I haven't been posting much for a few weeks. Our daughter, Kelly, graduates from high school next week and as many of you have experienced yourselves, a tropical storm of senior activities has slammed our coast. Kelly has also still been deep in golf tournaments even though she already has her scholarship. She's only going to have about seven weeks of break before reporting to Portland State this summer and her first college tournament, so she needs to stay tournament tough! And finally, I've had a busier than usual travel schedule this year. I'm tired!

But it's a good tired, right? So I'm not complaining. But during this whole thing I've taken a "Mother, may I take a short step back?" attitude. Like many of us I've fallen into the trap of getting up in the morning and charging forward to check stuff off my To-Do list.

I've stepped back from the constant pressure to deliver clever and compelling blog posts. I've stepped back from the Tweet flow, striving to get those all-important RT's…from swapping witty repartees with my Facebook pals…from agonizing over requests to connect on LinkedIn (This has always been confusing to me. Do I accept all Facebook requests because they want to be my "friend," yet carefully choose only people I want to "connect" with?)…from paying attention to all the new, "this is going to be the next Facebook" Empire Avenues, Referral Keys…from wondering if I should jump onto the new dotcom mania bandwagon and buy LNKD…and even from those "OMG, you've GOT to watch this LOL Cat video!" email blasts.

In other words I've stepped back from being completely assimilated into The Borg called social media for a bit to catch my breath and simply observe for a while. 

And you know what? I don't miss it. In fact, the stress I do feel by NOT participating in social media is noticeably less than the stress I felt when I WAS participating. It's probably akin to the withdrawals addicts feel when pulling back from substance abuse. I would even bet it's exactly like that. 

Don't get me wrong, though. I think social media is powerful and can play an important role in all our lives and, yes, even for businesses.

But we need to learn how to keep this in perspective and we need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of social media. Despite what the SM pundits say, social media and social media marketing are not the be-all, end-all communication tools they're making them out to be.

First, for people, let's understand some simple stuff. I don't care what you ate for breakfast this morning. I don't care that you're picking up your cleaning. And I will immediately unfollow you when you DM me with this message: "It pays you to refer people to this social network http://tiny.ly/uranidiot."

Second, for businesses. What is wrong with you? Do you own a hammer and see every new communication tool as a nail? Social media is NOT a broadcast advertising medium. It's social, which means building relationships, not transactions. Duh.

I'll be reactivating into social media, although it's a lot like trying to get on a moving merry-go-round. I'm going to try to keep it in balance this time, though. I don't want to get stressed out again keeping up, following, and connecting. And I'm sure many of you have found ways to handle this Frankenstein monster, so I'd be interested in hearing what you've done. Do me a favor and fill out a Comment below. And what other thoughts do you have about social media – both the good stuff and bad stuff? I'm interested.

BTW, my next post is going to be about a new ebook/manifesto I'm putting together. It's tentatively titled, The OLD Rules of Marketing: 13 Strategies You Still Need To Pay Attention To. It's going to start off as a follow-up to my last rant on Banner Bank and why I stand by what I wrote.