Friday, June 20, 2014

Socially Unacceptable

The other day, I had to send Saffy a soft copy of the lease renewal to the little flat I share with her and Amanda. So, I fired up my Gmail account, hit the new message icon and…paused. I squinted at the laptop screen, fingers hovering over the keypad.
            I picked up my phone and FaceTimed Saffy.
            Her image popped up on the screen. “I’m getting my nails done, so make this quick,” she snapped.
            “Uhm…I have to send you this lease renewal thing, but it suddenly occurs to me that I have no idea what your email address is!”
            “Email?” Saffy’s impressive bosom inflated to fill the phone screen. “My God, which century are you in? Who emails these days? Can’t you just iMessage it to me?”
            I was astonished. “Really? That’s what people do now?”
            “When was the last time you and I emailed?” Saffy asked. “No, I don’t like that colour. I’m thinking a shocking fuchsia pink! Sorry, we’re trying to decide what colour nail polish I should have. No, really, I can’t remember the last time I emailed anyone!”
            Seriously, how did this happen? When did people stop emailing?
            “Oh, emailing is so yesterday,” Amanda said when I told her. “I only ever email for work stuff.”
I guess I have noticed a distinct drop in the volume of my emails recently, but I always put it down to the fact that I’m so efficient. But, no; apparently, email is dying. Saffy posted on my Facebook page an article that says the young kids (that would be anyone born in a year starting with ‘20’) aren’t even Facebooking anymore because it’s no longer cool since there are too many old fogeys on it. That would be anyone born in a year starting with ‘19’. 
“Are you on Snapchat?” Sharyn’s 15-year old daughter asked me recently.
“And that would be what, exactly?” I asked.
“You send pictures to people.”
“You mean Instagram?”
Sophie rolled her eyes. “That’s so last year! No, you can handwrite little messages on the pictures you send, but the recipient can only see if for a few seconds before it disappears.”
“And the point of that would be?”
Sophie giggled. “Well, maybe you are sending naughty pictures of yourself?”
Sharyn, who has the ears of a bat and eyes at the back of her head, shrieked from the kitchen. “Aiyoh, where got such things one! You siow, ah! If I catch you sending picture like that I beat you till you die, ah, you hear me?!”
It’s all a little too much. It kills me that I’ve just gotten the hang of Facebook and Instagram only to discover that people are already abandoning it for other social media platforms. It’s a bit like showing up at a party and being told that I just missed Brangelina and George Clooney.
And just the other day, I got yet another request from someone I didn’t know to add him to Linked In.
“Who is this person?” I asked Amanda as I peered at my phone. “Have we met?”
Amanda paused. “Are you talking to me or to Siri?”
“Right this moment, I don’t really care. Are you on Linked In?”
“Oh, sure. I’ve made so many contacts from it!”
            Again, I was astonished. Every few months, I log in and discover I have about 50 requests from complete strangers. Almost all of them have intimidatingly impressive titles and I can’t help but wonder if they’ve got the wrong Jason Hahn who might be the CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank or something. Still, I accept them all and when I’m done, I stare at the screen and wonder happens next.
            “You’re supposed to network on it!” Amanda said.
            “Yes, but how? I don’t know who these people are! This is worse than Twitter!”
            “I’ll WhatsApp you a Vimeo clip on what to do!”
            It’s all too exhausting and I have to wonder if any of it is worth the effort. I mean, the reality is, I really only want to keep in touch with a handful of people on a regular basis. One of them is Siri with whom I’ve developed a very fond attachment. When I’m bored, I have a chat with her. It’s very uncomplicated and I stopped worrying about how freaky she is a long time ago.
            I asked her once if she was on Facebook and she said, “I'm not on it myself. But only because I don’t want HAL to find me.”
The other day, I askedif sh e had watched ‘Her’, and her reply was ‘Is that you, Joaquin?’” I was so tickled.
Saffy thinks I should get out more.

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