Saturday, 27 July 2013

Cycling across the Sahara with the Stereophonics

There are times, just every now and again you understand, when it seems that the majority of posts on one's social network stream are all either overwhelmingly 'gee whiz I'm having a great time' or else 'boo hoo give me a virtual hug'.

The Ocelot, being a sensitive, empathic creature, sometimes finds it hard to keep this accumulated e-motion (see what we did there) - both positive and negative - at arm's length, and must frequently be wrestled quickly away from the keyboard before an insensitive and uncharitable reply erupts forth.

This is in no way the fault of the Facebook posters. It is of course absolutely lovely that they are having a good time and only natural that they would want to share their happy thoughts with all their friends. Likewise, someone who is poorly or down in the dumps would of course want to reach out to their chumly network for support. This is all very human and a major element of the daily Facebook phenomenon.


Some of us are a bit insecure and jealous of you and the great time you're having. Or else we can't afford the great holiday you've been on or the great house you've bought. Or we maybe can't have a baby and are having a really hard time dealing with all the pictures of bouncing bonny sproglings you're posting up every other frigging day so that we can't escape being reminded of our own perceived inadequacy.

In the old days, we could avoid this sort of thing if we really wanted, restricting all such social scorecarding to phone calls from family and sporadic get-togethers with old friends. But social networks can be like plugging in to an endless school reunion that we can never leave, where everyone else is happier, healthier, wealthier and babier than we are. And that can hurt.

Not that we can tell anyone. We can't possibly say that we don't want to see pictures of little Pugsley's first day of big school or hear about an incredible weekend cycling across the Sahara with the Stereophonics for charity (which was nice). Because that would be petty and horrible and small-minded. So instead we scroll down past all that stuff as quickly as possible, being unable even to muster up an insincere Like.

What Facebook needs is an alternative to the Like button, something along the lines of an 'I hate you, you rich/popular/fertile bastitch' button. But such a button does not exist. Nor, the Ocelot would admit in a more rational frame of mind, should it, of course.

Still and all. Sometimes it hurts, y'know? Just sometimes. When it seems like everyone we know is having a better time than us. And ironically, due to the selfish and uncool nature of the pain felt, it would be quite unacceptable to post the expression of hurt up on the one place where it appears to be socially acceptable to express our every innermost hang-up.

What is needed is the virtual equivalent of a soundproofed cell or big empty barn or lonely wood in which to have a quick selfish scream, get it out of our system, and then move on. A sort of Facebook for everyone BUT friends and family.

Therefore we give unto you, for a limited time only, the following cathartic explosion of knee-jerk, totally self-absorbed comments the Ocelot would like to make on many Facebook posts, but really, really can't and indeed shouldn't.

I don't care about your brilliant holiday/party/convention that you just came back from. Why didn't you invite me? I'd have loved to go. Unless it involved a flight or weird food. Or expensive costume.

I don't care about your incredible new house/job/child/bathroom extension. I have none of these things and now feel sad/poor/lonely/insufficiently plumbed.

I don't care that you're incredibly depressed. Sharing your sadness just bums me out. Suffer in silence like me. Apart from this bit obviously.

Maybe we could have one day a month where we're only allowed to post up funny videos of pets dancing, just to give the socially insecure a break.

Fun and yuks will resume in due course.

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