As far as timesucks go, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are probably the top three substitutions for spending time with actual humans. It's almost as if those websites are your best friends, there for you whenever you want, even after midnight, when it's generally frowned upon to phone your human friends.
So imagine if the Techies That Be who update technology faster than you can say "iPad 4" eventually found a way to make social media sites BECOME human. Would they remain your ideal companions.......or would spending merely one lunch hour with their human incarnations make you want to throw yourself in front of a bus, preferably one with no brakes?
Here's how it would probably go down:
You've just spent the morning squabbling with your boss (let's call him Mr. Worddoc) over his unwillingness to accept the fact that "google" is a real word and can be used as a verb, even if his insipid twit of a secretary, Ms. Spellgrammacheck keeps flagging it. And that sentence fragment? It's called creative license! Needless to say, you're not exactly in a great mood.
"Lunchtime!" Twitter chirps brightly in front of your desk, offering you your handbag so you two can begin walking to a nearby restaurant. "So, I just heard your friend Becca got ANOTHER paper cut 5 seconds ago, Maureen still can't figure out why her checkbook won't balance, and Suzanne's currently debating whether to pack her wrap dress or the floral skirt for her trip to Maui!"
You put your hand up to halt her. "Listen, I really don't need the play-by-play of what other friends are doing at this very second, okay?"
"How about some news then? Gas prices are skyrocketing, none of the people running for president are qualified for the job, a tornado just leveled a trailer park in Oklahoma, and the beef you cooked for dinner last night may or may not have been tainted with E.Coli."
"Twitter, please. Enough about the nation's problems," you say, skimming a text message from Facebook saying she's running a little late due to working out some new kinks.
"Entertainment update," Twitter says, unfaltering. "Will Ferrell returns to host this week's Saturday Night Live...and get this, they suspect Kate Middleton might be preggers! Another heir to the throne...couldn't you just die? Do you think it'll be a boy or a girl? I'll submit your vote to the #RoyalBunInTheOven hashtag."
You try to feign interest while opening the door to the restaurant. "Yeah, that's really...something."
Twitter grows impatient. "C'mon, vote! Boy or girl for Kate & Wills? Hurry up....54,023 people just tweeted theirs already. No, make that 54,146. Now it's 55,218. C'mon, you've gotta get in on this!"
"Look, I don't want to ruffle your feathers or anything, but---"
"Another bird reference? Really?" Twitter huffs.
Pinterest waves frantically across the room. "Yooohooo! I got us a table over here. Wait till you see what's on the menu. Not only that, but LOOK at the menu itself. It's hand-lettered in olde world calligraphy! And did you check out the window treatments in this place? They'd be fab in your dining room. I'll add it to your pinboard."
After you exchange an air kiss, Pinterest holds up the centerpiece. "See this? Hand-crafted. You just dip the candle yourself and then decorate this little shade with ribbon. Voila...instant tea light! So easy! You should totally make one."
Twitter takes out her camera. "Hold that up so I can share it with my new BFF, Instagram!"
Another group of women enters searching for an available table. Pinterest ushers them away. "Sorry, but this section is invite only. Move along."
"That wasn't very social of you," you say.
"Wait till you see the granite counters and pewter faucets in the Ladies' Room. Plus, it's the perfect color scheme for your master bath. Follow me, and I'll show you."
"Newsflash," Twitter interjects. "Snooki apparently said something stupid again, and it's so going viral right now."
You get up to follow Pinterest just as Facebook enters the restaurant. At least you think it's Facebook. Her new look stops you in your tracks. You slowly sit back down.
"Hi all," she says, hesitantly taking a seat at your table.
Everyone is dumbfounded by her appearance. You don't want to stare, so you focus on the basket the waitress just brought to the table.
Pinterest takes a piece of bread and whispers, "Someone just gave me the recipe for these oatmeal sourdough rolls. Want a copy?"
"I'm really swamped right now," you respond. "I can't fathom baking anything from scratch."
"I'm merely showing you what others, who are perhaps more efficient with their time, are accomplishing," Pinterest says. "Maybe if you better organized your schedule, you could fit mor---"
Twitter interrupts, "Todd's currently pondering what kind of impact having Mariano Rivera on the DL will have on the Yankees this season."
Facebook hands you a stack of 150 folders. "Here are those status updates you wanted. Overall, things have been very positive. Read quickly though because they'll all need updating in about 62 seconds."
You take the folders without making any eye contact.
"I also wanted to remind you it's your neighbor's cousin's birthday," Facebook says. "Should we write your good wishes now or later?"
"Neil Patrick Harris just made a witty remark," Twitter announces. "Wanna share it with all your followers?"
"No, that's okay," you say. Overwhelmed, you start flipping through the folders.
Facebook continues nervously, "I included some new photos in there I thought you might like to, um, 'like.'"
She waits expectantly for your reaction, but you can't bring yourself to look her way.
Facebook takes a sip of wine. "Pinterest, Twitter, charming to see you as always."
Twitter taps you on the shoulder, "Kim's waiting for her boys' swim lessons to end and can't figure out why their instructor never lets them out on time."
"Speaking of time," Pinterest says. "'I've collected a whole bunch of hair-straightening ideas you could try when you get a second. You know, to do something about all that frizz."
"Thanks," you say. "I think."
Twitter smirks, "It's true. I could totally put up your pic at #BadHairDay." She and Pinterest share a laugh.
"I have bad photos of her, too," Facebook tries to chime in with them. "You should see what her friends from high school are tagging. I'll give you a hint...her hair actually looks BETTER now."
No one acknowledges the comment.
Facebook slams her wine glass on the table. "Is it THAT bad? You all won't even look at me?"
You have to look now, but you really don't want to tell her how her new Timeline is the most hideous, unintelligent thing you've ever seen her wear. The whole composition doesn't even make sense. The eye can't navigate it freely. You stammer for something, anything, positive to say. "Well, it certainly is ....different."
Twitter and Pinterest snicker.
"Different doesn't have to mean bad," Facebook says. "If I don't change, how will I stay relevant?"
Twitter taps her fork against a glass. "This just in...Kate Middleton? NOT pregnant."
"OMG, Twitter!" Facebook shouts. "Can you censor the random blather for five seconds and maybe attempt to focus on the conversation at hand for once?"
"You're just jealous because my style is always relevant and on trend," Twitter retorts. "By the way, your newsfeed ticker? A total rip-off of mine."
"Oh yes, I'm totally copying you. We all wish we could have a goofy Fail Whale, too, sure," Facebook scoffs.
Pinterest chimes in, "You can create adorable swim party invitations with little blue whales on them."
"Do you guys think I WANT to look like this?" Facebook shrieks. "I didn't have a CHOICE!"
You try to hush Facebook. "Please, you're making a scene."
"We were told this is the new required profile style," she cries. "But don't you see it's still me underneath?"
"Of course, we do." You pat her on the arm unconvincingly.
"You can't even make eye contact with me anymore, can you? Just say it. I'm so....I'm so..." She starts to cry. "Uugggglyyyyyy!"
"Actually, there's a hashtag about how much everyone loathes your new style," Twitter attempts to take her photo.
"You wench!" Facebook slaps the camera away, accidentally shattering a wineglass. She begins sobbing uncontrollably.
Twitter takes her photo anyway. "I'm sending this out to #AttentionWhoreDramaQueen."
Pinterest examines the pieces of broken glass. "We could make wonderful mosaics with these."
"Now trending: Facebook Timeline Sucks," Twitter adds as Facebook lets out an ear-splitting whail.
You finally can't take it anymore and have to intercede. "Twitter, for the love of all that's holy, shut up! Facebook, get your act together and stop trying to reinvent yourself all the time. We liked you the way you were! And Pinterest, NO ONE is EVER going to have time to recreate any of the crafts, home decor designs or recipes you flaunt! We just like to look and dream, okay?"
Now you've done it. You've hurt all of their feelings. Everyone in the restaurant is silent, giving your table a disapproving look.
"Look, I'm sorry," you say to your friends. "I just think maybe it's time we all take a little break from each other for a day or two. I have to get out of here."
You pick up your purse, and head out the door. You don't need this aggravation. You have plenty of other friends.
You make it approximately five steps before turning around to go back inside. The girls beam as you reenter the dining room.
"You're back," Twitter says. "Everyone, she returned! #WelcomeBack!"
"You'll get used to my new look, really, I know you will," Facebook sniffles as she presents a stack of updated status folders.
Pinterest offers her a hankie. "By the way, did any of you ever attempt sewing one of these? I had the diagram with instructions up last week..."
TALK TO ME: Which social media site takes up the most of your time? Do you find any aspects of these sites frustrating?