Greenville, NC – In a moment of weakness, it happened. I joined an Internet social network. Now you'd think normal people would never ever of their own free will, spend time socializing by computer. But actually, it's a lot of fun. And addictive.
Sure, it started innocently enough. "I need to keep up with the young people," I reasoned. Faster than you could say "instant message" I had an online profile and plenty of virtual friends some real-world pals along with other people who just showed up. In true Southern tradition, we are a talkative group that's always cooking up gossipy stories and exaggerated tales to share with everyone.
Now I know where these online friends went to school, where they live, what they read and what they ate for breakfast favorite TV shows, movies, quotes, hobbies, sports teams cats' names, kids' names, birds' names, husbands' names, boss's names, in-laws names and birthdays.
They share riveting information about their lunch plans, dinner plans, weekend plans and what they're doing RIGHT NOW.
I post some pretty earth-shattering updates, as well, such as Marion is sitting at her desk Marion is drinking coffee again Marion is pulling her hair out trying to make an article on the health benefits of cranberry juice sound remotely interesting but is not having much success and thinks a sandwich might help. You get the picture.
You'll hear everything if you hang around long enough. For instance, one friend posts, "Jay is contemplating the universe. This could take a while." And, "William is off to help the sick, helpless and needy." Then again, I know William, and he probably is.
Of course, sharing too much personal information is always an occupational hazard for writers. We're always ready to spill our secrets, first in line for the confessional. And online, there's virtually always someone ready to listen.
So these days, you'll often find me at my desk, carrying on a conversation with 50 of my closest friends spread around the country. I find it reassuring to know that even with advanced technology, we're still goofing off at work, talking about ourselves too much and gossiping about everyone else. Instead of making spread sheets, reports and PowerPoint presentations, we're using technology for something that really matters small talk with friends. I can't think of a better use for a computer.