Syracuse University Magazine


Topic: I'm Overwhelmed by Instant Communication vs. I'm Lovin' the Tweet Life

Answer that cell phone! Reply to that text message! Does your Facebook page need updating? Did you Twitter your "friends" about today's lunch options? Where do you stand on all of this activity? Are you distracted by information overload? Or, do you value having so many opportunities to keep in touch with people? 

Let us—and Orange alumni around the world—know your thoughts on the topic in 300 words. 

Send your comments to

Readers respond:

The dependence (or rather addiction) of a large segment of the populace to cell phones, texting, Twitter, etc., with their instantaneous and continuous flow of "information" has resulted in far too much time being spent on digging through the digital drek and far too little being spent on rationally evaluating and responding to what is important. Gertrude Stein was more than a little prophetic when she said in the 1930s, "Everyone gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."

—Michael J. Nighan '73 (Newhouse)

• • •

I sleep; I eat;

but I do not Tweet.

                                 —David Wildnauer '76 (Architecture)



Constant connectedness is a double-edged sword. Too much info all the time...sometimes you just need to set the Blackberry aside and ignore it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        —Paul Jamelske '91 (Education)



When I attended Syracuse in the late 1970s students did not have any social networking (SN) venues, cell phones, or computers. Every class paper was typed on a portable electric typewriter,
and mistakes were corrected with messy Liquid Paper/White-Out. Non-verbal communication between me and my roommates existed only through a message exchange on a dormitory white board or by leaving handwritten notes on our bed pillows between classes.

Twenty-nine years later, social networking, for me, has not only been an entirely new way to communicate, but meant that I had to learn an entirely new abbreviated language. Trial and error for Generation Jones has really been the only way to master social networking. And, it can be a task unto itself to find the right SN venue(s) which specifically meets our personal and professional needs.

Interestingly, my own virtual assistance business, Your Virtual Wizard, could not survive without tweets, blogging, instant messaging, LinkedIn, and a Facebook Fan page. My company helps small business owners achieve recognition on the Internet through e-mail marketing, blogging, article marketing, and social networking. One of the most asked for services I provide is to help small businesses build relationships through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Participation in social networking can be overwhelming and must be time-managed the same as any other type of marketing venue. Allowing for a specified time each day to update my statuses, reply to DMs (direct messages), and create blog posts is key to managing the "overwhelm." But always the cell phone is answered first and text messages are returned within the hour. While my Fan Page is directed toward my business, my personal profile is specific to friends and acquaintances; keeping both separate also helps me manage the information I provide to two specific audiences. I also believe in making time to "clean house" and remove Twitter followers who offer little to the conversation as well as those Facebook fans whose participation is not viable to the community I have created. This helps to make social networking much more manageable.

I'm lovin' the Tweet Life!


—Janine Wertalik Gregor '81 (College for Human Development)

Ellenton, Florida