Thanks to social networking, I've been catching up with old friends. And by "old," I mean people who remember when sending a message involved paper and a postage stamp.
Social networking is the new art of communication. Twitterfied talk allows you to annoy thousands of people simultaneously in 140 characters or less.
It allows us to collect deep, profound insights into the very hopes, thoughts and dreams of our friends:
''Home from work - tough day - watching TV.''
Thirty-eight minutes later: ''Nuking hot dogs for dinner.''
Two minutes later: ''Forgot to pick up ketchup. Cheetos instead.''
There is nothing I enjoy more than having these long, personal conversations with my nearest and dearest.
I think there used to be more words involved, but thanks to Twitter and Facebook and the like, no longer must we stare deeply into another person's actual eyes to discern their innermost thoughts. Now we have emoticons.
These days if I meet someone on the street, the conversation will stumble awkwardly after about 20 seconds until one of us finally says:
''So, are you on Facebook?''
''Twitter. Want to be a follower?''
''Sure. Message me.''
Then we'll hurry off to our machines so we can carry on a real conversation.
Now I have an amazingly active social life, without the bother of being either social or active. At last count, I have 327 Facebook friends, and 42 fans of the Burton W. Cole author page. That's at least 15 or 16 times as many as I have of either in real life.
Most of them wanted me to accept lost purple ponies from Farmland Gangster Quest or something like that. Once I blocked all those applications, I was able to get down to the business of interacting socially. Without having to actually talk to a single person. While munching Cheetos and hot dogs.
It's been a wonderful time-waster. Instead of fixing the broken garage door, I've checked in with family, traded quips with acquaintances I didn't know were still alive, viewed photo albums and watched videos of my grandson who lives 530 miles away.
I used to be out of touch. Now I've discovered how much hair my high school classmates have lost and I was among the first to know about three wedding engagements, only one of which turned out to be fake. Sorry, Dana.
Posts I found on people's walls today included such socially networked insights as:
''One thing I tried to teach my kids is NOT to follow in my footsteps. I run into walls.''
''If everyone was at work while I was gone, how did the house end up this way?''
''I'm considering quitting school and writing a book from my hammock.''
''I DON'T mind helping you bathe... I'd rather help than smell you!!!''
OK, I'm not sure about that last one. Hey, we're all wits with our Tweets, texts, status posts and pings. No complete sentences or actual spelling necessary. LOL.
So, c'mon, let's be friends. Just don't ask me to accept today's Smiley Face of Karma Fortune Tiki Zoo Isle of Jeweled Poker Treasure Wars. I'd be forced to defriend you and post a frowny face emoticon on my status update.
Breaking up is a lot less messy for we social networkers.
----- Get Facebook to Facebook with Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org