Here's my appeal to certain unemployed friends: step away from your cell phones and computers! I pray every day that you get jobs, mainly because you need the money and self respect that working brings, but also because I need you to stop incessantly pestering me to stay in touch with you.
I have pals that want to text me, friend me, and chat with me. Some entreat me to follow them, while still others petition for posts on their walls. I field solicitations to link up, which would evolve into networking with my buddy's other unemployed acquaintances and associates. These friends have plenty of free time and/or terrific ideas about how to increase their web presence, and chafe when I consign more than half of their cyber entreaties to my version of virtual purgatory: a flagged folder in my inbox, where the Yahoo gatekeeper will retain all these time consuming requests until I have a spare moment (or the invites expire).
Despite my rant, I benefit greatly from technology and treasure my friends. Where would I be without the gizmos and gadgets and gear that allow me to run a law firm and a magazine while sitting in one chair? And how could I face frequent telephone time on hold without reading friends' insightful or entertaining blogs or taking a quick peek at the never-ending photos of puppies and cockatoos some pals continually forward? I cherish face time with my true friends, but some that find themselves out of work during these horrible, depressionary days which have destroyed everyone's bank accounts and self esteem need to understand that it can't be a condition of our friendship that we chew the cyber fat daily and create virtual bonds that tie up my time.
I know there's a netiquette I have yet to master about which requests require a response and when a petition for my participation may be acceptably deleted. Will I insult my chums if I don't join their i-groups, elevate their friends count, or digg blogs reporting on their root canals? Does my having two full time jobs and barely enough time to sneeze provide me enough of an excuse in the world of quickie chitchat and simultaneous sycophancy to bow out of computer and cell-phone camaraderie?
Is there a "Ms. PC-Manners" who will provide me with proper cyber-comportment comebacks entailing only a nominal amount of characters? I want to politely avoid internet alliances, not cyber-slight my friends, so is it tacky to respond to requests with: I would love to join in, but I haven't yet eaten yesterday's breakfast; thanks but I can't juggle any more with just two arms and crossed eyes; or you flatter me but if I connect with you this way I must cease sleeping?
Maybe I'll rephrase a classic cop-out to soften my snubs: I won't tweet, don't ask me, I won't befriend you, merci beaucoup. My jobs won't let my fingers chat around with you!