TMI! Does Social Media Give us TOO Much Information?

By Allie Herzog A long time ago, before television existed and way before Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, our nation elected Franklin D. Roosevelt as president...and never knew that he was in a wheelchair.  Fast forward to present day where we know everything about our nation's political figures from where they shop to where they eat to their, ahem, weiner size...

In the latest bout of alleged privacy violation through social media, Congressman Anthony Weiner's twitter account sent a photo from the waist down of his male parts to a 21 year-old female twitter follower.  According to Weiner, his account was hacked, but the owner of the photographed "goods" has yet to be identified.

After hearing about this scandal, I got to thinking...do we sometimes get too much information from spending all day on social networks?  Here I'll give you three recent examples from my life and I'll let my readers decide!

Example 1:

The world is ending!

Anyone that knows me well knows that I'm a little bit of a nervous flier. Add into the mix the threat of a "rapture" and you've got one freaked out passenger.  As my colleague Amy Kattan illustrated in her recent blog there were A LOT of tweets going around about the rapture/apocalypse/end of the world. Funny thing was, when I called my mom (a non-social media user) and my boyfriend (a social media "minimalist") freaking out about flying across country when the world was about to end, they laughed and had barely heard of this rapture thing.  On twitter, it was the hottest topic around, but in "the real world" it just barely made the evening news!

Example 2:

Travel delays

Over Memorial Day weekend, my flight from JFK was delayed about an hour due to severe weather.  I started getting antsy in the airport and decided to check twitter to see if anyone else was facing delays.  I immediately found several tweeters facing the same fate - some were even stuck on the tarmac for hours or camped out waiting for a flight.  As the minutes ticked by I began to spread the word to my fellow travelers that we were in for long delays and may not even fly out at all.  Fortunately though, our flight was only about an hour delayed, prompting several people to ask me "where did you get this information from?"  My answer of "...uhh twitter?" suddenly didn't seem so reliable...

Example 3:

Auntie Em, Auntie Em a tornado is coming!

Just the other day, I "caught wind" (get it?) of a Tornado warning for the NYC area through twitter.  By now you are probably sensing a trend here...I spread rumors based on tweets I read, yes it's true.  Anyway, I told my whole office that we should probably leave early and take cover because a storm was approaching.  I also *may* have texted my teacher friend who was on a field trip with her class to NYC that they were in grave danger.  Alas, the tornado never came and we all lived to tell the tale.

So am I the only one or do all of us social media geeks sometimes get too much of our information from unconfirmed sources on Twitter or Facebook?

Do you sometimes feel like spending all day on social media sites gives you information overload?  Share your thoughts here!