Thursday, 25 February 2010

Stop Me If You Think That You’ve Heard This One Before

Do you ever find yourself nodding along to some anecdote some anodyne friend you’ve agreed to meet with coffee with after a brief separation is relating whilst secretly thinking “I know how this ends” or “I know the punchline but I’ll laugh anyway” or “stfu already”.

Yet we don’t interrupt because in doing so we would have to admit that although the friendship has been neglected of late, the e-friendship one of espionage has been anything but during the 9-5 you pretend to be working. And with the ability to monitor so many acquaintances at once, it becomes difficult to remember what stories are attributed to whom. You hear the beginning of a spiel and you just know you’ve seen something similar – thoughts spun out on screen before they’ve been audibly aired – but who? And why? And where? Twitter? Facebook? Livepresspot? Sometimes it can be so disconcerting you begin to question your mental stability. Did you daydream this happening? Is it déjà vu which is causing you to second guess the next words to splutter out of you chum’s caffeine-fuelled beak?

Sometimes – and I’m not saying I’m innocent of this – you may find yourself quoting your own catchy status updates word-for-word. Well, you put so much effort into the original syntax, knowing it’ll be viewed by a jury of at least 200+ friends, so why not test how it trips off the tongue? The satisfaction of knowing you’re delivering a good soundbite (it did accrue at least half a dozen ‘likes’ afterall) is only impaired by the knowledge that the recipient may have heard it all before (if the cyberstalking is mutual).

Microblogging has many benefits and feeding the trend for subconscious plagiarism (“I swear Wikipedia didn’t write the bulk of my essay”) is apparently one of them. And I probably nabbed that line too.

I recently got into the habit of checking my feeds as soon as my alarm went off in the morning, ever since having an internet-enabled phone whose novelty is yet to wear off three months of obsessively logging in down the line. I found the rage incited by reading ridiculous tweets and pick ‘n’ mix updates was enough to force me out of bed and stomp (have you tried stomping as soon as you get out of bed and are still suffering from jelly legs? Dudley Moore’s Arthur would be jealous of my performances) indignantly round the house and set me up for a day enduring idiocy better than force-feeding myself coffee and cereal bars ever would. But now I’ve experimented by taking full advantage of Facebook’s ‘Hide’ function. The polite way of de-friending because you’ve come to the conclusion that although you can’t say there’s enough justice in completely removing your playground pal Tim “Carlsberg Champ” Watson his desire to post picture of his daughter’s toilet training and writing ‘lik dis’ is encouraging your desire to set fire to the monitor and throw it out the window to blossom. Or post proud pictures of your own successful toilet training. Beat that, little K-Lee Vikki Gaga Watson!

So no longer do I rely on that old familiar surge of fury converted to energy to force myself out of slumber and I admittedly miss my old ‘friend’. He did end every sentence with ‘LOL’ afterall, and you can’t say that of Andrew Marr.


  1. We're at the brink of a communication revolution - where interaction is moving online and away from face to face conversation. As willing guinea pigs of this revolution we're finding the quirky side effects. I'm sure it was the same for people when the phone wen't viral; "Did I tell you this already, or was I talking to on the telephone?".

    I guess we just have to soldier on. I've learned, through playing with computery whizzbits all day, that if you try to ignore emerging technology trends you end up way behind the curve. I guess it's the same with social trends.

    As a possible solution to your problem of repeating your online ramblings, perhaps you should precede any such comment with 'RT'. I know it's the 'old fashioned' retweet method, but everyone knows what it means...