Social networking sites are the twenty first century equivalent of the old fashioned notion of two housewives having a bit of a natter over the back garden fence of yesteryear, horribly mutated and built from spite and jealousy thats made infamy as equal as fame in the eyes of those who care and everyone needing to care if they’re to succeed in this world of virtual win.
With the ability to let the world converse with itself at a moments notice no subject is beyond the discussion and consideration of those wishing to find likeminded individuals interested in probing the red bits and seeing what squirts out.
As a tool for communication there is something truly unifying in having the internet, and with technology now giving you the chance to talk Warcraft with a child from Lebanon at four in the morning whilst waiting for the bogs to calm down we have reached a level in our evolution that has nothing to do with claws or teeth and more to do with that fat sack of grey crap we carry about beneath our King Of Beer hats.
Interest and curiosity drove us to where we are today, and being the sort of species who not only wonders about those things dangling under a cow but is prepared to chow down and keep going for the money shot in the name of ‘seeing what happens’ is why we know which berries are poisonous and control of the world and why you’ll never see a rhino attempting to disprove black hole theory.
This, coupled with the celebrity and media whoring of themselves across such outlets, has given us not just instant accessibility to almost any knowledge you could find yourself suddenly in the need-of-know of but a weird amalgamation between the only thing most people know about Orwell and Warhol.
With the machinations of a Big Brother state under the governance of the public at large we are each now able to claim our own fifteen minutes of fame, become a celebrity in our own lunchtime to a crowd of followers known only by the obscure names-of-the-claimed. A$$h@t19 and YourMum37 are but two of the hundreds of disciples retweeting and re-posting your missives and self-styled wisdom like the street preachers of old before them; a thousand more followers before the indigestion kicks in and half the modern world is aware of your insights regarding the contentious Jaffa Cake issue (‘…it’s called a Jaffa CAKE..!’), the evenings plans being forged in a separate tab between yourself and G@ngB@ng5tyle on your other MyFace account.
Control and conformity follow the desire to not get left behind in the rush to touch the horizon to the point where we’re now burning our fingers as we try and hang on to the glow of wonder and ‘new’, of the exciting and all-healing balm of pseudo-fame becoming the new yardstick with how we find ourselves justifying our own self-worth.
I’ve always approached such places with an eye of cautious optimism and the cursor on the self-eject button in the top right of the screen, feeling more like the dad at his kids disco than the naked hippy queuing up for his turn on the magic roundabout.
The dedication some put in their outpourings can be rather intimidating to someone just wanting a way of keeping the phone bill down and maybe chatting some Ork. A dozen or more posts from one of your friends before you’ve even finished adding the final lies to your profile can make you start to think that quantity somehow equals quality. No matter that half their Wall is made up of pre-scribed lines about how they ‘liked’ a video or are ‘currently reading about goats’; not when your own activity shows you as being dead between the hours of when you last checked-in and now.
The biggest problem is in how little information is actually being passed in these posts; a million or more ‘like’s doesn’t tell me ‘why’. Informing me of your current choice of toilet-time titbits doesn’t give me any indication as to whether it’s a fountain of knowledge of a tissue of untruths, nor does it imply your own personal opinion on why fish are the true masters of the wolf.
Clicking any link that piques your curiosity usually reveals the thoughts of man in the comments section beneath. But for all the effort entailed at times when such things degenerate into flame wars and trolling leaves you unwilling to take a risk with a message that reads like corporate-written recommendation about aardvark-baiting in Wales.
Apps that allow you to upload in an instant the who, why and wherefore’s of last nights mistake the moment you scrape the crust from your tongue like a self-flagellation of glorified idiocy is the norm for some, and with no apparent lessons learned theirs is a constant update of disasters put forth as hilarious life-lessons to an audience who each believe they have found a marker of low they will never sink to.
Adventures in trysts and toast and trips to the clinic, the world of humanity is as varied as it is vapid. Having such a platform of almost perfect anonymity should mean we can discourse and discuss ourselves into the huge craniums and thin legs of the fabled Greys themselves by the turn of the next century. Science doesn’t need a scientist to be holding the reigns anymore, as Wiki and wonderment has opened the atom to anyone with an interest in seeing tiny things grow six legs and go boom.
Everything you put up is being sold to some advertising exec somewhere so they know how best to sell you the next re-invention of the wheel (‘Now in Bacon-Flavour!’) so why not make it something worthwhile? At the very least your spam filter will thank you for the decrease in penis investment emails from Nigeria and might see its way clear to acknowledging the ones you get from Science weekly aren’t to be trashed immediately.
We could’ve cracked the human genome years ago if it hadn’t been for Lolcats, and who knows what breakthroughs we’ve ignored in the pursuit of brining Rick Astley back into the minds of the incautious and trolled?
We’ve been afforded a priceless opportunity to stay up late and see if Santa really does come for that mince pie and sherry, shouting it across the entire world in seconds with photographic proof the criminal caught in the damning act of theft and duplicitous lies was your very own father himself; a man never seen in the same room as the fabled man of presents and therefore his alibi still plausible in that he could’ve just been ‘going commando’ in your house in case you woke up…
We can prove Santa’s not real and equally prove the science behind his reindeer if he was; we track him each year on equipment mostly kept busy checking the mushroom cloud hasn’t turned up yet as well as put forth an endless supply of theories and essays about alternate dimensions and the speed of light that can prove and disprove the likelihood of one man piloting a brace of beasts towing a sled plus a minimum of one gift per child across the entire world and several time zones in one single night- not including time to shovel down a pie and drink at each stop.
So why not give an opinion instead of just posting a link, and see if we can do something about this Easter Bunny/Chocolate supply thing that’s been bugging me for quite some time now…
- wieden + kennedy attempts jaffa cake speed-eating world record (wklondon.typepad.com)
- 80’s pop sensation Rick Astley (blogs.abc.net.au)