I had the great fortune to participate on a panel about social media, put on by the German American Business Association (GABA), Women in Business Interest Group - we talked about how women in particular relate to social media... and the complexities of having a "conversation" with what seems like the whole world. It made me think of this:
But really, it's not that bad. It's just a bit overwhelming. On the one hand, it can seem like you're talking to everyone at once, and on the other it can seem like nobody is listening. Like standing by the punch bowl at a party. This is because of all the filters you have in between, kind of like this:
Anyway, I suppose in a year we will have a newfangled thing and a new discussion, but it will still be all about people trying to sort each other out.
My recommendation: Use searches and keywords whenever you can. On Twitter, I spend my time searching for terms I am interested in, like stuff on creativity and innovation and design and education issues. That's how you uncover all the cool people. And then when you post things, make sure you use your favorite words yourself, so people can find you. Like fireflies in the night. Or something.
It's a huge world of fabulous, creative ideas out there... there is an enormous artist community on Flickr, for example. There are art teachers with wonderful sites full of project ideas. There are groups of people who draw in Moleskine notebooks. There are people who paint murals and illustrate books and do art you've never heard of. That's what I love about social media. Or whatever we'll be calling it next year.