WWW.DAWN.COM Connected to all the wrong things
29 December 2012An increasing number of ordinary people feel the need to live their lives in public. Not entertainers or people in the public eye, but everyday people like neighbours, friends and people I work with.
They tweet their every thought, their every action, write on facebook their deepest fears and darkest problems. No matter how disturbing, how ridiculous, how private, they will give a run down in great detail on matters that once were kept private.
On Christmas day, I logged onto Facebook to find people giving a run down of their day, every 10 minutes.
"How the hell is this going to fit in my oven? Turkey for the next month I think!" Photographs the turkey and posts it alongside the update.
"My Turkey is so big; I think it's been on steroids."
"I'm going to peel and steam and roast the vegetables, whilst watching the old boots speech at 3."
"Just honey glazed the veg."
"Christmas dinner just went tits up as I served the starter. My husband is doing the washing up and my daughter has just spilt a drink all over my carpet."
"Seriously been smashed by my dinner, so we're off out for a walk to burn some calories."
"Run out of weed to smoke, so going hunting."
"I have finally realised that I am really lonely. No one has the capacity to look after me, I am obviously too much to cope with, so I've made a decision to throw myself into my work in the New Year. Thanks to anyone who cares enough to read this."
These are posts written by people who are my ‘friends'. When I say friends I mean facebook friends. Some are real friends who I've known a long time, some are fans that know my work, and most I don't know at all.
If ‘friend' means someone you don't know but like or admire, then I'm friends with Quentin Tarantino, Bob Dylan and Joan Rivers.
Some people will read these posts and laugh, some will ignore it, some will tell their friends how crazy it is and discuss it. Few will truly care.
I know the deepest thoughts and feelings of people I don't know, I've seen pictures of their kids I will never meet, I've seen the inside of their house I will never go to, I know what they got for Christmas and how big their turkey was.
If I wanted to I could probably see a video of them having sex with a former girlfriend/boyfriend (Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus, Tulisa Contostavlos, Colin Farrell, Kid Rock).
Why do I know these things about people? I don't want to but I do.
People expressing their every breath, every second will ultimately dilute the magic of intimate relationships and the unspoken mystery that exists between human beings. That enigmatic ambiguity that exists when we don't have facts about a person, and therefore makes us generate some kind effort to find out for ourselves what it is that interests us about someone.
Or will there come a time when we know so much about so many that we'll just think, ‘Oh I don't want to know her in real life, she's a crap cook and she's got green carpets with curtains that don't match'.
Maybe everyone is just fooling everyone. Maybe people just want others to think they've got a wonderful life, they're having a great day, everyone's happy in the photos, and they all got the underwear they wanted for Christmas. One person will be brave enough to say what they really feel, and others will think ‘Oh what a sad life she's got' but never do any more than that. But if you were having that much of a great time, you wouldn't have the time to be documenting it every three minutes.
My brain is full of frivolous facts and information, about inconsequential people, yet I haven't spoken to my own neighbour for months and months. She's 86, not on Facebook - too busy trying to stay alive.
I'm on Facebook and Twitter, I use it to promote my shows but that's it. I don't post pictures of my new settee or my calorie controlled diet. If I like someone in real life, I spend more time with them. I don't put a tick on their face or send them a message and I don't join groups ‘liking' betting shops and hairstyles.
We might think we're better connected than ever, but in some ways we're not connected at all, or connected to the wrong things and wrong people.
I think the time has come to go back in time, and live in the moment.