If I get an invite to be on one more social network, I'm gonna shoot myself in the throat (no offense to anyone who has actually killed themselves). It's like every other week, I get an email telling me that someone I don't know has added me as a friend on a website I've never visited or heard of. "Pepe Jablonksi has added you as a friend on PetPals.com" Then you open it, and it tells you all the great things you can do to share stories and adventures about your pet(s) and upload videos or win free fish food for a year. Sorry, Pepe, I don't have a pet. And if I did, I wouldn't share its life's hilarious outtakes with you. "Reminder: Sarah has sent you an invite to join 1950sMovies.com." Sarah, sweetie, technically I don't need a reminder if I'm actually ignoring you.
I mean, I can facebook and myspace and twitter and linked-in with the best of em, but I've gotta draw the line somewhere! It's bad enough I already spend half my work days on facebook quizzes, gmail, photo uploads, status updates and scrabble, (now known as Lexulous... can somebody please tell me what the hell a Lexulous is?). It's almost like if you don't have ADD, you won't survive the age of social media and technological friendship. You've gotta check your work email, your personal email, your text messages, your AIM, your Gchat, IChat, facebook IM, IM on your phone, check your facebook messages, Myspace messages, check the other email you cheat on your husband with, Skype, view your friend's status on facebook, your friend's status on myspace, then twitter, watch a couple YouTubes (or 20), blog about it all, and then oh, and FINISH THAT G.D. REPORT!
And those are just the ones that are always in your face, don't even get me started on Imeem, Classmates, Digg, Flickr, Going, Black Planet, Tribe, Friendster - Friendster is like the one high school friend you used to hang out with, and you've grown up to be two entirely different people, and every time they call you, it's just awkward... like you kinda have to hang out with them, even though you tell all your other friends how much you don't like them. And even though you've changed your number and email address 20 times, you forget when and why you gave them your new information in the first place. "Ugh! Friendster emailed me again! wtf?! I guess I should go check on him." But you get my point, the list goes on an on. And if you're into video games or dating, forget about it!
If we go back 10 years ago, a lot of people were of the mindset that says: "I don't want people having too much access to me." And some people continue to be that way. These are the people that still "let the machine get it." They have an email address and a cell phone number, and it's "hey, if you can't get me there, then In-Word, you'll just have to wait!" You send them a text message, and they're like "oh, I was wondering why that envelope was on my phone." That same 10 years ago, when surfing the internet was boring if you weren't a federal agent, flirting in a chat room, or just a plain old nerd, the ADD epidemic was in full effect. And we thought, "oh poor kids, they can't even concentrate." "Johnny's failing math, because he gets up and chases birds down the hallway." Now these kids have all grown up and kicked us in the ass with all this social hoo-ha.
Lastly, would somebody tell these corporations they don't all need to have social networks on their websites or be part of one?! I don't need to share stories with other people who use Tide. "Hey, man, I had the exact same stain! Relish, right?" Ajax is not a 26-year-old female from Portland who's interested in men and is here for friendship, networking, and dating. The Cheerios' Bee does not need a fully blown out myspace page built in Flash with a music player and a cereal recipe widget. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for good branding, but it's gotta at least make sense for your product.
At the end, in all honesty (aside from the obsolete corporation presence), I do think there's an advantage and a point to all this. It really is about connection. Being in touch with people. It truly reinforces the human experience of getting to know new people, and getting to know the ones you do know, a little bit better. It makes it easier for us to let someone know that we're thinking about them, or let them know that we're paying attention. It's great for being exposed to new ideas and interests and new things to learn from one another. And life is all about how we experience and relate to one another. Do I really need use every single one of the technological methods available to accomplish this? No. But find whatever speaks to you best, whether it be online, mobile, or in person. However, if you've got a stalker or a crazy ex-girlfriend, you might wanna keep it on the low!
until next time, my In-Words, Peace Fish Grease (reused to fry chicken)