You've been there, haven't you?
You: Listen, I had an incredible idea!
Her: Yeah, I know. I read your tweet about it.
You: I found the most amazing shoes! They were---
Her: Yeah, I saw a picture on your Tumblr.
You: You'll never guess what happened -- he's taking us to Italy!
Her: Yeah, I read your blog.
It's hard to stay scintillating in person, when you're very busy being scintillating online. Don't get me wrong. I know how important it is to document and express all the minutae of my existence on the internet. The many upsides to Twitter and Facebook are too numerous and obvious to mention. However, when I get to the park and the kids are playing and I just want to have girl talk with the other mommies, it's like they've been reading my diary. Whatever it is, they already know, because I've put the picture on Facebook, the link on Twitter, the anguish on my blog, or maybe I've Tumblred the whole conversation. What's a girl to do? Besides yawn and talk about the weather?
So how do you keep yourself relevant in an actual conversation, while simultaneously microblogging your entire life? Here are six ideas:
1. Go lower. There are always things to talk about in person that you can't talk about on Facebook. You know what they are -- utilize them. Yeah, you may need to fall back on gossip, unkind remarks, rumors, and unsubstantiated theories. When all your girls are on Facebook, your regular safe mom topics may be met with a chorus of "Oh yeah, I saw that." Get past it! No small talk -- whatever! The good news is that Facebook and Twitter themselves are sources of a brand new kind of gossip and bitter whispering behind the hand. "I saw her playing Lexulous when she was supposed to be taking the kids to the Planetarium!" "She flaked on our party because she was sick, but then she was tweeting all over the place, drunk as a goat!" Forego the pleasantries and mention the unmentionables. Pleasantries are over. Save them for the status updates.
2. Be more mysterious online. Try tweeting something like, "OMG! HELP!!!" or Facebooking an unexplained picture of a llama. Try "Whee!!! It's finally here!!!!!" or link to a book about stripping your way through college without explanation. The good news is that when you run into your buddies at the grocery store, they're going to be very eager to chat with you. The bad news is, you're going to have to come up with something to tell them.
3. Find new friends. It wasn't always this way for us, remember? Remember the acronym IRL? It meant "in real life." The world of the internet used to be a separate life. You could gambol about saying anything you pleased because only a very few people were listening, and you were unlikely to run into those few at the gym. Even after the advent of blogging, real life friends weren't always up on every bounce and jiggle of life online, and before Twitter and Facebook, news took at least a few hours to disseminate. Now it's immediate. If it happens, they know, and they're all online. Right now. Gathering info. So look: From now on, your current friends are newly categorized as your online friends, and your new friends are out there waiting for you. They don't have laptops, they don't understand their phones, and they think Twitter is a sound birds make. They want to hear all about what your kids did today.
4. Stop Twittering and Facebooking every damn thing in your life. Okay, I'm not saying stop! Because that's crazy, right?! Totally. I would never say that. I'm just saying, a little withholding. A tiny bit, in the interest of keeping it interesting. Withhold like 30%, and see where that gets you. Try not telling us what you're making for dinner. Maybe next week you could extend to privatizing the lunch menu. Just give us details from one child's diaper -- keep the other's excretions a mystery to be revealed only in person. If you find yourself about to spill the big news just before Girls Night Out, and you find yourself about to reduce to 140 characters a story which in person could be stretched out over a whole martini, withhold! You don't have to tell us now. You can tell us in a couple of hours. We promise to listen just as much as the whole internet would have, only with laughter you can hear.
5. Give up on "real life" interactions. Let's face it, the line between "real life" and the internet is gone. Why worry? When you and your friends get together, use the time to check each other's knitting progress, enjoy each other's children, and eat. Talking was overrated. All that hee=hee and yak-yak. Much more efficient to use the internet for that, and use the coffee shop for consuming pastries and smelling each other's shampoo. Zip it. If they want to know what's going on with you, they'll read your blog. You need the traffic. If they want to know how you feel, they'll check the results of your "What flavor of bouillon are you?" quiz on Facebook.
6. Be more, do more, say more. Hey, you're awesome. You can keep up with at least eleven more ways of expressing yourself and still have interesting things to say. If you fit it your entire brain into your Tumblr this afternoon, then think of something else, something new, something more, and put that in there tonight. There's not a finite measure of you, after all; there's plenty to go around. You could Twitter, Facebook, blog, bookmark, and still have something to say at the park, regardless of how dull a day it's been. You read books, don't you? Okay, well, you watch TV -- say something fresh, regardless. You owe it to your friends. They have the patience to listen to you, in all your various modes of blathering. Sharpen up. Rise to the new media. Adapt.
As for me, I need to work on 4. I think I'll start by withholding my thoughts on applesauce, and maybe my plans for 2013. The rest is essential info and I have to get it out there right away. In fact, I need to go Tweet about this blog post right now. See you at the park!