TEENAGE JON: Social networking? That sounds very corporate.
CURRENT JON: Oh, it’s not corporate at all. It’s a way for you to communicate with everyone you know, easily.
TJ: Sounds corporate.
CJ: It really isn’t. Aside from the fact that all of your personal information… and probably all of your communication… is owned and viewable by ‘some’ corporation. But they promise not to be evil with it and really they only share it with anyone who wants to advertise to you.
TJ: You signed up for this?
CJ: …..yeah. Everyone did! Even loads of people you know – people from school!
TJ: They’re all dicks! You’re telling me that I’ll still be in touch with these idiots when I’m 33?
CJ: Not so much in touch… You don’t have to talk to them, they’ll just be able to monitor all your activities and search through albums of photos of you and see lots of communication between you and your current friends.
TJ: You let them just spy on your life???? WHY?
CJ: Well, because it’s rude to turn down their friend request.
TJ: So anyone can just access any information about your life?
CJ: Not anyone. The most that complete strangers can do is find out your name, what you look like and who everyone you know is.
TJ: That’s insane.
CJ: I think there’s a setting where you can change some of that. I keep meaning to…
TJ: So you have surrendered all of your personal information to a huge database. What are the advantages?
CJ: Well, you can stay in touch with people really easily!
TJ: How hard is it to stay in touch with people?
CJ: Staying in touch with like 300 people isn’t easy!
TJ: Who the hell are these 300 people???? You know THREE HUNDRED people you want to stay in touch with?
CJ: Well, they’re… your school friends, uh… some people from uni, quite a few ex-girlfriends and even just some people I went on single dates with and nothing happened… um… FAMILY! there’s some family, always stay in touch with family… FRIENDS of course – REAL FRIENDS! but then also, for some reason, their wives and girlfriends and a bunch of their friends who I met once and of course the brothers and sisters of friends… there’s people I met on the internet… some customers… people who I don’t really know to talk to as such but see at gigs… it all mounts up.
TJ: I can’t believe you can be bothered to stay in touch with all these people!
CJ: Well, I can’t, that’s why I use Facebook.
TJ: You use it to stay in touch with hundreds of people you can’t be bothered to stay in touch with?
CJ: Exactly! It gives the APPEARANCE of being bothered. It’s all about the facade.
TJ: How so?
CJ: Well, my young chum, adult life isn’t like teenage life was in the 90s. Adult life is competitive! All those people you’re hanging out with now, your ‘friends’, they’re going to turn into lifelong competitors. You have to have a better career than them, a better house than them, a better girlfriend or wife than them, a more exciting lifestyle….
TJ: I’m not really the competitive type.
CJ: I know. Neither am I.
TJ: Are we winning?
CJ: We’re doing very well.
TJ: Better than ********?
CJ: Mate, he burned out at 21. Lives with his mum. Works in Tesco.
TJ: Yessssssssss. What about *******?
CJ: Well, her penchant turned to addiction…. I heard she ended up on the game.
TJ: Oh, this is fun!!! What about *******?
CJ: He’s doing ok! Got a good job, a nice wife, some cute kids. He’s doing good.
TJ: Better than us?
TJ: Sweet. How can you monitor someone’s lifestyle?
CJ: Oh, well, everyone posts photos and videos of everything they do.
CJ: Some people more than others. Like if you go to the pub with some friends for a drink, inevitably the next day the most insecure person there will have posted about three thousand photos they took surreptitiously on their phone and you’ll discover that you were actually an attendee at ‘PUB CRAZY SHENANINGANS AND GOOD TIMES SUMMER 2K9’
TJ: Thousands of photos? On a phone?
CJ: Oh yeah, it’s all digital now, mobile phones have cameras on them and you don’t need film so…. people take a lot.
TJ: A lot?
CJ: You could pretty much make a flickbook of these people’s lives.
TJ: Just of them at the pub?
CJ: At the pub… at home…. at work… they take high-angle photos of themselves and whoever is near them in even the most mundane moments and post it on facebook to make it appear like their lives are a non-stop-fun-time-laugh-riot.
TJ: How do you know they aren’t?
CJ: Because they’re spending all their time on facebook.
CJ: When they DO go away – on holiday – although nobody calls it ‘holiday’ anymore, they say they’re ‘going travelling’, they still manage to find the time to be permanently updating their facebook page and blogs with arty photos of things they’ve discovered and anecdotes of being a stranger in a strange land.
TJ: This sounds tedious.
CJ: It really is.
TJ: So why do you read it?
CJ: It gives me a sense of moral and intellectual superiority.
TJ: And this is all added to this database which could conceivably be sold to anyone, visible to anyone, hacked by anyone and commandeered by some fascist regime?
TJ: Spying? Pathetic competition? Self delusion? I can’t believe you’re into this! Is this what I become?
CJ: Look, no, that’s all a part of it but you get to chat online with loads of people you know, it’s an easy way of spreading and catching up on people’s news, you get to share photos and music and videos. It’s not a dominant part of my life. It’s just easy.
TJ: Since when was anything easy worth anything at all? Do you write letters at all anymore? I love letters!
CJ: Not so much.
TJ: Seems like a shame.
TJ: So what else happens in the future?
CJ: Every band you ever liked from the 70’s and 80’s and wished you’d seen live, they all reform and you see them all.
CJ: And they all suck.