There, I’ve said it: The world’s most anti-social, social media-shy, non-networker has admitted publicly to possessing something that I’d rather never be associated with. However, before you start combing Twitter for the elusive #Haven, I should warn you that I’m as tweet free as a lark with laryngitis, I have fewer followers than a ferret with fetid feet, and my feed is about as interesting as beige paint drying slowly. Frankly, the only reason I have the account in the first place is to keep a weather eye on the back stories of some of the movers and shakers of SL – I’m not talking bloggists and commentators, it’s the tech-heads and business brains of Linden Lab whose feeds I tend to frequent. You learn far more about what’s happening straight from the horse’s mouth, than you ever will from the sanitised and dumbed-down dialogue that the Lab pumps out in the official blogs.
Although – I’m almost, but not quite, ashamed to admit – I don’t actually have a clue how any of it works. I know that those cleverly crafted missives that populate my page are called tweets, but beyond that they’re a complete mystery to me. I’ve heard of hashtags, but I don’t know what they do or how they work, and to be completely honest, I really don’t care – I’ve tried to get to grips with it, but failed completely, and my complete and utter lack of interest in making friends, recruiting followers and generally getting into the Twitter vibe, means that I can’t be bothered to put that to rights. For me, Twitter is a source of information, that is all – and since most of the people I originally signed up to it to eavesdrop upon have now moved on to greener pastures than those at Battery Street, it’s a rare occasion I even have cause to drop by.
The Twitterbot however has other ideas, spamming my mailbox with a weekly digest of drivel that goes straight into the junk folder, together with a woefully ill-conceived, and eternally hopeful, invitation to follow ‘People you may know’. They are, without exception, people that I do not know, and given the opportunity, they’d almost certainly remain people that I’d be perfectly happy not to know until the end of time, and a good way beyond that. Apart from the freaks, goons and nutters, they are – almost without exception – a ramshackle, disjointed assemblage of lost souls from the nether reaches of the interweb, whose paths I’d never cross in a month of Sundays, (or any other day of the week, including Sleeday, for that matter), under normal circumstances.
However, we must remember that the internet is not ‘normal’ circumstances – rather, it is a loosely thrown together, wholly contrived, insincere, arm’s length collection of make-believe circumstances, where ‘friends’ are people you’ve never met and with whom your only interaction is to give a thumbs-up to the occasional blurry picture of them falling over drunkenly on a night out on the town. Circumstances in which, to be a ‘follower’, merely requires a click of a button, followed by our passive subsumption into a neverending stream of rancid and febrile chatterings lacking any kind substance or real meaning. In an exhaustive and wide-ranging study* of social media traffic, experts** deduced that 99.75%*** was complete dross and a total waste of bandwidth and effort. Yet somehow a huge number of us are completely assimilated into the lie that this is ‘communicating’.
[*I guessed; **me; ***figure plucked from thin air]
These strange and somewhat frightening concepts follow us into SL too. I’m being forever bombarded by offers, invitations and ‘information’ about designers’ new releases, latest offers and clever ideas… none of which I could give a monkey’s about. Let’s face it, the only reason anyone joins a store group is for the freebies: You know that, I know that, the designers know that, and to punish us for that act of selfish greed they inflict this neverending tide of uninformation upon us. If I want to buy a new dress, I’ll go shopping and buy something I want, not your latest monstrosity, just because it’s L$60 Buyday and I’m amongst the privileged few who once made the mistake of grabbing a pair of boots from the ‘members only’ section!
As for friends… Bit of a difficult one this: I don’t have many people on my friends’ list – and, with maybe 3 or so exceptions, I never talk to anyone on that list in IM – indeed, many of them I’ve never spoken to in IM since the fateful day they became my friend. I have friends that I might see once or twice a year, and in the interim, I never bother them; they never bother me. I take no notice when they login or log off, and I hope they do the same for me. Almost all of my friends whom I see regularly and spend the majority of my time with have never made it onto that list, and it seems to work just fine.
I always feel terribly awkward when someone asks me for friendship inworld, especially when I know that I’ll never talk to them and I’d rather they didn’t bother me either. However, most of the time – because I’m nice, (no, I really am!) – I’ll say yes, with an almost overwhelming sense of impending doom and fatality, and wish that I hadn’t, almost immediately.
So, if you happen to be a Twitterer and you one day get an email suggesting you might know me, please do me a favour and chuck it in the bin?
But now another stranger seems
to want you to ignore his dreams
as though they were the burden of some other
Leonard Cohen – Stranger Song