You hear a familiar tone, as if from far away. As the sound becomes louder and more annoying you become vaguely aware that it’s an alarm. Your alarm. You also realize the theme song from Family Guy is playing in your head. Must’ve been a really strange dream. Whatever.
Eyes still closed you blindly fumble around for the iPhone, reflexively press the home button and give it a second to recognize your thumbprint. When you finally open your eyes, the first thing you see is rows of apps on a home screen. And so the day begins.
Still lying in a contorted position with one arm half-asleep under your twisted torso, you swipe the screen and thumb the Twitter icon. No new followers. Crap! You quickly touch “Notifications.” Still nothing. You know you haven’t suddenly become irrelevant overnight but you still can’t help feeling a sudden twinge of anxiety.
Unfortunately, your brain’s ancient limbic system, which never stops worrying about survival, still thinks there might be a saber tooth tiger lurking outside your cave. It refuses to give you that feel-good jolt of dopamine until it knows you’ve got safety in numbers. Too bad it can’t tell the difference between real and virtual people.
Close to panic, you go through the usual routine -- Facebook, LinkedIn, calls, messages -- finally resorting to email in the desperate hope of a spam fix. Your inbox has an auto-confirm from Amazon, a Who’s Who invitation, a request for just 20 minutes of your time to determine your direct email needs, and a weight-loss ad from Nutrisystem.
Finally, the powerful neurotransmitter is released and the fight-or-flight adrenaline rush subsides. Feeling all is well with the world you get up, turn the coffee machine on, and get ready for the day ahead.
As soon as you start soaping up in the shower, you hear the message tone. Damn. You lean way out and try to grab the phone. It slips in your hand but before it falls you reach out with the other hand and fall halfway out of the tub nearly knocking your head on the porcelain. No worries, you caught it.
The text is from your girlfriend: “Goof morning, sunshine :D,” followed by, “I mean Good … damn phone.”
You try to text back something cute but end up with, “in the chowder thinking of you babu.”
She replies, “???”
Later at your desk you just can’t seem to focus on what you’re doing. It’s that hollow feeling from earlier. You can’t shake it. It just gnaws at you and makes you fidgety. Finally you succumb and hop on Twitter. Lost a follower. Rats. But wait, a notification. Just some idiot favoriting a post from days ago. Not even a retweet. False alarm,
Now truly desperate for attention, you start searching through the feed for something interesting to share, finally hitting an article about a study that says most of the time people spend online at work they’re actually cyberloafing -- screwing around on Facebook, Amazon and Twitter, among others. Good stuff.
You search Flickr for an eyeball-catching picture to go with it, finally settling on a photo of a funky sign that reads, “Quiet. Wasting Time in Progress.” You think, how cool is that? and post it with the article to all your accounts. The irony never even registers.
Still feeling sort of down and fighting the urge to munch on a Snicker’s bar for comfort, you come across a post from a friend with an inspirational quote, “Stars can’t shine without darkness” that tugs at your hollow heartstrings. Suddenly you realize you have to capture this rare melancholy moment in a blog post.
As you open a Word file and start writing -- keeping an eye on the social media feeds just in case -- that finely tuned Spidey sense makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Sure enough, out of the corner of your eye you spy the boss approaching. With a practiced click of the mouse, an Excel worksheet in progress fills the screen.
Disaster averted, you glance up at the clock. Noon already? Time to head out for some fast food. Then you think, but if I order takeout, I can get this posted and maybe see some action this afternoon. Brimming with expectation, you click on the browser’s “Favorites” bar and pull up the friendly Grubhub page. Pizza sounds good.
It never occurs to you that, not only did you nearly crack your head open in the shower and come close to getting fired; you’re actually too addicted to social media to make it to McDonald’s. Now that’s just nuts.