Social media users grapple with information overload

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

USA Today, 2/2/11

SAN FRANCISCO — Jose Huitron had just hit the digital wall.

Toggling between Facebook, Google, Twitter and a handful of other online communities, he found it hard to keep up with a constant barrage of tweets, texts and instant messages.

“There are so many things coming at you,” says Huitron, 29, owner of HUB 81, a social-media consultancy in Santa Maria, Calif. “I just keep a few open all the time now.” He also uses a variety of third-party software to sort it all out.

A crush of popular social-media toys — Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Yelp, social games, Skype, YouTube and Quora, to name a few — has opened the lines of communication between millions of people as never before.

But the glut of tools and their features — chat, messages, instant messages, texting and tweets — has led to multiple conversations that can be head-spinning. That has not gone unnoticed by companies such as Facebook and Google, which are looking for ways to streamline their users’ online experience with features such as Facebook Messages and Google Buzz, respectively.

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