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I’m So LinkedIn, I’m All a-Twitter
Help, I think I need a twelve step program, and I need it quick! I’ve been nonchalantly surfing the web since before it had pictures, so I’m no novice when it comes to both its foibles and wonders. As a breast cancer survivor, I’ve found my online connections to be informative, educational, inspirational, and sometimes just plain fun.
Until recently I was able to simply go online, Google to my heart’s content, read a few emails, and then sign off. It was a good, if not all that inspiring life. I still had time to walk the dog, feed the birds, pay my bills, practice good hygiene – and even get to work. I had friends who would actually call me on the phone to talk, or (you may find this hard to believe) meet me in person to have lunch and a glass of wine.
It all began so innocently. I was notified that a respected colleague wanted me to get LinkedIn. I am nothing, if not an opportunist, so my sneaky little brain thought, aha, I can get LinkedIn and then all kinds of important people will know who I am and I’ll get lots more writing assignments – and I’ll be important and cool like my respected colleague. I didn’t even hesitate as I clicked the button creating my membership in this prestigious group.
Since the whole concept for the site is linking with other like-minded individuals, I quickly began attempting to link to anyone I knew who was or should be linked in too. After all, if over 35 million professionals utilize the service to stay connected, who am I to question its abilities? I was also driven by the little icon indicating how many connections I have. I didn’t want to be found connection-lacking. It sort of felt like when I tried to earn my Girl Scout badges. I didn’t really care what they were for. Of course, I was interested in Family Living Skills but what I really relished was having so many badges on my sash that I walked with a limp. Now that I think of it, this may explain my frequent trips these days to the chiropractor. I should have been given a badge for Hurting Myself to Get a Badge.
Once I got the hang of LinkedIn, it wasn’t long before someone sent me an invite to MySpace. MySpace is a cooler version of Linkedin. MySpace is where people can post all of their hip new videos and songs and talk about themselves incessantly. I’m pretty sure this is okay, since it is, after all, called MySpace. I haven’t devoted much time to MySpace because, and I know this will come as a shock; I’m not all that young and cool. I do have one friend, but I have no idea who he is or why he keeps sending me his latest videos.
Then my oldest son began sending me links to videos on YouTube. I actually like YouTube because I can watch everything from Looney Tunes to Cute Pet Tricks in less time than it takes to shower. Unfortunately, sometimes I don’t have time for a shower because I’m too busy watching a hamster dance and/or play the piano (talk about talent!). Before you start thinking I’m shallow, I have also listened to Mozart and Beethoven (again, that hamster is so talented.)
I was actually able to put down the mouse and walk away from the computer (did someone tell me to do that, or is it just a voice in my head?) until someone introduced me to Facebook. For some reason Facebook is my drug, errr, I mean, social network of choice. One time I got so excited about getting back online that I mistakenly typed in MyFace.com and believe it or not – there is a site for that too!
Anyway, on Facebook I can tell everyone stuff that even bores me. I can poke people (although I’m not quite sure what that entails). I can create Flair. I can upload stuff from other sites (like YouTube and MySpace) which means I get to go to those sites to find stuff to share. I can even create online graffiti. I can share pictures, I can comment on other people’s albums. I can connect with old friends (even old friends I can’t remember). It appears there is pretty much nothing I can’t do. Well, except stay off of Facebook!
At just about the time I thought I might be able to wean myself away from my Facebook addiction, I heard a news report extolling the virtues of Twitter. It appears that all Twitter does is allow (and I’m using their words) friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?
Has anyone else noticed that if everyone were to answer that question honestly, we’d all have the same response? I’m answering the question, what are you doing? I’m pretty sure that would put an end to our obsession with wanting and/or needing to know the minutiae of other people’s lives. Maybe then we could get on to the important stuff, like finding a cure for breast cancer. And that really would have me all a-Twitter!