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Nina In New York: +1 Is Now + Me

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A screengrab of the Google Plus demo. (credit: www.google.com)

A screengrab of the Google Plus demo. (credit: http://www.google.com)

A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
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By Nina Pajak

Ahem. I am on Google +. Are you on Google +? I mean, you probably are by now if you want to be, but I was probably on there before you were. I don’t mean anything by that. I’m just saying.

It was very important to me that I be among the first to be invited to join. Actually, I was in the dark about this until a friend angrily and persistently demanded I use my connections to get him invited, and his request spawned a number of others. Thank goodness for them. Without their desperate nagging, I would never have known that this should be something I wanted—nay, required—too! To squander an in to get a thing, any thing, that other people want is a terrible shame and a disgrace. I had to get it, even though I didn’t totally know what “it” was.

And then we did! We were in! We got it! We had it! I was elated for a brief moment before my interest plummeted to a level somewhere above “What’s for snack?” and below “What’s for dinner?”

It is pretty cool. No one ever said those Googlers weren’t smartypants. Though to be perfectly honest, now that I got it, I don’t get it. Well, I guess I think I get it, but now it’s too late to admit that I don’t, because everyone is into it and I’d be exposed as the poseur I am who still doesn’t actually understand much about Twitter. For instance, why? And also, what?

I suppose I’ll get it eventually, but the fact is that the more social media outlets that crop up, the less I want to hear from people. I can see value in all of them for various purposes—commercial promotion, self-promotion, amateur espionage, high school reunion committee planning, reason not to attend future high school reunions—but it’s getting awfully loud around here. And I’ve noticed that the more opportunity people have to share their thoughts and quotidian activities with their friends, coworkers, friends of friends and acquaintances, the more they do it. I mean really, really share. My Facebook news feed is home to frequents posts about pregnancy-related bloating, personal injury photos, conversations regarding diaper failures and poops in the potty, and small press releases to announce drunkenness, hangovers, or future plans thereof. Of course, these are consistently peppered with assorted insightful and important gems like “ugh” and “bored” and “tired” and “off to bed!” Go to bed. It’s fine. I don’t need to know. Enjoy.

It makes sense. Everyone is on everywhere, and no one wants to go from platform to platform simply repeating themselves. What would be the point of that? So while I currently “+1″ Google+ (oh yeah, that’s a thing now—it means “like,” similar but far superior to the English verb, “to like”), I fear for what I might find out about my social network friends that a new forum will inevitably invite them to spill. It may be time to set some ground rules. For instance, just off the top of my head:

  1. Don’t write anything you would normally whisper in a public place
  2. No obstetric, gynecological, or scatological updates of any sort
  3. In fact, it’s probably best to avoid most medical news altogether
  4. We all know you ♥ your sweetie/girl/boy/man/woman/lady/honey/pookie/husband/wife. Unless he or she does something of note, simple proclamations of love should be done directly and in person.

Perhaps I’m just getting grouchy now. Some might offer that if I’m so irritated by the chatter online, perhaps I should not visit these sites. But that’s just ridiculous. Then how would I know when Carol Ann has her baby or keep up with Ferdinand’s weight loss? And how could I possibly tell everyone in witty detail about my heinous morning subway ride or the amazing peach I just ate? Geez. Let’s be reasonable here.

Better that everyone else just cans it in the specific way I prefer.

What would you add to the list? Sound off in our comments section below.

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Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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