Social Networks Are Stressful, New York Times Reports

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A casualty. Photo: iStockphoto

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Google+, Formspring.me, TooManyEmailNotifications.us — it's getting out of hand, that much we can agree upon. Those who feel compelled to enlist themselves in every new .fm and .ly get called the "digitally fatigued" in today's New York Times. And if the constantly pinging inbox wasn't punishment enough, now there are websites whose sole purpose is to rank how influential you are on the Internet. With all that pressure, "automation and syndication" are becoming the only options for survival for those feeling forced to keep up appearances (thereby giving the machines endless opportunities to take over). Is there any hope?

Jessica Lawrence, who works for NY Tech Meetup, tempered her load by picking a favorite, Twitter, because it found her a job, an apartment, and a boyfriend. Now she gets to move to Williamsburg with her man: "So you can see why I have this undying love for Twitter," she explains, and the other networks fall by the wayside.

Sites like Klout and PeerIndex, however, spell doom by "busily computing users’ influence scores to rank them in an online hierarchy." And when our dystopia is complete, "brands and even potential employers could conceivably make decisions about you based on your score." On that note, let us pray.

One of the busy Internet bees quoted in the article has dreams of shedding his e-shackles: "Some day, he hopes to hire someone to edit and post content for him so he can spend more time offline."

Or, you know, just sign off. Better yet: Never sign up.

For the Plugged-In, Too Many Choices [NYT]