Social Media Drinking Games – Janet Fouts

Social Media Drinking Games

I’m sick and tired of social media and I don’t want to talk about it! Those were the first words out of my friends mouth the other evening. I’d just come back from a trip and we were re-connecting over drinks. Harsh words for somebody like me to hear since social media is interwoven pretty tightly in our lives these days.

She went on to rant about how social media was ruining her life. Her boyfriend constantly has his head down, texting and tweeting on his crackberry. She’s got an iPhone and checks in on FourSuare, Gowalla, MyTown and Yelp at every coffee shop. Her office uses Yammer for inter-office communications and we choose our meeting place based on reviews on FoodSpotting and UrbanSpoon. How could we possible avoid talking about social media?

So we decided on a little experiment. We’d spend the next hour or two with our phones turned off, and every time a social network or an iPhone app was mentioned the offender took a shot of Tequila (I don’t recommend this).

It started out bravely, talking about my trip visiting family and her job at a tech company. The food we’d had in Florida and the hot new San Francisco restaurant she’d tried. How’d she find it? Foodspotting of course. Shot 1.

I told her how I found an ATM  in the sprawling Miami airport with Gate Guru, an iPhone app she’d told me about. Shot 2.

We talked about Shirley Sherrod and the video. Of course we’d seen it on YouTube. Shot 3.

We lasted 15 minutes.

We switched to talking about local events and news I’d missed while out of town, but it really didn’t go any better since my Twitter network kept me on top of the Shirley Sherrod mess, Contador ‘s gaffe passing Andy Schleck in the Tour de France, the opening of the movie Inception and related reviews, even Nelson Mandela‘s birthday. Things degraded pretty quickly after the first few slips and then it just got laughable. And we did.

And then we talked about the things you don’t talk about on social media sites. Job issues, family squabbles and the things we share only with our closest friends.

I can understand the angst about social media and how it’s embedded in our lives. The family back home sighed often enough about putting down the iPhones to know everybody isn’t as deep in it (OK obsessed) as we are. But here, in Silicon Valley, it’s a way of life. That doesn’t mean we can’t take a little time off and really get to know the hearts of our dearest friends without putting it all on Facebook.

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