I’d always imagined a virtual reality internet, but honestly, with Facebook, sorry Meta, (which incidentally sounds like the name of a hard rock magazine,) announcing it will create one, has to bring about an element of slight concern. It’s not just since Zuckerberg has made the billionaire club his liberal stance has warped into the ultimate conservatism, rather judging by the content and actions of users on Facebook, they’re best hidden behind a screen.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook, addicted to the bloody thing, can’t keep my fingers off it. I check it at breakfast, lunch and tea. I check it on the loo; if I liked your status today, I probably didn’t actually read it, rather I accidently clicked it while rescuing my phone from the u-bend. I check it night and day, and when I’m asleep my dreams come over as a newsfeed.
Like many others my initial reaction to the news was jaw-dropping, I was held in awe. The more I think about it, though, I beg you consider, your Facebook feed, in reality……
If an actual place, Facebookland would be, best guess, an irrelevantly violent place, with a lot of obnoxious bigots. Think how many people’s comments you read make you wish you could punch them on the nose, praise be the day you could do it.
As soon as you arrive in Facebookland numpties will be thrusting dishes of food in your face, not offering you any, rather just to show you what they’re eating. “Look at what my wife made!” They’ll bellow, “look at what I got at Nandos;” for crying out loud.
Cats and other pets will be everywhere, doing cute stunts, and people will demand you watch them. The skyline will be filled with billboards of misinformation and propaganda in block capitals and primary school grammatical errors. Every book or newspaper will be in emoji, everyone will be shouting, few people somehow liking, but not really listening, because they’re too busy doing their own shouting.
Opinionated keyboard warriors you can punch, Facebookland would resemble a Tekken tag team tournament more than real life. I’d give Greta Thunberg about thirty seconds in there. Endless chains of people, stopping you to ask if you know what time Lidl is open, can you recommend a carpet fitter, or asking if you know what the handbrake light on their car means. If anything, the internet has lessened idle chitchat between strangers on the street, and you want to head back into a virtual realm where it perpetually occurs? You’ll be late for work every morning.
Late for work because fifty people stopped you on the street to thrust a photograph of a renowned philosopher in your face, only to ramble off some supposed inspirational quote you doubt they even said. Late because you had a dying need to discover your Star Wars bounty hunter name, by melding letters from your postcode with the name of your first pet, and returning home to find someone ransacked your flat and emptied your piggy bank.
No need for a police force, face it, everyone is a cop, everyone is a robber. Power-hungry group admins acting like bouncers at the door of a nightclub, spammers saunter town like chuggers, eavesdropping your every word. Whisper the word trampoline, I double-dare you, and a hundred frenzied trampoline salesmen will mob you.
My last Facebook Messenger request was a message from a total stranger who felt the need to tell me her “vagina was very beautiful.” For reasons of account privacy, I ignored it, I get similar messages racing through my spam filter daily. Another one said, “I’m naked, without my clothes,” which in itself is either presumptuous, assuming I don’t know the definition of the word naked, or they have devised some ingenious method of being clothed and naked simultaneously. Imagine these in real life, it’d be harder to ignore. You’re walking with the wife, and a woman saunters up to you to tell you her vagina was beautiful; where do you look?
Alongside this constant red-light district, life for the beautiful would be an endless building site, where wolf-whistles and chauvinistic taunts ring out perpetually. There’s a cathedral of far-right knuckle-draggers and a flat Earth theorists beach café; are they the kind of Facebook users I really wish to bump into on the street?
Child free too, Facebookland, teenagers all live separately in Instagramville and Tik-Tok Town, twerking and kicking each other’s doors. The entire day spent in the park choregraphing a Kayne West move, where bikini-clad chicks are pranked by a twentysomething so-called magician, else trying to craft a diamond sword in a pixilated universe, while a Superman skin is kicking the butts of innocent bystanders on an urban street.
Guess you’ll find me at the gig, where I don’t need put my beer down to clap at the end of the song, just fire off a handclapping emoji. And every so often, people ignore you, because they’re busy checking their real self in some far-off realm called reality, where everyone lives in a plastic box floating in the ocean; it’ll never catch on, least not until 2030.
And we’ll eat, imaginary humus and iceberg lettuce, drink nettle tea and be merrily, liking each other’s status updates in real time, remembering those sadly passed over to the other side, Twitter Island; we had to let him go, by the end he was talking in hashtags.
And you thought a holographic Abba concert was annoyingly cutting edge.
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