Recently, my friend Gary admitted to feeling a bit anti-"social" — a little disconnected from the electronic connections everyone seems to be making. What he needed, I told him, was a chance to get to know the popular players. As luck would have it, my perky friend Eventbrite was throwing a party that very Friday night. So I brought him along.
“You made it! You rock!” Eventbrite cheered, her bright orange hair glowing in the doorway. “Do you have your ticket?”
I handed her the printouts I’d brought for me and for Gary, and we made our way inside. “It’s not like she needs tickets for her own cocktail party,” I told him. “But it’s her thing. She can be a little control-ly,” I said quietly. Too quietly.
“Wait, what?!” Gary shouted. The room was humming with conversation, and bustling with so much activity we didn’t know where to start. So we just started moving toward the food. Suddenly, an energetic figure leapt into our path.
“Hey! Good to see you! I thought maybe you wouldn’t make it considering the big traffic jam on Route 84. And there was some police action on Hamilton Street. With the street fair and the movie premiere it’s a miracle you got here before the end of Beaujolais nouveau season. They just talked about that on the Today show!”
Gary and I looked up at the towering, nervously intense figure. “Gary, I’d like you to meet Twitter. He likes to keep up with the latest goings-on. If there’s anything you need to know right away, check him out.”
“Great to meet you,” Gary shook his hand. “I’ll definitely look you up, so to speak.”
“OK, cool,” Twitter chirped, his eyes darting. “Whatever you need. I’ll find it for you.” Then he leaned into us. “Don’t forget the hashtag,” he said in a hushed tone.
“Hmm… I thought I smelled something coming from the garage on the way in,” Gary commented. “The music was pretty loud in there.”
“Oh, that must have been Myspace. No, hashTAGS are something different. I’ll explain later,” I said. #novice
We made our way deeper into the party, finding ourselves drawn to an exquisite collection of art gallery-worthy desserts. We must have been drooling as a voice startled us out of our honey-glazed stares.
“These are sweet pecan and walnut praline candies, covered in chocolate. Couldn’t you just DIE?”
They were already in my mouth, so I chewed my hello. “Oh… Mife to fee you, Pinterest,” I mumbled through a mouthful of sweet pecan and walnut praline candies, covered in chocolate. “Thif ith Gary. Gary… Gary?” He was completely entranced by the strawberry angel food-cake skewers.
As usual, Pinterest was impeccably dressed, always sporting the latest cutting-edge fashions. “Well, it as nice to meet you, Gary. And remember… don’t let anyone ever dull your sparkle!” Pinterest said, taking a sip from her lavish s’mores martini and exiting with a wink. Gary and I picked up two bubbly cucumber spritzers from a tray of Picasa-perfect beverages and continued around the room.
“Well, there certainly are some colorful personalities here tonight,” said my friend, taking in the scene. “Except for that guy over there, he’s actually looking a little yellow.”
“Oh, Instagram? Yeah. I think it’s the smoking.”
“And who’s this guy in the suit? He’s coming this way.”
“Oh, that’s LinkedIn. Good guy but don’t ask him what he does for a living. The last time I chatted with him he pretty much recited his entire resume.”
LinkedIn made his way toward us, passing out business cards along the way. “Hey! What’s the latest with you!” he said, shaking our hands assertively while maintaining just the right duration of eye contact.
“Link… this is my good friend Gary. Thought I’d introduce him around tonight. He’s heard a lot about you guys, but I wanted him to get to know you better.”
“Gary! Great to meet you. What line of work are you in? I’m in sales. Vice President of my division. Big on conceptualizing and leveraging my critical thinking and global strategic expertise in a highly matrixed environment. I’ve championed several innovative initiatives throughout the last 38 quarters. Very fulfilling. I’m sure I know people where you work. You look familiar, actually. Did you ever work with my colleague Mary’s brother’s cousin? I feel like we met at a thing once. Here’s my card.”
“Wow, um, ok, thanks, Link,” Gary answered. “As a matter of fact I…”
Link threw an arm around Gary’s shoulder and pulled him closer. “By the way, please let me know if you have any openings where you work. I actually HAAAAAAAATE my job. PLEEEESE. I’m gonna freaking lose it any day now. Thanks, man.” And with that, Link headed toward the food, where Pinterest was putting the finishing touches on a spectacular Bacon-anza.
“Haha, awesome. I just got that on video!” YouTube was apparently just a couple feet away. “Sweet.”
“OMG, people!” Twitter was in the center of the room, his voice booming. “Lindsay Lohan was in ANOTHER run-in with the cops.”
“So this is what I’ve been missing?” said my friend. “Seems like a lot of commotion, yet no one’s really listening — more like talking AT each other. Except for that woman over there. What is she, mumbling to herself?”
“Oh, right, I know her. That’s WordPress. She’s actually a brilliant woman — a bit of a loner though. When she gets on a roll she’s very entertaining. But yeah, it’s kind of a free for all in here. You have to admit it’s a lively group. There’s never a dull moment!”
As if on cue, I suddenly felt a decidedly sharp nudge under my rib cage that startled me silly and bathed Gary in what was left of my cucumber spritzer.
“Haha. POKE!” chortled Facebook. “Who’s your damp friend here? Do you “Like” the party?”
“Facebook! Seriously! Gary, I’m so sorry!”
“Not a problem. I mean, don’t they say that club soda gets everything out anyway? It’s all good.”
Facebook got a little red-faced. “Well, I’m really sorry, dude. I was just trying to lighten the mood. I feel like all I hear about lately are lost and abandoned dogs and then I see their sad, sweet, lonely faces. It’s getting to me, I suppose. I just needed to share, I guess.”
“No worries,” said Gary, dabbing his shirt with some paper towels brought over by a female guest, who caught a glimpse of my arm. “Omigod, where did you get that bracelet? That’s amazing!” StumbleUpon’s eyes were wide. “It reminds me of a paper origami bracelet I saw once. Have you ever seen a baby porcupine?”
“OK, really? I think I’m good to go,” Gary said a little impatiently. “I’m sure all of these people are extremely talented at what they do. They all bring a lot to the party, that’s for sure. But this is all making me a little lightheaded,” he said, scanning for a chair.
Pinterest, who had changed outfits and was now sporting a purple-plumed wide-brimmed hat, approached us with a bright smile. “Would this banana split parfait in a vintage jelly jar make you feel any better?”