Social networking overload

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Like a lot of people I know, I maintain an increasingly sprawling presence online. Over the years I’ve owned and discarded numerous e-mail addresses; I now have one for personal mail, another for work. I’ve got a personal web site. There’s my blog on my employer’s site, and my poorly frequented blog on my own. People can connect to me on LinkedIn, and now on There are profiles of me on sites belonging to me, my employer, my book publisher, my agent, and a reporting fellowship I did in 2000. If you Google my full name, you get 47,000 results.

So when two people asked me recently if I had a Facebook page, I felt exhausted. You all know Facebook; if you’re born after 1980, you’re either on it or you’re a recluse. The first person to ask me was my intern friend Melissa Kong, so I pshaw-pshawed it as something no grown-up would consider. But then George Lenard, an employment lawyer I frequently contact about stories, asked me the same question. “I thought it was for kids, too, but a couple of my business contacts have asked me recently,” he said.

I’m going to check it out over the next few weeks, if only because my paperback is coming out and I’m looking for more ways to spread my name like butter. But let me know what your experiences are.

P.S. Oh, and check this out: I just got a release titled, “Social networking sites increase divorce rate”! It’s from a divorce lawyer who claims that more and more of her cases pivot on evidence culled from straying spouses’ accounts on Myspace and others in which he (typically he) claims to be single and lookin’. I don’t worry that going on Facebook will lure me into adultery; I worry it’ll lure me into wasting even more of my already inordinately waste-filled days.