The great thing about social media is that it allows you to connect with so many people in so many different ways almost all the time. The bad thing about social media is that it allows you to connect with so many people in so many different ways almost all the time.
When I was in grade school at St. Stephen’s on West 54th Street, one of my best buddies was Mike Kichak. Mike was unquestionably the smartest boy and perhaps the smartest student overall in my class. And I was (believe it or not) considered the next smartest boy in my class. But Mike and I were as different as night and day.
Mike was blond haired, blue eyed; I was brown haired, hazel eyed. Mike was medium height, medium frame, I was short and slender. Mike was quiet and controlled; I was loud and out of control. Mike was almost always serious; I was almost always laughing. Mike was an only child; I was one of eight. Mike had a million personal possessions; I had whatever fit into my pockets.
In the classroom, Mike had separate pouches for his seemingly endless supply of pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners and erasures. I know because I had to borrow a new pencil from Mike almost every day… and he always gave me one. And at home, Mike had baseball cards and football cards, baseballs and footballs, ten pairs of tennis shoes, magazines and books and toys and games and stuff galore. He had everything.
In truth, he had too much.
There just wasn’t enough time in the day to use all that stuff, yet alone enjoy it. Even if you jumped around like a Tasmanian Devil from thing to thing, you couldn’t use it all. And even if you did, the quality of time would make it pointless.
Mike’s mom and dad were beautiful, wonderful people; I loved them. And they loved their son, so you couldn’t blame them for showering him with all the stuff. And Mike was a good guy who shared almost all of his stuff almost all the time (as much as you could expect an only child to share his stuff with the local rugrats).
But it used to make me nuts that he didn’t at least TRY to play with all that stuff all the time. I mean for a kid looking into the toy store from the outside, I just didn’t get it. So I would hound him: “Hey Mike, let’s get out your erector set and build something.” or “Hey Mikey, let’s get out your chemistry set and make some slimy, stinky goo.” But Mike would just say no. Even when his parents prodded him, he inevitably hung his head and moaned.
And finally, thirtysomething years later, I get it.
Social media is to me what all Mike’s stuff was to him. I love my blog and I love my Facebook account and I love my LinkedIn account and I love YouTube and I love Twitter and I love the Steelheadsite message board and I love my fantasy football message board and I love all my online marketing groups and social media groups and my news alerts and RSS feeds and on and on and on.
But holy crap; suddenly I have to much stuff.
Apparently I have been oblivious to the fact that I have been stockpiling. And suddenly I am overwhelmed by all the stuff, all the choices, all the options. It’s just too much. So I am making an early New Year’s resolution: I am making some hard choices to spend more quality time with less stuff. Wish me luck.