I've been online for a long time, not as long as some, but still a long time. I remember when AOL was the place to be, I ventured into my first chat room. It didn't take me long to realize that this world was not for me. The chaos of dozens of people trying to talk over each other just made my head hurt. So I used the Internet for other things, knowledge and entertainment and I was happy.
Cut to more than a decade later and I run across Etsy and soon after the forums. I liked the structure and more importantly I had something fundamental in common with the users. I was quickly addicted to this newly discovered social club. Then it started, the many suggestions for networking and advertising. I started with a MySpace page and it was fun for a while, then there was Indiepublic, then Street Team forums, Flickr and the sites just kept coming. In the last week alone I've received half a dozen invitations to join various social networking sites.
Enough already! If I wanted to be this social I would actually leave my house. What's worse is most of these sites are set up just for you to pimp your wares and that gets old real fast. I mean, would you go out to dinner and then visit every table in the restaurant doing product demonstrations and handing out business cards? If you said yes to that question, I think you may have a problem. I know that exposure is the key to getting your name well known and that's the basis for most advertising, but this is getting seriously ridiculous.
I'm very picky about who I hang out with and who I call friends in real life, so why wouldn't I carry that over into the online world. Why should I join dozens of sites and spend my precious time talking to random people just to make a sale when I could spend that time with, Oh, I don't know...my kids. I've found some wonderful people on etsy and in a few other choice places and I think that I would actually spend time with them if they lived near me and I've learned things from people I never would have met otherwise. All social networking isn't a bad thing, but I think we are encouraging each other to do far too much of it for all the wrong reasons.
I think that I have reached my limit for online socializing for now. Maybe in the future I'll find a group or two that fulfill a special need or niche, but until then I'm done. So, if you wouldn't mind, no more "you should join us here" or "this is a great place to...", I'm just not that social.