(I've been saving this one for a while, but after my last round of wresting with HootSuite, I decided to post this.)
I use multiple social networks — not because I like to, but because I have to. Here is what using social networking has come to mean to me.
Imagine you have seven phones on your desk. Most are pushbutton; one is still rotary. One is a cellphone that gets great reception but has terrible battery life. The other one, great battery life but lousy signal. One only works as a speakerphone because it has no handset. Another has a cordless handset but half the time you can't use it because it picks up garage door opener signals. One is a ham radio, which only lets you broadcast for ten seconds at a time, but it has amazing signal range.
Now: Each of these phones can only be used to call ONE-THIRD of the people you know. If you want to call everyone, you can try picking them all up at once, dialing, and then shouting into them en masse, but half the message gets garbled that way. Still, a lot of people do it; they get away with this by shouting a couple of choice words and then hanging up. As you might guess, no two of these phones can be dialed in remotely the same way.
Sometimes one phone rings, and continues ringing long after you've answered it. Sometimes you hang up (the speakerphone does this a lot) and the guy on the other end keeps talking. Sometimes they all ring at once. Call quality ranges from pretty good to abysmal. At least one call a day turns out to be a paid ad of some kind, but hey, the service doesn't cost you anything except your precious TIME, so quit complaining.
Let the phones ring unanswered for too long, or disconnect them entirely, and soon people all start taking turns trying to raise you on the ham radio to see if you dropped dead. For some weird reason the ham radio is the one everyone seems to use most by default, despite it having the worst sound quality. (Maybe it's the push-to-talk feature.)
There is voicemail — one bank of it for each phone. (Yes, even the ham radio.) You have to dial each one separately, from the device in question, to hear it. One of the pushbutton models doesn't let you delete old messages, but that's OK; you never hear more than the five most recent messages anyway on that thing. And always in an order that seems determined by the voicemail system, which changes at random.
There is no call forwarding.
There is almost never any number portability.
How did anyone ever think this was a good idea?
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind