The way this particular blog forum works is the instructor makes initial posts and then it's our job to post comments, both to his posts directly and to comments other students have made. So you end up with multiple "threads" (multi-level comments) within a single original post by the instructor. It makes it hard to follow, particularly since the RSS feeds only include the title of the original post by the instructor so without going to the blog to see the context you don't know if a particular student's post is replying to the original post or someone else's post. (If that all sounds confusing, you're right—welcome to my world.)

On top of the less-than-usable interface the quantity of posts is pretty astounding. As of this particular moment (and it'll probably change by the time I actually publish this post), in the four original posts that the instructor has put up for this week there are a total of 131 comments. I should mention that according to the course enrollment—which I just checked—there are a total of 12 people enrolled in this class. Yes, 12. And 131 comments (and rising) in less than a week. Maybe the other people in the class are only taking this one class so can focus on it wholeheartedly, but with three classes I can't. It's my nature to want to keep up with everything for my classes but I know if I don't start ignoring some of the posts soon I'm going to go crazy. I know I need to just do my posts, comment on a few other peoples', then turn it off until the next week's assignment. It's just hard when I can't get all the reading and listening to the lectures (two per week each over an hour long) done immediately so I see the RSS folders fill with posts from people who apparently have. (Either that or they're posting to the blog before they do the required reading and watch the lectures, which could be happening, I don't know.)

So, after all this I have a question for y'all (if you knew me in person you'd know I could never pull off that word in speaking): How do you keep up with the social media world? I've only talked about blogging here (and one blog in particular) but there's the whole Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else world out there, too. Everyone says how time consuming it is yet they continue to do it; since there's only so much time in the day that means other things have to suffer, right? How do you manage it all? And not just with friends: My class is on how organizations use social media to reach their publics, so that means their publics—that's you and me—have to be spending time with those social media tools in order to see the organizations' messages. I don't know how anyone has time for it all and can still be a student, an employee, a wife, a husband, a person who has a relationship with anything other than their computer all day long...

* * * *

As I've been writing this I've been monitoring the RSS feed and going back and forth to the blog I mentioned; one person has now posted 12 comments in the past hour. His most recent post is responding to someone who speculated that too much from an organization—too many tweets, Facebook updates, whatever—may be too much for some people. The prolific commenter agreed and asked when do you say, "Enough is enough." I am SOOOOOOOOO tempted to reply to his post and say, "12 comments in an hour—enough is enough!!!!!" But I'm restraining myself and won't. :-)


  1. Don't even try to understand how others do it. That only gets you bogged down. I'm on Facebook only because a family member asked me on. I only visit when they alert me that someone has made contact. I do not enjoy social websites. I know Twitter has interfered with a lot of personal relationships, and I can understand why. I do make comments on blogs when I find one interesting enough.

    Do you have to make your blog posts daily or weekly, or what is the time frame? I'm a procrastinator myself, I will admit, but I don't find posting comments all that difficult. That's probably because I'm also very opinionated. At least that increases the quality of my post, even if not everyone agrees with me. It's better than the low quality "that's nice", "I like that post", "oh, I agree".

    Good luck with school.

  2. Hi Yank!

    I've had a few people invite me to join Facebook and I've always declined. I've also had notices about organizations I belong to having Facebook pages—like my department at school—and I still don't join.

    For this particular class we have to make several posts on a weekly basis. (Not 131, though!) We're supposed to incorporate what we've learned from the lectures and readings into our posts, of course. So to me it's more than just giving my opinion; I try to think things out first and write an intelligent and thoughtful answer to whatever question I'm answering. If you're responding to another student's post a simple "I agree" doesn't cut it—you have to elaborate.

  3. I'm glad you didn't tell the guy what you were thinking :) Be careful! You're going to drive yourself crazy! I know you like to be on top of everything, and I definitely understand that. You don't have to read and respond to each post. You don't don't don't! I really and truly believe that reading through at least the main topics and putting your input in on a couple topics is plenty. If you try to read each post (especially by the amazing 12-an-hour poster) you are going to overwhelm yourself this semester with a part of the classes that isn't of the highest value or importance.

    That being said-- I think that RSS feeds are the best way to keep track of a forum, so that's awesome that you're on top of that :)

  4. i have my blog and about 20 blogs i follow and i do FB. i probably spend way too much time with it all, but i have to have something to do at work! ;) j/k of course. i play on the laptop a lot if i am watching tv

  5. This is fascinating but I am completely overwhelmed reading what all you have to keep up with for that one class.

    Congrats on spelling "y'all" correctly...I really appreciate that!

    As for all the social may have been able to figure this out by reading my blog but I go for periods of time that I don't keep up. I also have some of the women's ministry I work with at church but those don't get the traffic I would like to keep them fresh. I do A LOT of facebook for the women's ministry and keeping up with people in family, school days gone by and current friends but now I just check it about like I do email. Twitter I dabble in but don't really get yet...that is too much time for me to use.

    Have fun!

  6. I just read this post.

    Now I want to go back to bed.

    Sheesh girl - do you ever sleep with all of that to keep up with?


Thank you for your comments!