A girl who lives near me is possibly the biggest user of social media I know, but while face to face she can barely make eye contact. When I see her around the neighbourhood I always say hi, but she walks past me quickly and awkwardly, often with her head buried in her smart phone. I think she sometimes pretends not to see or hear me. But minutes later she’ll make multiple friendly comments on my status updates and tweets.

She often posts her own status updates like: “I’m tired,” or “when will it stop raining?!” And there are also regular photos of her glasses of wine on Facebook with the caption ‘vino o’clock!’ Although there never seems to be anyone else there drinking with her.

Excessive social media photo uploading is not confined to the socially awkward. ‘Popular’ people do this too, but they mainly post photos of themselves on boats, often wearing sailor hats. If they are girls they are regularly pouting.

I had an arrangement with a mate to play golf last week, but he cancelled at the last minute, saying he was feeling sick. But unfortunately for him, two hours later someone tagged him in a photo on a boat on the harbour. He was sprawled out on the deck, beer in hand, surrounded by pouting girls, and even some pouting guys.

I called him to see what the story was.

“G’day mate, how are you feeling?” I asked. “How’s the boat?”

“I feel average. What boat?”

“The one you’re on right now. I just saw photos on Facebook.”

“No mate. Those photos are from Harry’s boat last week. I’m sick at home.”

My paranoia continued that afternoon when I saw an old friend of mine in Facebook chat. I hadn’t spoken to him in years, so I wrote a few lines asking how he was, but he didn’t reply and logged out 10 seconds later. It could have been a coincidence though.

Then I saw on Facebook that my ‘vino o’clock’ friend was out posting photos of her wine at a nearby bar. I’ve never really hung out with her one on one, so I thought it’d be nice if I offered to join her for a drink. But she never replied either. It’s cool, I like spending time alone anyway.


By Simon Palan