Well our conversational session has officially ended, and we brought out quite a story of multitasking and managing (or learning to un-manage) our multimembership in social networks. I wish I'd found more time particularly for the business of summarizing themes gathered from all three sources, our VoiceThread, discussions, and the survey. I will try to sum up a bit here, but feel free anyone to gather, refine and extract even further and post onto the wiki.
The survey was not structured to collect the management tips and techniques, but rather some contextual information that might enlighten what we learned here in the seminar. We used some information in the threads, but the open-ended replies generated enough for another discussion we might have fun with. It got to be too much to either summarize or post on the wiki.
You might find it interesting that almost 70 people completed the survey, and Sylvia noticed an even higher number regularly popping in reading all over the discussion areas.
Those who told their stories in the VoiceThread echoed all in one place what we were saying throughout the threads:
Lots of lurking and scanning is one of the most often mentioned strategies for managing our multimembership in social networks. We require alert systems to notify us that something might be relevant if we are to even click into a networked discussion area, event, or community.
Alerting tools like RSS, Google keywords, email subscription are widely employed.
Aggregation tools include the email digests and RSS feedlists, but many of us have discovered Netvibes, Pageflakes, Protopage or a personalized search homepage like Google's where most of our community action can quickly be surveyed. Keeping two browser windows open with at least two or three tabs open to each community and switching back and forth throughout the day was another technique.
I found it interesting how often people mentioned various listing, sorting, and foldering organization strategies, and how often in the same breath they mentioned most that gets sorted away, gets left behind.
AND LEAVING BEHIND IS OK! We miss our online social connections when face to face pressures take priority, but attend to those things that dovetail well with "whatever we are working on in life" as many put it. We tend to experience our peripheral and sporadic online social immersion throughout our work days as much enervating as overwhelming, although sometimes too stimulating and distracting.
I believe it was Julia's "act schedule or let go" that captured the current strategies many are using.
There was a definite evolutionary quality to our attitudes, strategies, techniques and tool adoption. We start out excited, breathless, and swamped. Then we try to get organized. We start to realize there's way too much coming in and cut back. We switch to an integrative approach where we hone in on whatever catches our attention that relates to wahtever we are working on. The most managed state is one where we have found a few tools and cues to keep the most important things in view, while letting much more swirl around. Without worrying too much, we let go of the belief management is even realistic, and instead realize what is most important will always be with us as we need it.
Last, but certainly not least in our learning were the points Nik started a topic on - that many of us blog or write to make sense of all that we are taking in online. Others of us appreciate and subscribe to those who are doing that.
In case you missed the annotations of various threads, here are some quick links to what we captured with the Marginalia plug-in (built here into SCoPE).